AFTER THE FRAY
MR. JONES'S DEFEAT.
PUZZLE TO THE DOMINION.
(By- Simple Simon)
Since the election, the writer has noted the opinions of various papers on the verdict given -by the electors, and out of the survey one thing emerges clearly, namely, that there is scarcely a newspaper in the whole of the Dominion but which has expressed surprise and regret at the defeat of the late Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. David "Jones. It is not that the whole of Mr Jones's policy was approved so widely; in fact, his advocacy at one time of further protective tariffs, and even embargos, caused intense annoyance in some quarters, especially in the North Island, and among importers, and also on the part of enlightened consumers who knew what the implanting of such a policy would mean to them in added costs. Both Mr Fred Waite (Clutha—Reform) and Mr Jones earned some rather unenvijable notoriety over that part of their programme. j But making all these allowances, it was nevertheless recognised that Mr Jones had displayed considerable ability as a debater in Parliament, and even though some criticise adversely certain shipping contracts let by the Meat Export Board, of which Mr Jones was chairman, they yet recognised his good work in that capacity, and were fully aware of the value of such administrative experience to a politician. So much for the national outlook, but what is difficult for the people of the Dominion generally to understand is why Mid-Canterbury, which .had great need of a stalwart champion of the wheat duties in Parliament and on the public platform, failed to rally to the best man it has ever had [or is ever likely to get in that connexion. | Even in the North Island Mr Jones, 'with no small amount of moral courage, stood up on the public platform and defended the w^eat duties in a manner not equalled by any other supporter. That such a champion, with reputation and status enhanced by being the holder of the portfolio of Agriculture, should be rejected by MidtCanterbury, confirms the belief of thoughtful outsiders that, although we spend £4,500,000 per annum on education, we have not yet an educated electorate, and that, in MidCanterbury at any rate, brains, and the ballot box are not playing speaks. The above does not constitute a condemnation of Mr J. Connolly, who is a man of parts, and may prove worthy of his opportunity. It is a pity, however/that he was not used to displace one of the very mediocre official Coalition candidates, of which a number received the official blessing elsewhere. Meanwhile, to the rest of New Zealand, the electorate of Mid-Canterbury remains an enigma. THE FUTURE POLICY. Just what the Coalition will do with its two-to-one majority remains to be seen. There is a danger that it will be inclined to favour protective duties more than ever. If this is so, then it will strengthen the hands of those_ opposed to such policy when the next election come round. The main opponents are the Country Party supporters, who did not win any additional seats. Nevertheless, they did make their ideas better known than ever before, and in one electorate, Rotorua, the Country Party vote increased by exactly 120 per cent. j Protection amounts to a manufaciturers' dole, and the recipient of that lole does not pay it any more than iocs the workless worker on the dole, and therefore this subsidy must come aut of the paying industries, thus ttandicapping them in their development. * The present policy is very dangerous, as well as being economically unsound. The effect will be to cause larger and larger aggregations of workmen in the cities, engaged in these pampered industries, and at the same time to deplete the populations
of the rural areas, which have to bear the burden of such artificial aids given to secondary industries. In time, just as in Australia, these great aggregations of workmen will have such voting strength as to govern the country—with disastrous results as in Australia. There is no escape from this logical and inevitable conclusion. Under Free Trade conditions it would be a different matter, for then the costs of production would be so lowered as to induce private enterprise to invest money in broad acres. These lowered costs apply to both primary and secondary industries, but the expansion in the manufacturing areas, in a primary producing export country like New Zealand, is more than offset by the increase in the rural population. Thus Denmark, which is a Free Trade country, and our greatest competitor in primary produce on the London market, has her greatest proportion of population on the land. And yet her secondary industries do not suffer, for the Danes can, just by way of one example out of hundreds, make cream,cans of highest quality out of the best British steel procurable, and then export them to New Zealand, and after paying 61 per cent duty and other charges such as freight and insurance and adverse exchange amounting in all up to 158 per cent, additional to the maker's price in Copenhagen, still undersell New Zealand makers of similar cream cans. If the Coalition intends to reduce the costs of government by half, and to substantially reduce the duties on the necessaries of life, such as food, clothing, boots, implements of production, then we will get what has been promised, namely, "sound and stable government." On the other hand, if it is intended jto smother the country under more hothouse treatment, and legally confiscate the profits of successful indus- ! tries for the bolstering up of uneconomic ventures, then the electors wil] have an ultimately valuable lesson ir the general unwisdom of handing oui blank cheques,
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AFTER THE FRAY, Ellesmere Guardian, Volume LII, Issue 99, 11 December 1931
AFTER THE FRAY Ellesmere Guardian, Volume LII, Issue 99, 11 December 1931
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