Evening Post. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1900.
CANDID CRITICS. » . . - The growing dissatisfaction in the Ministerialist ranks is already being voiced by some of the members who have returned to their constituencies. Mr. R. Thompson's criticism has already been quoted in our columns, and on Thursday . last the Wairarapa Times published the report of an interview with Mr. A. W. Hogg, in the course of which the member for Masterton made some interesting and, from such a source, almost startling statements. Mr. Witheford has also thought fit to explain through the press to the Auckland electors how disgusted he is with the manner in which business is conducted in Parliament. During the recess, we may expect to hear much more of this candid criticism, for when Parliament broke up for the holidays, tlio Government had anything but a happy family behind it. There are several Liberal members, such as Messrs. Ell, G. W. Russell, W. W. Collins, G. Fowlds, Tanner, Laurenson, M'Nab, Millar, and Arnold, who have had to choose in the course of the session between obedience to the principles they profess and loyalty to the Premier they follow. This forced choice is not calculated to bind them closer to the Government, and there are incidents the' memory of which is sure to rankle in their minds and compel them to utter their 1 thoughts in defence of their actions. The members we have mentioned are for the most part toWn representatives, and the Premier has undoubtedly given them good cause for dissatisfaction, but the more progressive country members also have their grievances, and Mr. Hogg, who would in all probability have succeeded the Hon. John MTCenzie as Minister for Lands if the Hon. John Baliance or Sir Robert Stout had been at the head of the Government, may be considered as their spokesman. Mr. Hogg is rather optimistic in his estimate of the present Parliament, but* it is worthy of notiqe that the new members he singles out for praise are Messrs. Fowlds, Laurenson, and EU, sound Liberals, not too ready to accept blindly the Premier's interpretation, of Libtral policy. Referring to the weakness of tjie old Opposition, Mr. Hogg, after paying a high tribute to the personal character of Captain Russell, significantly poiuts out that " the lines of difference between him and the Premier are rapidly disappearing," and this because the policy of the Government has actually undergone 'a change. "The Premier and his colleagues," explains Mr. |Jogg, "have always preferred a bold to a timid policy, and, so far, their anticipations have been more than realised. But it is one thing to be courageous, though quite another to become reckless and invite danger. What I apprehend is that they are treading on thin ice. The Financial Statement for this year proclaimed a marked departure from the tolerably safe, though progressive lines, on which the party to which I have been attached has been travelling during the last decade." The member for Masterton contrasts the Financial Statement for this year with that of Mr. Baliance in 1892, and concludes his comparison with the following sentences, whose meaning is intensified by the fact that they are from the lips of a Government supporter: — "In 1892 the most rigid economy had to be practised, because the financial clouds loomed most ominously. To-day, we are basking in the sunshine, and the Colonial Treasurer says 'Prosperity be hanged ! Let us eat, drink, and be merry. Let thrift be abandoned— we will borrow and squandei, and leave the debt to our successors.' " Mr. Hogg also announced his disapproval of the mode in which the loan authorised this yeai i$ tc be spent, and declared that he could (see no necessity whatever for borrowing at the present time. If the figures in the Financial Statement were correct, and Mr. Hogg did not appear quite satisfied upon this point, there was on the 31st March last a record surplus of £605,000, and the profits for the next five months shou 1 d reach £233,000 at the same rate. "With £838,000 available," he cries, "why borrow a million and add £40,000 a year to the colony's burden of taxation?" Mr. Hogg has much to say, too, pn neglect of the settlers in the back-blocks, and altogether he seems inclined to stand up manfully for what he considers true Liberalism, quite regardless of the vi«w the Premier may take of his utterances. It is satisfactory ,to find .that there is in the Government's overwhelming majority a leaven of members who will not allow faults to pass unnoticed.
FAITHFUL TO THE gTATE. , <> * The retirement of Mr. Walter S. Reid from the office of Solicitor-General calls for more than the ordinary notice accorded to the prominent Civil servant who withdraws into private life. For a period of a quarter of a century Mr. Reid has been the' chief law adviser of the Crown in New Zealand, he having been appointed Solicitor-General on the translation of the then Attorney-General to the Judicial Bench. For some years previously Mr. Reid held the post of assistant law officer, and that his appointment was justified has been shown by his long and honourab.o career in the higher office. Mr. Reid entered upom his duties first when the abolition of the Provinces was in contemplation, and he Avas at once called upon to advise \spon the many delicate and intricate constitutional and legal questions arising out of the charge in the syßtein of Government then introduced. From that lime forward he has been the trusted confidential adviser of the successive Governments, who have drawn unreservedly upon his . high professional knowledge, and his ripe experience and skill. In. the records of this country the name of W. S. Reid is writ large, and there is not a Minister of the Grown nor head of a Department who is not indebted to him for wise counsel and sound advice on the difficult points that arise almost daily in the course of policy and administration. Probably the most striking characteristic of the late Solicitor- General, and the one that will live longest in uxe remembrance of those associated with him in official life is his" inflexible integrity. Integrity in private life is. a good thing, but integrity in public affairs is a rarer quality, and one above all price to the State. Mr Reid set his duty to the State — -that is, to the publio of New Zealand 1 — above all personal considerations. Unswayed by friendship, untinged with political "colour," his advice always commanded respect, even if unpalatable to the recipient.' So high, indeed, does his reputation stand in Parliamentary and ofheial circles, that it is unreservedly conceded that when he had given his opinion the last word had been said on the subject. It may be truly written of Mr. Reid that he "did his duty," and we are sure that he 'himself would desire no higher praise. But those who are acquainted with the inner working of administration recognise that, it requires a very fine order of courage to do this duty consistently and honestly at all times and in. all seasons. 1 It is easy to make things pleasant, and refrain from earning the title of obstructive, but it is on|y the man of fearless character who can resist the insidious temptations that beset the higher ofncia.dom. Mr. Reid set up a high ideal, and his life has been a consistent illustration of the influence that such an ideal exerts upon the minds and characters of those it touches. In the fierce turmoil of the reign of King Demos, men of the stamp of the late Solicitor-General are becoming rarer, but if Demos be wise he will seek to be solved by many Reids, for in the loyd service of such men lies his salvation. N
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Evening Post. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1900., Evening Post, Volume LX, Issue 106, 1 November 1900
Evening Post. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1900. Evening Post, Volume LX, Issue 106, 1 November 1900
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