THE GENERAL ELECTION
MR W. A. BODKIN AT MIDDLEMARCH.
Mr W. A. Bodkin. Liberal candidate for !he Otago Central seat, addressed a we - «ttended meeting in the Agricultural mil. Middlemareh, on Munday evening. Mr \V D Ma«m presided. The candidate. ,vho spoke for close- on two hnnsr . was -iven an cxcelltiit hearing, and his re"uarfes: were frequently applauded. He •reared a verv favorable impression. Mr Bodkin, who was well received, .-aid he was virtually a native of the district, and was familiar with Central Otago, and knew its requirement* and possibilities, and, if returned, would do his inmost to justify the confidence of the electors. Before proceeding to deal «Uli general matters, ho referred to adverse 1 rilicism to which lie had been subjected ad the result of remarks he had made regarding the Omarama run at Alexandra some months ago. When .speaking on this subject, ho referred to the matter of this run as being one of the. greatest land scandals that to ever pertietrated m New Zealand, and he saw no reason to retract that statement- "The article in the ' Daily Times' was only a half truth, and it left the- readers of that paper to inter that his statements were erroneous. He held in his hand a copy of the Land Act Amendment Bill introduced by Mr Masaey as Minister of Lands, in which provision was made for the owner of a. pro-jiei-ty which was to be subdivided having the opportunity of .selecting an area before the subdivision was commenced. The .subdivision of this particular property was held up for six months to enable Mr Massev to set his Hill through 1-" favor i the absentee- owner. The Land Board) had ax-ted perfectly honestly in the mat- I ter, and classified the propelty as a ismall J grazing tuii. This wiw forwarded to | Mr Massey. a.s Minister of Lands, for his approval. Mr Massey did not an- \ prove of this, because it would have de- J barred the. wealthy absentee owner from being able to pick the eyes out of the property. Mr Massey's idea was to have :t classified as a pastoral lease, which could be put up at auction, and did not require- residence condition*. Meanwhile Mr Massey introduced his amending liil!. which save the absentee landlord the right to secure a run without competition, and thus was ]>erpet rated what he had no hesitation in describing as the greatest land, scandal in the Dominion. He had forwarded to the 'Otago Daily Times' a challenge of £SO to prove, him incorrect on the main question, and had expressed hi» preparedness to forfeit £SO and withdraw from the contest if this could be done. It had been said that his- remarks were nothing but. invective. He might fay he wj.s 'not out to indulge in personalities. I.ut to attack the, politics of the Reform paity. He was going to attack the Act Known as the Reform of the Upper House, and to expose the failure of the, Government to deal with the foodstuffs question, lie came into the conflict with perfectly lean hands, and it was the first time ho had been attacked in this manner. He advised the writer of the article who dealt. with Omarama run to retire into his glasshouie and learn to put up a cleaner light for the Reform party in whom lie saw so much to admire. (Loud applause.) -The Record of the Liberal Party.—■ The speaker next asked his hearers to review the record of the Liberal party, that had held the confidence of the country for 20 years, to judge them by the legislation they had placed on the Statute Look luring that period—judge them by deeds, not by words. (Applause.) He referred To the great Liberal reforms that, had done so much (or the emancipation of the country—the Advances to Settler* Act, the Factories Acts (tliat improved l.abo-d-ud social conditions), the Old Age Penwodb and Widows Pensions Acts, State tire insurance, and the establishment of State collieries. As tho accredited representative of the Liberal party he was lacked up by a record that no other party in tho history of the British Empire conid show. It. had been said that the Massey party weiv» the farmers.' friends. What was tho experience of the farmer before the Liberal party came into power? Tho man on the land was in the hands of the money lender. The rate of interest varied from 10 to 15 per cent. Fortunately there waa one man who realised "that if X*w Zealand was to prosper her farmers must have cheap money. That man was Sir Joseph Ward. (Loud applause.) He brought down the Advances to Settler?' Act, and passed it into law in face of strong opposition. Mr