THE CHALMERS SEAT
MR G. S. THOMSON AT MOSGIEL. Mr G. S. Thomson, the Independent Labor candidate for Chalmers seat, addressed a meeting of seme 250 electors in the Coronation Hall, Mosgiel, last night, j .Mr Thos. Walsh presiding. J Mr Thomson said he did not purpose 1 going into tho questions of policy that evening, but would devot-e Ins attention to j a criticism of the two |*>litiwil parties, to j which ho was opposed —.\s a- matter of fact he was oppose.! to all parlies a« ihcy stood at present. There were three parties at present, and the Government recognised this when tney made provision for the'men I who joined the main Expeditionary Forces, sonic only 18 years of age voting, tho 'issues being "Government," "opjK.6it.ion," and "Labor" He, personally, sto.;d for i Independent Labor. Ho referred lo what ; lie described as the insult offered the ! British flag, through the placing of a representation of it by tho Massey party on their organ termed "Light ami Liberty,' : and to tho representation of the (lag on a, ' pamphlet issued by the- party opposed to Prohibition. Ho was opposed to both the : .Massey and the Ward parties, for the reason that they were antagonistic to the working classes. We had .\ir Massey addressing a meeting in Sir Joseph Ward's electorate, and Sir Joseph Ward speaking in Mr Massey's electorate. To his mind it was largely a question as to which of these leaders was to hold the reins of Government. He purposed dealing with tho speech delivered by Mr Massey at Winton. There Mr Massey "had said he heartily approved of every man on the land having tho right to convert his leasehold into a frc-cho'ld, at the original valuation- Tho Ward (tarty alno favored this, as it was thev who introduced tho o.r.p system of land selection. Ho (the speaker) was opposed to anyone having the right to acquire the fee simple at the original valuation. Would Mr Massey or Sir Joseph Ward ec-11 their private, holding of land at tho original valuation? He ventured to assert that they would not. He noticed that the newspapers had been hitting one candidate very hard over the Omirana runs, but he could tell them that the Government had paid £l7 10s per acre, for 1.800 acres of land on the Olanomorao Estate, which was not worth more tlia-n £lO per acre. The newspapers were aware that he (the speaker) had said so. Why had they not attacked him? Because they know tlie facts as given by him were, true. .Mr Massey would not touch the Native J>and question. He (the speaker) thought that this w,ts a question which should be tackled. He favored permitting each Native to retain 10 acres of land, and the balance should be handed over to the. Public Trustee to provide for tho upkeep of the Maori race. (Applause.) The Government had talked a lot about the reform of the Uppiv House. The Bill introduced and passed into Jaw provided for | the election of the Upper House in three yeaia' time, on a Proportional Representation basis. Why. he a-sked, was Proportional Representation not applied to the election of representatives to tho Lower Cham her? And was the first election to be held in three years? Previous Governments had been "accused by the Massey partv of stuffing the Upper House with their own supporters. Had not the Mas- ■ sey Government done the same? Messrs Paul and Ball were true Labor members, but what about men like the Hon. John MacGregor. These were the men who had killed the Bill that was introduced for th-3 purposo of reducing the hours of women workers in woollen mills from 48 to 43 per week. When Mr Massey nominated his next batch of 19 nominees to tb» Upper I House on the Ist January, 1915, hje_ would I havo the House well stuffed with his supporters, and men like the Hon. J. A. Miller and Mr E. IT. Clark—political rats --would likely Ik? anion p-t the number. Mr Massey know that he was out at this election, hence his reason for stuffing tho hereditary chamber. (Applause.) Mr Massey had charged his predecessors in ofhee with political patronage- as far as the Public Service w,is concerned, and lie claimed to have abolished it. However, lie (the speaker) was not quite sure that the party now in power were srniltless in this respect. Tl>\> Govern m-Tit had failed to carrv out their promise to oive them tomethine in place of the Second Ballot Act. The" Massey party hoped to Ret back t-o power on a minority vote. Mr Massey had said that a war taxwould not,'be fair at the present time. TC" (the speaker) nuite realised that the man own in? £190.000 worth of land would not think it fair, but the ordinary man would think differently. The Government took credit for the increase of the exports, and said that but for th" war the exports would have been increased by another three million pounds. He ft he speaker) asked where were they to Get it from. The war broke, out about August 4. and farmers were then sowing or were preparing to sow their sprint? crops. On another occasion Mr Massey (pirating the opinion of Mr 11.