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THE LIBERAL LEADER

demonstration of popularitt. A MAG&HFICHXT RECEPTION. POLICY ENTHTJSrASTTCALLT ; RECEIViED. Tt to the fact that tho Right Hon. Sir Ja ieph Ward, the Leader of the Libera! plrty, was in the happy position of feeing tthe political Punch, wjthotit whom ■ t'here ciirdd be no show,- that lie got into the GArrieon Hall laefc night. With pKnsant. difficulty he and Lady Ward .im? frit-nds passed through the prww of clLsappointod citizens about the locked doors, and gained the enthusiastic company a F a concourse of men and women in th-3 patriotically-decorated hall. From the ri-.oment the Leader of tho Opposition app» wed until the close, two and a-half hour* later, of a eucceasful meeting the spirii of the multitude was Liberal. Only two of tho thousands who crowded the l'tall to the limit of safety were openly foyr Reform—an elderly lady, who gently calU'd for three cheers for Mr Massey, and faiVed to get them, and a man in the gallery, who seemed to be distressed about the now notorious shortdated, loans, and was promptly asked by sir Joseph how 10-ng his (the man's) last loan was dated.

As Sir Joseph aiid Lady Ward, accompanied by the Mayor (Mr J. B. Shacklock. who presided, and had no task), entered the hall the «reat iiudience to the right, to the loft, in front, and above stood upon the instant and cheered .and cheered and rheered again. Tho cordial tumult quietened for a moment, but when the welcome visitors took their places on the -rowded platform near to the local Liberal and Labor candidates who were enjoying * thrill they may not feel on December 10. the cheering "was thrice renewed, and vlmost made tile Allies' flags flutter. A magnificent reception! Was it for Reform the handwriting on tho wall? —An Empire Navy.—

After malcihi: timely and neat refer•nce io the grouping of the Allies' flags, :hc in town tin:,' fact that a Russian captain was on tin* platform—(cheers)—and the great war that could only have one end—complete success—and the regret felt by the, Liberals at the necessity to eontest a Genrral Election which ought to have been postponed on account of the tremendous conflict for freedom which would ultimately be for the good of the Herman democracy. Sir Joseph Ward, who was ajgain enthusiastically cheered, made his first penetrating point with the Liberals' Naval Defence policy—6tand by the Empire Navy. (Loud and sustained cheers.) One <»f the planks of the Liberal party, he sa,id with emphasis, was an Empire* Navy; standing by the old British Navy, with contributions from this conn!ry to ensure- on our coasts and in the Pacific, where British interests* are wittc and crowing, adequate protection from Rritisti men-of-war and British ships. (Cheer?.) Ho the Agreement between the Admiralty and himself in 1909, by which the Imperial Government were to send to New Zealand waters two Bristol cruisers and three submarines, and noted that the Agreement had not been carried out. " But we have not yet got from the present Minister of Defence (Hon. J. Allen) a reason"—("Shame!") — "as to why tha* Agreement, honorably entered into by the British Government. was not given effect to as agreed upon with me in ISO 9. We have never seen an instance stated by the present First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr Churchill) suggesting the withdrawal of that proposal. T have seen a declaration by Mr Churchill from his seat in the House of Commons that the action of New Zealand in navy matters showed the highest possible statesmanship. (Cheers.) Had those vessels been her, it would have required one battleship only (and even that was provided for originally, and to t>e attached to the C!hii.a squadron) tcj come here in about a week's time to protect our shores and shipping. (Cheers.) Tt would have been hot for the German i*'misers that are prowling about the Pacific. fChe?rs.) There would have been r.c rwcefsitv to wait for French, Australian, or British ships (he apparently forgot to mention the. a?sislance given by anc.ther nation) to come and provide a safe convoy for. the brave men of this land wjio lave gone to Samoa and to more distant parts of the Empire. (Cheers.) Tf you look at the cables of Vf.sterday and to-dav you will see that Mr Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has declared that after the war then* will be a reduction in armaments That is what we all want to see done. 'Cheeis.i There will be, in my judgment, x reduction in those armaments which have been necessary to protect Great Britain from a possible German invasion. I st>y Hut a-s an outcome of this war there ts going to bo set loose a largo portion of the Empire Navy—the old British Navy. T undertake to say that no statesman in tho Old World is so oblivious of what is duo to the people of the Oversea Dominions that he would not allow poriionfi of that great okl British Navy to be ctationqcl round our shores, the shores of Tanada, Africa, or any portion of the Empire that looks upon it as desirable !n depend on the Imperial Navy. (Applause.) That being so, would it not be nn act of inexcusable madness on the part of the people in tills country to go in far what is called "a local navy"? ! Cheers.) He pointed out that 12 months ■•.jo the people of Australia were warned that their naval expenditure was running into five, million sterling & year, and it was declared that before lone it would be £10,000,000 a year. Everybody was proud of what the Australian Navy had done, hut the question was not as to the value of the* Australian Navy in recent and present affair?-'. It all came back to what financial burden any community that wanted local naval protection could bear. "Let ns come down to practical issues, find let lis realise, although we would stive even* man and every shilling to see the(lid Land win in times of great strife, thp financial burden that- must bo involved, if this country gees in for n local navy. | Let them Tealise what Australian.* have i been commited to in the matter of naval | d-feiiee. Rear-admiral Henderson reported that it would cost them £23,290,000 •or a local navy, with another £2,000,000 fur merre- stores. Can this young country do with leas? No, it cannot, if we | are going in for a local navy. (Cheers.) I It is nonsense (however sincere our oppo-. uents may dp. ami I believe they aro em-! cere) to talk" <>f » British cruder being the i nucleus of a fleet for this great and valuable portion of the Empire. (Cheers.) i Can this voting country stand such an ex-1 penditure'iis would be'necessary to provide ' that protection? Can it enter into an | obligation which is going to involve; €1,500,000 of additional taxation every; voar? 1 say it can not. I for one am j not going to put this country into th© way (if incurring an expenditure that will mean increased taxation upon every man ami worker in this country. (Cheers.) I say, therefore, on behalf of the Liberal party, let m stand by the old British Navy. We .ire prepared to give additional-contribu-tions, if necessary, because wo sincerely helieve in one Empire and one Imperial Naw, with the disposition of it. in times of peace under the control of tho men who have been educated to protect us during times of war. (Loud and prolonged cheer.) —jA Broken Pledge.— As regards the electoral laws, could anyone fav that th* position had been satisfactory during the past two years. (Cries of ""So" and one cry of "Yes.") The laws had' been jerrymandered in the interests of the party, m power. (Applause.). The Oovernnwnt had pledged themselves to Ijive » substitute for the Second Ballot, hut a substitute had not been provided. Discussing the present first-paat-the-post system of election, he said that an effort was feeing made to get n Labor man to ,ict the part of a traitor to his own cause by iplitwng the. votes to enable. the Reform party to get in en.j*. minority vote. .For that reason the Liberal party progosed a system of Fiojwtioiial Repreaen-.

