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POLLING FORECASTS., Issue 15671, 9 December 1914
FROM VARIOUS VIEWPOINTS. WHAT OUR CORRESPONDENTS THINK, / ——- AUCKLAND. Thcro is little likelihood of tho political representation of the Auckland Province undergoing much change as a result of to-morrow's poll. It is pretty generally granted that the province on tho whole will give the Reform Government the vordict, and keen obeervere hold that there will bo a substantial decrease in the Liberal vote, as repicsented by tho figures at last election. The present contest is remarkable for its noise. It is the noisiest 'held far many years, but amidst all the noise and froth a point or two stands out. The first of these is that the Opposition made one or two blunders at the outset, and in consequence tho Social Democrats axe gaining votes for the Reform party daily. The organisation of bands of men prominent in the strike <xl 1913, who travel to and fro to create disorder at Reform, meetings, has just been a little too apparent. In tho next place the Opposition's charges in connection with the Huntly disaster havo fallen flatter than the proverbial pancake. On tho other hand, the refusal of t/ho Minister of Railways to eater tain the proposals for very substantially reducing railway fares of children is telling against his party, and the clow rate of progress of some of tho publio works is not doing the party any good There are four seats north of Auckland —Bay of Islands, Marsden, Kaipava, and AYaitemata. the latter being largely composed of the North Shore boroughs. In tho Ray of Islands there is a split Reform vote between Messrs Vernon Reed and Wilkinson, which may allow the Liberal candidate (Dr Buck) to creep in. But I think Mr Reed seems the likeliest pick. In Marsden Mr Mander ought again to carry the Reform banner to victory. Apart from party questions, he lias a considerable following owing to his personal popularity and to the genuine honest hard work lie has done for hie electorate. Kaipara seems likely to return Mr Coates by a very big majority ovor Mr Hoe; in fact, Kaipara is generally thought to be a safe Government seat V/aitemata has been a consistent Reform seat for a long period. The Reform representative (Mr Harris), who again contests the seat, is not exactly a strong candidate, but he is opposed by a very much weaker candidate in Mr Tnwsley for the Opposition. Parnell has been interesting because of the number of candidates on both sides biit the " extras " retired at the last minute, leaving a straight-out fight between Mr Dickson '(who defeated Sir John Findlay in 1911) and Mr Sullivan. Mr Dickson has had a lot of persistent interruption and disturbance at his meetings, but I think ho will romp home. City East is a Liberal stronghold. Mr Holmes (the Government candidate) will poll extremely well, but ho is unlikelv to defeat Mr A. Myers. In City Central Mr A. E. Glover, who has frequently caused considerable merriment in Parliament, is opposed by Mr Richardson, the Prohibition lecturer, who is this time under the Reform banner as an official Government candidate. Liberalism ought to be able to retain that seat. Oity West is providing a verv hot and interesting battle, and the results seem hkely to be very close. It is quite on tho cards that Reform may 1060 this seat. There is certainly a great deal of noise and disturbance at the Reform candidate's meetings, and if one judged bv that alone it would seem that Mr Bra'dnev would lose his £lO deposit. All the * same I shall " tip " Mr Bradney to win the seat. Eden, which was represented for so many years by Mr John Bollard, who retired last session, ought to be a fairly easv win for Mr C. J. Parr (tho Mayor of Auckland), who stands for the Government against Mr Tuck (Opposition) and Mr Wesley Richards (Social Democrat), who is a negligible quantity. Grey Lynn is a historic'battleground, and it is often said that, with one"of tiro Christchurch districts excepted, it contains more "cranks" than any other part of New Zealand. Last election it returned Mr J. Payne; this time tho Hon. George Fowlds again contests the seat, and declares himself a Labor candidate, which Mr .Payne also professes to be. Mr M'Lean (Reform) is rather n heavy and ponderous speaker for platform work. The district may retain its reputation for doing cranky" things by electing Mr Payne, hut I think the contest rests between" Mr M'Lean and Mr Fowlds, and Mr M'Lean at tho time of writing appears the likely selection.
