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Evening Star, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914
; 'l'm; qualities which provide r. guaiantfe of effect ironefs in Shallow Politics, parliamentary poll- , ties are r.ot very ; prominent in tho programmes and plat- • forms •>!' t!i> rival political candidate;I through xu tho Dominion who arc clamor- ; ing for places in Parliament., Frankly. I the calibre of iho candidates who haw 1 announced tlicir political views and intenj tiona is ratlior disappointing, and offers no | nrcepeet of a marked improvement of the ! mediocrity of Parliament. There is m> j predominant quality, and there is no opi pealing strength in the shibboleths o: I the men and in their hackneyed party i programmes. 'Lite public will have noticed [ that there .1 remarkable, similarity of 1 outlook and method, which suggests a I common standard of r upei tidal preparation | for a service that ica.lly demands thorough- ! ness of training, penetrative insight, and ! t compelling courage. A politically-bored • nation awaits the advent into politics of j ; strong men with clear-cut ideals and j ; studied proposals to secure social, indue- I ! trial, commercial, and national stability. | ; The aim of all platforms and programmes I i appears to be a maximum of legislation j \ with a minimum of preparation and do- j | liberation. There arc at the moraentsomo j 200 enthusiastic men striving Laboriously 1 | t<> obtain an opportunity of serving the ] i people in Parliament, and a lamentably !
I small percentage of tire total number of j political candidates makes a serious effort | to realise, demonstrate, .and improve tin* ' complex conditions which constitute the ; fabric of the Citato, lire attention of the ! majority is concentrated on the qualities ! and defects of bygone legislation .and poli- ; Meal pledges, and the best that its offered for tho future is a continuance of the most popular actions of the past. One party | shriek about their glorious traditions, and > their determination to make them the fruit of the future ; .another juirty assert ; courageously that they have broken the i golden bowl of Conservatism, and are ! now prepared and eager to scatter the 1 precious pieces to uplift the small man | arid all those who crave for opportunity jto increase their earning powers; and a. third parly, almost appalled nt tiro biindi need of tiro people, would automatically
' make life .State machine, requiring a ■ minimum of energy to keep going as a j Utopian success. It is a blessing that ; New Zealanders have. a ton so of humor, and can tolarato in good spirit, the. shallowness of tome political policies. It is a curious and significant feature of all the contentious argument through- 1 out the Dominion at present that most political candidates deliberately arc id serious discussion of tho most important 1 question of the hour': how tha Stato j stands with regard to financial resources. This is surely one of the most serious questions before'tho Democracy of this | country. The Labor candidates say least | about it, because they ate convinced that j tiro main plunk of their platform, which | contains many appreciable proposals, pro--1 sides tho solution of all problems—a State Hank with solo right of issue. Simply turn out millions of bank notes, and go oil with a great programme of development i in every direction that holds promise of j increased prosperity and happiness! Well, j that is an easy way out of difficulty j
but “scraps of paper" have to bo paid for in the end, and frequently paid for in blood and tears, as the Germans now experience to their sorrow. What tho public, who must depend upon politicians and must pay them for conducting tho control of State finance, desiro to know is : how* we stand with regard to financial prospects, and what is proposed in tho matter of obtaining money to meet abnormal expenditure and the disturbing influences of war. It is not a profitable •answer to be told that tho Ward Government borrowed more in a given period than the amount raised by the Massey part} - in tho same time; nor is it profitably serviceable to bo informed that the Reform Government have learned in three years thnt> borrowing is inevitable by a country in tho process of development. These phases of political finance are about the only features which, so far, leading politicians have demonstrated to the public, who are tired of looking at them. Perhaps tho Hon. James Allen, Minister of Finance, will make use of his opportunity at Milton to-night to give the public a complete statement as to tho Dominion’s actual financial position, the probable extent of abnormal obligations, the prospects of future supplies, and tho contemplated means of adjusting expenditure to meet changed conditions and yot avoiding as far as pos-siblo a severe strain upon industry, commerce, and individuals. Thera are many particulars of recent finance with which the public are- not yet familiar. It is to bo hoped that the stale subject of the Ward and Myers loans will bo left in tho musty •past as unattractive stories.
A.s regards the shallowness of politics generally, there is only one way towards improvement, :ind this is a question for early consideration by Parliament after the froth of the General Election has been 'blown away. The brainier candidates are to be attracted into the press of political activity—a game from which many semilive men shrink—the honorarium must be '.substantially increased, and provision must be made for a system of adequate superannuation on a substantial contributory basis. Many people will ho tempted to say that the present honorarium is suiTic.iont for the services rendered. Undoubtedly, in some rases, that argument is unanswerable, but the standard of mediocrity of Parliament and the unconvincing value of much of the parliamentary work are entirely duo to the fact that the I material reward is insufficient. Many a thoughtful man would rather avoid the coil and clamor of party politics and break stones by the wayside. Parliament j must be made attractive to our best men.
Evening Star, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914
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