THE RECORD OF REFORM
HON. .T. ALLEN AT MILTON
DENOUNCES LIBERAL-LABOR • COMBINATION.
A SUCCESSFUL MEETING
Hon. J- Allen, who lues represented the Brace electorate' in Parliament for 22 years bUcoessivelv, aiid who seeks a continuance of the consistent support given him, addressed a meeting of tho doctors of the central part of the district ait Milton on Saturday night. Tho weather was dim agieeable, there was a splendid attendance, and the meeting, from the candidate s point of view, was a completeeucceas, for no received a cordial welcome, an attentive hearing, and a decisive vote of confidence in himself and tho political party in which during the past three years ho was Minister of Finance. Defence, and Education. As regards his campaigning speech he was not at Ids best. Ho wa s obviously tired—not a surprising condition after his exceptionally arduous share .ot a strenuous session—and he did not display characteristic thoroughness. Mr V. King, A lay or of Milton, presided. —The Government's Difficulties. After acknowledging the consistent suppur t given to him by the people of Milton and surrounding district, Mr Allen said it was his business to explain what rim Government had done during their term of office, and what they intended to do if the country chose to select them for ■office again. The Govci mueiil hail been •in office for about three years, and baa met with unusual difficulties. First, they had a very small majority to carry on 'with, but notwithstanding that ihi’v_ had managed 1° cany on tin- busmens of the •country for neatly three years without losing a division in Parliament, and without having one hem in their Estimates reduced by a single penny. Ho thought that was to be regarded as a record. Ihe Government.' at any rate, felt they were justified in being proud of tire fact that Parliament had not disagreed with them on any important question, ((’’beers.) .There were other difficulties which UkGovernment had had to endure. TTiey were left with two strikes, and then they had to endure another strike. Then there was tho outbreak of smallpox, which involved abnormal expenditure, and now there was the unfortunate war. The Government had to endure this wretched war, and the cost connected with it. and the responsibility involved in military and naval defence. As regards the lust two strikes, both were of a minor nature, and were soon gut rid of. The next strike (th« upheaval last year) was an unfortunate one. He would not allude in detail to it, but ho must >ay that that strike landed the Government not only in heavy cost, but landed them in very great difficulties—difficulties affecting constitutional government. Ho demonstrated the acuto position which prevailed for alniai, a week or 10 days, when the businet-.s and trade of tho country were held up, when tho question that had to bo faced was whether the control of trade ami the protection of commerce were to bo under constitutional authority or left to the administration of aa unorganised mob. There could only bo one answer to that question iu a country with a constitutional government, such as wb have in New Zealand: control must be retained by the proper constitutional authorities. (Cheers.) He referred to the, acute position of the strike and to t-lio means taken by the Government to maintain law and order and carry on tho trade of tho country. There could bo no two opinions about what was the right thing t*> do, and the Government had fared the (difficulty and done their duty. (Cheers.)
