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THE GENERAL ELECTION

MR SIBEY AT SOUTH DUNEDIN AN ENTHUSIASTIC MEETING.

The meeting of electors which was addressed by Mr T. K. Sidey MP., at the South Dunedin Town Hall last evening was remarkable for its unanimity. The member for the district received a splendid ovation on entering the hall, and right through the meeting his remarks were punctuated by applause, while at the finish, when a vote of confidence was declared carried unanimously, his supporters cheered lustily for the speaker and the Loader of the .great Liberal party. Mr J. B. Shacklock (Mayor of Dunedin) preside. . Tho Mavor said that Mr Sidey required no introduction to a South Dunedin audience. (Loud applause.) He had been well and favorably known throughout the district for a great many years.. The speaker had had many opportunities of seeing- oomethrng i>i" the amount and n;vrnre of the work Mr Sidey had done while he had represented the electorate in Parliament. He had also noticed the .great interest wljich Mr Sidey had taken in the movements put forward for the Iwrnent of the district. (Applause.) Mr Sidey. who on rising was greeted with a prolonged outburst of applause, thanked the Mayor for the kiwi manner in which he had referred to the loyal work the speaker had done ami the interest he had taken in matters relating to local authorities. He remembered a time when the chairman was Mayor of South Dunedin when a Bill had been put through, and was subsequently of assistance to the City Council in carrying out the work of widening King Edward street. (Applause.) Before passing on to his speech Mr Sidey. while expressing pleasure tit again addressing a meeting of the electors, referred briefly to the fact that many of his old personal friends had pa*sed away since the time when he first represented the district. Among these were Mr Philip Huberts, who had acted as his secretary since he was first elected, also two very highly-esteemed and faithful supporters—Mr David Stevenson and Mr James Brondfoot. He had lost probably his oldest friend in the person of Mr William Remtie. and a very valued friend in Mr William .Milne. The districtalso b/id lost many" well-known citizens. It had lost a strong personality who had long been closely identified \vith its municipal life in Mr Thomas Fiddis. He might mention also Mr S. Lister, at one time well known as editor of the ' Workman,' and a public meeting would hardily be recognised as such by many of them in the absence of their old friend Mr Coniff. He was pleased to sec Mr Downie still with them. —Political Changes.— In the world of politics important changes 'iad taken place. After the last General Klection no party in the House could command a majority". In addition to the two rrrain parties, there were some Ijibor and 'onie Independent members. A short ses--ion was held in the February following ►he elections, and a no-confidence motion 'noved by Mr Massey was dofeated on the casting vote of the then Speaker (Sir Arthur Guinness). The then Opposition declined to give a pair to Mr Wilford, who was absent on a health trip. Prior to the division Sir Joseph Ward informed the House that he intended to retire from the leadership of the Liberal party, and in duo murse he did so. The Hon. Thos. Mackenzie was chosen as Leader of the party, but on meeting; the House lie w-a<s defeated in the first division, and the Liberal party, after administering the affairs of this Dominion for 21 years, and having placed to their credit a great record of legislative achievement* in the interest of the people, went out of office. —The Reform Government.—

The. Government that .succeeded t!w Liberal party designated themselves tho Reform Government, though there was now an apparent anxiety to change the nama. Tho Cabinet was mainly composed of in en who were identified with the old Conservative party, and for the most part they were. the same men who stenuously opposed the great progressive measures of former years. Tho Government had been three sessions in office, and tho electors were now ab!« to estimate at its true- value the criticism that had for years been directed against the* Liberal party. The Minister of Marino, when speaking receullv in the North Island, was reported as follows:—"The Minister stated that his party had complained at the amount of travelling done by the previous Ministers. He was satisfied now that that criticism u;is unjust." If equal candor were shown. Ministers would admit that they had doiu> a similar injustice to the Liberal party with respect to 90 per cent, of their former critickins. That was the only conclusion one could come to from the fact tbat not only in their borrowing, but in num!>erle«; other ways, they were doing what they formerly Lcudemned, and because of which they had sought to have their predecessors tamed out of office. (Applause.) This phase of tho situation was so remarkable that he proposed to deal with it at t-ome length. He freely acknowledged the unreasonableness of expecting the Government to do everything in three sessions ; but if there was any ground at all for the Masseyittes' previous condemnation, there were many things respecting which here was ro excuse for no attempt whatever having been m.ule t.> reform them. Take the

—Conduct of Parliamentary Business.— 1 here had not been the slightest attempt :o alter or improve the manner in which tho House did its business. There was the ".■me- end-of-session rush, with new Bills heing introduced up to the last moment, and sheaves of Bills being put through all their stages in the closing scenes. Private members, encouraged by former protestations of Ministers when in Opposition, imagined that a "square deal" meant a good time for them, Dut never during thefast ciuarter of a century had private members' Jays been appropriated by the Government to the same extent as now. Numo'--nus promises mrde in the most explicit terms to permit debates on important subjests were never fulfilled. '! lie Government ought r.ow to admit the groundlessness of their old charge regarding ill-con-sidered legislation requiring amendment. ! Applaufe.)

