BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. MR MUNRO TOES THE MARK, A SUCCESSFUL MEETING. This meeting of electors of Dunedin Central extend their sincere sympathy to Mr J. AY. Alunro in being deprived "of his position as the member for tho constituency to which he was elected by a majority of the electors on December 10. 1914, and those present pledge themselves to do their utmost to secure his return for the second time ns the member for Dunedin Central on February 3. —The unanimous verdict of an enthusiastic meeting of Dunedin Central electors and others in the Princess Theatre last night after hearing a consistently vigorous and occasionally vehement address by Air J. W. Munro, the Labor candidate in the by-election for Dunedin Centra! seat. Aloat people are familiar with the unique circumstances which have occasioned another contest, but to those people who may not have taken a keen interest in the original contest between Air Munro and Air G. E. Statham. the Reform candidate at the General Election last month • —perhaps there are no persona fortunate enough not to have been concerned about the “political situation”—it may be mentioned that Air Alunro secured tho scat by the actual voting test, but war, da. cfared defeated by a narrow majority owing to a legal technicality arising out of a blunder by an electoral officer in handling a certain number of voting papers—a surprising result that apparently prompted the declared winner to resign the seat and again teat the will of tho people without (it is to be hoped) any official blundering. The opening of the campaign last night revealed a spirited enthusiasm and a keen determination, holding stimulating promise for the Labor party: the Princess Theatre held a large audience entirely cordial to the candidate, the policy of the party as directly opposed to that of the Government was appreciatively endorsed, find Air Alniu'o made an effective speech, in_ which there was a great deal of caustic (criticism of the local Press and " its brainy men.” The Alavor of Dunedin (Air J. B. Sha-eklock) presided, and found it a pleasant service. It was of especial interest to many people to note that one of the most loyal members of the Liberal partv —Air T. K. Sidey, AI.F. for Dunedin couth—was on the platform, with Air A. TValker, Labor member for Dunedin North, and a number of supporters of the Labor party. —"The Hare and the Hedgehog."— 1 After a brief introduction by the Mayor Mr Alunro received a rousing welcome, including three cheers. He began with nn eagerness that betokened keenness, and related a fable about a hare and a hedgehog—a sort of revised version of the moral In the race between the hare and the tovtoise. It was a long time before an in- ( qnisitiva man in the dress circle discov- 1 ered who represented the hedgehog at the unsatisfactory race between Air Alunro and Mr Statham in December, but eventually it was disclosed that the bare was a worker. The point of the fable was that the hedgehog outwitted the hare in nn undecisive race among turnips. Presently, in a much less involved manner. Air Alunro emphatically declared that Labor won Dunedin Central sent at the General Election. (Loud cheers.) They had bad the power, the speed, the support, and everything else to win Elector ; Who was the hedgehog? Air Alunro : By some process the hedgehog had won, but Labor’s supporters must see to it that tho same thing did not happen again. (Cheers.) Thev had the majority of votes on their side, but if that majority did not take the trouble to record their votes they would only have themselves to blame if the sent was not won. —The Benefits of Bad Luck.— '* I am not whining about what has happened,” declared the candidate. “ I believe that it has been good for us. I believe that^ Labor and the democratic forces in Dunedin Central have been aroused, as they could not have been aroused bv anything else, by the manner in which victory was snatched out- of our grasp. (Cheers") I am sure that from tho telegrams and letters I have received from all"parts of New Zealand, from people whom 1 do not know, that onr apparent defeat through a legal technicality at tho General Election has been one of the best means of awakening the whole democratic forces of this country to a realisation of where they stand politically in New Zealand.” (Cheers.) —What is a Red Fed. ? He made special reference to the story that he was a “ End Fed.” AYhat did the Press mean by using the term ? What was the definition of a Red Fed. ? If they would give a definition he was quite prepared to meet them. He would sav what lie thought they meant. This; “ fevervbody who is against Air Alassev and his political party is a Red Fed." ‘ (Cheers.) If that were the true definition lie was a Red Fed. (Cheers.) And if anvone who stood to raise tho standard of the life of tha people was a- Red Fed., he was a Red Fed. (Cheers.) The Press also implied that he was allied to a certain section of Labor that did not Believe in political action, and therefore waa a Red Fed. —Allegations Denied.— It had been stated, too, that he had declared from a public platform (nobody knew what platform) that if he had his way he would pull down the old English Flag and run up the Red Flag of Socialism. He gave the allegation an emphatic denial, and defied anyone to prove that he had ever made such a .statement. (Applause.) He would not say that his opponent had anything tn do" with the circulation of another ridiculous statement, but a number of Air Statham‘s supporters were circulating an allegation that he was. an atheist. (Laughter.) As a matter of fact, his politics were taken from the Bible, and he was prepared to .stand by the Bible. (Cheers.) .... He was satisfied that, despite all stories and personalities, Labor’ was going to win at the forthcoming election. (Applause.) —The Reason Why.— Why was it that the two forces, or, I father, the two political parties—the Liberal party and the Labor party—why was it that those two parties had come together for the purpose of defeating the Massey pmty? The newspapers would ] tell them they were out to defeat tho Massey party because of their action iu the recent strike. He did not think the liberal party were identified with the Strike in any way. The reason the forces had come together was, as all progressive men in tho country must realise to-day, that they had in power a party who were prepared to go to any length to protect those interests which they called the vested interests. From the tiny the Massey party _ took office right down to the present time they had proved conclusivelv and most obviouslv that the Massey* party' were going to stand for those forces who were exploiting the people at the present time, who had always exploited the people, and who Would always exploit them. —“ Nefarious Exploitation.”