—Strike Leaders and Strike-breakers.— What was the result of th© Government.’s action in regard to the strike? he asked in effect, and proceeded to give tin* answer, 'fho result was that the strike lenders of that time were out against tiie Government to punish them for what tdvev did as a plain duty. The method of puiVshmenb \vaa, to join liands with the so-calied f.iheyM party, not because they believed in tho leader of that party any move than they Leheved in Mr Massey, but in order that they might put Mr Massey out of cilice. 3t W3& not polities, but punisimicnt thev sought to mete out to .Mr Massey for doing ■what ho and his colleagues thought was the right thing to do. What was to be the result if they got their way? —“A Dangerous Combination.”—
I have no objection to a. proper organised Labor pany in power if limy are there fay the vote of the people. It the Labor members were strong enough to couMitnte a Minkin, am! were I iha>Te not the slightest objection to it, and 3 venture to say that were a Labor party in power you would see much the same tiling g»i«« on »n New Zealand as has been goby ©n in tho Commomv,alth of Australia! .There they have h;«l a Labor (Jovcmment in power, ami what have been tlm retail t-sf” An Elector: An Australian fleet, (Anplauee.) ‘ 1 “I want to say," continued Mr Allen, "that one good thing nunc by tho Labor jortj ui Australia was to constituto an Australian Hret. Will the- Liberal party constitute a thet, or will they assist Xew Zealand to constitute a piece' of the L'omniomveaith fleet?'’ It would bo perfectly right, if tho Labor party were in the majority, to have control of tho country in the ordinary constitutional way, but that was not what they wane out. for. | They knew the v could not attain olbee, so ( a combination had been made between tho ! so-calkd Liberals and the Labor party to I put Mr Massey out of other and put in ' place thereof a continuation of Liberal > and Labor. What was the danger of a; combination of that kind? lb- conceived i no real dange. l from a proper Labor parly i In office, hut tie saw a very serious danger | if a Liberal party were ‘placed in office j and kept there, not by Liberal support.' but by the support of 10 or 12 Labor men. i who would drive them wherever they | wanted to drive them. The lesponsibilitv I would not Iv upon the Labor men, hut j upon the so .'idled Lilx-iaN, who would I not have gultu ient Liberal support to eui.-;- i tain them in what was right. They would j be driven by 10 or 12 Labor men. m , would have to give up ..(bee—the only alternative. His ot inn a was that the i desire of the so-called Idberals to attain ■ office was so great that limy would com- ' unit the country to almost anything to at- i tain it. ’That was one of the questions i that had to be facet! by the people at the I General Election. Would the pro pi,,, put into office, at a time when there were difli- j eult considerations in Xr.v Zealand, a i Government that, would maintain law and 1 order, or would they put into power a! Government composed partly of Liberal)*, j and kept in power by* the support of a. few Label men. who would drive them where they liked to dtive them? It would bo a travesty upon constitutional governmerit, and a very da ingenues thing fur New Zealand to adopt, ft would he far better to have a Labor party in power than have Bitch n. combination. .And that combination had taken place. (Applause.) —Government's I’ve mises Fulfilled.— A* regards the criticism levelled against the Government for thsir actions dining the past three years. 1m desired to answer it, and to explain how far the Government had earned out their promises to the electors. Several of their detiactors had said that not a single item of the programme placed before the country by Air Massey prior to the last General Election had been given effect to by tho Government. Did anyone believe that sort of criticism? Probably it had been repeated in the hope that by repetition they would get some people to believe that there was an iota of truth ia it. What had been done? The CM plank of the Inform platform was laud legislation—giving tho option of the freeholder to tho settlor. 3’hat had been carried out to tho fullest extent — no, not to tha fullest extent, because there was a little more to b« done, and Mr Maxeey had included further extension in the recent policy placed before the country. —Land Settlement. — Another plank in tho Reform platform m settlement, more settlement, and still more settlement. Had that been carried OOtT During tho psjst two and n-half
veal's the purchase of land for the Crown had been more active than in the previous history of the country, and settlement on settlement lands had gone on at a pace it had never gone before. The Government had built up the Land for Settlement Department so that it could never tail them, and they woidd not have to roly upon the money-lender to bolster it up. Mr .Massey had promised to give the option to purchase the fieehold, and iu order to prevent the aggregation of large istafes ho had put an extra graduated land tax on two years ago to carry out a closer settlement scheme. And what had he done with tho money derived from the sale of land? In one year 770 ecttlem in New Zealand, who had bought their land, had handed over more than £IOO,OOO to the Crown as a ve.-ult- of these purchases, and where had tho money gone? Into the hand fcT Settlement Account, and it was being used for the purpose of purchasing more land for se’ltkment. So that they were building up in. a strong way this Lard for Settlement Account, in order that- they might first give security of tenure, and might he able to go on year by y*ar pioviding themselves v.-ith funds to puivhas-' further land for settlement.