—Hi-digested Legislation.The Land Bill of last session, was largely intended to Temedy delect* in the legislation of tho two preceding cessions, and the Legislative Council Bill appeared in a new form every session; and m the very final stages of the Bill of last session tho Prime Minister hdmitteel that the Bill which was being placed on the Statute Book would require amendment before it tamo into force. These things might be amply illustrated by quotations, but ho would just give one. Condemning the bringing down of the Public Works Statement at the end of the session, the present Prime Minister, speaking from the Opposition benches- on August 26. 1910. eaid:

I say that it is a positive, scandal to keep baskl the Public Works Statement and Estimates until the dying hours of the session, and then ask tho House—and it has been asked over unci over again—to agiee to tho expenditure of £2,000,000 of the money belonging to th?> people we represent in otic night, and n-'it knowing how the monev is to be expended. I «ay such a state of thing* should not be tolerated. I ain not to make any threat —I never do thrente:i. as a matter of fact—but I do say that Parliament will not Iw doing its duty unless it insists on the Public Works Statement arid Estimates being laid before Parliament at a very early date. and there is positively no reason why the Public Works Statement and Estimates should not be laid before Parliament certainly within a month of the bringing down of the Financial Statement.

Now, could any condemnation of a system b-» more severe than that uttered by Mr Matsey himself ou the occasion referred to? (Applause.) If the system be wrong, it i« ridiculous to suggest that three sessions are not long enough in which to effect necessary amendments of legislation. And vet in their third session the Maasey {javaxjunant hiouaht down their Fman-

cial Statement on August 6, but did not present their Public Works Statement to the House till October 20. The session was expected to close on Saturday, October 31. and at about 10 o'clock on Thursday (the preceding night but one) tho House, was askod to put through an expenditure of £3,400,000. Either the Government stood convicted of having neglected their opportunities to effect reform or el.se their former

criticisms were simply worthless and un-

just. This criticism was quite apart from that relating to the failure of the Government to alter the system of roads and bridges grants upon tho Estimates, which was Formerly so strongly condemned by tho Masseyitcs. —Another Unjust Criticism. —

If there was one thing more than another for which the Liberal party were condemned it was for their borrowing. Innumerable instances could bo given of this. It was futilo for the Government now to contend that it was not the borrowing, but the expenditure of liorrowod money, that was condemned by the Massey party when in Opposition." That, contention would not stand examination. In order that there might bo no mistake about his references, he made it clear that he referred to borrowing for new public works. The plank iu the Heform party's platform to "Keep borrowing within reasonable bounds" was capable of no other meaning than that borrowing By the Liberal Government had got beyond reasonable bounds and requited to be reduced. This was clear from the exposition of that plank given by the Prime Minister in his speech in the Wellington Town Hall before the last General F.lection, where he advocated, amongst other things, that ''the increase in the Public Debt should be kept down in proportion with tho increase of population." After accepting office tho Government preserved, for a time at least, the appearance of virtue. In each of their first two Financial Statements two little words occurred more than once.

—Fallacy of Self Reliance Exposed.— These words were " self reliance," which was enjoined upon the country. These words would be looked for in vain iu their third Budget. The mind of the Government was expressed in their first Budget in. these woros of the Finance Minister: It is my plain duty to warn tion. members and tho peoplo of New Zealand that tho continued borrowing of large sums of money is not a safe method of finance. And : In these days, when loans tost so much to raise" it is, in our opinion,