■ D. Bedford as _cxnressed in a lecture) said that the New Zealand farmers, being so far from the seat of war, would reap an enormous benefit. (Laughter.) Mr Massey had also said that when he went into power he had to dismiss 1,000 of the permanent railway employees, but of course that j was two years and five months before i an election. Mr Thomson said it was ! the business of the Government to increase the producers, and to reduce the aggregation of large estates. He also adversely criticised the action of the Government in the matter of the Graduated Land tax. He disapproved of the Government purchasing larce tracts of land for settlement, such as was done in the • case of Otanomomo, and paying a big price j for it. The man who took it up was j the sufferer. Mr Massey said he did j not object to criticism, but he was averse | to having his private affairs attacked, j He (Mr Thomson) would endeavor to en- [ lighten them as to the ostrich farm that i they had heard so much about. It comprised 3,600 acres, and was purchased > by Mr Massev, Mr Mander, M.P., and Mr E. W. Alison, the latter a coal mine, magnate, and part owner of the Auckland ferry services. These men paid £9.000 for this property. Government institutions were not supposed t-o lend more than twa-t-hirds of the value, yet Mr Massev and his friends had managed to gat £IO,OOO on first mortgage on the property from the Public Trust Office, and later an additional £2.500 on second mortgage from the same institution. Not only that, but a railway to Waiuku, costing £150.000 of public money, had greatly enhanced the value of the property. Mr Massey said he never expected to get a j penary piece out &f the ostrich farm. No]
man who invests money does. He condemned the Government sending a man to South America to open up fruit trade. He was opposed to the appointment of Royal Commißsions. The last Supplementary Estimates included a sum of £SOO in payment of Sir Joseph Ward's expenses to London, when he was last there. No explanation had been given as to what it was for. He (Mr Thomson) was a firm believer in majority rule, and he stood by the principle of the bare majority every time. (Hear, hear, and applause.) He was not in favor of the State controlling everything. He believed in private investors being encouraged. He contended that they were entitled to 6 per cent, on their outlay. The profits over and above the 6 per cent, lie would distribute as follows :—25 per cent, to the capitalist; 50 per cent, by way of a cash bonus to the employees, not in shares; and 25 per cent, to bo invested in libraries and such likjs for the benefit of the emplo3 r ees. (Applause.) He would have this controlled by Act of Parliament. He was not prepared to say who was responsible for the Huntly disaster. No sane man would. There was carelessness somewhere, however. With regard to Sir Joseph Ward's policy, the outstanding feature of it was the baby bonus, which was not obtainable at the time the child was born, when the money was most needed, but 14 years afterwards. Me roundly condemned Sir Joseph Waid's connection with the "Red Feds." Ha was disposed to agree with Mr Massey that if Sir Joseph Ward got into power the " Red Feds." would dictate the policy. He (the speaker) was strongly opposed to that organisation and their organ, the ' Maoriland Worker.' He had always worked in the direction of a sane Labor partv. Referring to the recent visit of Mr G. W. Russell to Port Chalmers, Mr Thomson stated that it was with a view to diverting as much of the Labor support as possible from him. Why did he not go to Mosgiel ? When addressing his constituents at Christchurch recently Mr Russell, speaking to the Labor party, was reported to have said : " I beat you last election, and I will beat you again." In conclusion he contended that thero was no shortage of wheat or flour in the Dominion. There was quite as much wheat grown in New Zealand last year as in former years, and it had not "left the Dominion. Tt was the large rings and combines which were crushing the life-blood out of New Zealand. The Dominion was governed by about 20 per cent, of the people. Were we content to allow this, and were the 80 per cent, to submit to it? He thought not. Members of Parliament had £3OO and a free pass on the railways. After the election he proposed making free use of that free pass in the way of organising the sane and sober working class.
Several questions were answered. Mr C. Busby then moved, and Mr E. South seconded, that a vote of thanks be accorded the candidate. This vras put to the meeting and declared carried. There were a number of dissentient voices.
Mr Dickson addressed a meeting at the Lower Harbor schoolhouse on Saturday night. Mr Long occupied the chair. On the motion of Mr Sharp a vote of thanks to the candidate and confidence in tho Government was carried unanimously. The Presbyterian Sunday School Hall at Anderson Bay was filled last evening, when Mr W. D. Mason addressed the electors. Mr M. Movnihan occupied the chair. Mr Mason was unanimously accorded a vote of thanks and confidence.
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THE CHALMERS SEAT, Evening Star, Issue 15670, 8 December 1914