Improper Methods Abolished.
I'li" Government had promised to do away with n.* of the improper methods Used in hiiiiliag ip a surplus in pact y.ire. 11.- imam tne practice by which tli- ::• i ukrs in the past had tali*, n money for land told, and ii dead of utilising tho rash fiom th's- land, on capital account, to nun ha--.- other land, they put it into t.V (*. .'.501.'.1.-i-.d Fund ami made their surplus bigger yea r alter year. Last year, if he hr 1 clone the tame an Hi's predecessor, the .-ui'plu-i would have been nearly £520.000. because he could have taken £31,000 each from the, sale of land and naid it into the t’onsolidnted Fund. He li.il handed that £BI.OOO over to the land pun.has.' [ o; ;cttLmrnt account, and so the\ had £31,000 derived Loin the sale of land which would he available for the pni-charf of fin ther land for settlement. The critics of the Government contended that tiw revenue had not been increasing at the .same rate as the expenditure. How could it. if the. tiovi linn-, nt did not adopt the -vil prac-i'ccs of their predecessors to .-well :hv revenue? And how could the expenditure hj i kept down when the Govern.cent had to do away with other methods adopted by their preiiecossois? They all knew ihe practice of the Government in the o'd days with icgard to public buildings. rimy found the money out of tire Public AVoiks Fund to build buildings. they never iu-ured these buildings, and if the hmliFfigs were burnt down they were again built with Public Works money. That, meant they used borrowed money tv, he ovt r, and it was a course that could only land the country in grave difiiculti-s. Every you' simes the piesent Government had been in office lie had, as Minister i ' F;naace. set aside £JO,OQO as insurance o;i the. public build ings, ami in die last, three years the Government had paid out of the fund that had grown up for the re-erection of public buildings destroyed. Tub Government iiad also to meet unneu.il expenditure—(l) £3OXOO on account of the smallpox outbreak ; (2) £03.000, which was tho actual cost of the strike ; and (5) a decrease iu the railway revenue, owing to the smallpox and the strike, of £170,000. Notwithstanding these difficulties. the Government had ended up the year with a surplus of £436.000. (Applause. I
—'l ii.* •• Liberal” Legacy. On the 9th July, 1912. when the. Massey Government took over the reins of ollitv ill-. finances of th.' country had not been mi a Found basis. The* boast had been made that on March 51 of that year there was £609,000 in the Consolidated Fund, composed of cash. But what, was that cash? And in any event the Mae»ey (lovm'iinwnt old not iake over until duly, 1912, and the cash balance ili.m in the OmsmulaUd Fund was £47,n00. That «.is (in- sink handed on to him u> t'n mi with. Voic; ]) i von I> 1 1 ;i;i■ • Ward for that?
