THE GENERAL ELECTION
MR G. S. THOMSON AT ANDERSON BAY. Mr G. S. Thomson, candidate for the Chalmers seat, addressed about 50 persons in the Presbyterian Church Hall, Anderson Bay, last night, and. received an attentive hearing. Mr T. Boroerville (chairman of .the Bay Town Board) presided. and briefly introduced Mr Thomson, who, he said, though a resident in the district, was perhaps not so well known to most of those present as he was to the speaker. He was sure the audience would give Mr Thomson an attentive Rearing. —A Labor Candidate. — Mr Thomson began by relating a few particulars regarding his own career, by which he made it plain that, having been brought up in a working man’s home, his sympathies were with that class. He was coming out as a Labor candidate, but wished to emphasise the fact that he was the nominee of no party. He was a Labor candidate because his views were closely allied to those of Labor, and, while recognising that the workers were not so downtrodden in New Zealand as in many other countries, he considered there was still much room for improvement in their condition. He had come into the fight with the. object of going through with it, and had no intention whatever of withdrawing at any stage. He had summed up his chances, and was going to win. (Applabse.) He repudiated the suggestion that he was an extremist. —An Elective Executive. — He had no belief whatever in the present party system of Government, whether it bo Reform or Liberal. Parliament should be reformed in such a way as to ensure government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The Premier of the country (he was not referring to the present Prime Minister) could, according to the present constitution, dominate the whole country,_ because party politics were allowed to interfere. Parliament had no control of the Ministers, but members would have under the system which he favored—the system of an elective executive. —Proportional. Representation. — He favored proportional representation. Such representation would help the minorities, which were at present not given any representation. —Legislative Council.— The speaker said he had not been actually in politics, so that he could not say whether the Legislative Council were necessary or not. He did not feel justified in pronouncing a definite opinion on the subject. But If the Legislative Council were to be a true revising Chamber, it should not be “stuffed,” as it had been in tho past. In any case, the speaker thought that no one should get into the Upper House without six or nine years’ experience in the Lower Houm*. (Applause.) —Crown Lands.— As far as Crown lands were concerned, ho was a leaseholder. The speaker condemned the operations of the Jleform Government in regard to the Crown lands. Mr Massey was willing to throw away the hinds of the Crown for the sake of votes. The Government professed to help the small farmer and the worker. The small farmer was induced to buy land he held on a 999 years' lease. Hu was paying 4 or 4£ per cent, in rental at the original value of the land. He borrowed the money to pay for the land at 5 per cent., so that lie was actually paying more in interest than he had been paying before in rental. Mr Massey was not a friend of the worker. Not one acre of land should have been sold in the beginning, and private companies should not have been able to get possession of it. It should have been taken by the Crown and revalued at the end of certain terms of years. If the Government had held the land in the early days we would not be hearing talk now about unearned increment. The Government could renew leases periodically, but at a figure sufficiently enhanced io correspond with the enhanced valuation that had been made in the meantime. The difficulty could be got over at present in New Zealand bv pulling through an Act to provide that, on a certain day, all title deeds should become the property of the Crown. None would suffer unless those who had a good deal of land The nominal rental.-; would pay off our taxes and help to liquidate the National Debt, which was, far too high for the size of the country-. As for the breaking up of the estates, the speaker knew of n case near Balclutha where tho Government closed a deal with the owner of the Otanamomo station. The actual value of the land was £lO an acre, but the Government pave £l7 an acre for it. It would cost the Government from £3O to £35 an acre in the long run, but the speaker could buy improved land beside it at less than £■3s, It would work out at such a bad bargain for the farmer that no one living near would take it up, and strangers came in and settled on it As a. matter of fact, the place was virtually -i bog, and full of heavy limner. As for State advances, the Government would not advance money for the worker unless he had a good margin of the required loan himself. He had In have two-fifths of the sum he wished to borrow, and the farmer had to have one-third. Any money lender could be found to advance money on that security. Certainly-, tin; terms offered by the Government were reasonable, and the borrower paid practically only- 4£ per cent., but the margin made it of no assistance to the struggling farmer. —Maori Lands.— Ab the Governments had been slack on the question of Maori lands. In the interest of the country and of all the Maoris the Government should lake possession of the whole of the Maori lands of the Dominion. The Maoris would resent this, but let them resent it! The Government should put a firm foot down. -—Advances to Settlers.— Referring to the question of the Advances Department, the. speaker said there had been a number of provisions made in connection with this department by one Government and another, but what was the Government doing for the workers and the working farmers ? They learned from the papers that the Government of the day had increased the advances to workers from £350 to £4CO, and the Hon. James Allen had said the other day that these advances were to he increased to £450. What was the use of increasing these advances if the money did not go out? The Government- were simply saying they were going to do this because it was election time, but if they (the people) who warned tho money were to go for tho money they would probably he told by the Government that they had not the money to lend. —Land Tax.