iirccntly necessary that we should curtail Our borrowing. These words indicated beyond dispute that the Massey Government thought tbat borrowing should be curtailed, and that, let it be noted, irrespective of and without any reference- lo the expenditure. He would make two further quotations showing the views of the Minister of Finance, both the year before and the year after ho assumed office. Speaking on the Public Works Loan Bill for £515,000,000 in 1911. whilo making it clear that lie did not object to reasonable borrowing, the Hon. Mr Allen made it also beyond dispute that the thought borrowing should be reduced. He said : I sav that wo onght to regulate our expenditure of borrowed money, and gradually reduce the amount of money wo borrow. Ido not say that wo should stop borrowing suddenly. If we gradually reduce, then none of the evils I have referred to will occur. 1 eay, with all seriousness, to the hon. gentleman that if he really looked at the matter from a statesmanlike point of view he would not allow this sort of thing to go on. He would limit the amount of borrowing and utilise the borrowed money for the opening up of the country and to provide avenues of employment for the people, «o that as we do gradually fltop it we should not be liable to emigration and other evils. . . . t think it is tho right policy to allow tho Bill to go through, on the understanding that there shall bo proper economv, so that the policy of borrowing a in ill ion and a-half each year shall be gradually reduced. When the Loan Bill was in committee Mr Allen moved to reduce the amount of the loan by £200,000, but after assuming office the present Finance Minister, in introducing hid first Loan Bill, was quite apologetic for it being so huge as. £1,750,000. He made several excuses, including previous commitments, and said: Under tho circumstances, it is necessary that we should raise this compara tively large loan—a loan, in my opinion, rather larger than we ought to have to raise for the aid of the Public Works Fund. Ido think it would be wise for the country to adopt a policy of gradually reducing the amount we have to borrow for the Public Works Fund, until we get it to what used to be called a sum within the means of this country and of its people". And much more to the same effect, in denouncing the spending of much money on public buildings. He (Mr Sidcy) had paid enough to show the electors how the late Liberal Government were condemned for over-borrowing, and how tin? present Government had stood for and advocated that borrowing should bo reduced. (Applause.) —Greater Borrowing than Ever.—

Now, it might bo unreasonable to expect evidence of this in one. or even two, sessions, but surely in the third seesion it was time to see some evidence of carrying this promised self-reliant policy into effect. ikit what wero tho facts? In their first session the Government's loan for new public works wa« for £1,750,000: in their second session it was for ;i similar sum, £1.750,000; while it: their third session it was for no lese than £5,000,000, and this was in addition to another loan of £3.200,000 for Kiilway buildings and other works. The Minister*of Finance explained that £1,000,000 of tho £3,000,000 was for baekblocks roads, to be spread over three years, while the £3,200,000 loan was to be" spread over five years; but even with these explanations the amount was unprecedented. How did the Minister refer to this £1,000,000 loan for the backblocks? Ife referred to it, aa the " new policy." Hero they had a ieduction-of-borrowing Government, in their third year of office, throwing self-reliance to the winds and proclaiming a new policy, wliich was a policy of increased borrowing. In 1908 Sir Joseph Ward brought down a proposal to borrow £1.000,000 _ for backblock* roads, to be spread over four years. Might not tho words of *?r Allen, in criticising Sir Joseph Ward's proposal, beappropriately applied to his own? Criticising Sir Joseph Ward's pioposal in .Parliament, Mr Allen said : Instead of making a proposal to Parliament in 1908 to spend £250,000 a. year for four years on backblacks roads, tho right hou gentleman might have •made it in 1909, the year after the election. But the right lion, gentleman know.*, and everyone in the House known, that the proposal was made in 1908 because it was just lie fore a general

election. Was it unfair to niticise tho Government's proposal in similar terms, and to say that the hug© borrowing proposals of last session on the eve of a General Election constituted one of tlie biggest bids for votes with borrowed money that had ever been made in this country? When tho Government's public works loan of £3,000.000 was taken in conjunction with their £3,200,000 railway loan, it was safe to say that never in the history of this country had such. —Huge Borrowing Authorisations—

been taken, in any session of Parliament—(applause); but the most remarkable thing about it was that it came from a party who had demanded a curtailment of borrowing, and had asked that their predecessors should be ejected from office because they borrowed too much. —How the E'ectors. were Hoodwinked.— At tho last election sinister suggestions were mado as to the possibility of secret commissions being obtained on loans. He did not suggest for a moment that the Minister of Fioance, in tho nee of the word " pickings." as he was reported to have done in his speech at Devonport before the last wished it to he in-

ferxed that anything improper had taken place. Tho word, however, was an ( unfortunate one. and liable to bo misconstrued by tho "man in tit? street." The absolute ground IcstOWß of th? sinister suggestions which he had rcfeired to wu" proved beyond coidrovoisy by the iact that th" M'inV.or of Finance, in lb:- Hwiw in 1913, when referring fj the loan that lie had previously raised, admitted ".hat be had had to pay th:> same charge* as had been paid bv his predecessor, and not only so. but that exactly the same charges were paid by Canada and all the Australian States. (A| plause.) —Unexpended Votes : Tho Same Old System. — Must of his hearers would remember how t-oveiely the late Government were oondeint'.'d "tor not expending the full amount of votes during the financial year. What was the record""<if TJefo.an in this respect? For the year cudin-,' March Al last, out of £613,000 voted for roads and bridges onlv £377.000 had been expended. What did the Minister of Public Works say '( lle saiil the monev voted was to carry him bevond March 31. He (Mr Sidey) could not do better tli»n :"tcr the Minister to the vonl:; of h'.s .-olleaj,.v>e. the Mini-tor of Finance, who. M.-oakiti"; at Dovcnport 1)' fore the !a.--t General Klection. wa- vtp ';■'.".l as follows :--