Massey was the most bitter opponent the Bill had, and yet ho is never tired of proclaiming that lie is the farmers' friend. In speaking of that measure Mr Massey said: "We have been told of State railways and Statu steamships, and we have heard of a State tiank, but let us draw the line at a State, pawnshop!" Vet Mr Massey tried to make the country believe that he was a friend of the farmer. The liberal party did not stop at the passing of this beneficent measure. They subsidised shipping, iml in a hundred different, ways helped to olare the farmers of the Dominion in the oroud position of being the most prosperous section of the community. (Applause.) —Last Election.— There were three main reasons which tniluenced public opinion against Sir Joseph Ward at the elections three years ugo. Firstly, there was the argument of briberv and corruption ; secondly, tho cry nf reduction of expenditure and the reduction of borrowing, and "give us a. -quare deal"; thirdly, the gift of tho Dreadnought. They gave many other seasons, but these were tho principal. With regard to the first question, no I'rect charges were made, but innuendo was used to make the. people believe that the Reform party, if in power, could prove bribery and corruption. They had sat on the Treasury benches for almost three years now-, and they had not yet, exposed one single act of irregularity. The evidence, as a, matter of fact, "was all the other -way. When the Liberal party were in power Mr Massey's party accused them i'f issuing bogus balance-sheets which misled the London money lender. When tho Reform party went on the London market for a loan they made special mention .'n the prospectus of thq large and substantial credit balances carried foavard bv tho Liberal party during their term of oitice. They proclaimed to alf the world that during the Liberal regime nine millinns had been transferred from the Pinlic Account to the Public Works Account. This had been reinvested in reproductive works earning 4 per cent. Tho present Government when in opposition scoffed at ?he. idea of the establishment of a loan sinking fund, as provided for in the Public. Debts Extinction Act, introduced by Sir Joseph Ward in 1910, but it had "since been recognised to be sound finance. With regard to borrowing, the Msi3->.'v party threo years ago pictured the country going down to ruin owing- to exc&ii.i? borrowing, but what had they done? In less than threo years the* Govemm-'.-it': policy provided for borrowing w) >;-.s a Mint Than £12.425,000! When the .Lil.c-T-jl party went out of office th« Public Debt of the country stood at £4 Its ild per head of the population; to-day it. stands at £5 7s 2d. If there ever was a tune when the borrowing policy of a »ountry should, be curtailed, he thought that row was the time, but apparently the Mascy party thought otherwise. With regard to txpcmditirre, we found the cost of running the whole Civil Service was increasing Take the Railway Depart me i'. (l,i» of the first acts of the Government was to ;et a general manager from abroad—the. highest-salaried officer in thtt Sout.Wn Hemisphere. The salary he got (£3.000 :>er annum) was higher than that paid to :he engineer for the const.U'ti'm of the Panama Canal. What nad Mr Hiley ifiven us? he asked. He was rot responsible for ,~i single reform, and lad practically endorsed the policy laid down by previous Ministers of Railways He had, however, advocated an "expenditure, of £3.300,000, the greater part of which was to be spent in Auckland Citv. His idea apparently was to bring the >"ew Zealand railways up to the standard of the wealthy tailwavs in the Old Conntrv. He (the speaker) preferred to see the cnut.t-ry loaded and 'new lines laid before jreiws ia iot such extravagances, (Hear,
hear, and applause.) With reference to the Dreadnought, which was a. prominentery at last election, one prominent member of the then Opposition said that the gift battleship would rot in some harbor in Great Britain ; but, he asked, was he prepared lo say so now? They were also told that the workers and the , farmers would lie t;-xed to pay for it. The speaker then proceeded lo narrate the sou ires from which the repayment of the 'Dreadnought loam had to he marie, showing that mi worker or fanner wjie tailed upon to pay a penny-piece unless lie inherited a legacv of £5.000 or more. He asked: Was then: a ipnii 10-ihiv v. ho was not proud of the sjift of (hat. battleship? (Iter. hear, and law.! applause.)
