REMAINING AT POSTS
TO SERVE COUNTRY
MR. COATES & MR. HAMILTON
A decision to remain "at their posts" and place their services at the disposal of the country has been made by Mr. Coates and Mr. Hamilton. They resigned their Ministerial offices last night in conformity with the majority decision of the Parliamentary Opposition caucus last week to withdraw its six representatives from the WaiAdministration and War Cabinet, but subsequently, at the invitation of the Prime Minister (Mr. Frascr), rejoined the War Cabinet, although not as National Party representatives. Both were sworn in last night.
■ Advice of their resignations in compliance with the caucus decision has been sent to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Holland). Both Mr. Coates and Mr. Hamilton dissociated themselves from the views of the four Opposition Ministers who resigned last week. Immediately the Prime Minister was informed of the position, he invited Mr. Coates and Mr. Hamilton to re-enter the War Cabinet.
A joint statement setting out their views was issued by Mr. Coates and Mr. Hamilton. It was as follows:—
"As we see the position, there was not sufficient justification in the reason giyen for the precipitate and drastic action taken by the National Party caucus, and followed immediately by the resignation of four members of the War Administration, We consider, after careful thought, that our duty to the country is more important than our duty to party.
"We do not condone the action of the strikers. That such an incident should in a time of national crisis be made the reason for the resignation of responsible men from their administrative obligations, however, is unjustifiable. No industrial strike is assisted, or industrial peace assured, by a political strike—and that is what the resignations represent.
"The country is at war. Let those who wish blame the Government. We, for our part, realise the difficulties of any Government in such a crisis, and faced with similar, circumstances. No one can deny that the safety of the State and the preservation of its people must be the first consideration of responsible men. Manoeuvring for party advantage by any section in these critical hours can only hamper the country's effort.
"Now there is Mr. Holland's demand for a General Election—a demand similarly precipitate and drastic. If that? demand is acceded to, what was a caucus issue becomes an election issue. Electors will have to determine whether that issue was of sufficient importance to disrupt such measure of political unity as had been obtained, and throw the country into the distraction of a General Election with the enemy so close to our gates. "The resolution to withdraw from the War Administration was made on the grounds that 'the law must be maintained.' Apart altogether from the allegation of mishandling of the strike situation, we are concerned as to whether the basis on which certain of our colleagues acted was sound, bearing in mind that members of the National Party acknowledged that coal must be won. It is not conceivable that our people will declare that gao) was ,the only remedy available. The action that was taken was constitutionally right, and there ar<? precedents for it in New 'Zealand Iron) prior Administrations. Admittedly, the executiye right to make such a recommendation should be sparingly used, but surely, with the country at war, and with the war effort of our Allies and ourselves at stake, the right to exercise that power should not be made an issue. Such an issue creates disunity and aggravates all -forms of economic loss and industrial upset.
"The blunt fact remains." the statement continues, "that if work at the mines had not been resumed in full, there would by now have been a standstill in the North Island in dairy companies, freezing companies, and railroad transport, and a heavy reduction in gas and lighting, all of which would have affected the security of our people and our ability to fight. "We believe that our people support the view that imprisonment should be reverted to as a last resource, and that every other possible expedient must first be explored. In these circumstances our plain duty is clear. It is to accept the Prime Minister's request, remain at our posts, and continue to render what service we can during our country's peril."'
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REMAINING AT POSTS, Evening Post, Volume CXXXIV, Issue 84, 6 October 1942
REMAINING AT POSTS Evening Post, Volume CXXXIV, Issue 84, 6 October 1942
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