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MR AND MRS SNOWDEN, Issue 15647, 11 November 1914
MR AND MRS SNOWDEN
i , I.ECTL'RE IN GARRISON HALL ON THE LIQUOR QUESTION. livery member 0! the large audience that visiterl the Garrison Hall last night to hear Mr and Mrs Philip Snowden niiht have been more than amply repaid for !iU attendance. The. subject of their adHre".ips wa- the industrial and economic aspect of thf liquor question, and they both dealt with it in the manner which has won them Mich a great reputation. The Rov. 1!. S. Gray presided, and in opening said lie con idered it a privilege to be asked to pre-ido at a meeting which would be add-i's-cd bv Mr and Mr< Snowden. Mr. Snowdeu, who was greeted with loud applause, .'.aid he would speak of the relations of the industrial and social positions to the expenditure on intoxicating liquor. In New Zealand there was a population of about one million, Jiving in a beautiful country and under conditions where there really ought to bo no liquor problem ; yet each year there was spent upon intoxicating liquor over £1 .000.000. The. expenditure upon the traffic in the United Kingdom was £156.000.000, which was larger than M-h.it was spent in normal times upon the upkeep of the Army, the Navy, old ago pensions 1£13,000,000 i, iiatioiiariiisuranee (£20,000.000!, and national education be 30.000.0001, and more than the. combined
expenditure upon all the public service-. The social problem comprised a good deal more than tho liquor question, and when National Prohibition was established there would still remain great and difficult industrial and economic questions to settle. One great reason why they wanted the liquor question settled was "that tho way might be cleared, and that the mass of the people be able to deal with what was tho duty and responsibility of this generation—the solution of the social problem. Hut there was a very close relation between the expenditure "upon intoxicating liquor to the industrial and economic condition of the people. The social problem was the problem of tho abolition of waste—waste in every department of industrial life and human activity. The purpose of every business man'was to effect economy in the management of his business in tho saving of all possible waste. What was true of the individual or business man was true, or ought to bo true, of society as a whole. The expenditure upon liquor in New Zealand was equal to not far short of £4 per head of each of our population, and of £lB a year, or about 7s per week, for each family. Not only was this huge expenditure a waste from the economic point of view, but it also had serious and farreaching effects. It touched tho unemployment question, and the question of tho cost of living. The main cause of unemployment was the want ot greater purchasing power on the part of the mass of the people To deal with tho unemployment problem was by no means to give to the people more purchasing power. If the £4,000,000 spent upon liquor were diverted to its legitimato expenditure upon cloth ing, boots, houses, and the like it would assist in a considerable measure. If £20,000,000 of the £155,000,000 spent in the Old Land were spent in buying cotton goods in Lancashire it would double the present expenditure of tho United Kingdom upon cotton goods. "It £10.000,000 were devoted to the purchase of house furniture, what would the effect upon the furniture trado of the United Kingdom be? Tho present yerrly expenditure oi the 46 million people of the United Kingdom upon furnituro was onlv a little less than £10,000,000, and there'was hardly a working man's homo there but needed more furniture. Tho expenditure upon drink was unproductive and unremunerative, because it impaired tho capacity of the workman in regard to his earning powers, but if this expenditure were devoted to the staple and remunerative trades it would increase tho employment in those trades, and so lessen the number of the unemployed. But tho benefit would not stop there. The transfer of that expenditure to a productive source would have a considerable effect upon wages. There would be an increased demand for labor, the unemployed would be absorbed, and the workman would be able to demand and se.-uro a higher rate of wage.-.. A plausible cry being raised was that they could not afford to establish National Prohibition because of tho loss of national revenue it would involve. They should remember that the results of the liquor traffic made it necessary for tho expenditure of a considerable part of tho revenue upon prisons and other institutions. Tho transfer of £4,000,000 to expenditure in manufactures would mean that our imports would increase by that amount, and there would be an increase in our Customs duties which alone would compensate for the loss of revenue. In conclusion, Mr Snowden said he wanted to say how greatly indebted he was to those who had attended the moetings, and for their very attentive, courteous, and intelligent hearings. He had not spoken in a dogmatic way, and did not want to impose his opinions upon any man or woman. All that he had desired was to place before them certain matters for which he asked their serious and thoughtful attention. (Applause.) Mrs Snowden also delivered an eloquent appeal on behalf of the movement. The Chairman announced that Ulrs Snowden would deliver her address this evening ou ' A Peep Into Parliament,' but that the present was Mr Snowden's last appearance in Dunedin. Mr Snowden had laid them under a deep debt of gratitude, and he would ask tho Rev. W. Saunders to move a hearty vote of thanks and appreciation. This Mr Saunders did. and tho motion, on being seconded, was put to the meeting, and. carried with, acclamation.
MR AND MRS SNOWDEN, Issue 15647, 11 November 1914
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