— With respect to land taxation, i.e was of the opinion that no man should be allowed to hold from £5,000 to £IO,OOO worth of land. Land values in New Zealand at present were decidedly inflated, and he expressed the opinion that any man holding over £IO,OOO worth of land should be taxed at the rate of 4 per cent, on all land he owned over that value. This, he claimed, would have the effect of compelling him fd'place the balance; of his holding on the market. If a man were forced to sell-out, then the prices for big estates would come down, until not only would the small man get a chan nee of getting on the land, but the big man would be able to lend him the money. It would j simply mean putting the transaction ! through on paper. The big man, instead 1 of selling his land at a cash price, could j afford to sell it on terms, apd even then j he would be getting 4 per cent, or 5 per | cent, interest, on big money. —lncome Tax.— Wtih regard to the taxing of incomes, Mr Thomson said that under the Liberal Administration anything a man made over fiSOD he had to pay a tax on. By way of illustration, he said that if a man made £4CO a year he would have to pay £2 10s on that extra hundred, and so on for every t additional hundred he made over £3OO a year. This money be paid by way of taxation went to well the revenue of the
thjs bed been altered. This Government held that a man could not live on less than £3OO a year, and if he had a family, say, of five children he would be able to earn more, and still be exempt from taxation; and yet the average wage paid to the workers throughout New Zealand was £l2O a year. The speaker held that every man earning over £2OO a year could afford to pay an income tax, and if returned to Parliament he would advocate tho imposing of a tax on all incomes of £2OO. —Duties on Imports.Mr Thomson expressed himself in favor of a Protection instead of a Freetrade policy. He thought the time had not arrived for a Freetrade policy. It would bo time enough, ■when there was ten times the population in New Zealand that w® had to-day. At thg present time he thought that if it were necessary there should be a duty of from 5 per cent, to 10 per cent, placed on imported articles in order to protect our industries. All luxuries, such as motor cars, should bo taxed, as lie held that any man who could afford a motor car could well afford to pay a tax on it. —Railways.- - With icspect to railways, Mr Ihomsou said that the Hon. J. Allen, in his Budget of 1912, had said that where new railways were being constructed—such as our Alain Trunk railway—blocks of land along the route of such lines should be bought. The township of To Haiti and Taumarunui should have been taken over by tho Government. Air Thomson condemned the Government’s proposal to sanction pri-vately-owned railways, and said he had thought when the Ma-nawatu railway was taken over by the State that the had been heard of private railways. Where railways were constructed the Governmentshould take the unearned increment, and this, he claimed, would go a long way towards the extension of the service in various parts of the Dominion. —Education. — Concerning education, he said he heneved in free education from the kindergarten to the university, and he was in favor of the free supply 7 of school hooks by the Government. This would make it easier for the workers, many of whom could hardly afford to buy the books their children required. He. Putin a plea for the encouragement of technical education, which, he said, was an excellent thing. —Arbitration.— Referring to the question of arbitration, Mr Thomson said he did not approve of the present constitution of the Arbitration Court. Whenever any dispute occurred between employers and employees they should appoint" three of their number to act on each side, and in tihs way settle their dispute. He would go even farther, and allow them to have men to advise them on technical matters. As President of the Court he advocated the appointment of a good commercial man, who would be better able to deal with matters that came before the Court than a man with a legal training. —Alilitary Training.— Air Thomson said he was in favor of compulsory military training, because it was necessary, as they bad all learned by now. —Appointment of Commissions. — Touching on the question of the appointment of Commissions by the Government, he said a great deal ot public money was wasted in New Zealand in this way. He instanced the Price of Food Commission as a ease in point, and expressed the opinion that the Prime Alinister should have tackled this question himself, instead of appointing a Commission. He also contended that members of the Legislature should be appointed members of any Commission set up without the usual £1 Is per day. If their salaries were not sufficient, then let them he increased ; but he was -firmly convinced that the people's representatives would render greater service to their t-omiiry if' iris'*- suggestion were adopted. —Public Trust and Legal Bureau.— Ho also expressed the opinion that attached to the Public Trust Office they should have a legal bureau, but that any solicitor appointed should not be, allowed to act in the courts. This would prove- a great, saving to the people. —Civil Service.