Tic characlei'ir-eri the attempted reform of the Upp'T llnupp as :> ckver piece of bns'iiess. The Rill provided for a-n election in t!i-"e yeais' *ime to fill the seats of six iii-iii'icis who*"* tei m of office would expire then. The inci. who would retire wi uld he the in:niii:"r-.s of the Liberal party. The men Mr Ma-sser had pu f . in wo'iid remain there u:rti' 1923. Assuming that the Liberal pirty cpme into power. they co>i!d not remedy matters: they (oul.l licit make any Itvsh appointments, and t!u> Chamber as at present, constituted would not- repeal the Act. so th-' country would have to toleiate the autocracy of Mr Massey and his party, which was nioir dangerous thai: the Hi use i.t Lord*. (Loud ;ipplatise.t -M.-.i-.-is Connected with the War.—
He iiviriemnod the Government for fail- j ihg to arr.'nif a war loan a~ soon as '■ ■po>sibl" after war broke cut. Tii New , Zealand we had the humiliating spectaclo ! of statesmen going round with hat in j hand for s«t«i lipi im*. ;<ll "< \ which went to save the wealthy taxpayer. ! 'l'h.i Government's duty also was to impose ' a war tax. ami the money suhsciilied by ; voli«nt.'i:w cc>nlribiitio:iß should have been : caimarked for the relief of distress. ! New Zealand statesmen got in IhiM- wiiii j their appea.' for funds, and lists for the i relief oT distrc.-s were Mitfering as a. con-j sequence. Such a proceetlinjr was a d:s- j giace to our gallant little country, and uu- j worthy of the nv?n responsible for the | conduct of the Doininion's affairs. (Loud ] applau>e.'i The failure of the (lovetnine.nl to deal with the. regulation of the price of foodstuffs was another example of their incapacity. The appointment of a Commission was only a dodge, and assisted the Cverumer.t to «birk their responsihilitie.-. The Commission sat- for seven weeks, and meantime tho speculators stepped in. The leu.id of the, party had been one o ; lia-ngling from the commenoemciit of Die wai. Sir Jo.-eph AVatd realised the portion with regaid to marine in.-uraiiccs. and advir-:'d Hie Government to e>tab!ish a Slat-:- marine insurance, just as he had established a. State fire insurance. "Did thev do so' No." There did not appesr to be a man in the Cabinet who had Mitfi-cieut.-commercial knowledge to enable, them to take acti'>n. Vitimately they were compelled to do the veiy thing Sir Joseph Ward advised, but. limited the. risk to £5.C00. Tho Leader of th" Opjo.-ition pointed out. that, (here was net a boat leaving cur shores that did not t»ike anything from .£IOO.OOO to £300.000 worth of" produce. Alter en<lless delay ar.d n.i end of bunirling op the part of the Ministry, the. Bill ultimately became law. TL: strongly eriticise<l ll.e Government for giabbing steamers fitted with refrigerator sjiace for ttanspoits when orher vessels v-"ii' iivaili'.-blp. The canteen scandals were an absolute disgrace. Kindly and patriotically di.-.poi-cd (Tople sent, along gifts of tobacco and suchlike luxuries for the use of the men on the transports, but 'lie authorities would not a'low them to he Lnken aboard Ivecniise it would interfere with the. trade of the canteen contractor! The prices charged weie exorbitant, a-! much as 1" being asked for a bottle of soda water I The electors had their remedy men ecsponsible for this tttle ot affairs, and that remedy was to count them. out. (Loud cheers.) He. thought the Government rhould bo prepared to assist the farmers of this country by advancing them, say, up to 50 per cent, on their wool clips, in" the event of pi ires not beiitig satisfactory to the grower. All he had mentioned >n connection with the war went to idiov- the necessity of having a man possessed of commercial experience at the head of affaiis. He put it to his hearers : '• Who i* the man who has shown the greatest commercial experience in the political life of this country at the present time? Th ; onlv possible answer to the question is : Sir' Joseph Waid." —Constructive Policy.— I Mr Bodkin, in dealing with his own constructive* policy, thought that young men who had not the necessary money to take up land should be assisted by the Government. Ho favored the Department, of Airriculture providing grafs seed at half cost to permit tenants regrar-'sing their runs. He also favored a very necessary amendment to the Act to avoid an applicant at a land ballot having to travel | to the city to bo examined by the Land j Board when a declaration befoie a .LP. would suffice. In a- recent ballot some 400 I applicants travelled to Dunklin to ho ex- | a wined by the Land Board, and if their ' expenses were put clown at. £5 each it [ meant that £2,000 was wrung from people | who could ill afford it. The Widow*' Pension Fund should be extended to provide for relief in caseg where a. husband war, permanently incapacitated, lie favored aGovernment grunt, for the lei ter drainage, of the town of Middlemareh. If elected. ho purposed showing himself to bo a real live member, and he did not thiolk they would have cause to regret their choice. Several questions were answered to the satisfaction of those putting them and the audience; and on (lie motion of Meters Burns and Robertson Mr Bodkin was a<> coided a hearty vote of ihanks for his, able address. Mil G. J. ANDERSON, M.P., AT WAIMUMU. About 30 fanners and residents in the Wainnimit dititritt gathered at tho Public Hall on Monday evening to hear the first speech of the campaign, delivered by Mr G. J. Anderson, M. I'., the sitting member. Mr James"W. Dun presided. Mr Anderson, referring to the objections to the decision of the Government to hold the elections this year, maintained that a.s the Parliament was only elected for three years there would have to ark-© a much "more, serious position than faced the Dominion now to justify the party in lengthening its life. To do to, he claimed, the enemy would have to bo within our gates. The proposal for postponement put forward by the. Leader of the Opposition was that the election be held over for three men this, and Then further adjourned if netcK-aiy. That would, if the three months' postponement hail been arranged, have, brought the elections on in March, which was not a suitable time, because at tint time in the south harvest was in full swing. The Government were prepared to put the elections off for a straight out 12 months, but tis no agreement could be I made it was decided that the elections must go on. Any course other than that j a,%ipted uvu?d not have been democratic. I —Keiorin's Record.— In the pa»t two years and some few I months, Mr Anderson claimed that, the I Government had carried out practically their full- programme. "The right to secure tho treehold had been given, and Labor legislation had been put through. Defence legislation had hecn improved, and the proposal of the Minister of Defence to create a local navy had been amply justified, and showed the foresight of the Hon. James Allen. We were lean- ! ing now ©n the Australian navy, and had ! to lean,on them to take Samoa. The j Massey party had made the Legislative Council a democratic, and elective body; had improved tho Civil Service, eo that no political influence can be brought to bear on appointments, and giving the. son or daughter an equal chance of obtaining a position in tho service on merit. They had improved, the Education Act, and taken a very long step in Native legislation. ' The old age pension scheme and the position of widows had been marvellously improved, and the finances of the countrv had been put on a sounder footing than they were. Excepting for assurance against unemployment and parochial government, the full programme, t»id Mr Anderson. ' has been carried out, and no other Government had done as niucfc iu three jears.