Notwithstanding the riotous 'behaviour of a mob on the occasion of Mr Massey"s speech in that electorate, Franklin is, "of course, safe for Mr Masse}-, and the Speaker (Mr Lang) is assured of return for Mamikau. Raglan and Waikato are also pretty sure to return tfic two Reform candidates, Messrs R. Bollard and J. A. Young. For Tauranga the Hon. Mr Ilrrries is 'sure of return, while the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne will bo won by Mr MarDonaM and Sir James Carroll respectively, but Sir James is going to have a closer run for it than he has had for a lung time past. Thames- is likely to return Mr T. W. Rhodes. ;ts tho Liberal aspirant iMr Tavlor) is a weak candidate. A good even contest is being waged in Ohinemuri, where Mr Poland (Liberal) is opposed by Mr Joseph Clark, better known as Pastor Clark. Mr Poland is a particularly popular man, and should get home again. Mr Clark is a good candidate, and is bound to poll well. In Taumarunni the Liberals are making a great fight to oust Mr Wilson (Reform) and to return- Mr W. T. Jennings, whom Mr Wilson defeated in 1911. There is an Independent in the field in the person of Mr Shorthand, but, all things considered, Mr Wilson should retain the scat. THE EAST COAST. For Napier City Mr Vigor Brown itho Mayor) will haw no difficulty in disposing of Mr Vcnables: Mr George Hunter will defeat Mr .Tull l>v an increased jority; and Mr Campbell will assuredly defeat Dr M'Nab fou HawkoV Bav. With Sir Ja-s. Carroll, Mr Mac Donald." and the Hon. W. H. Hn-ries retaining their seats it will lie a oa?o of "as vou were" on tho East Coast. WELLINGTON. To sum up in sporting language tho winners of the Wellington Cup (political), I venture to place them in this order: Wellington Suburbs.—R. A. Wright, easy win. Wellington Central.—R. Fletcher, bv a neck. Wellington East.—l). M'Laren. on the post. Wcllingtt'i North.—A. L. Herdman, out on his own.. Wellington South.—A. 11. Hindmarsh, couple of lengths. Hutt.—T. M. Wilford, comfortably. The Attorney-General, Mr Wilford (Sir Joseph Ward's Attorney, if there's a change of Administration), and Mr Wright aro dead "morals"; nothing but a debacle, which will,not happen, could spoil their chances. Central will Vie the hottest fight in the Dominion. The Tories aro determined to pay out Mr Fletcher for his action during" the waterside workers' strike, which he mishandled; and th? waterside workers are out for tho scalp of the Minister of Marine for his suspension of the Seamen and Shipping Act, which was the means of breaking the strike almost as-much as the firmness of the Attorney-General m organising and handling the " boys " from the backblocks. The exposure of the maimer in which the commercial travellers' vote has been manipulated must tell in the long run, but Mr Fisher on tho platform has a wonderfully persuasive manner, and he experiences no difficulty in making the worse appear the better part. He wilt climb over that hurdle with his customary agility, and can be depended on to deal mercilessly with the wholesale manner in which.the seamen's votes have been transferred te Central " for this occasion only." There were two big Ministerial rallies this week. The Attorney-General spoke on Monday night, and Mr Fisher last night packed the Town Hall to overflowing. Everything will dejjend on that effort.
