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The Evening Star TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 1889., Issue 7936, 18 June 1889
The Evening Star TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 1889.
Mil ScoitlK Mackenzie's address to his constituents at Naseby is a >i»lihli-))oii- thoughtful, well-considered dent Xbiabcr. ossay on the p o ii t i ca l s i tua -
tion, of a more valuable and enduring character than the ordinary run of platform speeches. It has ad J ditional weight, because it partakes of the nature of a, farewell address. Although the natural life of the Parliament extends to a fourth session, it is possible, if not prolmblc, that a dissolution may eventuate during the present year. It is the unexpected that always happens. Mr Mackenzie decries, as lie has always opposed, the reduction of tho number of members, and puts it on a new footing. If the district is enlarged, as it must be if the reduction is not annulled, " none but an otherwise idle man," he says, " could represent it, and keep in " touch with tho people in ihodillcront " centres." There is no occasion to quarrel about terms. Any man "otherwise idle" must, of necessity, be a wealthy man ; and that definition more accurately coincides with the general feeling. Mr Mackenzie does not come under either designation, and accordingly he announced that he could not undertake to represent the enlarged district. Probably ho will woo the voices of some town or suburban constituency ; and there are not wanting indications of the urban preserves being invaded by several gentlemen who are now identified with country districts. Perhaps he is not far wrong in designating it as " a foolish piece of legislation," which, although demanded by "a popular cry " in the dark days of depression, will, by a natural reaction, be followed " after a couple of years of better " times by a cry for decently sized " districts and good geographical "boundaries," Assuredly it is in the rural and mining districts that. Hie pinch of decreased representation will be fell. And as lias been urged by Mr Mackenzie and others, (he present excess of representation, if it exists, is an evil that will cure itself by the increase of population. The real light, however, on the electoral ([iiestion is as to the quota in town and country respectively. Already both sides are preparing for the encounter, and 30 per cent, in favor of country districts is tho line which appears to have been drawn. Considering that at present the large majority of the members represent country constituencies, there is little doubt of the issue, and the more the question is considered from a geographical point of view, the more reasonable does the demand appear. Mr Mackenzie is nothing if he is not opigramrnatical. Thus of such nature are these utterances: "An " individual has to be economical in " order that he may live ; a Govern- " ment generally has to be extravagant " that it may not die." Again, speaking of future borrowing : " Real and "genuine prosperity, with abundant " labor and good wages, will be prosperity tempered by debt." lie sees clearly enough that the notion of entirely ceasing from borrowing in the future is not only futile but impossible. A young country, abounding in virgin resources, must borrow to live, and live to borrow. The utter cessation of borrowing would bring about stagnation. But there is the borrowing of the spendthrift and the borrowing of tho prudent, and it is the duty of tho people's representatives to restrict future loans within the scope of the latter. " Put not your trust in princes !" cries Mr Mackenzie. Sir Hahhy Atkinson he declares to be "a thorough Vogelite, with his propen- " sities simply suppressed by the exigencies of the situation and the " pressure brought to bear upon him." He will borrow vdienovor lie gets tho chance, Mr Mackenzie thinks, and denounce borrowing only when he is out of power. " In fact," he goes on to say, " the Premier is the leader of "the wrong party. With his land " nationalisation, his protection, his "borrowing, and his doctrine of expediency, Sir Hauhv Atkinson is " really the leader of the Opposition." Surely this, if it be correctly pictured, is an anomalous position for a Premier to occupy. But we do not forget that other public men have been denounced in similar phraseology before to-day. Neither do we forget their fate. If Mr Mackenzie lias correctly described the Premier's position, he cannot a\ oid becoming, sooner or later, like Act/eon —a victim lo his own followers. If wo wero inclined to vaticination, we should say that this is what will eventually ensue. ] lis tariil has not gained for him the confidence of Protectionists, and it has put hint out of touch with his immediate supporters, But, lo (|iiotc Mr Mackenzie again, "his sterling character has attracted "as adherents men who are repelled "by his politics." Very firmly and properly Mr Mackenzie put down his foot on the debasing local feeling that pervades some constituencies. He told the audience that his duty as member for the Parliament of New Zealand was paramount to that of member for Mount Ida, and that lie was bound to keep in view tho interests of tho Colony as a whole. "It was not," ho said, "the " duty of a member to get them any- " thing. If everyone Avent in for " public plunder, good government " would be impossible. The duty of a " member was to represent them with " lidelily and intelligence; and if "ho did that, they could depend " he was attending to theh' best " interests much better than by " truckling to idle cries, and "clamoring for the expenditure of " public money." And to the credit of his audience, bo it said, this bold avowal of independence was received
willi "prolonged applause." It is a lesson I he people climili.l lake lo hcarl, for as surely as nighl. follows day Hie member win) does so truckle, and elainor only appeals lo Unit' passions ul. the expense, of their intelligence, and does so lo .servo his own ends. A more complete and ell'eelivo form of local government is absolutely necessary to put an end to the debasement o£ tlic representatives functions, and until the people possess this their members of Parliament will continue to be degraded to the level of parish vestrymen.
The Evening Star TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 1889., Issue 7936, 18 June 1889
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