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CAMPAIGN PROSPECTS, Issue 15662, 28 November 1914
WHAT OUR SPECIALS THINK. THE LIBERAL OUTLOOK BRIGHTER. PARTIES NOW FALL INTO LINE. AUCKLAND. Tho most noticeable feature of tho changing political outlook, as the campaign progresses in and about Auckland, is the steadily growing opinion that the Liberal party are rallying their forces in a manner that was not thought possible by the most sanguine even a few weeks ago. It is difficult to ascribe the change to any specific cause, and it really cannot be claimed that there is any conspicuous merit in the candidates who arc standing in the Liberal interest. But taking tho position by and large it is the Government candidates who get most of the heckling, and among the serious aspirants for parliamentary honors probably the two who have suffered most in tliis relation are Messrs J. S. Dickson and J. H. Bradney, the late members for Parnell and Auckland West respectively. —Confusion in Parnell.— On two different occasions now meetings addressed by Mr J. S. Dickson have ended with a vote of want of confidence in tho Massey Administration. Two rowdy hours were spent on Wednesday evening while the. candidate vainly endeavored to justify the doings of tho present party in power. It must be understood that Mr Dickson makes no personal enemies. His good humor is unfailing, and while his language and his ability are totally undistinguished he laughs infectiously, and does not try to tackle problems that are obviously _ beyond him. His outstanding characteristic has been bis unswerving loyalty 'as a party man, and his audience the other night mischievously plied him with critical questions about “ostrich farms" and branch rail wav lines through the property of parliamentarians; about the Justice Department in relation to special police supplies by tho Farmers’ Union; and about the Huntly disaster, and other subjects of that sort. Mr Dickson has not had a straight run with a speech yet; but as matters stand at present his prospects of success are the brightest. His opponents. Messrs J. C. Gleeson and J, J. Sullivan, are dividing the LiberalLabor support. Both are young Irishmen, and both talk with enthusiasm to their election committees about their duty; but unless some “discipline” is introduced by the Liberal Leader on the occasion of his approaching visit the seat is believed to bo a certainty for Mr Dickson. Mr Sullivan is well known as a Home Rule enthusiast, and has caught the imagination of the people in a most remarkable manner. His political equipment. however, is negligible, but he has a gift of eloquence that moves the crowd in a wonderful degree. On the other hand, Mr Gleeson is a wealthy young man. who, like Albert Edward in an adjoining constituency, relies largely upon bis devotion to sport to win him friendly aid in his campaign. Three years ago he was unsuccessful in his campaign in City Central, where Mr Glover appears to hold an unassailable position. —The Straight Contests. — In City West it seems on present appearances that Mr C. H. Poole is making much greater headway than Mr J. H. Bradney. The fluent* American excels his slower opponent on the platform, and Mr Bradney comes off badly in his contest with those who persistently heckle him add prevent him from gaining anything like a unanimous vote of confidence. Despite his opponents (one a SocialDemocrat, and the other a Government candidate and a Prohibitionist of the uncompromising kind). Mr Glover is regarded as a certainty for tho Central seat. Mr Arthur Mvers is not regarded as being seriously challenged by Mr Holmes in the City East. The contest for Waitemata is a straight fight between Mr’ Harris (the ex-member) and Mr C. If. Tewsley, who stands as the Liberal candidate. Here, as in probably no other Auckland electorate in the same measure, the fight is on strictly party lines. Both candidates have quiet meetings, and there is no feeling; but although Mr Tewsley outstrips his opponent in all that counts for intellectual vigor, Waitemata has long been regarded as immovably conservative. He is probably better able than almost any other candidate to present the case for Liberalism in its most attractive light. Contrary to general expectations, there have developed sighs that Mr"Speaker 'Mr F. W. Lang) is to have a run in Manukau. and it is no uncommon experience for him now to be heckled persistently in the village centres of his electorate. His opponent (Mr J. W. M‘Larin) is putting up n strenuous fight. —Where Votes are Split.