When monev was voted for a certain purpose, in-esumablv it was rcmincd tor that pitri >ose; but £596.000 had boon voted for roads and bridges last year mid onlv £254.000 had hern s|x-ut upon them. 'He hoiwd they would ask Lie.

lust Minister* who came this way to explain that. He would probably have some storv ready, to the effect that the vote was'made to .airy on to the end of June; but that period was alwaysprovided for out of next years appropriation, and the explanation was sheer humbug. While speakim: of unexpended voles, the candidate said he had a word to say about the —Otago Hallways.--When he had said that a- sum had been placed on the Estimates for the. purpose of restarting the work on the Otayo Central and that tin* Balekitha-Tuapeka Mouth line had been authorised, lie had said all that could be regarded as particularly gratifying with respect to the Otago railways.* Even the merit of these things hr.u been largelv lost bv the delay. The Minister of Public Works -missed an oportunity bv not making the restarting <i the Otago Central one of his first acts on assuming office. As things wore up till March 31 last, not a penny hid teen spent on either of those lines. Regarding Tho Lawrence-Roxburgh Line,--ho had repeatedly urged the Government to authorise the line beyond Beaumont to Roxburgh, but the Minister had declined on tho around that he was not ready to go oil with the work. II thru rule were made applicable all round one rn:>:ht not object, but the Minister had apparently authorised the Tuapeka Mouth line before he was readv t<> go on with it. for it was authorised in 1912. yet no money was voted for it until last session—two years afterwards. The position now was tna.t the Lawrence-lloxburgh line "-as not authorised beyond Beaumont. Did the Government intend that it should sUp there: That was what present a pea ranees indicated. The formation work had Wen finished somo time ago. The amount voted ou this year's Estimates would only complete, tho eqipment of the line- to Boaumont. That work would bo finished probably before next March, and then ail work would stop on the Lawrencc-Eox-hurxh line. Did tin- LawroiioePu>xbitiY.h Railway League understand that position? —The Catlin-, Line.— Mam of his audience could hardly forget how severely the Otago Centra! Hail ivav League had cadigated tho late Government lor not fully expending votes by March 31. One might have expected that, in view of the reduced votes for the Otago railways placed on the Kstimates by the present Government, the ami mils voted would be fullv expended, and yet of the £50,000 voted for the Catlins line in 1912 only £29,000 had been expended, and ot the £30.000 voted last year for that line under £IB.OOO had been spent. The expenditure of tho Government on railway construction in Otago compared unfavorably with that of previous Liberal Governments. —The Co-operative Sydem.— As regarded the mode of construction, who could not remember how the Government, when in opposition, used to declaim against thj co-operative system, and yet iu their three years of office they were still carrying on* the greater part of their railway construction under the. co-opera-tive system. (Applause.l —Further Evidence of " Bluffing.'"— He had intended dealing at another time more fully with some of tho public accounts, but he had noticed that certain misleading statements had been made from that platform on Wednesday night. For example, it was said that

The balance to the credit of the Con solidated Fund on March 51, 1912. which stood at £807,275, had been mi far ic-

duced by Juno 30 that, after providing

for liabilities, only £242,102 remained. The unfairness of that statement lay in the fact that largo interest payments fell due during that quarter. To make a just criticism, the end of that quarter should be compared with a similar period in otlvri years. It might be assumed for the purposes of comparison that the outstanding liabilities at tho same period each year were approximately the same. It would then be found that tho Consolidated Fund at tho end of subsequent quarters had never been in so good a position as when it was taken over from tho Liberal party. The balance at the end of the .Tune quarter in 1912 was £78 T i.00O: for June, 1913, it was £679.000; while for June, 1914, it had fallen to £201,000. And, further, to show the strength of the fund when it was taken over, it might be mentioned that for the quarter when it was taken over it was financed without a single Treasury bill outstanding. In subsequent quarters it had had to be financed with Treasury bills, and at the end of the June quarter of this year there were no less than £600.000 of Treasury bills outstanding. What was the fund that reflected the prosperity and financial buoyancy of ths country—tho fund that tho Reformers had in days gone by declared was "galloping to a deficit'' under the Liberal regime? It was the Consolidated Fund, and yet it was an undeniable and incontrovertible fact that after 21 years of Liberal administration that fund was handed over to Iho present Government in a splendid position with all the main sources of revenue buoyant and on the increase. (Applause.) --The Lund Fund.— Another statement was mado at tho *ame time, from which it might be inferred that if the Government bad dealt with. th<? proceeds of land sales as their predecessors, their surplus would have been swelled by £103,000. The proceeds of land sales to which that remark was intended to refer were £BI.OOO, so that the statement was only £22,000 out. Ho had dealt in the House with tho principle invrdvod and wculd refer to it. in subsequent, addresses, but it had to bo remembered that the proceeds of land eales by theGovernment differed from [hat >.f their predecessors owing to the ditfVrcice in their land legislation and terms of purchase. Tho Government had no far give.':