The income tax legislation had been improved, and adjusted to fall heaviest upon those best able to bear it. Exemption had been made for the first time on the, man with a large family. Pensions for war veteran* had bee:; instituted. All veterans were now enjoying the war pension to which thev were entitled, and for which the i\lini*tev"of Marine, is to be congratulated. The Pensions Act had been liberalised in other dilutions also. —Finance.
■ The proof of the good work done by the Maeeev pajtv was shown by tlie very slight'dislocation owing to the war. The finances were on a sound basr«, and the Dominion was fortunate in having a.sound ixisiness man like the Hon. James Allen in charge Mr Anderson • dealt *t considerable length with loans, past, present,, and future. Our railways requiied a considerable expenditure, '.nd the General Manager (Mr Hilev) had recommended the raining of a loan'of £3,250,000 at a. rate so that not more than £750.000 shall be raised in ono year. This was authorised to be. spread over a number of year*. It would never do to embark on a large work and onlv authorise the amount actually inquired." Mr Anderson again quoted statistics comparing the borrowing ot the nasi with that of the present Government, and he said the Libetal Government could not verv well ca.-t stones. Mr Mas-sf-v had been charged with bioalang his momise to reduce borrowing. He never taid so, but when borrowing he promised to -•ce that the monev was wisely and proivrlv expended. When the war was taken iito' consideration, it was a matter lor ..ratification that the Minister of Finance had heen. able u. tell the House the other day that be could sc.< his way to the end ot'th*- financial your. - L.icai Navy. -
IMertiug to the arrangement entered into with IV Admiralty by Sir- Joseph Ward. Mr Ande.w. said : The exigencies of sn-a'eirv altered aU that, and when Mi Allen went Home in 1913 the Admiralty repudialed the. whole Agreement and the. suggestion was : nari»- to him to follow ■■'ui the Australian nvethod. Mr Alien otleid an extra. .€50.000 subsidy if the Admiralty would carrv out the original Agreement-, but Mr Churchill would not do .so. He : .r.'ucd that the so-called toy navy, as ptoposed bv Mr Allen when he relumed to New Zealand, would have been n-i toy, but would have been very useful at the present time, and would srive employment to our men ar.d keep the money in the countrv. and in time of war the vessels would' become automatically part oi tho Impel in) Navy. Hnullv Disaster.—
Ridiculous rharg«* had been hi.)Jed at, the Government, who were charged with. responsibility for this dieter This w;. k > not true iii axv way. The Government, had nothing to do with it. They had iniqicctors who reported to tho department, who introdmed legislation and carried out the recommendaticcs as quickly as they could. It was very easy to say now that. :?. the piesent Act pawed earlier the disaster would not have occurred. lie. had no sympathy with the. grasping mineowners, but it was absurd and wjong to charge the lion. Mr Massey with the icsponsibility. Tho mine ought, to have liecn closed, but the Government were, advised that they had not the power to do so. The Freehold. - The Government- party had been twitted that their Land Legislation had not been r.uccpi»sful, but the tattlers were, proving their appreciation of tho right to the. freehold by exercising it.. Vp to the 30th September. 1914. the fee simple of 17C.551 acres had been obtained by 955 settlers bv purchase for ca.ih, and of 50,245 acres by 303 settlers on deferred payment, which clearly showed that the charge against-the Government that the riirht to the freehold was not appreciated was untrue. The Government had further been charged with not having done anything to break up the la.rge estates in Ha-.vkc's Bay. and that they weio the friends, of the Hawke's. Bay landholders. I hey had. put. on a heavy Graduated Tax. arid if that did not. bring estates into the. market, if. would be increased considerably. The only real attempt by any Government to pievent leaggrega'tion of estates was passed in a Bili put through in 1915. Personally, he •believed he had a better system for the prevention of reaggretration than any eo iar suggested, but it was far too advanced lor either party. Hi* idea was occupying •ownership. The Workers' Compensation Act bad been libeva.lised, and more would have been done bad it not been for the intervention of war. Ho would have tried to have something done for clerks and women workers. Not halt enough had. been done for women workers i in shops and factories yet under Labor I legislation. Thoy were entitled to sufficient to clothe and if.ctl and house them decently, and more. The greater number I of those, in cities, in simps and factories. ! did not get that. —Proportional 'lie-presentation.— The Government had been blamed for being undemocratic because they abolished ! the, Second Ballot. When the matter of ; replacing the Second Ballot was discussed. ! he and others suggested Proportional ReI presentation, while others went_ for the I Preferential Vote, which, to his mind, was worse than the Second Ballot. No ! matter vlnt party brought in a measure to institute Proportional Representation. he would support it. —His Own Policy.— In introducing his own personal policy the candidate said : 1 want, if you electme this time, a certain amount of freedom. On a want of confidence motion I want this freedom: if legislation along the lines that I propose, is brought before, the House by cither party. I am going to vote for it. Taxation I would put upon the shoulders of those best able to bear it. Customs and Land Tax could be gi-iatly improved. I would put an extra tax oil laige estates suitable for subdivision. I would adjust Customs taxation so that, the. necessities of the people, would be to some extent relieved and the brunt put on the wealthy. Extra ditties should iie. imposed on beer and spirits, and 20 per cent, on motor chassis. In regard to
