A COMMERCIAL ZOLLVEREIN.
e T0 THE EDITOR. . When the history of New Zealand is written Dunedin must have a prominent place in the vanguard of our democratic legislation. Ideas have been formed and incubated, culminating in statutory laws almost of a revolutionary kind, and yet one sometimes thinks the concrete is overlooked, and too much faith given to the abstract, which euda in the noble band of toilers and workers being duped by the blatant Delphic oracular utterances of many of our politicians. A noble, pure, and conservative democracy can only succeed by referendum —i «., by a direct appeal tb. the will of the people. In this opinion both Mr Balfour and Lord Rosebery, who are at the opposite poles in politics agree. In the year 1891 a great commercial conference was held at Ottawa, in Canada, at which New Zealand was represented. One of the most memorable resolutions of' the century was there passed in the following terms -“ That this Conference record their belief in the advisability of a customs arrangement between Great Britain and her colonies, by which trade within the Empire may be placed upon a more favorable footing than that which is carried on with foreign countries.” To this resolution our delegate spoke in terms of fervid admiration and support. Tne resolution is a revolutionary one. Mr Chamberlain has acquiesced, and in due course it will become within the range of practical politics. It deletes from our Constitution Act section 61, thus giving us the power to impose dues upon foreign imports—a power, needless to say, never before possessed; or, in other words, British goods may have a preference of, say, 2 or even 5 per cent., or perhaps ad valorem , over foreign; Is this not a matter worthy of discussion by our various political and social organisations as to a direct appeal to the men and women of the colony before becoming the law of the land ? Large Continental wool buyers attend our markets, and retaliation on the Continent maybe a consequent result. However, these questions will no doubt be well threshed out by Seddonianism for the entire benefit of the toilers and workers. Protectionists in the sugar industry evidently see their chance vide your telegraphic news in to-night’s Star : “The Colonial Sugar Company have applied to the Government to impose an extra duty of £2 per ton on beet sugar (italics mine), on the ground that it interferes with the refining industry.” If one thing is a necessary of life surely sugar is. Now, therefore, is the time for the thrifty housewife to he heard in the political arena. And how can the sundowner, swagger, and others expect to get free rations of this luxurious saccharine necessity ? Is not this a question which should be settled by a direct vote of ourselves? Although New Zealand is a unit of our grand Empire, its fiscal policy is not on all-fours with Canada, and we should proceed with extreme caution. However, our Dictator knows what is best for us, and will no doubt be blindly followed till he leaves for the English sphere of politics; and then, when too late, we shall, in sackcloth and ashes, repent of our socialistic folly in being led as we have been.—l am, etc., Lumper. Dunedin, September 11.
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A COMMERCIAL ZOLLVEREIN., Evening Star, Issue 10423, 18 September 1897, Supplement
A COMMERCIAL ZOLLVEREIN. Evening Star, Issue 10423, 18 September 1897, Supplement
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