iation for the House of Representatives. The Government had favored it for 'the Legislative Council, which was now stuffed with Tori«». (Cheers.) Under proportional Representation there could bo established four or five electorates. That system -would ensure that no man's vote would be., lost, ae must be the- case und«r the first-past-the-po»fc system- As to the "reform, of the Legislative Council," he «u'd that The Government had introduced a system that was intended to gag the democracy of this country for the next 10 or 20 years They had appointed 19 member*, of whom seven were "rejects," and tho elective system would not come into operation until eeven years from the Ist January next. In the meantime the Government were to have the tight to tominate further members. (Laughter.) The first election of the Council should have been held at tho forthcoming Genera] Flection. Ail the Councillors appointed for a term of years could have been allowed to retain their honorary title, and paid tho balance of their honorarium for tho remainder of their term in the Council under the nominative syfctem. He scathingly referred to the fact that the Council Tiad thrown out the Bill (passed bv the House) providing for a 45-hour week for women workers in woollen nulls. For that result they had to thank the broad-minded men. who had been placed in the Council bv the Government. (Cheers.)

—Land Legation.—

The Liberal partv were ;r°ing to incrca'so the Graduated Laud Tax. comnumcing at estates of an unimproved value of £20,000, and impose a special Graduated Land Tax to prevent the allegation of land. Their opponents had been about the country savin? that they had increased ■ the Graduated Land Tax, but what had they done? According to a return laid on the table of tho House by the Prime Minister upon a property the unimproved value of which was £24.000, and really worth £40,000 Ihe increase of the Graduated Tax amounted to only 12s 6d. Upon a property of an unimproved value of £40.000, representing in reality an estate worth about £70.000. the increase in the tax amounted to but £l2 Bs. Ho proposed, in addition to the increase in the Graduated Tax, to establish a special Graduated Land Tax, which would compel the cutting up of large estates. He plt-dged his word that, if he sot into power, such a tax would be established. He was determined to prevent ageregation of land such as had gone on in Now Zealand during the pa&t three years. While the extra land tax would prevent the man of means "from getting too much land, it would give the man of small means an opportunity of acquiring land. They wanted an active policy for tho acquisition of land near towns, which would make provision for workers' homes to be built there. If the worker wanted to sell his homo through his leaving the locality or | country, ho would have to sell it to the State.* It would be neceseary to ensure that there could not be any trafficking in a matter of that kind. —Advances to Settlers.—