— Two electorates that at present are regarded as gifts for the Government party are Eden and Grey Lynn. In Eden, Mr John Bollard’s old seat, the Government candidate is Mr C. J. Parr, the ambitious Mayor of Auckland. His opponents are both Labor men of the better class, the stronger of the pair being Mr W. R. Tuck, a local lawyer, who is really standing as a Radical-Independent. The other candidate (Mr Wesley Richards) is the Social-Democrat nominee. The position is such that either one of them is believed to bo able to just about beat Mr Parr in a straight contest. Negotiations to amalgamate forces have, however, failed up to the present, though it is expected that Sir Joseph Ward may effect some tactical move on his visit north. Kir Parr has not “made good” as a political candidate, and he has rather misjudged his audiences on Ins deliberate appeal to the parochial feeling, for which Aucklanders are very' frequently criticised by their southern brethren. There arc no prospects of other than a triangular contest in Grey Lynn. The bulk of opinion leans to the feeling that the Hon. Geo. Fowlds is not making headway. Kir John Payne retains an extraordinary hold on his people, and it is thought that Kir Murdoch KPLean may slip ’in between the other two. Kir KPLean is a straight-out Government supporter, and is personally popular ns a contractor of good repute. Mr Payne has somewhat noisy meetings, but many of the electors have been impressed by his “martyrdom'' exploits at various stages of the session, and it is believed that he will take the entire. Labor vote—always a strong factor in Grey Lynn. NORTH CANTERBURY. Three outstanding events have occurred in Christchurch this week to add interest and variety to the election campaign. The first and most dramatic was the retirement of Mr Davey from Christchurch East. As indicated early in the week. Mr Davey, after his first meeting and the resolution of no confidence in him, seriously considered his position and his attempt to achieve independence. If he could have brought himself to Join either the Ward or Massey party he possibly would have been returned, but he is no admirer of Sir Joseph Ward, and he was too honorable to join the other camp. In this predicament retirement was the only course possible. Much sympathy is felt for Mr Davey, who has been recognised as an upright and straightforward character. In the new situation the contest becomes a duel between Dr Thacker (Liberal) and Kir Hiram Hunter (Social Democrat). Kir G. D. KPFarlane, the Reform candidate, who recently came into the field, does not count as a possibility for election, but his candidature is a disturbing factor in the duel between the others. In 1911 Dr Thacker headed the poll on-tho first ballot with 2,492 votes, Mr Davey secured 2,360, and Mr Hunter 2,366. In the second ballot Mr Davey ran to 4,042. and Dr Thacker to 2,861;. In the present fight Dr Thacker will secure the majority of the Liberal votes freed by Mr Davey, although a goodly number of that total will go to the Reform “ dark horse,” Mr KTFarlane. He, however, will not do much damage, as on