Mr Alien : " Ve.~. I i.lam- 1 him f u’if-ebss txpcndilu-.e. But that it not of so much importance. Ihe point is that on Sep-t'-mber 13 ten ! Vrii-ulidnlei! Fund had a balance "f £599,909." I Applause.) The Minister proceeded to make a like comparison "t "ih'f In id—tint I’iiblie Works Fund, l'<> • cxiintpie. On July 9, 1312, the ca.-k Ivh-.nce "i tim fund was £252.133, and th ■ !-.un money available £16;,42.0- a total of £573,559 to keep trie pulT- works going- But at tho end of F-Vpti mber. 191-1, tii • cash baianco was £156.000-• sutludent to carry on with till Oct.Jwr In a word, ill*- money# available when the Mu party went into office v.vtc #m!kivnl only to catry on to Septem-h-t. whil*. this year there had been enough to im \ at \i ill: to October. - Stale Advances.— Tin .hi-t.u'v ■ f the State advances ought to make every New Zealander blush for thane- tn 1011 I -aid tied tiic.-c State advances wo- end for electir-mering pulposes. Voice; lh:-v me n.c.r ' Mr Allen; Ami ev-.-n now' the men who used tic in free election*«;:ng purposes have the check to cay that in one tear they lent £2,KiO.D('ii;. Tiiat could leg continue, hemai-w the law did no', allow it. Ten days before we to. k efUee, umder tlie Local Authorities laanel; of St it© Advances ‘he country was committed to £711.000, and there was available £96.000. Our predecessors had bum |n.cuiating on the fVt-t Otilc-e Saviors Bank always having move dr],r sit- than withdrawals. they had no light to so s| veulate. ! liar, burden we have ha 1 to lake on our should.-is. and «c have pa -i ■Tf the whole of those commit - un nrs -xe -pt £54.01 d) and kept the State advance- going ;*>r two year.-. I jie .Minii-ter proceeded to state, that in N'o\null"!'. 1911. 'die State Advain es )>"• pari incur (the board i in Sir J.e.-ph Wards oeiiol had cut down th- maximum advanc": Id.- to Fa a! authorities and settlers, but tins fa-l was never aii'ioiiiiced to th-' public until the election was over. That was •■•h-ciion-v-iing. When the Reform pat ty aiiaiui i office they found that tln-so things had been cut down—settlers to a maximum of £SOO, and no one- could obt.dn the money to reiUviu iiiortgagus com-i.-g doc. Many people had at first blamed tic- M.i.-ca-y Government for this. —Tint War and Advances.—
Mr Allen continued that gradually bus pally had dine away with these disabilities," and lie had announced publicly that they had removed every restriction and allowed tile hoard to advance, to .vttlcr.s and local auiiairiiies the full amount the law allowed. i hat would have gone into ioie>> but lor the war.
Somebody v. histled ! Mr Alien : "Yes; hut now I have had to advise my col leagues that it is right ;o conserve th • haul and keep the money hj ,ck for public works. We are conserving State Advances money for public work* Wiilimit going to London for a single priinv. we can carry on tha public works until' the end of the financial year with the same Mini us wo have done before. We have told local authorities that they are cut (.iff altogether for the lime, but a few weeks ago I was able to increase the. maximum to settlers to £750, and I stated that I Imped to he ahlo Ln increase it to £I.OOO at tho mid of tho month. Similarly the workers had been cut down to £550, hut we advanced it to £4OO. and I hope to mike it £450 toon. How Imvo we boon able to do it?” Tho Minister explained. When the war broke nut tho Post (Mice Savings Rank deposits exceeded withdrawals hv £90.000. But in the second month the’withdrawals exceeded the deposits by £BO,OOO. And yet, and this was the point, in October, before tho returns were complete, tho deposits exceeded withdrawal.'. by £93.000 And now that the October returns are complete I have received a telegram to-day taxing that, tho deposits neve exceeded th"? withdrawals by no less than £160,000. That is the faith the people of N*w Zealand h«v« in th* Peat Omc* Saving* Bank and in tho Qevommont. (Applauso.) Mi Alien nent ou to sav that the slump in the Post Office Savings Dank had begun before his party came into office. In tiie first week of July, 1912, withdrawals had exceeded deposits by £66,000; in one week—au excess Ira had never heard of be-
foro in snob a period. “ But gradually,” ho asserted, “ wo have hee.n able to restore confidence, and to-day the people know they can put their money into it with safety. That is one pledge wo have fulfilled' to the country.” -•What of a War Tax?--
Naturally Mr Allen came earlv to the war and the question of a war tax. Some people thought that the Government ought to impose a wav tax. Hc> did not think so. But it. would have to ccine later on. Not ■now, because AVe want the industries of the country
