MR ALLEN AT NORTH DUNEDIN.
Mr J. Allen, member for Dunedin East, addressed a meeting of his constituents at the North .Dunedin Drillahed last evening. About 150 persons wero present, and the chair was taken by Mr S. Myers (Mayor of North east Valley).
Mr Allen' said that he did not intend to speak at any length upon questions which ho had touched on at his former meeting, but would rather deal with questions likely to come before the House in the coming session, and with one or two larger questions which might not come up, but which ought to bo occupying their minds at the present time. But first to say something with reference to tho positions of parties in the House. There was actually no clear definition of party at present. There were politicians and others who had raised the cry that on one side of the House there were Liberals and on the other Conservatives, but that was absolutely without foundation. On both sides of the House there were Liberals and ultraLiberals, and on both sides of the House there were Conservatives. But Conservatism as it had existed in the past in the Old Country did not exist at all in New Zealand. The tendency here was towards Liberalism and towardsJultra-Liberalism more than towards Conservatism. As he had said, parties were not clearly defined in the House. The party now in power had done so much for tho country that, unless he saw some good reason for departing from them altogether, he intended to stand by them ; but the tic that bound him to that party was not a strong one, and if he saw a clear definition of parties he would join that one with which the greater portion of his opinions coincided. With reference to the so-called Young New ; Zealand party, he said such a party as a political power did not exist, but it did exist in this sense: That in the House there were more young New Zealandeis than there had been in any House before, and they had met and discussed very many questions that dealt generally with New Zealand politics, and where they had seen that upon some clear lines they could act together they had done so. Once or twice they acted thus, and it was to the benefit of the colony at large, for they fought against the extravagance that had been going on in the expenditure of loan money, being determined to save the country from the oppressive rates that would havo to be imposed. He was pleased to state that there was a reported surplus this year. He said a "reported" surplus because there were some lugubrious politicians who said that tho surplus did not really exist, The amount was from L-22,000 to L 27.000. he did not want them to believe that the surplus waH due altogether to the revcuuc having reached the amount it was supposed to have reached ; it was a saving on the appropriation account that had made up for the loss of revenue and which enabled Government to show a surplus of 1,22,000. After going into figures in connection with the loan accounts, the speaker si-.id that if his figures were correct the poeitun now was this: that instead of having upon No, I account 1,217,000, we had LSOG.OOO available ; and on the second, instead of L3SG,OOO we had L 431,000 ; and on tho third, instead of 1,510,000 something like Lo'oo,ooo was shown to be available.—(Applause.) As to railways in course of const ruction, ho said the intention of tho Government had been to carry them to some point where they could be worked without borrowing, and they expected to be able to do that. Now, it was a crucial question if they were able to show on a certain date that they could carry the railways to a certain point without a loan, and whether thoy could or not he could not say. That, at any rate, was what they should strive for—to show themselves and others that they could deny themselves and for a time do without borrowedmonoy.—(Applause.) With regard to No. 1 account, he thought it should be wiped out of existence altogether. It dealt with expenses of this kind : In the first place money had been borrowed for immigration, but immigration of the old type had been stopped altogether by tho House. But apart from that, this account dealt also with expenditure upon roads, telegraphs, public buildings, lighthouses, and harbor defence. Now, he maintained that expenditure upon most of these items should not be charged to loan money at all, and if their finances were really to bo put upon a sound footing that expenditure upon roads, telegraphs, etc., must be placed to ordinary revenue. As to the Otago Central, nobody ever cared about a syndicate, and he only supported Mr Pyke's Bill because he saw no other way out of tho difficulty. He thought that when the House met they would find a difficulty in getting land set aside for this railway "unless the same was done for other lines in the course of construction or that were wanted. He hoped, however, that tho Otigo Central would be carried at leastaafar as Poolburn Gorge, when Ida Valley, Manuherikia, and other districts wjuld bo tapped. He did not intend to say anything about the appointment of the Railway Commissioners or the appointment of tho new Judge ; he would rather lend his thoughts to theso questions when they came before the House. In connection with the Education Bill, ho knew that many things in it needed reform j D g—the functions of school committees and school boards were not satisfactorily defined ; the definition of the word. " householder " was not satisfactorily laid down ; and the cumulative vote was not satisfactory —(applause)—and he would be glad to see all the difficulties with regard to these things done away with. As regarded the Electoral Bill, he said it was based on the Hare system (of which he gavo an explanation), and it made the franchise much wider. He was inclined to say that this question would better bo put before the constituencies as a whole, and not forced upon them this session. Coming to the question of the reduction of members to seventy-four, he said that some members appeared to havo seen fit to alter their opinions on that [ point; bat he had not, and he adhered I strongly to the reduction, because he believed ! it had many good poiuts.