If the Minister gets the fair hearing ho ought to have, he may turn hundreds of votes; in that case he will win." K» °n the other hand, he is not able to mako his marble good, he may go down by any number ranging from a score to 600. A more energetic or .more searching canvass on his behalf could not have been undertaken, and there will be a liberal supply of motor cars, cabs, eto. On paper the Minister ought to get homo, but the undercurrent points rather the other way. nelson! Two or three weeks ago Nelson appeared to be a perfectly safe seat for the sitting member (Mr Atmoro), but a great change seems to have come over the electorate, and tho Reform candidate (Mr Field) is right in the running. Although ho gave no definite statement to that effect, hundreds of people throughout the electorate thoroughly believed at the last election that Mr Atmore would support tho Massey Government, and those people- are now determined to do their best to unseat tho member by whom they feel they have been misled. It is evident that the vast majority of farmers were very dissatisfied with Mr Atmore's attitude during tho strike. On the other hand, Mr Field has no political past, and can point to an excellent record on local bodies. Seven or eight years ago ho just secured election to the council, being the last but one on the list, but after two years' service he was returned top of the poll. The next election he was returned as Mayor, and in tho following year was re-elected unopposed, so that ho retired with an unbroken record. Mr Atmore's extravagant statements and abusive tactics do not go down with the majority of people. It is largely those people who have always been his opponents, and who now openly express their disapproval of his methods. They may vote for him this time for party reasons. In the Motueka electorate there is every indication that the Hon. R. M'Kenzie will be beaten by Mr R. P. Hudson (Reform). There is this to bo said, however: In a scattered electorate like Motueka a man of Mr M'Kenzie's personality may receive support that cannot bo estimated before the numbers go up. In any case, it will b© a close fight, NORTH CANTERBURY. Tho probable results in tho North Canterbury district to-morrow may be summarised as follows :—Christchurch East, Dr Thacker (Liberal); Christchurch North. Mr Isitt (Liberal; Avon, Mr Sullivan (Social Democrat); Riocarton, Mr Witty (Liberal) ; Christchurch Sonth, Mr Ell (Liberal) ; Lyttelton, too open to prophesy ; Ellesmere, Hon R. H. Rhodes (Reform) ; Selwyn, Mr Dickie (Liberal); Huranui, Mr Forbes (Liberal); Ashburton, Mr Nosworthy (Reform); Kaiapoi, too open to prophesy. The most clear-cut recent development is the official labelling of Dr Thacker as the "Liberal" candidate for Christchurch East. The sporting doctor was originally nominated as the " rep." of the Liberal-Labor party, but with the retirement of Mr Davey his selection as the official Liberal nominee was inevitable. With that additional backing it is more than likely that the doctor's known ambition to figure in public life will at long last be gratified. The Reform candidate in East (Mr M'Farlane) is not a strong man, and will sway no votes other than the modicum of Reformers in this electorate. Dr Thacker's most formidable opponent is Mr Hiram Hunter, hut while the latter and his party are confident of victory, I fancy that tlio odds are on the doctor. In both Christchurch North and Avon the winners are very hard to pick. In tho former electorate Mr Isitt has had to face very determined opposition both in the Press and on the platform, while one or two points have been made against him which may prove very telling. TJie first was a charge of inconsistency levelled against him in advocating in Kaiapoi the return of Mr Buddo (a 55 per cent, man) against Mr David Jones (a bare majority man), in the face of a former declaration of his that he would never support a political opponent who would give the bare majority. When the test came, however, tho party politician triumphed for the moment over the passionate Prohibitionist, to the delight of Mr Tsitt's enemies and to tho expressed disgust of some "Reform Prohibitionists." Another apparent slip was made by Mr fsilt when he claimed that in essence Conservatism was antiChristian, and that Liberal legislation alone was Christian. The inference that all Reformers (labelled by Mr Isitt "Conservatives ") arc anti-Christian was immediately drawn by tho Ministerial Press in Christchurch, and advanced on the basis of a bitter attack on' Mr Isitt. But whether those Press attacks will influence the voters on Thursday remains to be seen. In spite of it all, Mr Isitt commands a very loyal personal following, and even in the face of these attacks and the good platform work which Mr Toogood has done I fancy that the odds are slightly in favor of the late member. Those factors, however, may prove more weighty than I have anticipated, and Mr Toognod may bo returned. Of his .fitness in that event there can be no question. Mr Geo. W. Russell, in Avon, has also had a bitter Press campaign to face, and I am inclined to think he will lose his scat. The Prohibitionists are pledged against him as a dangerous three-fifths man. The sections of Labor are united in supporting Mr Sullivan (there is only one Labor candidate this time as against two at tho last poll), and Mr Russell's attitude on Defence has alienated many. On paper it should mean a win for Mr Sullivan. The Prohibitionist and Labor vote last election totalled 3.600 as against Mr Russell's 3.040. and the Reform vote of 1.060. Mr Sullivan commands the Prohibitionist and Labor vote, and Mr Acland, the Reform candidate, will poll much more stronglv than did the Reform man last time, and will considerably weaken Mr Russell on that side. There are not wanting some who predict that Mr Acland will" win, but T do not think the turnover of votes from Liberal to Reform will be quite sufficient to place him first. The chances oi tho Ricearton seat mav be very briefly reviewed. Thcv arc MrWitty first, Mr Bum. "also started." The Reform vote will be strengthened from 1911, but no one really expects this candidate tu win.