—No Evidence of Economy.--Tliev had criticised their predecessors ruthlessly for increasing the expenditure without any reference to the increase in revenue or as to how the expenditure was made ui>. Listen to tho word* of the Minister of Justice (.Mr He.rdmau) in 1911:

lt is amusing, Mr Speaker, to notice how public expenditure has tfrown up in recent years; it i& astonishing. 1 liave not the figures for 1910-11. but I am in possession of those up to 1909—that is, sinco Mr Seddon died, and since the

Kiglit Hon. the Prime Minister came into power. Tho expenditure has mounted up from £7.122.340 to £8,662,993, so that it lias increased by £1,500,000 in three years. Where does it all go to? What happens to it? That was Reform in Opposition. But Reform in office had increased the expenditure by about the same sum—nearly

£1,500,000, not in three veal's, but in two years: and at a considerably faster rate than th? revenue. - -Insurance Against Sickness and Unemployment.— due would have thought i'ici:i th- i<ifoi motion that Mr Massey profess-."! to have at the last General Klection on this question that ho would have had no dii'icultv in UiiiiL'iug down <-onio scheme to give effect to'this plank iu his platform. The cone!udins words of tl. • following quotation from his speech at \\ iriton pr.oi to the lust election were quite appropriate to the session just closed. Mr Massey said : In Gvi-nuny there was a system ■"•; .1 - suiaiico for working men sitkness and unemployment, and he hail iopoifs in his system was woikim*; splendidly their. Keen the- Imperial Government, that it .should be adopted tu kngl.n.d. What they .-onid do in '.'enminv and Kiighitid thev could do : n New •'■•• aland A Voice : " Was ic not passed last .-or,siou?" Mi Massev : "It was i>ot even tio-u-tl. my L .>'.•' False Liberalism.--

U was now claimed ou behalf ot Ihe Government that iliov wcio the Lib-orals. The l'liine Minister had lof.vred to his paitv .'- tii-' " I'logros-dve " Lil:oia!.i. Would I hat claim stand examination? It would not he denied that one of tho principles of l.ilieiulisiu was that th-' few slnulil not \.t- assisiod ;u l!io expense of the .many, and iu low filings could professions of ' Liic-i alisin bt* looted better than in tho Land Question. U/oud applause.) Ju their land policy the. Government had in a niaiket.! dogive violated that principle. The main feature of their land policy was tho assistance of the tew at the expense of the Stale. Ho »;u- not referring to the tenure question. That question would proU-ily now no lon umbo an issue in this country except as le garde d national endowments. Let them look at the options to purchase granted to the Crown tenants. L.I.P. tenants gov th.option to purchase at the original va'iw when somo eonsidcration in well iia.ve hoen asl«d bv the Stato in r-.-t>nn fo- a

more niarkeiahk- tiile and :'iY.e.o>;.i 110:1. ivsti iciions. , Greater exrvp'.iuii cou'.l. iiiiwt'voi. !*• taken in respect of the lenowablo leases. He ha<l boon the first to direct attention to certain defects in tho Land Bill of 1912. If these had not boon removed the Government's proper-a Is would have boon even moivdisadvantagootis to the .State. (Applause.) In the following year provision was mad-? whereby the tenantmight at any time apply to have, his land revalued, mid if the value war; th"n le---than tho original value hi? rent was reduced. If ho secured a 1 eduction and afterwards gave notice of his desire t<« purcha.se. his claim to purrhao' Iris li:-,', on the ba-sis of tho reduced valuation would prove irresistible: but there -.vas no provision whereby the S'n'.o po;do, ask for a revaluation of the laud if its value increased. It was nil in favor of the individual as acramst the Slo'<-. Last session tho Government, ovidoi-ily considerin.: that tl.ov had '_• mo t"o fa-, limited th'- tenants'" ritlht to a rovsilu 1 tion f..i !„'(ue'n I'm third and sixth year of his cici upation. hat th<- provision would anpr-.i-otitly peruiit any trairsf" >or of Die tenant to have a rcvnlu'ition after he hid been in oc< upation for a similar Win. Now he would ask them to ennsi/!;-v the terms upon which renewal lca=e tenants wore giv--ri the option to purchase. A l"s»ful Tllustratiou.— This mi-lit host be done by an illus. trafion. Take the case of settlement laud. Suppose a piece of such land was lot for 33 years on tho h-isis. of nn origin-:! vabi-? of £I.OOO. and 'suppose the present value of the bind, after live y-ars. when the tenant desired to pur.iris" 'was £1.500. The price was determined as follows :■ Tho iniTenso -of the p'-oser*' value over the original value w: •■ £SOO. The pr-■•