During the period ot the Liberals' term of office, including two years of his own, over £19,000.000 had been lent to settlers, workers, and local public bodies. His workers' home system had been mentioned in a Speech from the Throne by the Liberal Government, and Mr Massey moved an amendment upon the advances to settlers system to provide £250,000 for workers at the expense of the settlers. Now his opponents were going about declaring they were responsible for the workers' home system. He prepared the scheme, put the legislation through the House, and provided tho money for the workers'' homes. He proposed to give effect to what was indicated in the last Governor's Speech before he went out of office—a system of agricultural banks, which would give settlers, workers, and local public bodies the advantage of getting cheap money from a State, department. —Cost of Living.— Had there been any effort on the part of the present Government to reduce the cost of living? asked Sir Joseph. (Cries of " No.") Continuing, ho said he would tell them what had been done by the Liberal Government in the past, and what they promised to do in the future in this matter. On two occasions they had reduced the Customs tariff and gave remissions of £6,500,000 Jo the people Further reductions in the Customs tariff were absolutely essential in the interests of the people of the country. He had been examining carefully a scheme by which the main articles of food could be reduced, and said that his system for the supply of milk could be extended to the supply of meat and coal. —Trades Unions.— The positions of trades unions required to be approached from the standpoints of common sense and common fairness. They would remove the anomaly that existed in connection with trades unions by which the executive were the masters" of the whole of tho members of the union. The workers would have to bo more reasonable, and employers would have to be more reasonable. They recognised that Labor and Capital would have to work more hand in hand. Thev would deaf with the matter upon lines Lest calculated to benefit those immediately concerned. Sir Joseph referred to the Government's failure to repeal section 20 of the Factories Act, so as to ensure a 45-hour week for women in woollen factories. On tho humanitarian side they would introduce a Bill to give assis-tanee to cripples, invalids, and other deserving cases, and would provide free nurses for women in the baekblocks of the country. They would atao provide -for children under live years being carried free on the railways, and those under 14 years at half-rates. —Electric- Power.— In speaking of electric power schemes, Sir Joseph said when he was in office he asked Parliament to provide for the harnefsing of the rivers and lakes to give the people tho benefit of cheap motive power ariti electric light. The proposal was opposed tooth and nail by Mr Massey and his friends, and now the first work of the kind put in hand—that at Lake Coleridge —wa» to l*e opened in a few weeks by Mr Ma-'.".\v. (Applause.) Borrowing. ' Regarding the public works policy of the country, he had been fulminated against by his opponents, who declared h*» had been borrowing too much. The Prime Milliliter had said that if the people did not stop him (Sir Joseph Ward) from borrowing money the money-lender should. Tho present Government had actually declared that tho borrowing of their GoVernment was less' than the borrowing of the Ward Government. Mr Allen took a period of years of his (Sir Joseph's) borrowings to make a comparison with a period of years of his own borrowings. The years of Sir Joseph's borrowings included—which Mr Allen did not tell the public it included—the greater portion of the cost of the Dreadnought. In all Mr Allen's borrowings he had no Dreadnought. (Applause.) Was it justifiable for Mr Allen, in making hi* comparison in regard to moneys borrowed for railways, roads, and public bridges to include such an item as the Dreadnought, and not call attention to it?

He had not only been denounced for borrowing, but also for extravagance in connection with buildings throughout the country. Let them compare his expenditure upon public buildings with the proposals now made for new railway stations and station vards in other centres. Auckland was "to get £450,000, Wellington £480,000, and Christchurch £320,000, or £1,250,000 for the three. Why, he asked, should they provide for palatial railway stations anywhere until the war was over? (Applause.) There were men in the backblocks at present who wanted railways, roads, bridges, and schools; others wanted money for their farms, but they could not get it. Yet here was a proposal by the Government, mad© in election year, to spend £1,250,000 in three centres on buildings. Our public borrowing for railway construction and public works should be limited to £3,000,000 per annum. —lnternal Defence.— The expenditure oh internal defence ought to be kept down to £450,000 a year, which was higher than Lord Kitchener's estimate. Care should be taken to prevent the defence system tak~. ing charge of the people as had happened in Germany.. !We ought.to guard against

