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GERMAN RESIDENTS

DEPUTATION TO HON. .1. ALLEN FROM MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION. Last evening tlie Hon. James Allen ’received a deputation from tlie Dunedin Municipal Association, consisting of Messrs J. Connor (president). Maitland. Hutton, and Dr Gordon Macdonald. Mr Connor said that there was unrest amongst tho people nf Dunedin and suburbs regarding Germans and naturalised Germans in the city. It had been said that the military authorities were so busy that they had no time to investigate anything laid before them. The police had investigated certain things, and while the excuses of tho parties had to ho taken there was still a suspicion that there was something behind it all. Tho Government and loeal authorities might shift Germans or naturalised Gormans in their employ to positions in which, if they were so minded, they could not give information to the enemy. There was a section of Germans in Dunedin and district who had no intention of causing trouble, hut there was another section the members of which, judging by their utterances in tho first period of the war, would be only too willing to do, anything they could to benefit their native country as against that of their adoption. It was necessary to bo just before one was generous. Tlie association were not out “ scalp-hunting,” but merely wished to lay a little information before the Minister, and they hoped what was said would allay the unrest. There were people of a class who rend 1 little and thought less, and it was such who imagined that all our fellow Jewish colonists were necessarily Germans. The Municipal Association wished to knock on the head once and for all this ridiculous notion, and on behalf of their organisation ho wished to say that thoir fellow Jewish citizens, who had been bom under the Union Jack, were noted everywhere for their loyalty to the Empire, and for their willingness to give material help at all times of stress Mr Hutton said that, since the jleflutation to .the Mayor, inquiriaa JhazL

been made at tho local police office, whore the speaker had been informed that it was true that some of tho Germans interned on Somes Island had been released. It .was a question whither it wore advisable to release these, especially if they were reservists. With- regard to the German Consul, who had resigned, he was a naturalised Britisher, but it .was thought that some new provision should be made for even naturalised Germans under the present war conditions. The Australian Government had already taken over one of tlie German vessels seized and interned, though it belonged to the enemy; and another question that arose was whether the German capital in New Zealand companies should not he seized by a Government policy ot eonfiscal ion, which would (>nly be fair, seeing that while going through Franco and Belgium the Germans had seized a largo quantity of stores. It hnrl been stated in the Iri'ess that 32,(1)10 tuns of produce and coal had been supplied to the German fleet 'll the Pacific from Australia. I hut proved that stringent measures should itn taken to prevent Mich a tiling 111 Now Zealand, should the German fleet be in tbo vieinitv. In Dunedin much of the money Irom Hie patriotic fund had boon spent with firms with German capital invested. Some provision should be instituted to control that. The City Corporation bad a contract with a Sydney firm for tramway wheels made by Krupps. and that amounted to dealing with the enemv.

Mr’ Maitland suggested that one difficulty might be met by compelling all naturalised Germans to submit to a "re-obligation.” when the magistrate presiding could detect if they were sincere or not, while those who refused the re-ohligatioii, could, ol course, he dealt witii as the Government thought fit. Germans and naturalised Germans might also ho compelled to report to the police at given periods. Dr Macdonald said that it would he as well for those not of British descent to abstain troni joining patriotic committees, or having anything to do witii patriotic demonstrations, and all goods bought with (he patriotic funds should he bought from British firms and he Britisli made. Both these provisions were being violated. Tho Minister said that it was not true that the Defence Department had no time to deal with these matters. Tho department had been looking alter them, lint it had been deemed wise to divide the administration. All questions relating to the consuls wore handci) to tlie Hon. Mr Hell, and all matters relating to Austrians and Germans in the country to tho linn. Mr Hcrdman, except such as were in detention, and these were under the Defence Department. The police were .always on the watch. lie would he glad if anyone with anything definite to report would lay tlie mat ter before him as early as possible. Rumor and speculation were not of much value. Facts were wanted. As for the consuls. the conditions in New Zealand were different from those at Home. Tho German Government did not send special men here, but appointed someone already here, ’perhaps a Britisher, and it would be absurd to arrest such a one when lie had resigned. The consuls had givui up their documents and were'being watched. As for the seizing of German property, it was hardly rigid to deal with it at a time of war. because the difficulties could not he permanently settled. The speaker knew of no case of a reservist at Somes Island being released. If a case could be found of a German or naturalised German who was disloyal, and could be brought under the notice of the authorities, they would take action. The Government had no reason to believe that there were any persons who were not under such close supervision as they should bo. As for .Mr Maitland's " rc-obligation ” sug-

gestion, what would be tlie use of people taking a second oath when they had been unfaithful to their first. The Government, had certain instructions from the Imperial authorities, and when it might sometimes appear that the Government had not acted as vigorously ns it might have it should he remembered that tho reason might be that the Colonial Secretary had instructed it to act in a certain way. If am- case of disloyalty were shown to exist, steps would he taken.

Mr Maitland; There will be plenty! Mr Allen: Then let ns have particulars of them.

Mr Allen concluded hy saying that the Government had no control over the patriotic funds. Personally, ho would have put them into one central fund.

The deputation thanked the .Minister and withdrew.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141116.2.12

Bibliographic details

GERMAN RESIDENTS, Evening Star, Issue 15651, 16 November 1914

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1,106

GERMAN RESIDENTS Evening Star, Issue 15651, 16 November 1914

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