In Christehureh South. Mr O. \Y. Ell is al.so regarded as a winner, 'although with two candidates against him tm'.-e is not quite tho same cefUiintv that there is about Ricearton. Mr Whiting (Social Democrat) polled well three years ago, but he seems to have gone back in public estimation. Mr Hughes (Reform) may also bo best classed as amongst the "also started?," and his candidature cannot be takon very seriously.. In Lyttelton there is just a possibility of a change. Mr M'Combs's majoiity at the second ballot in the by-election "was only 223, and that poll represented probably the, maximum of strength on both isides. The influence of time" is wearing away the bitterness of tho .strike, and is more likely to act to Mr M'Combs's detriment than to his advantage. In addition there are whispers of a decided turnover in votes over the Bible-iu-schouls-question, so that there is the chance of a Labor reverse. Mr Miller (Reform) is not as good on the platform as his opponent, but his strength lies in the use of the silent vote. Without venturing to predict, I must say that I shall not be surprised to see in this electorate a Government victory by a narrow margin. In the country districts there appears to bo small chance of much change. The return of the Hon. R, 11. Rhodes (Ellesmere) and Mr Dickie (Selwyn) may be regarded as certainties. Mr Forbes is reasonably safe for Hurunui, although he has not the support of "Co-operatives" in his district, as was tho case last time. The chief interest in the country contests therefore centres in Kaiapoi, where Mr David Jones (the Reform organiser) is facing the Hon. D. Buddo. Mr Jones has left no stone unturned in his preliminary work, and is expected to poll very well. At the same time, Mr Buddo is" personally popular, and in view of his recent illness may count upon a very big sympathetic vote. The Prohibition issues will exercise - a considerable factor in the Kaiapoi contest, which I regard as open.
SOUTHLAND. I see noNreason to vary my previouslyoxpressed opinions as to the outcome of the elections in this district. The outr standing factor is that Sir Joseph Ward's m'ana has been restored, and he will certainly score heavily this time, becauso tho personal hostility has completely died away. Mr Hanan has no occasion to trouble this year, as his opponent is ad mittedly weak. The Teal fight is in Wallace, where Mr J. 0. Thomson has a touch opponent in Mr Rodger, jun., but the latter is handicapped by unacquaintance with political methods, while his' opponent knows every point of the game, and has a tremendous advantage on tho platform. MaCaura will again return Mr George Anderson, who has to thank himself only if tho Opposition candidate stretches* his neck. Some of tho former's supporters have imagined that ho is desirous of posing as an Independent, but there is not the slightest warrant for such an assumption. Mr Anderson is a straight goer, and is staunch to his party, but has no taste for certain party methods. He will win comfortably, notwithstanding Sir Joseph Ward's advent in the electorate at the last hour. The result of the contest in Mata-ura electorate is unusually hard to forecast. _ On the faoe of it Mr G. J. Anderson, with a majority of over 850 to his credit in the 1911 contest, should under ordinary conditions easily hold tho seat; but there are ono or two "factors in this olection that will make a decided change in the allocation of tho votes of the people. In 1908 the seat was won by Mr Anderson from Dr Robert M'Nab. The Dairy Regulations and tho Freehold woro Mr Anderson's trump cards." Further, Dr M'Nab had created some personal animosity in Gore (whore a considerable proportion of tho voting power lies) by his action over the High School site, and these gave Mr Anderson a majority of nearly 400. That majority he more than doubled against Mr MaoGfbbon in 1911, owing to tho personal unpopularity of Sir Joseph and certain of his 'Ministers. But these factors have long since disappeared, and there is no question that the Liberal following has greatly strengthened in the interval. It is quite certain now that Mr W. G. Mohaffey is getting much more sincere support'than M'Nab did .in 1808, and it is an indispntablo fact that even in the strongholds of the Reformers—in Wyndham, for instance—there will be a larger vote polled in his favor than any Liberal candidate obtained heretofore. Matanra and Gore will show that this change of feeling has a solid basis. Mr Anderson's committee expect to hold the seat, but only by from ICO to 2CO of a majority, while the supporters of Mr Mehaftey claim that they have every reason to expect a win by a similar margin.— From a Liberal correspondent.
POLLING FORECASTS., Issue 15671, 9 December 1914
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