to go on without, the slightest hampering. A tax on land or anything else might have the elffiet of causing labor to tie dis}>ensed with and production lessened. We want the production to increase. the production particularly of one item—wheat, which will he of the greatest consequence in ns in Iho next year or so. —lmperial Authorities Help Our AVar Finances.—
” AA’o have made provision for this war, ’ continued tho lion, gentleman. "Early in its history I had to find out the probable act. X estimated at tho beginning that we would have, to provide £2,000,000. 1 suggested that the Imperial authorities rlimild ho approached to guarantee our lean for war purposes, and they have met ns in such a way that
AA'e can raise £2,0)00,000 month by month as we want it from the Bank of England at a rate of interest which 1 have shown to tho Leader of the Opposition, and v kick he admits is an excellent bargain. Nest year, when the Imperial authorities raise their large, war loan . . . New Zealand’s £2.C00,000 w:l. be included in that loan, and we will pay off the Bank of England. 'J ho money will cost just as much to us as it <lc.es
to the Imperial Governmemt. —The Curse of Short-dated Loans.—
Air Allen reverted again to the financial legacies left them. He said that it was disastrous to borrow on short-dated debentures of two or four years, and to allow money to get into the hands of large financial institutions that were not legitimate investors, but which, lent money and held onr securities solely to make us borrow again in Loudon to pay them off. it had been his unfortunate business to have to provide for two largo loans of this kind. One was that borrowed by Mr Myers (£4,500,000), which c;uno due in July. The other was that borrowed by Sir Joseph A Yard four years ago. which was due next year. Only a. few weeks ago he had been pleased to be able to make the statement that their advances to the Imperial Government in respect of this loan had also met with a favorable response. They had guaranteed to assist New Zealand hi December to raise sufficient to pay off Sir Joseph AVaid's loan of £3.000.000.
Pledges Made and Kept.—
*• Now.” continued the Minister. ” ! have shown how we have re-established the State Advances Department, provided for land occupation and the country loans on favorable terms. Have we licit fulfilled tin- promises ive made to the electors when wc said we would establish the finances of tho _ Dominion on a more .sound basis? We have been accused of borrowing more than the A\ aril Government. ... In the last 27
months of the Massey Government the country has borrowed £14,636,680. Somebody gave, vent to his feelings in a whistle.
Air Allen: Yes! AVhat did our predecessors do in 27 months? AVill you whistle now? They borrowed £16,496,000.
Attain the gentleman whistled 1 Mr Allen explained that these totals included borrowing to repay loans coaiiim due and borrowing for current needs. In this last, connection the Massey Government had borrowed £9,078,000, while the Ward Government in an identical period borrowed £10.031.000. ‘‘And,” ha went on, ‘‘you must borrow. All that wo said was that we would be more careful with borrowed money. . . . It is said that wo promised to decrease the taxation in respect of things affecting the needs of life. Wild statements have been made, but what is the fact?
Voice : Three shillings ami fourpeueo per head of the population. (Applause.) Mr Allen ; There has been an increase in the taxation. (Applause.) Voice : We knew it 1
Mr Allen : Ye?, there has been tin increase in the Grad tinted Land Tax and the Income Tux nil high incomes. The Reform party have done that. (Applause. ) And there wa,i a small decrease in the Customs duties last year. Now, as to tho taxation pei* head ! Under the preceding Government in 1909-10 the taxation per head under the Customs duties had been £2 17a. for 1910-11 it was £3 3s. and for 1911-12 £5 6s 7d ; for 1912A3, when Air Alassey came to office, it was £3 Vs 6d. but in the following' year it. wns reduced to £3 6s Id—a reduction the second year the party went into office. 