to poll very well, but I am inclined to fancy that Dr Thacker will get home by a small margin. The second event of moment concerns the Avon electorate,. where there has developed a special duel between Messrs Russell and Sullivan over the Defence Act. There is something of humor in this fight. Mr Sullivan produced a from Mr Russell to a constituent, in which he expressed his dislike of the compulsory training scheme. Mr Russell said “he would like to see that letter,” and thereby cast doubt upon its authenticity and Mr Sullivan’s honor. Mr Sullivan promptly challenged Mr Russell by saving that if it were not genuine he (Mr Sullivan) would retire, and'that if it were Mr Russell should retire. Mr Russell declined the challenge, and said that all he thought was that Mr Sullivan had only quoted a few sentences of the letter, so Mr Sullivan last evening obliged with the full letter. In this Mr Russell said i “My objection to compulsory military training is that it is both unnecessary and impracticable. I was never in favor of it, but when tho fever was on in Parliament and the country it was useless to try to stop it.” The other portions of the letter were quite immaterial. and did not affect the declaration made in these two sentences. As Mr Sullivan pointed out, Mr Russell, while conscientiously opposed to the Act. voted for it, and in his election manifesto took credit to himself and the Liberals for its passage. Since the outbreak of war Mr Russell declares that he stands by the Act, and would even strengthen it. but in peace time his opposition would be resumed. This is not n strong line to take up, and will certainly lose votes. Mr Sullivan in 1909 supported the idea of a compulsory scheme at a trades conference, but in tho early days of the Defence Act. on account of imprisonment of youths, publicly changed his views. The effect of this discussion cannot but. damage Mr Russell, and win to *Mr Sullivan votes he would otherwise not secure. At last election three “ Progressives ” stood. - Mr Russell secured 3,040 votes, and Mr M’C’ornbs (Prohibition and Labor) and Mr Smith (Labor) totalled 3,615 between them. The Reformers’ vote was 1,062. As Mr Sullivan unites in his person Prohibition and Labor influences his chances are becoming rosier every day. Mr Acland during the week has seemed quite neglected, and while in the upheaval since last election his chances are not hopeless, it seems likely that the course of later events will help Mr Sullivan to victory. In Christchurch North a third event of interest concerns Mr L. M. leitt and his loyaltv to party politics or Prohibition. Prohibition and the hare majority was always Mr Isilt’s trump card, and in Dunedin eorne years ago he declared he would support any political opponent who would grant the bare majority. In Kaiapoi during tho week this declaration was put to the test. Owing to the illness of Mr Buddo the Liberal party aro lending platform aid, so it came about that Mr Isitt (hare majority) wont into Kaiapoi electorate to speak in favor of hia fellowLiheral Mr Buddo (three-fifths) and against the Reform candidate (Mr David Jones), who—oh, Mr Isitt!—is a bare majority man. Where is that declaration now? So the. Prohibitionists are concerned at this defection, and declare that Mr Isitt has been led away by his new love of party politics from his old love of Prohibition. During tlie week a letter was published in Christchurch from the Prohibition organiser in Kaiapoi and Hurunui declaring that Mr Isitt was no longer the mouthpiece of the party, and challenging him to pursue his campaign further afield. Mr Isitt’s action will have some effect in his own electorate, where his opponent (Mr Toogood) is a hare-majority man. so that many Prohibitionists may quite easily vote for him without violatin'/ their consciences. In 1911 Mr Hall (Reform) scored 3,612 (first ballot) and (second ballot) acrainst Mr Isitt’s 4,134 (first) and 4.627 (second). The margin to be bridged, therefore, is not an impossible one, and while I do not yet think Mr Toogood quite capable of doing it, his chances of success have certainly improved during the week. No material change in prospects can be recorded in any of the other Christchurch seats. Mr Ell seems assured for Christchurch South and Mr Witty for Riccarton, while Mr M’Oombs will probably retain Lvtlelton. "At Ashburton Mr Nos worthy is threatened with a verv close contest with Mr Maslin, and there are not wanting those who prophesy a change. Jhe balance in hand at the second ballot last time was over 900 votes, but the. Opposition candidate on this occasion is much more popular, and will go far to bridging the gulf.
