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MILITARY AND NAVAL DEFENCE.

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER

DOMINION UNIT OF IMPERIAL NAVY.

OPPONENTS’ CHARGES HURLED BACK.

“ EVENTS JUSTIFY' HIS PRO POAL>.”

There was really nothing new in the statement made by tho Hon. J. Allen, Minister of Defence, to the electors of Bruce at Milton on Saturday nicht <m the question of military .and naval defence, hut there was a freshness in the vigor with which ho claimed definitely tliat events have justified his much-criti-cised arrangement with the Imperial authorities about 18 months ago as to despatching an Expeditionary Force from Now Zealand on active Imperial service, and also the Government’s proposal with res|veet to naval defence —the inauguration of a Dominion unit of the Imperial Navy and the establishment of a system for the naval training of New Zealanders in lien of the Liberals’ policy of subvention which, it is asserted by Mr Allen and his political colleagues, creates no ‘‘naval spirit” in this nation. —Military Training Sound.—

”1 do not know,” he said, ” Whether it needs any argument from me to induce you to believe that the scheme of compulsory training adopted a few years ago was a sound scheme." An Elector ; Introduced by tho Liberal parly.

.Mr Allen : What Liberal party? I claim to be a member of the Liberal party, and as a true Kibcral and as n reformer I venture to say (although 1 make no boast of it) that ] have done more for national training than any other man in this community. (Cheers.) Before the Bill of ISC9 was put on the .Statute Rook I had advocated national training- from the public platforms, and I had made a declaration in the House of Representatives and had outlined a .scheme. When legislation was brought down by the then Prime Minister (Sir Joseph Ward), he got my support in putting it on the Statu to‘Book. 1 do not believe ho would have put it there without my support.

Voices : Oh ! Mr Allen ; Ho (Sir Joseph Ward) w-as absolutely opposed to mat tonal training five or six years ago. I’ll put that on record some day. I’ll put quotations from his speeches in * Hansard ’ on record to show ho was opposed to Die system only a fo\y years ago. He was forced into the position of adopting it, because ho sawhow public opinion was veering. An Elector : Forced by you ? Mr Allen : Partly by rno. and partly by the force of public opinion. .Mr Allen said that after Lord Kitchener had boon here and tho Defence Bill was under consideration. with its projK’sal to increase Die age from 21 years to 25 years, he (Mr A Hen I knew what happened, and what would have happened if it had not been for the. influence brougdit to boar which kept the then Prime Minister’s back stiff when his hack was inclined to bo weak ■nvr the question. I also have good reason to believe that had it not be. n for tho outbreak of this war there would have been included in the programme, of the socalled Liberal parity a reduction in (1m training ago from 25 to 21. An Elector; That might bo. advisable. Pst.

