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THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE (MR HERDMAN) DEFENDS HIS ATTITUDE ON THE LICENSING QUESTION.

[Published bx Abkangement.]

NEW PROPOSALS OUTLINED. Turning to the liquor question, ne said that at every eleotion he had contested there had always been a quarrel between 55 per cent, and 60 per cent. A Voice : So there 6hould be. Mr Herdman: No doubt'. I have been a 60 per center ever since i entered politics, and lama 60 per center- to-day. The view 1 take is that if there is to be any alteration in the existing conditions it should be carried by some substantial majority. I am not at all certain that the existing law is satisfactory. If one was a cynic ho could see how both sides on this question have been made the football of political parties during the last 20 years. No Government has ever brought down a Licensing Bill and made it a party measure. I do not think that any satisfactory attempt has ever been made to settle this much-vexed question. I am certain of this: that the legislation wehave on our Statute Book is not going to finally settle the liquor question. 1 am satisfied that if you carried National Prohibition in New Zealand that that would not be tho end of it.

A Voice : Tho end of the country. Mr Herdman : It might bo the end of the country. Just imagine tho state of affairs if the goal of the Prohibitionist was to be reached. They are well-meaning people, but I think they are mistaken. If National Prohibition were carried no liquor could be in New Zealand except for medicinal, religious, or scientific purposes. What a ridiculous condition of affairs you would have in New Zealand if euch a law were to operate. I have spoken to prominent Prohibitionists, and they have admitted that they do not think that such a condition of affairs would be practicable. They could see that liquor would come into tho country, but they wanted to start with a clean sheet. I should prefer to deal with existing conditions. You carry National Prohibition, and New Zealand will be a plague-stricken spot. People wouldn't come here. (Applause.) The present legislation, which was supposed to be temperance legislation, started in 1894. Since then the convictions for drunkenness have increased, and tho quantity of liquor consumed per head of the population has increased. There is no inducement at the present time for people to observe the law. A man who takes a hotel has to struggle and fight to get his money before the three years are over. He has the election staring him in the face, and the possibility of No-license being carried, and he takes every copper he can out of the people who go into his hotel. It was possible to devise new legislation wliich will place tho liquor trade on a bettor footing, continued the speaker. He was a 60 per center until he could see a better way out, and he believed there is a better way out. He believed there should be a State licensing authoritv, which would control the licensing of hotels, which would see that none but the best liquors were sold, which would see that no licensee was allowed to retain a drunken man on his premises, and which would make the penalty for drunkenness greater than it ever was. Such a board of control should consist of three reputable, trustworthy men, whose business it would be to see that every place in which drink was sold should be run under the best possible conditions, 'and who would be responsible not only for the proper salo of liquor, but for the provision of proper accommodation Such a board should be responsible to Parliament, and therefore to the people. (Applause.)

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141207.2.15

Bibliographic details

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE (MR HERDMAN) DEFENDS HIS ATTITUDE ON THE LICENSING QUESTION., Evening Star, Issue 15669, 7 December 1914

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632

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE (MR HERDMAN) DEFENDS HIS ATTITUDE ON THE LICENSING QUESTION. Evening Star, Issue 15669, 7 December 1914

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