— Civil servants should have more lights than they had. They were not treated properly when they were given no say at all in political matters. There was_ one thirtg that he would say in favor of the Alassey Government : the appointment of Commissioners to do away with the system, prevalent in the past, ot the appointing of people to Government positions through political patronage. Thc'appointraent of a genera! manager of railways was another good action of ihe Massey Government. and Mr Hiley’s importation would be a good thing so long as lie was not subjected to political interference. As for the classification in the Civil Service, promotion by merit obtained in private life, and it should obtain in the Government service. —Cost of Living.With regard to tho cost of living in New Zealand, unless we were very careful wo should soon find ourselves in the hands of monopolies and (rusts. There were the Merchants’ Association, the Flour-millers’ Association, the Union Steam Ship Gom pany, and other trusts of the kind. These, by reason of their strength, were able to crush the opposition of the smaller, struggling companies by using their influence to hamper their trade and cut, off their sources of supply. The speaker was a. believer in profit-sharing in business concerns. Trades unionism bad served its day. One difficulty with regard to trades unionism was that it caused Capital and Labor to drift apart. The only thing that would bring them together would be a system of work on a co-operative basis, and this might easily prove a bad thing for their working shareholders. --Cost of the War.As for the, effect of the war on tinprice of foodstuffs. Mr Massey bad promised (o do a good thing for the workers by fixing the prices of food. But In- had dilly-dallied so long over it that lie disgusted the workers. Now the tanners, who had been expecting a big price for their stuff, would find that the prjre was brought down, and Air Massey would stand Ivadlv with them also. The Government should have taken possession of thegrnnaries and foodstuffs at an early stage. Tile, ‘Otago Daily Times’ had said that the Government of Great Britain had not taken over the flour-mills immediately the war broke out. But. as a matter of fact, the war broke, -out on Am/ust 4. and the flour-mil!.* were taken over on August 11. In Australia, also, prompt action in lb,- >3 ine way had been taken, for in Australia iliere was hj Labor Government. —Stale Enterprise.— The speaker was in favor of State enterprise. Tho Government should take over, as soon as possible, the ferry service between Lyttelton and Wellington, and also the coastal steamers. As for State fire insurance, it had cost the Government no more than £2,000 to get the department going, although £IOO,OOO had been allocated. This department had been of enormous benefit to the workers, not only directiv, but in reducing the premiums generally, a saving of no less than £250,000 yearly having been effected on premiums alone in the first six years. The Government could take over the whole of the insurance out of the reserve funds from the fire insurance, and it would be a good thing. —General. — He believed in the initiative, the referendum, and the recall, and even though the recall was not yet in operation, he would consider, if elected, that he was morally bound by it. If a petition, signed by 50 per cent, of hi? constituents, were presented to him, he would return and face those who had placed him io parliament, and if they were dissatisfied with him-, he would resign his seat. • He would pledge himself to this. As for women’s rights, the speaker thought that there were many women who were quite capable of being members of Parliament. Mr Thomson concluded by ashing that no question as to confidence ip him should be put to the meeting, and said that if
of thanks. There was only one plan* where confidence could be shown, and that* was at the ballot box. In reply to a question as to whether he favored the bare majority on the liquor question, he said that he favored the bare majority in all things. A vote of thanks to him for hi* address was carried unanimously. THE WAITAEJ SEAT, Our Timaru correspondent wires: —The Liberals in the Wait-Id. electorate nave beep very busy during the past week in seeking a strong candidate to contest She seat against. Mr Norton Francis, the chosen of Reform. Large numb«» •£ electors have expressed the wish that Mr John Anstey, who retired from the lative Council last January, should ewry tho Liberal banner, and it is sate to «y now that their wish will be gratified. Air Anstey attended the recent Liberal conference at Waimate, and assured the representatives of the various districts that for private reasons—his -wife's indifferent health being the principal one—he could not see his way to stand. The electors, however, would not accept his refusal, and this week they presented to him a. largely-signed requisition assuring him o£ strong support, especially from tie North Otago side of the Waitata. Feelmg that he owes a duty to the Liberal party, Mr Anstey has made considerable sacrifice with a view to acceding to the request of the electors, and I have reason for saying that the Liberal Committee in Waimate will be in a position to-morrow to an* nounce that Mr Anstey is their choice. Other probable candidates have been men* tioned, but it is more than likely that cnce Mr Anstey is definitely in the field they will withdraw. The Liberals os Waitati are confident that in a straight-, out Contest Mr Anstey will win back the electorate to its old allegiance. At a meeting of the Napier Reform League last evening Mr G, W. Venable! was unanimously chosen as the Reform candidate for Napier. Mr G. M. Powell (chairman of the Bui* ler County Council and a member of the Fuller Hospital and Charitable Aid Board) was last niglit selected as a candidate tos, the Bidler electorate in the Reform inter* ett. It is understood that Mr Hugh Gillen (a member of the Westport Harbor Board, and prominent in Labor circles) will contest the seat as a straight-out Labor candidate. The Hon. D. Buddo’s medical advisers ' have ordered him into a private hospital for an indefinite period, which will pro* . vent him engaging in election work. was intimated to a meeting of the bon. gentleman’s supporters at Rangdora ou Thursday night, and it was decided to print and issue throughout the electorate a manifesto on behalf of Mr Buddo. Sir Joseph Ward and other prominent Liberals are to be asked to address meetings on Mr Buddo’s behalf.
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THE GENERAL ELECTION, Evening Star, Issue 15638, 31 October 1914