fiUlcn ; Let tho .gentleman have his opinion, but I do not think it is advisable. 1 think the system is ,a sound system, and ( believe that 25 years is not too old an age at which to train men. There was one thing he had to regret and that i\.a.s that in sending aw<iv tho Expeditionary Force they had to* send too many men of a comparatively voting age. (An Kl-etor: •• I .agree with von there.”) Ho w.-ifi sorry Die mat on.al system of training liad not been in existence for years before it was. They would then have had men. of more mafuio years to send away to do tho Empires work. (Ap plans'*,.) Fbe circumstanc s of to day absolutely just fi d the national training scheme. —Expeditionary Force. It would be recollected that it was iris business, when in London about two years ago, not only to deal with the linanee of New Zealand, but to approach thro Home authorities with regard to the constitution of the proposed Expedit mnarv Fore.-. Tinit would also recollect that during his absence Die Op; osition Pjvsb and memliers of tlm Opposition party blamed him and blackguarded bun upon the platform because he ventured to approach the Homo authorities on Die subject of oonstituting an Expeditionary For.c. Wfiuit he d;d then had been justified by events. lie never dreamed the call would come so von to n«o tho Oiganisation then set up for a military force, and ho regretted it had Mine now, but that tho organisation was necessary had teen proved by Dm after events. The only thing to do, ‘if the t-.eee.sfily arose, was to call for men to volunteer, and he gave the Horne authorities to understand there would K« nothin'; lacking in New Zealand’s response to such o. call if the occasion was an urgent one. (Applause.) Tlu-.ro had been nothing lacking in the response, and he appeared before the people in f u U confidence to say to them that the offer of an Expeditionary Force was justified, and to auk them to answer at the polls those dolraciore of the Government who s;*oke as they did about tho organisation that watt proposed two years ago. (Applause.) An Elector: \\Tiat about tho canteens? Mr Allen said the at rangviuent for the canteens were not mask: hy him, nor with Ids .sanction. When ho looked into the jHisition ho found that tho priors in Dm eanb.ens were tin- prices nil ng in Wellington at tho time; and later on, when the opjiortunity offered, ho rearranged tho whole, thing. The canteens had been handed over to the troops, the charges reduced. and tlm piofits went to Du- ic/i----mental funds. (Applause.) —Value of Organisation.— The Expeditionary Force could not have gone away so completely equipjed but bathe organisation completed two yeais ago. Csince the Government had been in ..fficc they had doubled the number of ritics in Die country, and mada arrangements for a plentiful supply of cordite—a condition which did not prevail when ho took office. —Tho Samoan Expedition.— Early in the war the Imperial authorities asked New Zealand to cany out, an Imperial mission in the Pacific—Dm occupation and holding of Samoa for the Mother Country. It our military organisation had not, been completed we could nor. nave equipped and sent away 1,500 men in less than one week. (Applause.) And without that organisation, and without the care and thought, put into the national training system. crJd w- have an additional force of 2,000 men in camp to-day—-an even better class or men than the men who bad none, away—men of more mature age, and keen as men could be? Nor without that oigani.-.ation could the Government .have complied with the wishes of the native race when the Natives approaehed them and /aid .- "We aie New Zealand*'!/., and we want U. share with you nakeha New Zealanders Dm ivsjioiisibility of these- terrible times, and wo want