--Bible in Schools—he favored the free, secular, and compulsory system of education, and would not be a party to weakening that in any degree. Eacilitics should be afforded to enable the children to receive a groundwork in the religion of their fathers. He iiid not, favor tin- proposal that school teachers should have this duty forced upon them against their will. Generally he favored the Nelson system. He would vote with tho Government in preference, to the Opposition—there was no doubt about that ; but ho would not vote against Projwrtional Representation, Graduated Tax, better conditions for women workers, and 55 per cent, or as near a bare majority as possible. Several questions were asked relating to the expenditure on railways in Auckland Province and answered by the candidate, after which he was accorded a hearty vote- of thanks and confidence on the motion of Messrs William Patersou and Charles Parker. The motion was carried without dissent, fully half thoso present refraining from voting.—Own correspondent. MR J. A. MACPHKRSO.V AT WAIKOUAITI. Mr J. A. Macpherson, the. Opposition candidate, for the Oamaru electorate, addressed a large audience, in tho Athemriim Hall, Waikouaiti, last evening. Mr G- J. L. Kerr. Mayor of the Borough, presided. Mr iMacphe.rson said that he was standing by virtue of the unanimous request of the Liberal Association of the. Oamaru electorate and the Leader and members of the Liberal party. It had not been his intention to enter the field of politics again, but the inaistenc* from Leader right down to elector was so.sincere, so numerous, and persistent that he decided to put his own private scruples and comfort to one aide in the interests of the party he had always supported. He intended to make th'is contest, as he had always done, a clean and chivalrous one. It was a question of the old Shakespearean query " To be or not to be, that is the question ?" Whether they we're going to return to power a Government who were not placed upon the Treasury
benches by the vote of the people, or whether they were going to return by a larger majority the Liberal party, who were actually "returned at the hist election 'i
—The Beform Party.— It would be his duty, to the. be#t of his ability, to show those who might have I any doubt in their mind on this question i that the Reform party, who had been trying to mould the destinies of this Do- ; minion, had signally failed to prove one j little of tho corruption hurled broadside I at their predecessors. They had signally [ failed to make good their boasted proI niise of economy in borrowing, in economy and purity of administration, and relief to the masses. They had also signally failed to give evidence of any originality in -progress commercially, socially, or legislatively, but had contented themselves with, further tirades of abuse and misrepresentation. (Applause.) Finance.— He would now take them to the financial side of the question. Until the Tory party got into power they had it incessantly tromboned into their ears that borrowing must be curtailed, that extravagance and impurity of administration must be stopped. What did they find ? The Government were borrowing greater than ever. Yet the Government pledged themselves to stop all this, and to clean out the Augean stahle left by the Liberal Government. He asked thein now to take a passing look into the spick-and-span financial stable of the Reform Government. Looking in through the window he could see in cold, clear print that the. Budget said that the gross national debt for the year 1911 was £81.078,122, but in 1914 'it had risen to £99,750,427, or an increase in two years ruid three months of over 18 millions. 1 n. 1911 the revenue was £10.297,023, and the expenditure £9.345,864. in 1914 the. revenue was £12.224.339 and the expenditure £11.825,864. showing that in the last three vears the revenue had increa-sed by £1,927.316, and the expenditure by no less a sum than £2.482,000. When Mr Massey came into power he immediately started the cry of ruination and an empty Treasury, and he had kept. on weeping over it ever since. But what were trio figures vouched for by the Treasury Department. One. month beforo Mr Massey took office Mr Myers raised bis 4' million loan, and Mr Allen's Budget, showed that of this sum £2,785,500 was required for repayment of advances, and £283,000 for naval defence, leaving an available balance of £1.431,000 for expenditure. How. therefore, could there have been an empty Treasury? As the Massey Government, did not raise a, loan until February of the year following their coming into power, how could they have met the huge public expenditure month after month if they had an empty Treasury? Tho Massey Government had Broken I'heir Pledges—to the peopie prior to taking office. So far they had practically failed to keep one of iliem. but had spent their time in doubtful amendments of the Liberal legislation and in advertising their virtues in the Pi ess ami on tho Platform. They had promised to reduce borrowing, to reduce expenditure, ami to reduce taxation, to reform the Legislative Council, to prevent public works expenditure by members of Parliament, to promote industrial peace, to give a Local Government Bill and a Town Planning Bill, to