SOUTH CANTERBURY. So far nis the South Canterbury seats are concerned, the political situation has altered little during the past week. In Timaru there was a flutter of interest at the beginning of the week, owing to a meeting ol Liberal and Labor voters being called to discuss the political position. The advertisement calling the meeting was unsigned, and the result was a gathering of about 70 men, two-thirds of whom belong to the Labor section, the rest being curious friends of the Liberal candidate for Timaru, (Mr Jas. Craigie. A few of the speakers gave voice to rumors to the effect that Mr Crnigic would not pledge himself to vote for Sir Joseph Ward, and that ho had been angling for a Reform vote. It was suggested that Mr Craigie should have addressed the electors earlier and defined his position. Finally, after the defeat of a proposal to ask Sir Joseph Ward whether he endorsed Mr Craigie’e candidature, the meeting appointed a deputation to put the question to the candidate. A telephone message interrupted Mr Craigie as he was on his way to bed, hut he cheerfully agreed to receive the deputation at once. An hour later the members of the deputation sought their homes convinced that Mr Craigie would support the Liberal party, as he has always done, and satisfied that both Liberals and Laborites could safely confide their political fortunes to his hands. The story, perhaps, is hardly worth the time it takes to tell. The rumors which made a few—a yery few—electors doubt Mr Craigie’s position were obviously circulated for a purpose by persons who no not vote Liberal, and the oniv effect of the little hubbub they created has been to advertise Mr Craigie and consolidate the Labor vote in his favor. He will open his campaign on Monday night, and will be kept busy till polling day. Mr F. H. Smith, tho Government candidate, has addressed meetings this week in some of the outlying parts of the -Timaru electorate, but his efforts can scarcely be said to be arousing enthusiasm. It is significant that while the local Reform newspaper is devoting a great deal of space to the Reform candidates for Temuka and Waitaki, Mr Smith has been on very short commons. Of his last four meetings only one has been reported by the party newspaper, ami the “report” occupied six lines. There is no word of any other candidate for Timaru. The two candidates for Temuka are working long hours. Mr Kerr, the Reformer, is addressing two meetings a day in his efforts to cover the big electorate. Mr Talbot (Liberal) had the advantage of an earlier start, and is taking the campaign more easily. Mr Kerr s platform work has improved a little, and his cheery good nature is appreciated, but he lacks the solidity of his opponent, whose sound grasp of political subjects is an excellent recommendation. On Monday night Mr Russell is to reply to tho Prime Minister in the principal centre of tho electorate, Temuka, and his visit is arousing a good deal of interest. The general opinion is, however, that Mr Talbot is strong enough to win the seat without 'outside help. Of the two candidates for Waitaki, Mr Francis (the elect of Reform) has been busy of late in the Upper Waitaki district. He has gone right into the backblocks to address meetings of musterers and shearers. and his friends are more than pleased with the results. Mr Anstey has been spending the week on the Waimate side of the river, where he is, of course, well known. His speeches have dealt largely with questions relating to. land, and lie has been very well received. The contest for Waitaki remains very open. Mr Maslin’s friends have been encouraged by Sir Joseph Ward’s visit to Ash-
ing at tho southern end of the electorate, but it has been recognised that Mr Nceworthy holds a strong position in Ashburton and the neighborhood. It is hoped that Sir Joseph ward’s visit, wNich was very well received, has Hardened up the Liberal vote and enhanced Mr Maslin’s prospects. At tho same time, it would be rash to belittles Mr Nosworthy’s chances. His friends aro confident, and their confidence will probably be justified. MARLBOROUGH. The distant thunder of German guns has taken away a good deal of usual interest in the General Election. The candidates for Wairau are 31 r R. M’Callum, the sitting member and a Liberal, and Mr John Duncan, one-time Independent (so-called), hut now flaunting Reform colors boldly. It is rather early yot to make any prophecy, aa it is possible for either candidate to make a hash of things before the free and independent goes to the polling-booth to. record his vote. Mr Duncan is a very likeable man, and if his coat were tho true color he would be a very hard man to beat. “ King Dick,” on the other hand, has the handicap of the Liberal armor. There has not been much fun politically, though Mr M'Callum has stirred up the “ classes ” in a reference to the rich men’s sons getting the fat places in the Expeditionary Forces. The candidates are firing off their BinaU guns in the outlying districts, and Mr' M'Oal'iim has given an address in Blenheim. Mr Duncan speaks there on Monday. It is going to be a deadly dull election as far as appearances now go. Letters to tho editor on the election are low and far between, and it needs au ardent feeling for one’s party to work up any energy at all over the candidates. Mr Diinwm’s"organisation is perfect, amd Mr M'Callum has also his forces well in hand. There may be more of interest to chronicle next week.
CAMPAIGN PROSPECTS, Issue 15662, 28 November 1914
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