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PRIME MINISTER AT CHRISTCHURCH.

ROWDY ELEMENT IX EVIDENCE. [From Our Special Correspondent.] CHRlFTf'llLßL'tl, November 24. Tho Prime .Minister's meeting here this evening was distinctly rowdy, as he was determinedly opposed throughout his whole address by a large adverse element composed of Liberals and Red Feds. From the moment of In's appearance upon the platform jeers opened in great volume, and were maintained and renewed at every possible opening. Tho suggestion by tho Prune 'Minister that ho was roping with tho unemployed difficulty provoked a storm of derisive jeers. After 10 minutes’ speech the ttimnlt of disturbance was .such that four stalwart policemen appeared in the centre of the theatre. This produced a terrific uproar for the time being, and a storm of defiance was directed to tho platform, where Mr Massey maintained his eland quietly. The police withdrew to the wails after a moment, hut two remained hiindy hi the main aisle, although their services were nut required. Interjections afterwards wore quite a.s frequent, but mostly had little point. “Joey will pull yon to pieces for this," greeted Mr Massey's quotation of some figures, and this was acclaimed with a roar of approval, accompanied by three cheers for .Sir Joseph Ward. “I’ll deal with Hunilv," replied the Prime Minister tfO an interjection. “And we’ll deal with yon," hollowed <i lusty voice savagely from the rear. (Uproar.) A moment later a voice interjected : “ It's a long way to Tipperary, Rill." “ Yes," retorted Mr Massey quickly, "but we'll get there on polling day.” This happy sally brought forth a storm of appreciation. The next half hour, in which the Prime Minister reviewed the pledges given and the performances of the Government, was exciting, a* interjections were continuous. There was one touch of aptness. In cataloguing his performances, Mr Massey used the phrase “that lias undone" repeatedly. After one such phrase a voice solemnly demanded : “Do yon realise, Bill, that you’re done?” This sally produced joyous uproar from tho decided hostile clement. Another hostile demonstration took place in reference to the Huntly disaster. Mr Massey declared that the whole affair (would be investigated in the Supremo Court of the country. A voice then sympathetically inquired : n How much do you think you'll get, Bill?” which provoked fresh uproar. Amidst incessant and continuous interjections Mr Massey reviewed both the strike and the Huntly disaster in compliance with demands from a big section of the crowd. From the majority of the meeting the Prime Minister received a good hearing, but a section was decidedly against him. Mr Massey was in good form, and more than held his own with interjoctors. At one. stage, when the Mayor, who presided, rose to appeal for order, ho was refused a hearing and very derisively "counted out." As compared with the two famous previous meetings of Mr Massey in Christchurch, the meeting showed that tho Prime Minister had gained ground, for the disturbing element was confined to a. few hundred oppositionists, whose interjections, while persistent, were not so personally savage as was tho case at tho previous gatherings. The bitter hostility then apparent had quite disappeared, and while opposition was still present, the general tone of the meeting was good-humored. A motion of thanks and confidence in Air Massey was proposed, but the cheering and counter-cheering as the crowd broke up rendered it impossible for any vote to be taken. From the Reform point of view the meeting was a. huge success and a. personal triumph for the Prime Minister. t

[AltUlDCiF.lt I'HOM Pri.SS AiiiOCl.VTlO.v] Xe-arly ;iu hour before the commem-e----inoill of the Prime .Minister’s address tin; G]ieivi. House was packed wit U 1.200 people, whilst hundreds were imahh- to pain admission. The Mayor of Christchurch ('Mr H. Holland) piesided, and appealed to the meeting, lor the honor of the city, to give. Mr Massey a patient hearing. The subjects touched on hy the Prime Minister were finance, the increased cost of living, land settlement, old age, pensions, the strike, and the, Hnntly disaster. Occasionally there was seemingly organised interruption, which caused Mr Massey to remark that a pang of about, 50 was creating aP the noise. Referring to llte Wainhn Railway, (he speaker said ho was just going to ask one of the Opposition [nepers to make a definite- .statement -instead of innuendo—just to say that ho promoted that railway for his own purposes. He just wished the ‘ Lyttelton Times’ or t,he Wellington 'Times’ to s-;ty it. He challenged them to say that he used public money for his own private .benefit in connection with his proposal, and lie would pice them the opportunity to say it in the .Supremo Court. Mr Massey claimed that ho was the first man in tho Xow Zealand Parliament to move a, resolution in favor of compulsory military training. •(Cheers.) A member of the audience moved—- “ That this public meeting thank the Pn'mo Minister for his jiolilical address, and express confidence in the Government of which he. is the head.” When the Mayor put the. motion to the •meeting such was the din that it was only hoard by a few people, some 60 in the front seats putting up their hands. Immediately it dawned on the audience what the motion was, enthusiastic cheering and groaning broke forth, the cheers swamping the proans. Without calling for u. vote of those, opposed to the motion, the Mayor declared it,, curried, “Thank - you very much for your unanimous vote,” declared Mr Massey.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141125.2.37

Bibliographic details

PRIME MINISTER AT CHRISTCHURCH., Evening Star, Issue 15659, 25 November 1914

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908

PRIME MINISTER AT CHRISTCHURCH. Evening Star, Issue 15659, 25 November 1914

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