The announcement that Sir Hugh Acland will contest the mayoralty at the next election should please, not merely the Citizens' Association in whose interests he is standing, but the whole of the Christchurch public. In parliamentary as well as in local politics men of his type are unfortunately rare; and his candidature is, it must, be hoped, a sign that the business of government is beginning to attract the ability its importance demands. Upon the nonLabour voters of Christchurch Sir Hugh Acland's decision imposes a very special obligation. In th'e past, partly through mistakes of policy, partly because of the difficulty of finding good candidates, and partly through the apathy of those who should be its supporters, the Citizens' Association has not succeeded in mobilising the nonLabour vote at nearly its full strength. For a period of nearly 10 years Christchurch has had a Labour mayor. That is not because a majority of the citizens of Christ-
church are supporters of the Labour party. It is because the Labour party, thanks to its highly efficient electoral machinery, is able to bring the great majority of its supporters to the polls. It is too late to regret the introduction of party politics into municipal affairs. No doubt most citizens would like to be free to vote for the best candidates, irrespective of their party labels; and no doubt such an arrangement would be in the best interests of the city. But as long as the Labour party puts up official candidates and organises support for them, such an arrangement is not feasible, since it inevitably means that the government of the city will fall into the hands of the organised minority. Failure to accept the realities of the situation has in the past been expensive for the Citizens' Association. This year the association enters the elections as a political party with a definite programme; and in addition it has secured the services of a candidate with quite exceptional qualifications. The non-Lab-our electorate has therefore no excuse for apathy or indifference. On the contrary, it has a clear duty to make the next elections a turning point in the municipal history ji Christchurch.
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The Mayoralty, Press, Volume LXXI, Issue 21407, 25 February 1935
The Mayoralty Press, Volume LXXI, Issue 21407, 25 February 1935
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