reduce the. cost of living, and to provide for insurance against sickness and unemployment, but not one of these, promises had been kept. Mr Massey complained bitterly of an increase, in the' cost in one year of the administration of the Liberal Government, amounting to over £4OOXOO. What did they find in his first year of office from his own Budget? The- extraordinaiy increase of £741X00. His recoid for the second year was the stupendous increase of another £743.826. The n-vord of the Reform Government for their two yea is' administration in economy and prudence was a total increase of expenditure, of £1,485.000. The increase of revenue for the year just, closed was £490.317, and thq increase of expenditure for the same period was £743.826. That meant they had- gone to the liad to the extent of over » quarter of a million under the Massey Government last year. This was tho class of finance they were told that- had improved our position so unmistakably in the eyes of the financial money-lending magnates of London. With an increase in two years of £1,485,000 in the expenditure, of the Administration, with a. surplus -dwindling down from Sir Joseph Ward's of £807,000 to Mr Allen's of this year of £392.397. the Reform party must think the people of the. Dominion were vei-y dense, or it was a. deliberate insult, to their intelligence. The d.-tail figures of finance given by several Ministers had varied so much that it was little, wonder that the average elector felt confused and mystified when it was found that on more than one occasion Ministers had reluctantly to admit that their figures were wrong, and that the credits left by their predecessors were much larger than stated by them in their early days of criticism. The public were on tho point of developing jaundice, over the continual whining nf the Minister of Finance in his struggle to provide for the. renewal of old loans falling c\uo. The Liberal Ministers of Finance had provided for the conversion and renewal of over £47.000.000, and there was never a. whimper about it. People forgot tho fine piece of work done by Sir Joseph Ward in paying off during his comparatively short term as head of the Government the huge .-um of £700,000 in Treasury bills. —The Land Question would be a very important one for many yeais to come. There was one very patent, fact that, for the six or seven years they had lacked very much some, brilliant genius at the head of that department. E-ver since the country lost that prince of land aieri. the poor man's friend, the late Hon. John M'Kenzie. they had bad no Minister at all. ('Applause") They would all like to s-ce now some heaven-born genius, akin to the late Sir John M'Kcnzie, who could give them a fresh fillip in connection with land settlement. If they could sweep away all the present Acts and get one simple Land Act it would bo iu tho interests of the country as a whole. During the last few years they had not made the headway in land settlement they had the right to expect. They had figures from tho Reform party, who claimed to be doing extensive, work. These figures showed a considerable amount of settlement, but they did not give the true facts of the case, which was presented iu such a way as to mislead as to the amount of work done. Th«y heard an ama/.ing amount of claptrap about land settlement, but the present party could never hope to approach, the results of the Liberal Government. Tho tendency of Reform land legislation was ever making it more difliciut for the man of limited means lo get upon the land, and was drifting in the direction of land aggregation. Much trumpet-sounding was heard of the number ' of estates purchased and settled by the. ! Government, but they heard very * little j about the prices paid for these properties. Under Liberal administration they had j scores of applicants for most of the sec- ! tions. The position to-day was that it was hard to induce selector* to take up the whole of an estate opened up for disposal. —Those Omarama Runs.— Referring to statements made by another candidate in connection with the Omarama run, the speaker said that an attempt had been made to postpone the opening up of the estate until legislation had been passed to alter tho conditions with regard to the present tenant. Some 12 months last Mayor June, the Minister of Lands had been apprised of tho fact that the speaker's term of office as a member of tho Land Board would expire in July, and was asked to make an appointment. Tho appointment to fill his place was not made until November of that year. During that time the Minister was told that it was his duty to give the usual legal and statutory notice to the tenants of Omarama that the property would be required for closer settlement on the expiration of the lease. But lie did not do so, and the neglect entitled j the nresent tenants to another year's occupation of the property, and was practically a clear profit of anything from £IO,OOO to £15,000 a year. Nowj under legislation passed a few days ago, these tenants had [i/he right without coniuetition to select on
the subdivision of the estate. Moreover, ] they were absentees, and had been so for j years. Under the present law land agKie- j gation was going on to-day as it had not | gone on for years. They saw it in their | own district. There was a well-known | family syndicate who bad been purchasing they were entitled to do so under the law—and now they held more than 20 large properties. Tho sooner legislation was passed to prevent such a thing the better for the rising generation who wished to settle on the land. (Applause.) —Aggregation Goes On Briskly. — .