'They had bmi going up under the Ward Administration; they were coming down under the Massey Administration. Now for tho Land Tax, Under the Ward and Mackenzio Governments it was from 190910 onwards los Id per head, 12s 7d, and 12-s Eel. When tho present Government went into office they altered the law, and by putting in an increased Graduated Land Tax raierd the tax per head to 13s lid, and next year to 14s 3d. Now, who would talk again of the taxation? The Government had increased the Graduated Land Tax to break tip big estates. .Similarly, in relation to Income Tax, while in 1909-10 it was 6s 6d, and had increased in two years to 8s 10d, in 1914 it was 10s 3d—an increase on the higlier incomes. Again, they had altered the death duties. Sir Joseph Ward’s party raised them from o.s Id to 6s 6d, to 7s Id ; 'Air Massey’s party to 8s sd. Tim totals from Customs, Land, and Income Tax, and from other sources were : In 19C9-10, £4 As 6d per head; 1910-11. £4 16s lid; 1911-12, £5 os lOd; then came the Alassev Administration, with £5 7s 2d lor 1912 13. ami £5 10s for 1913-14. —More Reforms.— In addition to effecting land and financial reform tho Government hud kept their pledge to reform the Legislative Council and substitute an c-lective for the nominative system of appointment. Ho recounted tho old story as to the necessity of appointing a number of Councillors to overcome the opposition in the. Council to the proposed reform, and explained how the Government’s proposal in the Lower House to reduce the, term of individual service in the Council was rejected. The Government had been forced to make new appointments in order to effect reform. They had now relegated to tho people the right of electing members of the Legislative Council—(An Elector : Ves, in six years’ time.) —and hud abolished the old system by winch the '.Ministry of the day could put political friends into office. (Applause.) The Government had also reformed the system of appointments to the Public Service, and instead of the Service being under the Almisters of the Crown, and subject to political patronage, it was placed under the control of Commissioners, aJid any boy or girl who was worthy of appointment could now enter tho Service without their 'parents going on their knees to a Minister of the Crown to get thorn there. (Cheers.) “ Onr reforms,” ho added, “are real and true reforms. We have relegated to tho people those things which ought to be in their power.’’ (Applause.) And in order to promote land settlement .Mr Massey had included in his -latest programme a proposal to increase the Graduated Land Tax imposed on large estates which were improvable but which were Hot being improved. He then dealt with tho question of military and naval defence (reported in another column). HI.S SUPPORTERS THANKED.
Up thanked the constituency for the opportunities it had given him as a. Minister of the -Crown, and he hoped that what he had done as a Minister had pleased thorn, and ho hoped that the Government would remain in office to carry out- the reforms which, as he beliavuci, w*r# in the interests of the Dominion. (Cheers.) —A Few Pertinent Questions.—
Is Air Allen in favor of a local navy or in favor of joining with the Australian Xlivy '! asked an elector, who had been prominent throughout the meeting for interjections.
“ I uni-in favor of a local unit of the imperial Navy. lam in favor of joining hands wherever we can with the Commonwealth fleet, but I do not balieva in contributing towards the cost of the Australian squadron. I believe in building up a local unit of Ihe Imperial Navy. (Applause.) What is it going to cost the country?— ft will cost the country exactly what it proposes to pay for it and no more. (Applause). At present the training on the. Philomel costs about £50,000, and the other £50,000 of tho original amount of the subsidy is paid over to the. Home authorities. 1 hope that before long the whole, of the £ICQ,OOO will be spent on training New Zealanders for tho Navy. Would it not be cheaper to train them at Home?—lt may cost a little more to train them in New Zealand, but I would rather spend a little more and have them trained here. (Applause.) Questioned aa to whether ho would support the bare majority on the licensing issue, Mr Allen eaid that ho had previously informed his electors that ho would stand by tho existing law, and he had stood by that pledge. But ho now asked to he relieved of tliat pledge anil to have the right to exercise his own judgment without any pledge. —A Vote of Confidence.--Mr W- H. Hitchin moved, and Mr J. Nelson seconded —"That a hearty vote of thanks he accorded tho Hon, Mr Allen for his able address, and that this meeting expresses its confidence in him to represent the Bruce electorate, and also its confidence in tho present Government, of which Air Allen is a distinguished and honored member.” Tho motion was carried. There were three dissentients, and a number of men did not vote at all.
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THE RECORD OF REFORM, Evening Star, Issue 15651, 16 November 1914