font value of that £sow. i!' it wrr payable at t!i;- end of t'.ir i. a.-o 28 years heme, was t lion a.M ernitnd. The calculation was on a 5 per rent, basis, and as money doubled itself every 14 years at 5 per cent., to ascertain the present value of tho £SOO if payable 23 years homo one had simplv to halve it- twice, which would give £125. Add that to tho. original value and -they had the pmrh;\-,e price. £1.125. Now, suppose a siniil-'t-option to purchase was att.iohed to a- 66 years' lease. Tho halving process would have t-o be twice repented for another 28 years, brincincr tho £SOO down to £3l ss, and for tho full 66 years reducing it to between- £2O and £3O. or very nearly wiping out altogether the State's interest in tho increased value of the land. At present- all tho 66-year renewable leases formed part of the national endowment, and the options did not apply to them. They would, however, not become endowment land when the endowment reached 9.000,000 acres, which was not far distant. It had been contended that ITanraki leaseholders who then converted into 66-year lenses would h-.ivo tho option to purchase without further legislation. Whether that wan so or not these terms of purchase formed the fiottled policy of the Government. They applied to the 99year lease, the 33-yonr lease, and the 21year lease, and it was a fairly safe assumption that when the time came they would apply to the 66-year lease. The speaker next directed attention to several points to illustrate, the principle to which he hn<l referred. I'ir.si. the purchase price was based on the assumption that- the value of the land at tho end of the 33 or 66-year term would be no greater than at the time of purchase, an assumption which, iu the light of past experience, was all in favor of the tenant ns against the State. Second, the tenant was not bound to purchase. It was an option which ho would only exercise if it was to his advantage, aiid his aim would be to choose a time when he would make tho best- bargain at the expense of the State. Third, by Granting fueh options with long-term Jpas"« tho State was eimply parting with its interest in an increase in the value of the land. The term had only to be made long enough to entirely eliminate, such interest.

-Tho Liberals and tho Land.— When the Liberal party instituted the long-termed renewable loaro (system they never contemplated that such* options to purchase would bo attached (n them, and whatever excuse the Massoy Government might have had for granting such terms to existing tenant?, there was absolutely no excuse for thorn deliberately entering into now contracts and granting now longterm loapos with such options to purchase. No private individual would grant options on such terms. _ Tf long-term leaseholds wore to be subject to those options, provision should bo made for revaluation of rentals at the request of either party at reasonable periods. Again, with respect to pastoral runs, it micht bo desirable, as the Government did in 1910, to provide" that such runs should no longer go to auction at the end of their terms, but that a right of rpnewal, with revaluation of rentals, should be. granted so long as the runs were not cut up. but he "(Mr Sidey) declared that to attach such conditions to existing leases was simply another illustration of a gift to n few individuals at the expense of the State. The putting through of that provision at once added materially to the market value of ouch leases, and, had they been put up to auction with the rkdit of renewal clause, they would no doubt have produced higher rentals. Tho Government expressed approval of the Hmitation-of-area principle, which had been placed on the Statute Book by their predecessors, but it was much more difficult to secure limitation of are.v with respect to freehold than leasehold, and already the Government had relaxed the limitation conditions in favor of mortgages. Instances wore mentioned in the House last session where lease-in-perpetuity holdings were turned into freeholds and aggregated, which could not have otherwise been aggregated, as the land board would not have consented. There could be no doubt that such procedure might be carried out to a considerable extent.