He had always opposed land aggregation, and it was owing to what be had done in that connection when ho was a member of the Land Board, and to a certain action he took with respect to an estate in Central Otago, that the Government had not reappointed him to the board when his term of office expired. He was glad, however, to give up his seat if he had, through an action that was in the interests of the people and of closer settlement of the lands of the Dominion. (Applause.) —Civil Service. — Never in the historv of New Zealand had a better certificate been given to the dean and fair administration of the Liberals than that given by the men chosen by the Reform party as Civil .service Commissioners. They had found that onlv 46 Civil servants were not in thenright places, and that only three or four could be. termed inefficient. What an excellent testimony to the appointments made bv the late Government. When the present Government came into power they had a right to expect that- the overstaffed Civil service, of which they had heard so much, would be reduced. What did thev find? From the Ist of April, 1913. to" the Ist of April, 1914, the Civil service, under their jurisdiction, which did not include the railway service and police force, had been increased by 713. That- was the over-staffed, muffed Civil service of New Zealand. The report presented to Parliament by the Commissioners was another instance of " greasing the fat sow." This stated : "We are stronglvi of oninion that the salaries paid to the' heads" of departments and those holding highly responsible positions throughout the service are not adequate. To increase the salaries 25 or .30 per cent, would not amount to a. great deal. ' Vet in the Crown Law Office, to quote an example, five of the "poorly paid"' head officers received between them £4.200 per annum, or the respectable average of £B4O each, while five others—underlings, of course—had doled out to them a paltry £926 per annum, or an averaae of £IRS 4s each. The Commissioners and their assistants cost the country about the same as was paid to the Prime Minister and all the Cabinet, Ministers. There was no word of the unfortunate man on the lower rung of the ladder, but the " fat man received an increase of 25 or 30 pelcent . --Uailways.--The Government had appointed a new manager from Enaland for the railways. He believed he was a very capable man. hut. he wanted to -say at once that he was entirely opposed to importing foreign brains. They in New Zealand had led the world in" most things and in legislation, and he thought they were able to lead the world in railway management. Eighteen months at a- salary of £3,000 a year was surely sufficient time tor the manager to get' an insight into our railways. On his own statement the railways had been competently run under the old management. Their revenue from the railways was coing down considerably. The railways, he said, were not run in the. best interests of the people. There were anomalies in freights charge,-] an" passengers' fares. They were not apportioned' fairly. If one thing bad prevented families from settling in the backblocks it had been the fares charged lotcarrying children. II was time that better facilities were given country children. If the. newly imported manager gave attention to a' matter nf that kind, instead of issuing instructions preventing smoking and spitting, and doing away with the five minutes' bell, he would be- doing a great service- to the advancement of New Zealand. To bolster up their finance the Tory party had neglected the upkeep of rolling slock and bridges. The instructions given by Mr Myers to build 64 locomotives within two years was cancelled, and oniy 22 were built out of 64. He favored the making of locomotives in the Dominion, instead of sending away for them. Let. us keep our money for our own workers, and not send it to outside countries. —The N"avy.— The question of a, proposed na-vy for New Zealand was one. he. would sooner not, touch on at the. present juncture, but as there was a General Election to l>e faced, it would have to be dealt with. In spite of the criticism hurled against tho party who gavo the- Dreadnought, the people of New Zealand could now scj the wisdom of the: gift. Tn-day New Zealand had the proud distinction that it was the. only Dominion outside the British Isles that had a t-hip of its own fighting the Empire's battles. Our Dreadnoughthad Wen in action already, and Jiad proved her worth. He. might r-ay in a word that he was opposed to the pi-oposod tov navy. They could not afford it. it was unthinkable, and in face of the experiences of the last few months any Rational person must be of the. same opinion. Thev wanted to help the. British Navy in every way they could, and thesimplestand bew~way"of doing fo was to give an adequate and sufficient subsidy to the British Government with a nee hand to guard not only this country, but. tho whole of the. Empire. (Applause.) The Minister of Defence had stated eomo time ago that he intended establishing the nucleus of ;i n.