—(Applause.) The time was coming when puroly local matters must be dealt with by localities, and the larger questions affecting the whole country must be dealt with in Wellington; and these latter could be dealt with by a much smaller representation.—(Applause,) Tho question of bankruptcy would bo dealt with this session. Some people thought they should have no bankruptcy law at all, but he thought they could ecarcely do without bankruptcy law of some kind, and he would like to see it take such a form as would prevent bankrupts from being used so easily as they were at present—he would like to see the man who went through the Court find it difficult to get clear, unless there were good reasons for his unhappy position. (Applause.) They had been told thatthey were to have some reform of the Upper House, and he thought that some reform was needed, but he was not one of those who thought it could be done away with, for ho knew that in some cases it had done good service. Last session a Bill was placed on the Order Paper which did not como up, but it would come up this year, he thought. That was the Shop Hours Bill, and ho might say that he was in favor of it— with certain restrictions. (Applause.) Any means of dealing with the reduction to a reasonable limit—say eight hours—of tho hours of the employed in shops or anywhere else would rcoiivehis support.—(Applause.) Some other questions which would con e before tho House this session were mainly social ones. For instance, they were told that a Bill would
be introduced this session dealing with the question of charitable aid. Very little was told them, except that the (Government intended to (separate the questions of hospitals from that of charitable aid. With regard generally to the question of charitable aid, he wanted to warn them on one point, and that was that the experience of other countries—and their own experience was growing in the same direction was that the giving away uf charity by way of outdoor relief had always a tendency to lead to great evils. He could not tell them in what form Government intended to deal with it. He had heard about pauper farms, but he did not know what to make of the statements. In Belgium, farms of this description were in existence, where those who would not work or who were idle were obliged to go to partake in the work of the institution. They were also taught industrious habits and farming, and very many of them were led back to good lives. In America there was a communistic institution based on similar lines. Ju England, in some of the workhouses, a similar plan of making the inmates work for their support had been adopted, and in that way the cost of the institution was not so heavy on the ratepayers. He must admit that he looked with more or less terror on any moasure for outdoor relief, because it must lead to great expense. There was another social evil which had been exercising this community, and which would not call for legislation next session, but which would bo brought before the House. It was the question of sweating. It was proposed to ask Government to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into this evil throughout all the towns. They must all regret that in a new community like this they oould not avoid some of the social evils of the older countries. Regret was of little use unless itwa3 followed by something more practical, and the practical effort they should make would be to attempt to nip these social evils in their bud. He would support, in the House, the appointment of this Royal Commission, for he felt that if the evil was to be nipped in the bud it must bo dealt with, not only in Danedin and Christchurch, but in all the other large towns as well, (Applause.) Public opinion had expressed itself strongly here, and if the question was Bufiiciently ventilated, public opinion would express itself as Btrongly eleewhore. Legislation could not do much to root out this evil, but much could be done by the workers themselves joining themselves into Unions to protect their own interests. By a healthy expression of public opinion, and by the workers' own action much could be done, and the evil would be stopped before it was of large growth amongst us.