—Aggregation .Still Aft Evil.—

Ho had put to the test how far the Government were prepared to go in'securing limitation of area wherever possible. Under the Act of 1912 the *tate might enter into an agreement with an owner to subdivide and sell his lund. Now tho various allotments ware limited ia area-.

and none of the first purchasers could buy more than one allotment: but immediately after the sale the whole of the land might* be reaggregated by sale to one individual:' One purchaser could buy up all the others. Last session I moved an amendment to prevent aggregation, as far an practicable, and to impose a limitation-of-area condition, to bo attached for all lime to these allotments, as was don■■• with Crown lands, but my amendment was opposed by the Government am' dciVited by the Ministerial majority. though 1 twice divided the House <•■•-. ihis import-ant point. Helping tho Fat Man to Get Fatter. Last session's Land Bill, which doubh ■ the value of tho land a man might habefore he became ineligible to i > ply for further land, increased t!:o facilities for the man who aires" jy had land to get more, and speak ino ".em-rally, it could not bo denied thai th.' Vie'"'* effect of the Government's land "k'rJdatlou had been to malic concessions eo the man who had land, as against the man who had not. He thought that he had said sufficient to show that, judged bv important features of their land proposals, there 'vat no justification for their ns."iiiiipt;on of the appellation of Liberalism, hut the reverse. Still less was there for that of progressive Liberalism. And wiih respect toother legislation, he had rn-wr said, neither did he think it had been generally said, that the Heform Government would repeal the progressive legislation of the past. (Applause.) On the i-ontrary. the very reverse had been ha id by him and others—namely, that thev would not do so. It was a wellknown characteristic of conservatism that legislation strenuously opposed in its inception was accepted,' and even applauded and extended, -oiico it had by experience proved itself successful. But could anyone point to one single Government measure in force to-day which broke new ground or made a new departnre along what wore known as modern progressive lines ?

A Voice: Xo. \Vi-ong again my friend. I repeat that there is not a- single Government measure 0:1 the Statute Book to-day that cither breaks new ground or makes a nee- departuie moi'.eni. progre.'F.ive lines. ■Applause.) Therefore, much greater evidence is required before the .M.i.-cey Government can make good their claim" to be Progcssivc Liberals. (Cheers.) —Tie' Public Service.— There wore many other matters to which he would refer more fully in subsequentaddresses. They were told that political influence had 'been removed from tho Public Service. It was ridiculous to suggest that influence was not being used to-dnv in departments under the commissioner's control, though Ministers had divested themselves of responsibility to Parliament, mid tho Government had' 1:1 vei givi n a satisfactory reply to the foN lo" iog question, because one did not exist -namely : If the system were so desirable, whv was it not extended to the railway:' The Railway Department was the hi'irest. department* of the State, anA if engaged by far the. largest number dj£ toiniiorary employees. There was not a, single argument in favor of placing the other branches of the service under commissioners that did not apply with even ereater force to the railway. (Loud applause.) The Prime Minister had declared thai the salaries of the public servants had been increased, and no exception was taken to that, though there were some 1 oes which seemed to savor of a desire to sweeten the service of the new order of things. Rut what did the Prime Minister say regarding the increases to ---Railway Employees.— s Speaking at Tapamii before tho last elec- ] tion [»n<] the same thing was said on other platforms) Mr .Massey said :

When the Government took office thev found the railway men in the l ■ve'ond ldvision were not being paid ordinary laborers" wages. There wa< dissatisfaction and unrest, and the Minister nf Ilailways had recommended an increase of wages, and Parliament had aereed. Tho * right thing had been done, and during tho strike there, were no more loyal workers in the Dominion than the railway men.

it was difficult to imagine that the Prime Mini.-tor really believed these words. Ho was sure the railway men knew belter than that. They knew well that the minimum wage of 9s a day was granted the railway men by the Liberal party under Sir Joseph Ward, and that' the "concessions granted by tho present' Government were for the most part to carry out the promises made, by Mr Mve'rs, who was not long enough in office to give effect to them.

—The Royd Garlick Appointment.— There were many other things than those to which lie had referred respecting which the Government had laid themselves open to criticism during their short term of oflice, but he would deal with thorn more fully in subsequent addresses. Among them were (first) the Royd Garlick appointment. Mr Garlick might bo giving every satisfaction, but that did not justify the method of his appointment 'nor (fid it justify the fact that a private school of physical culture was being canied on in Mr Garlick's name, while he presided over the physical culture, branch of the Public Service. —Second T.allnt Substitute: A Broken Promise.—