-'.vv. He was getting the- Philomel, an out-of-date little vessel, from tho. Navy to start it. It w.i* fcaid that 60 men could be, itifcirucled on it. and that it would cost £30.000 a year. It. took three years before they were, trained, and therefoie each man would cost 6s 8d a year, and before he was entitled to g<> f> a British man-of-war each man would cost £2,500. He was not- worth it, lor wo could get the same men at Home at one-third of the cofit in Britain. New ealand could send her money Homo, where labor was cheap, and where they could train three men for what they could train one here. —The Liberal Party.—
He v.-a-s not tlmr* that night Co detail the policy of the Liberal putty, The evidence of'tlm work done by them during the 20 years tlvy wer;> in office- wati suilicicnt proof of their piogvessivenes.-. Thev had irivcn the |>oop]d the Advances to Settlers Act. the advances t-/ workers. the old :\'.',c pension, the insurance, scheme, and dozens of other schemes that had been for the welfare, of the. people and the interests- of 1 ho Dominion. Men who could iiitiodiiee these si hemes and could cany them tliiotuh ae-aiiest great opposition could I"' ,-afeiy trusted, if returned to power again, not to neglect anythimr that was lor the advancement of New Zealand. (Applause.) Nobodv haviui any questions to ask. Mr h>. 1-'. I'oyntz said "that Mr Macpherson had delivered a very able address, lie had given as straightforward a speech as anyone could have wished for, and he had much pleasure in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr Macpherson and confidence in him as the representative, of the Oamaru electorate in the next Parliament, (Applause. I Mr A. A. Patterson seconded tho motion, which was carried unanimously amidst applause. PRIME MINISTER. AT HOWJCK. The Hon. W. F. Massey addressed a. largely-attended meeting of Franklin electors at Howick last evening, and was accorded an excellent reception. Ue stated that the Government had made satisfactory arrangements for paying off tho £3,000,000 loan which would fall due on December 1. In respect to the operations of the Advances Department, during the past seven months the total amount paid out to settlers was £839,570, to workers £213,730, and to local authorities £135,325—0r a total of £1,188,535. During the three months (August, September, and October) since the war broke out, the total amount paid out by the department to settlers bad been £390,065. to workers £90,070, and to local authorities £63,080. The Insurance Department had also advanced £45 A llO to cottier* and £ll*soo to
local authorities, while the. Public''Trustee had also grafted loans of a total amount of £197.593. In addition, the Public Trustee had entertained further loans representing £56.300. subject, to valuations now being made., thus making a &'?}£ total for the throe months of £834.608. The sneaker contrasted loans raised in Januarv last, bv the Government with tho«e of the loans -rai.-ed this year by various Australian Sta-tris. and said that the verv favorable treatment received by New- Zealand was evidence that the London underwriters had confidence in the Dominion and the Government. In spite, of the war, Mr Massev said, then- v.-.v not one man unc-mplovcd to-day for every 10 who were unemployed when the war broke out in .1909. Wlien a slight- «lump \,ccurved the. frovernment of the day disabout 1.000 of their employees, but there- were more men employed on public works now than had been employed for •manv ve.ar.s past, On the motion of Mr .1. f. (Jill ichairrnan of the Howick Band Hoard! a. vote of thank* and confidence was passed to Mr Massey. with only one. dissentient.
Mr \V. A. Vciteh (member for Wanganui) opened hiri election campaign la«t evening fie said he was a Labor ca.itdidaterimt, would support Kir •). G. Ward against Mr Mn&*ov, us. he considered that the repeal of the "Second Ballot Act was a device bv which the Reform party hoped to retain" power at the expense of the-Libe-rals and Labor. Mr H. Atmore. the. sitting member for Nelson, also opened his election campaign last night. His speech was devoted to acriticism of the Government's legislation and administratj.'i;. A vote of confidence was carried unanimously by acclamation, and the meeting ended with cheers for Sir .). <i. Ward and Mr Atmori'.
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THE GENERAL ELECTION, Evening Star, Issue 15647, 11 November 1914
THE GENERAL ELECTION Evening Star, Issue 15647, 11 November 1914
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