anything in the shape of a military caste. Ho dealt contemptuously with tho Hon. James Allen's statement at Milton that he (Sir Joseph) some years ago was apposed to compulsory military training. So he was. He had never supported the ideas put forward by Mr Allen and his colleagues. He cited tile different costly proposals submitted at the period by men who had not known what tney were talking about. He. personally approached the subject and initiated a scheme on a basis that the country could stand. Here Sir Joseph amused tho great audience by reciting somewhat after a manner of ' Who Killed Cock Robin?' all that had been done by him in the matter of military training. " Who established universal military training in New Zealand ? I did. Who appointed General Godley? I did. Who had given assistance to enable the position to be right for the despatch of the Expeditionary Force? 1 did." (Cheers, and laughter.) Then why had his opponents not the common decency to say so? When he saw them turning double somersaults and trying to take credit from him, although he did not wish to talk of what he had done, he had to do so, in face of these political monsters, who were trying to take away the work he had performed in this respect. He had not criticised the action of the Government over the despatch of the Expeditionary Force, as all had seen. (Cheers.) —The Hunfcly Disaster.—

Everyone regretted the incident which had taken place at the Huntly mine. He noticed that an attempt was being made to suggest that it was an improper thing to reter to this accident, but he believed in always laying facts before the people, and then they could seo who was responsible. As the position stood at present, the country was not going to have possession of the facts leading up to the accident, as, in his opinion, they should have them, until after the General Election was over. A Voice: "Nonsense."

"Well," answered the speaker, "I want to say that is my opinion." The commission set up by the Ward Government iu 1911 had reported on the necessity of having protected lights in that particular mint;—that was put into the Bill, but the Bill was not put through bv the present Government. The Massey Government had to accept the responsibility for not going on with that Bill. ("Hear, hear," and applause.) In his humble judgment, had there been protected lights in that mine the disaster would not have occurred. Whatever Government were in power, from an administrative point of view it had to acept the responsibility, and if there were men incompetent, who did not do their duty, and had not advised properly, and an accident was caused, they should know all about it.

—Other Matters.—

Sir Joseph Ward also outlined, in a manner previously published, the Liberals' policy, and discussed the criticism levelled by Government members against his financial operations. On the question of short-dated v. long-dated loans he pointed out that his policy had always been to take a short-dated loan when money was dear and make provision for its conversion dnto a longdated lean. The Liberal Government had borrowed about 40 millions, and they had never heard of the failure of a shortdated loan, because the Government had converted them into long-dated loans at 3J per cent. The last loan the Government had floated they had declared to have been subscribed for four times over. Whv had they forgotten the £3,200,000 then, "if another loan were subscribed four times over? The only reason for short-dated loans was to try to 63ve the taxpayers' money for a long period when money was cheap. The Liberals had done so" and Mr Massey admitted that they bad. In the matter of borrowing Nemesis had overtaken the Refoi'm economists. (Laughter and cheers.) —Conclusion.— He was sincere and anxious to put into operation a progressive policy for the, people. In addition to other proposals, he intended to ask Parliament to make provision for setting aside £5 for cverv infant born in this country, and to keep trie bonus in the Savings Bank for 14 years at compound interest. Ho would also provide for a maternity bonus of £6. He was the first to revolutionise the railway system in New Zealand, and give increased facilities in the service. He had been responsible for the whole of the superannuation 6cheme of the country. In conclusion, Sir Joseph said there were 25 farmers standing in the interests of tho Liberal party, and they had a strong and firm belief, from a farmer's point of view and from a worker's point of view, that the Liberal party were associated with the development of the country. He promised that if his party were elected to office they would carry out their duties constitutionally, impartially, and fairly in the interests" of the whole community. (Applause.)

—Motion of Thanks.— Mt J. H. F. Hamel (president of the Liberal-League) moved the following resolution:—"That this meeting of the electors of Dunedin thank the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Ward for his magnificent address, express their opinion that the present Administration (the Massey Administration) are unworthy of confidence and support, and pledge themselves to do their utmost to secure the defeat of the Government at the elections. - '

Mr Jesse llaymes .seconded the motion, which was carried practically unanimously on a show of hands being taken. Sir Joseph thanked the audience for carrying the resolution. He said that, whatever party might be defeated at the poll, he trusted they would take their defeat as sportsmen. "On the motion of Sir Joseph a vote of thanks was carried to the Ma.vor for having presided. The meeting concluded with loud cheers for Sir Joseph Ward. Enthusiastic supporters took the horses out of Sir Joseph's carriaso and drew it triumphantlv to C'argill's Monument, where he thanked the crowd for tho compliment paid him, and thence to the Grand Hotel.

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Bibliographic details

THE LIBERAL LEADER, Issue 15655, 20 November 1914

Word Count
3,759

THE LIBERAL LEADER Issue 15655, 20 November 1914

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