"Next, there wu*; the. failure of the Government to fulfil their promise to pioviu-i a substitute for the Second Ballot. When tho M assay Government complained of an understanding bctwcui Liberal and Labor regarding certain seats, let them realise that their failure largely contributed to that result. W;th no substitute for the !?*.'i.oiid Ballot, the piogressive forces op-l**c-d to th;> Govci nir.".-it were obliged to use every endeavor to prevent their votes being split, at. the polls. Third, legislation on the eve of the election to d"al with tha tii-iiiueifs vote after it appeared likely how the vote would be cast. Fourth, camtecn scandal and other matters, such as marino ii:.t:ranc© rates arising out of tho war. Fifth, local iravy. The public were apt to eoc. in erroneous pcrsuoctivc the present doings of the. Australian fleet, which was really a part of the Imperial "N'avy. The. tiau.'ty of this country lay as strongly as ever in th r> gioat British Fleet in the North Sen. and ho was as firm a. believer as ever ii:i one Imperial Navy centrally controlled and directed m peaco and war. (Loud applause.) —The Liberal Party's Record. The speaker continued that he had never been strongly enamored of tho party sv.'lem. bat while it existed allcgia.nco to a paiiy was'essential for effective work in Parliament. He would not detain them that night by refeiring to tho long list of progressive- measures for which the Liberal party were responsible during their 21 veal's of office, commencing with one of their fir.,t acta, the abolition of the properly tax and tho substitution of a tax on land values and incomes, and ending with cue of their last acts, the institution of widows' pensions. This country, under tho Liberal pa.rU, had been pioneers in progressive ajid humanitarian legiflatiwi. New Zealand was tho first country in the .Southern Hemisphere to institute old age. pensions, and in many directions it had led the way I'or tho Australian Suites. These- achievements had been effected as, the result, for the most part, of the union of the Liberal and Labor forces. Tho traditions of the past formed a, powerful inspiration to further achievement, and he had a strong conviction that the same forces would, before long, be again entrusted with the administration of the affairs of. this country. (Applause.) —A Personal Note.— He had now represented tho district for 13 years. Prior to entering Parliament be had served tor a good many years on municipal and other local bodies, and had been for years closely in touch with most or their local institutions. In Parliament ha had devoted special attention to some subjects, such as Education. He had endeavored, by introducing legislation, to s ixu the Government for tho time being in office a lead, on several subjects, and several measures drawn up by him were now on the Statute Book. His work in that, direction had been restricted latterly owing to his efforts being monopolised, though so far unsuccessfully, in seeking to secure the adoption of ifa daylight saving

pvcpo.=al. (Loud applause.) He believed its adoption would prove a boon, especially to their young people and indoor workers, and he felt sure it would yet bo accepted by Parliament, Last cession he had sought, by preparing and introducing a Bill on the subject, to specially direct the attention of the Government to tho enormous fire waste that took place annually in thie country. In conclusion, he said it was beearso he believed that, with his past parliamentary experience, he could still render service to the district, and to the State, that he once more submitted himself as a candidate. He claimed durvng his parliamentary career to have faithfully adhered to his platform utterances, and he once again placed himself with confidence in their hands. . Tho candidate resumed his seat amid hearty and generous applause. —Questions and Confidence.--Several questions were asked, and the candidate made the following replies: The Liberal Government had commenced tho payment of 9s a day to railway men six months before they went out of office. There was no question which had given him more concern than the Licensing ques tion. He knew that a good many people had modified their views on this question, while some candidates were asking for a free hand. While he should have preferred a free hand himself, he felt that It was due to the electors that one should state one's position definitely on that point. (Applause.) Indeed, it had been plainly intimated to him that nothing short of that would satisfy the respective parties. He had decided to adhere to his previously expressed views, and would stand by "the three-fifths majority. (Loud applause, and a voice: " Stick to it, Siflev.") When tho Liberal narty again got into power it was intended to introduce a system of Proportional Representation for the election of members to the Lower House. Personally, he would vote the country "quota "out to-morrow, but it was not easy to get rid of it. If there was going to be a special war tax he thought it should be on land values and incomes. Ho was in favor of tho Referendum on the Bible-in-schools question. Mr R. R. Douglas then moved—"That this meeting of electors of Dunedin South thank -Mr Sidey for his able and lucid address, and, further, that we express our confidence in him as being the most suitable candidate to protect onr interest* in Parliament." The speaker declared that the present Government were truly consistent in one respect—that they were consistent by being inconsistent. Mr Ca'rr seconded the motion, remarking that the people would stick to the present member. (Voice- No doubt about it) He was a tried and trusted Liberal, and would yet be a Cabinet Minister. (Loud applause.) . Mr M. Bradley, in supporting the motion, said he had been asked to stand in Dunedin South, but had declined to split the vote. • , • i The motion was carried unanimously, loud cheers being given fca tftl maMato and Sir Jo«f>h War*.

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Bibliographic details

THE GENERAL ELECTION, Issue 15656, 21 November 1914

Word Count
7,384

THE GENERAL ELECTION Issue 15656, 21 November 1914

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