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IN CANTERBURY

TRENDS DISCUSSED

"CONSERVATISM SUSPECT"

(Special to tne "Evening Post.")

CHRISTCHURCH, This Day.

ir Canterbury's Liberal tradition is 1 taking on the character of a highly c Radical tradition, and the election campaign is a study of the extent to which Lt the old preponderant Liberal vote is j dividing to the right and the left. Re■r form Party politics have been so disc tasteful to the city electors for thirty c odd years that anything ever so lightly c crusted with Conservatism is under suspicion. >t Evidence of this was provided in the ■_ municipal elections this year. When - other cities voted against Labour, [i Christchurch returned a Labour Mayor i_ and council. The Mayoral result left ~ the city a little stunned, for it was s almost a foregone conclusion that Mr. 3 R. M. Macfarlane, a union secretary \ and something of a political make- ,. weight, would be beaten by Dr. John [. Guthrie, a popular surgeon, whose serr vices to the poor in honorary hospital h work have been incalculable, and 2 whose forbears came out to Cantere bury in pre-pioneer days. Mr. Macfara lane's Mayoral success, therefore, might I be ascribed to a radical swing whose ~ political significance had its roots deeper than tfae surface soil of current politics. The Mayor is stepping into the political arena of Christchurch North again in a challenge to the sitting National member, Mr. S. G. Holland. Mr. Macfarlane's success as Mayor has gone so far beyond expectations as to offset two handicaps. The first of these is his past failures in political contests. The second is the disinclination of citizens to! give any man the double honour of the Mayoralty and a seat in Parliament. The Labour Party regards Christ- ' church North as its most difficult city 1 problem. A readjustment of boundaries " has given the electorate about 500 1 votes in Fendalton, a Conservative ; area, which has been taken from Ric- ' carton. Shrewd judges do not regard the seat as a certainty fbr Mr. Holland, ; despite his excellent Parliamentary and ' platform work. He came in on a wave ! of good will from the supporters of his ! father, who retired in his favour in " 1935. How long such good will lasts is : not calculable. The same question ' arises in Lyttelton, where Mr. Terry 1 McCombs succeeded his father and mother. But he is not seriously threatened in Lyttelton, by all appear- ! ances. ' The Riccarton seat, which is largely 1 a city seat with its fringe in rural ' areas, looks like going over to Labour. ' Mr. Kyle has been a minority member with a vengeance for the past two [ elections, and he has to face a very strong candidate in Mr. T. H. Langford, who is an erstwhile Liberal and a i very vigorous campaigner. Mr. Kyle's chances are also prejudiced by the loss of Fendalton. The four other seats that are looked on as city seats are Christchurch East, Christchurch South, Avon, and Lyttelton. In the first case the Hon. H. T. , Armstrong has no serious opposition. The National candidate, Mr. K. Armpur, is a son of the Rev. T. W. Armour, of Knox Presbyterian Church. He is a very young man, captain of the Linwood football team. It is hard to see how the election committee nominated him. He has a small radio business. It appears as if the National organisation in Christchurch has not been very successful in its choice of candidates. There was every reason to believe that Mr. Gladstone Ward would have been a very good candidate for Lyttelton, but he was passed over in favour of Mr. I. J. Wilson, a comparatively unknown person politically, an accountant living in the little marine suburb of Sumner, which has been the McCombs home for many years. A third candidate, Mr. W. B. Bray, has entered this contest, smarting under what he believes to have been the Labour Party's betrayal of Social Credit. He has resigned from the Labour Party, and must draw off a few votes from McCombs, but only a few. Mr. Gladstone Ward, a son of Sir Joseph Ward, has received the consolation prize of National nomination for the Christchurch South seat, but Mr. E. J. Howard seems to have one of the safest seats in New Zealand there, and even the addition of a bit of the West End of the city does not threaten his chances of success in any appreciable degree. A strange development in Avon, Mr. Sullivan's seat, is likely to make the sparks fly. The National candidate, Mr. Hiram Hunter, is a stalwart of the old Labour days. He was secretary of the Canterbury Drivers' Union during the great strike of 1913. Later he became the workers' representative on the Arbitration Court. He has been out of the Labour movement for many years, but he has a startlingly good memory of things that Labour would sooner forget. Much of this he has communicated to the correspondence columns of the newspaper over his own name as a sharp critic of Labour inconsistency. If Mr. Hunter can get a hearing in Avon, a bitter campaign will develop. His chances of winning cannot be taken seriously, but he will improve greatly on the figures of past opponents of Mr. Sullivan. To tell the truth, Mr. Sullivan has never had a strong man against him for many years. In the other Canterbury seats, Mr. Forbes is safe at Hurunui, despite a record enrolment of Public Works employees; Mr. Herring is shaky in Mid-Canterbury; Mr. Burnett is safe and no more for Temuka; Mr. Carr is sure of Timaru, but Mr. David Barnes is almost sure to be defeated in Waitaki. A very even contest is predictable at Kaiapoi, where Mr. Morgan Williams has lost ground in the borough, on the evidence of a recent local election. His opponent, Mr. G. C. Warren, is a very alert farmer. In the city of Christchurch there will be a big, silent vote. It cannot be ignored that the 40-hour week and the five-day week have been more than welcome, not only to tradesmen but to clerks and typists in the big offices and warehouses that now close from Friday night till Monday morning. Of the probable working of the social security scheme the average city worker seems to know little, unless he is a lodge member. The scheme has split the lodges wide open, but it is not difficult to see that the division is

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19380923.2.65.5

Bibliographic details

Evening Post, Evening Post, Volume CXXVI, Issue 73, 23 September 1938

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1,077

IN CANTERBURY Evening Post, Volume CXXVI, Issue 73, 23 September 1938

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