SPEECH BY SIR JOSEPH WARD THE CRISIS AFTER LAST ELECTION. fjJI TELEGRAPH — PRESS ASSOCIATION 3 AUCKLAND, 29th July. The new Auckland Trades Hall, built by aid of a grant from the Ward Government, was officially opend to-night by Sir Joseph WaTd. There was an attendance of about 300. Amongst the guests were : — Messrs. A. E. Glover, M.P., J. Payne, M.P., the Hon. G'eo. Jones, and the Hon. W. Beehan. In the course of his speech, Sir Joseph Ward said he wished to take the opportunity of making a statement which he felt bound to make in his own interests. It concerned the crisis which had resulted after the last general election. As everyone knew, the parties were go ovenly divided that no man could say who were the victors. He thought it was his duty to call Parliament together to consider the. position as soon as possible after Christmas. He called the party to a caucus, but he found that every one of his colleagues in the Ministry were against him, and considered that it was not necessary for Parliament to meet so early. Every member of the party, too, was in accord with the views of other members, and pressure was brought to bear upon him, the result being that there was no session till the middle of February. At that meeting of Parliament the Liberals won, but at the last crisis they lost, and that was through the defection of men who had been returned to 1 Parliament pledged to support the Liberal party. As a result oi that defeat, the very men who had urged him to postpone the meeting of Parliament until February were going about the country blaming him for what had occurred. That all would agree was not a, fair thing. He had no fear for the political life, of New Zealand. In the adjustment that was going to take place, it would take a Solomon of Solomons to say who was going to win, but he was sure that when another appeal Was made to the people the common-sense of the working men would prevail, and there was no reason why the Liberal party should not again take charge of the country's affairs in New Zealand. Majorities must rule, and the present law governing elections did not allow a majority in New Zealand to have the ruling power. With the necessary altersence in legislation, however, they would find that the instincts of the people would be sufficient to see that the representatives of the majority would win, and there was no reason why these representatives should not come from the Labour party. (Applause.) Between the first and second ballots at the last election chaos was brought about. The Liberals had been badly organised, but he was confident that next election would sweep back into the fold the Liberals and Labourites, who would role the country for the next generation. He would not speak for the present Opposition, as he was not leader of it, but he could assure them that he would always be on the side of the weak, at the same time on the side of progress. EXTRAORDINARY POSITION PARTY IN POWER. "IT REPRESENTS* A MINORITY.*' [BY TELEGRAPH— PRESS ASSOCIATION,] AUCKLAND, 29th July. Interviewed this morning concerning the present political situation, Sir Joseph Ward stated that, there was no doubt that the 'present extraordinary position in regard to the politics of the country could only be finally adjusted by the people of the Dominion themselves. To discuss the position from a party standpoint revealed a peculiar, yet clear, aspect, inasmuch as the party representing the minority of votes in New Zealand was the party in power to-day. That was undeniable, and it constituted a unique political position without parallel so far as his knowledge served. In his opinion such an unnatural state of affairs could not continue for long unless the people themeelves-desired it. In the meantime the representatives of the people had the power to either maintain or alter the existing conditions. He believed that majority rule by the- voice of the people alone would enable the country to be constitutionally governed. Sooner or later, therefore, the win of the people would have to be sought and obtained. Asked his opinion of the all-important division of a fortnight ago, Sir Joseph Ward replied that naturally one regretted to see- men who were returned as supporters of the Liberal Party crossing over to help that party's opponents at the time or a critical crisis. No man worth 'his salt in politics or any other walk of life objected to being beaten in a fair fight, but it was quite a, different thing when the party was defeated with the assistance of those who were returned as its friends and supporters. Ho was not making any personal complaint against any individual member, but there were some who would have to make good their actions in the ripeness of time before their constituents. - ' Sir Joseph Ward leaves by the Main Trunk express for Wellington to-night. He will be present at the opening of Parliament on Wednesday. He declined to discuss the position in regard to the leadership of the Opposition, but spoke optimistically of future prospects of the Liberal Party. MR. V£RNON REED'S POSITION AS STATED BY HIMSELF. tax nusun- aweout to xbb k»st>3 AUCKLAND, This Day. Mi". Vernon Reed, M.P., has issued the following statement of his attitude on the occasion of the division on the recent no-confidence motion: — "During the election campaign last year, I declared myself independent on the question of the freehold, and I gave two pledges to the electore— (l) To stand by the freehold, independent of party ; and (2) to support the Ward administration. The only pledges I made were the two referred \x>. Both these pledges I have kept. I stood by the Ward administration until it fell, and I then, tried to bring about successors to the retiring Ministry, who would carry out the policy of tiae Liberal freeholders. In the selection of a leader, I succeeded, but the constitution of the Ministry that followed was 6uch that -we freeholders found ourselves in an intolerable position. We had in the ascendancy in the Ministry th© most ardent supporters of the leasehold in Parliament, members who for years had attacked the freehold principles in Parliament and out, and whose land policy I had severely denounced on the platform. With such Ministry a freehold policy was impossible, and when I was invited to join that. Ministry I realised that it was impossible, with, my strong freehold views on the land question, to work harmoniously with the majority of the other members of the Cabinet, and consequently I refused the offer of appointment. My pledge was to €Ec Ward administration, and not to any euceeeeors in office, and had such successors been in office at last election, I would have openly opposed thsffi when tfe« 119.
confidence motion was before Parliament. I had to choose between following the freehold party offering and, with the power to carry out, a freehold policy on the one hand, and on the other hand a Ministry chiefly composed of the most bitter and outspoken leaseholders in Parliament. In common with other staunch Liberal freeholders, I determined to follow the freeholders, and to throw in my lot with the freehold party, bo long as. and on condition that, their policy was both liberal and progressive. I > have kept my pledge to my electors, and I feel confident that my action has , been in the best interests of my electorate and to the advantage of the | Dominion."
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POLITICAL, Evening Post, Volume LXXXIV, Issue 26, 30 July 1912
POLITICAL Evening Post, Volume LXXXIV, Issue 26, 30 July 1912
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