to send men to the front"? (Applause.) The Government communicated with the Imperial Government and asked them if they world accept a Maori contingent, and the reply was that they would take 250 Maoris for service in Kgypt. (Applause.) At once 500 Natives were put in training—2so for Kgypt and 250 for Samoa—and they would go away fully armed as soon as their training had been completed. The native, chiefs said : ‘‘ We are not content, that our men should go to Samoa.. We would rather they went to tho front, and took real burdens on their shoulders.” (Apnliue; 1 .) 'I ho Government had cornmunic tied with the Mother Country to that effect, and the Mother Country had replied that she would accept the whole 500 for service in Egypt. And it might he that in Egypt they would be at tho front if circumstances that had arisen lately developed as they might develop. The Defence Department, he contended, had justified its existence, and he, us Minister of Defence, had a right to say to the people that tho work done had been well done, and that New Zealand might well be. proud of tho men who had gone auay or who were going away. (Applause.) As Minister of Defom-e he wished to thank no*, onlv tho men who had volunteered to go, but'nlso those who remained behind to’ cam- <vn the industries and keep thing'-’ going, so that when the men came back thev would find the production of tho country' going on. And he wanted to thank not only the men, but the men and women patents who had allowed their children to go. "If there is one thing more than another." continued the Minister, "that has made me proud to call myself a New Zealander it is the evidence of self-sacrifice on tho part of those who have allowed their hoys to go. Ae typical of this, I will quote what one mother said to me in reference to the call for men: ‘Thark Heaven T have a. hoy who can go to do the country's work 1’ ’’ —What of the “Toy” Navy Now?— “There is a difference of opiffion between myself and those of the other side in regard to the Naval question. 1 have no difference with those of the oilier fide about an Imperial Navy. 1 believe in the In peria.l Navy under one control as much as they do. *At the same time I am a Now Zealander, and I hope it may ho (as j years roll on) that the controlling authority i will he altered, anil representatives of the Dominions will have a seat with the con- 1 trolling authority which provide,-, for the naval defence of the Empire. Those who j arc oppos-ed to me believe that the light i thing to do is to pay a subsidy to the j Mother Country, ami allow her to do what ; .she pleases with the money. At present we are paying £IOO,OOO, and those who advocate this .system (Sir Joseph Ward haput this on record) are prepared to go to the extent of taxing every man, woman, and child in New Zealand up to 10s a head for naval defence alone—an amount j equal to £550.000 a year from New Zealand. I quote tills because it has been said that 1 am trying to had this country in reckless expenditure. 1 hurl back the charge. The other side it is who were prepared to run us into a re UWs expenditure of 10s a head, over the use of which wo should have aut control. .My way of building up an Imperial Navy is to appeal to our own sentiment and iialiiot- | iem. and allow our own statesmen to take | an interest in Imperial naval concerns. It S is true that under the subsidy system cor i tain New Zealanders were trained, hut no 1 Neav Zealand statesman had anv control. ] '('hey were registered, hut registered hv Imperial naval officers. j The. sound way was, instead of offei ing , money to the Imperial Navy, to off-o-men—men trained by Imperial oflirere for the time l,eing. up to the standard of tho Imperial men ; men selected by our- 1 solves, trained hv nirselves, wilh tlr 1 help of Imperial officers; paid by ue. registered by us, and with our eyes watching their progress—(hat: was nil offer of something real and living for the purpose of an Imperial Navv. That, was i more real than money out of tho pocket. 1 “And," continued the Minister, “in tli* course of years we mav adopt seme similar system to that of the Commonwealth—■namely, to provide ships as well as rev- , pontieL Then, if the occasion arose, everything would go automat icaUv to the Tie pc-rial authorities — -hire and nu*n--for I'm purposes of the Imperial Navy. Thai is a sound policy, [ think, whhh appeals le.-D; , to cent intent and to patriotism.” A* p repent, he continued, the £IOO,OOO sub-id-. would more than pay for tho training of the men on the Philomel, and whin the . war was over he hoped the Imperial ant ho. ritics would lend them a bettor ship than the Philomel. A coed example of the policy he had outlined was furnished hv what the Commonwenlth Government- had don-». A few years ago, when the 1000 Conferee'e was on. and the Commonwealth representatives had ad Toeated (his poliev. tV-v had held out Dm right hand o' frllow-bip to New Zealand. and eyvc’c-re d tiu- hope that we won 1(1 adopt. a similar po!u\Thnt hand was not sbeben by Sir Joc.-ph Ward, who did not believe in Dm noimy. "I do not know.” added the Minisj.-r, "whe'bur he would shake the bam! of Australia Di-da v about, the Commonwealth poliev and “onadron." Voire: Will you. Mr Alien : A few days ago I cabled to Senator Pear,.' thankin'/ him moat heartilv for A u.-tra’i.’i’s servh-cs to Nee. Zealand and to the- l-'ninir - in tin- Pacific. Mr Aden added imprt--=ively : I do not believe that our first Expeditionary Eorec could have gone wilh out the help of the And rali.m squadron. Our main force could not have gone ■ from New Zealand without the assistance of the Australian squadron. Ami our people rest in perfect, security (so , far ns any attack is concerned i been use of die protection of the An-iraiian . squadron. (Applause.) -•-The Sydney only an Improved Bristol.— 15m. he went on. the Anslialinn squadron had rendered an even greater service. All had rend, with many heart -Tendings, of the devastation wrought hv the. Kmden among Great. Britain’s trade and commerce. She had gone (o her end. Oni' single cruiser of the (Vunmouwealth squadron had accounted fop Dm. Kmden And that single cruiser was just one Bristol cruiser, or an improved Bristol cruiser, which was the lurid of cruiser the Government had desired the Imperial authorities to place in the New Zealand seas in place of the Philomel, the Psyche, and tho Pyrannis, offering £50,C00 extra per annum to the authorities if they would do so. Tho speaker would have been proud to-day —they would all have been proud—if tlm Mother I.'turn try had sent one or two Bristol cruisers, .and in tho Empire’s scr- I vice a vessel bought by the Dominion has! - caught the Kmden. Those who talked of a. toy navy would ho silent now. The farts'justified the Government's polity, and the speaker believed that the people would justify it at the coming election, i Applause.)

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141116.2.2

Bibliographic details

MILITARY AND NAVAL DEFENCE., Issue 15651, 16 November 1914

Word Count
2,439

MILITARY AND NAVAL DEFENCE. Issue 15651, 16 November 1914

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