—(Applause.) With regard to immigration, he said that steps were being taken by "Self-help Emigration Societies" at Home to select desirable emigrants for the colonics—ablebodiei farm laborers with wives and families, and not the undesirable class that would come out here and almost immediately clear away to another colony. Ikforo long the country would have to deal with the question of Federation—they would have to consider whether they intended to carry on without outside help, whether they wero open to form a federation of the Australasian colonies alone, or whether they were prepared to enter into a larger federation with Britain and the British colonies. There was a time when ho had thought it possible for the Australasian colonics to build up an empire of their own in these .Southern sous, but when one came to consider how Germany, France, and the Unit'-d States were increasing their interests in the Pacific Seas, he thought one must acknowledge that they could not leave out the question of the federation of the British Emri.e, (Applause ) In conclusion, lie might nay that they had every reason to ho thankful. They ought in the first place to be thankful that their exports this year had so largely insreascd. He might mention thatthev had increased from \ 1,(1,800,000 last year to 1,8,209,000 this year. -Then they ought to be thankful that they ' were paying interest out of their exports. Their exports this ye.'ir exceeded their imports by no less than 1,2,293,000- (..])- pknrc)—aiul ho knew of no other country in the world that could show such a balancesheet as that. He might mention that Victoria, on the other hand, imported tbi-i vear L 10.000,000 more than it exported, "and if anyone could say that was a healthy state of trade lie would b(! surprised. Then thoy ought to be thankful that their railway revenue was improving. In the first month of this financial year the receipts from the railways amounted to no less than L 93.000, or something like 28 per cent, more than the corresponding period of last year. Now lie only hoped that this might continue, and that the railways would bo able to show a very much more satisfactory return than they hid been showing. Then, as he had raid before, they ought tobe thankful for their imrplns, small though it was. The surplus would in future, he hoped, be large enough to bear many things that had becu charged to loan.—(Hear, hear.) They had to bo thankful that public opinion in the colony was at such a high tone, The recent expression of public opinion in Dunedin, for instance, expressed, to bis mind, a higher tone, generally speaking, tlmn existed in the Old Country, and they all ought to be thankful for this, because it would lead to a higher and better life. He had been reminded that that day was the anniversary of a great battle. That day seventy-four years ago the Battle of Waterloo was fought, and if any two points characteristic of the British nation were exemplified then they were courage and endurance. Those characteristics were exhibited by the early colonists who came out to Now Zealand, and he could safely say those characteristics existed now among them.—(Applause.) They had the courage to express their opinions, the courage to battle with social evils and financial difficulties, and the endurance to carry them through. If they tempered those two characteristics with sound judgment lie had no hesitation in saying that a bright future was before New Zealand—(applause)—and if he, as representing that constituency, could do anything towards leading to that system of financial soundness, and to that higher tono of general life, he would feel that he had been amply rewarded. But apart from that altogether, although it at first required a considerable amount of self-sacrifice for any man to take up the position of a politician, yet he could say with regard to himself that he had been brought into contact with so many of his fellow creatures, which contact had led him to an appreciation of qualities ho did not expect to find here, that if he were to depart out of political life to-morrow he would never regret the day he resolved to take upon himself a political career, and his whole futuro would be brightened by the knowledge he had gained of those about him. —(Loud applause.) In answer to questions, Mr Allen said he did not beliovo the gail site was a suitable one. He would like to see it removed, but would not ask the Govern- \ in the present state of their finance, | to expend money in erecting a gaol elsewhere. He thought it would be reasonable to have a Department of Agriculture, in order to encourage that industry. Ho was in favor of a grant of reserves to form an endowment for a university at Wellington ; he could not see how they could refuse to Wellington what they had at Dunedin, Christchurch, and Auckland. He was, for all practical purposes, a Freetrader—(loud applause)—he had said so before, and said so now. He was not in favor of a property tax, but would vote for a land and income tax as before, but he would not have it pro- . gres?i vo. Ho was in favor of the establishment of a labor bureau, to arbitrato between employers and employees. He was also in favor of the establishment of a tribunal of commerce which should arbitrate in matters of account between traders. He was in faver of tho amalgamation of all the large city eleetoratep.
On the motion of Mr Robektson, seconded by Mr Johnston, a vote of confidence in Mr Allen was carried unanimously.
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MR ALLEN AT NORTH DUNEDIN., Evening Star, Issue 7937, 19 June 1889
MR ALLEN AT NORTH DUNEDIN. Evening Star, Issue 7937, 19 June 1889
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