[ There was no exaggerated flattery in the i remark of the Mayor j A Straightfonva.-c.’ <:i Mornington last Politician. night, when introducing Mr c. ]•:. tham to a crowded, friendly meeting of electors, that “ the name of Statham was “a guarantee of honesty and slraightfor- “ wardness.” It is, perhaps, rather trying to have a name which demands so fino a standard of principle, but the Reform candidate who has given three years’ creditable service to the electors in Dunedin Central will not find it an irksome tack to remain true to the guarantee of honesty and straightforwardness in politics. This standard is the foundation of his policy, and the unswerving aim of his political activity. His comparative youthfulness did not handicap him in Parliament, where he wisely avoided any exercise of precocious prominence in party wrangling, and speedily gained the respect of all parties for his judicial fairness, his straightforwardness, and his eager though unobtrusive industry in that branch of parliamentary activity which is not paraded before the public, but which represents the real action of the Legislature—committee work. Opponents would appreciatively acknowledge Mr Statham’s services as chairman of the Defence Committee and as a member of other committees of the House of Representatives during a term which was notable for the amount of legislative business dealt with by various committees. But his opponents appreciated best of all his impartial service as Deputy-Chairman of Committees —a position which he frequently occupied. It was there that he commanded respect for the qualities most appreciated by thoughtful electors. It is true that Mr Statham has defects as a politician. He is not aggressive in debate, and he cannot temper his refined courtesy to combat the more flinty manners and methods of many of bis political opponents. Many people will prefer those defects in their representative in parliament, but they are noticeable in party warfare. Then there is a very serious defect, as viewed by opponents of the Massey party: He is not a member of the Liberal party, and is uncompromisingly opposed to extreme SocialDemocrats. The manner in which Mr Statham expounded his own policy as regards the controversial questions of the period — Naval Defence, Bible in Schools, arid Licensing—secured admiration even from his opponents. As to Naval Defence, he is sensibly opposed to the establishment of even a “ wee local navy ” for Now Zealand. “Any sort of a local navy," he said, "would bo .absolutely prohibitive * —on the score of cost alone. The majority of the electors will bo with him, we feel sure, in that view of a subject that should be above the petty strategy of party politicians. In striking contrast to the attitude adopted by several other candidates in the Dominion (a few of them are not very far away from home) in respect to the question of religious in-rlrud’n-i It? vrhpols, Mt-Statham was definite, clear, and firm. If xo-nleewon impends on support of the demands of the Bible-in-Schools League, Dunedin Central will lose a good representative. He is opposed to the league’s demands, and his reasons wore clearly stated. Several supporters of the league blushed a little last night when he gently remarked that it was hardly a fair game for the league to distribute at his meeting tracts advising the people to vote against opponents of the league. It is certainly not the game Mr Statham or any other fair-minded fighter would play. As to the Licensing Question, Mr Statham still stands for the threefifths majority. This and his frank opposition to the Bible-in-Schools League may rob him of many votes, but the elector who desires an honest, sincere, industrious representative in Parliament will vote for the candidate who has given good service.
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Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914
Evening Star Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914
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