— He thought every one of them knew something about tho real prices of foodstuffs. (Loud applause.) They knew’ perfectly Well that to-day they had to pay os move for sugar than was the case before the Wax took place, notwithstanding the fact that nobody in connection with the sugar industry could show that the cost of production had increased one iota.. They had to pay 9d per loaf for bread to-day, and yet tha cost of production of the wheat from which flour was obtained and bread made had not iaeweed. Neithw had it in other things—*meat, tor ioatanw*. None of our load product* had been in»r«as*d fcy reason ot the war. (simply becau«« the*« people who controlled price* had Been that, and knew that the Govsrntntnt in power would protect them, they carried on their nefarious exploitation. Air .Massey had said that tho Government would take steps to see that then; was no undue exploitation. He said that Air Alassev had absolutely failed to take any steps whatever to protect the people. (Loud applause.] x**
—Outside Influences.— The Regulation of Trade and Commerce Act was passed by the Government at il.e inception of the 'war; Everybody anticipated that the Government would do something like that to protect the people. It was their duty. The clauses of the Act clearly indicated that that Government’s intention was in cany out the highest functions of a Government. Tee power of control was-handed over to the present Government for the protection of the people in this particular crisis. The Massey party got that Act passed, and the fact of Parliament unanimous' v passing it proved conclusively that the Government had good intentions, but, no doubt through the influences brought to bear upon them by their masters outside of Parliament—those chambers of commerce, farmers’ organisations, and employers’ associations—the Government had not the backbone to do the right thing at tins most particular crisis m Hie history of the British Empire. (Applause.) In his estimation, oven if a Government hail carried out all their other duties, and had failed in that particular duty, it would be enough to put that Government out of power. (Hear, hear.) What were they going to do about, it? A Voice,: “Put them out." Mr Alunro, conthuiing. said when Mr Eli had wired the Prime .Minister that some 8,000 bushels of wheat were being held for exploitation purposes, Mr Massey declared that he knew where all the wheat was—and took no action. No one would have opposed the- Government carrying out the provisions cf Hie Act in their entirety. It was expected that that would be done. No one class should be allowed to exploit another, but the exploiters knew that there was a. weak Government in power. The only way t > check them was to put the Government out of power. Ho was confident that if the. position had been placed, before tlu electors of the country they would Inne put the IMusscy party out, but the eicetm-s had been sidetracked. --The Press Criticised.— Why was it that the I'ies.s had not Icon filling their leading columns with the danger —the menace t-j dir people's right -ri At die i recent election in .Dimedin Genital, u here I the will of I he majority of the clcvlors [had been defeated, why hud not the nrws- | papers can led oat the high turn an a hai which they stood tor in the pa-l—the light of the will of the niajcni;y of the pc,,-pie. Hut they had required l!u;t his side should carry on a voluminous cones pondeiiCo to try to prove th,.t tine papers did not stand for the people's rights today. Th.oy were willing dial dm 0.,-pie's rights should be .swept away ;u.J the eights of the monied man take their plate. (Hear, hear.) At tha coining cloak;:;, personally it did not mailer to him whether they put him into P.uliameut or j not, but it did matter to him as a cinj sen of this country as one who had taken , an active part m its political life even j before lie was 21. Personally lie had no ; ambition to get into Parliament, but he 1 bad ambition—the- highest ambition a man | could have-to to a. true patriot to his | native country. (Loud applause. i ---The Press and Labor.— What would ho thought by the Pi ess, he asked, if despised waterside workers or despicable navvies went out nr, siviko? They would lie anathematised. But things were very different whui combines and oxi pic-iters practically pic:-;cd the pockets of i I ho people. Tiie 'Otago Daily Times’ and ■ the * Evening Mlar ’ wonkl tell their readers | that all was well in the gaitien—all was lovely. T hey would also say that there was a strong stable Government that could be depended upon, and that it there was a change at. the present juncture the Germans might think it was a. sign ct weakness. As if a change of government in this little- twopenny-halfpenny country would make any difference to the Empire s cause. (Laughter.} What a ridiculous, what a stupid, assertion to come from llio so-called brainy mem, and from so-called leading papers like the ' Otago Daily limes’ and tho ’Evening Star.’ (Applause.) Unfortunately tiie. Press knew that a certain element in ail ccetious of the community was Jed by the newspapers. "Thank God(ho cried fervently!, " wc have just got about rid of that incubus so far as Dunedin Central is concerned. (Loud applause.) 1 am sum that when the numbers go up the ’Otago Daily Times’ and the ‘Evening Star’ will got a lesson, which, it is tr, be hoped, will be taken to heart. Will they forget their tactics and change their position?” An Elector : They never do 1 Another Elector: Hie 'Star’ will! Air Munro: Do not make a ay misluico about it. They will change. —The Price of Wheat.- - Fanners were concerned as to what was going to bo the position about the new wheat crops. .He would not elate the farmers, who lived in about as great slavery as any workers. bo-urn people could not see that the exploitation in wheat was attributable, to tho follow who farmed the farmer, the man 'nought wheat at 4s 6d per bushel and held u until ho could get 7s. The farmer did not seem able to understand that tho Lu-borparty wo were his f rioi-ds. They would Jenu u that, some day. For years the pcopl-e had ciice:fully paid a duty on wheataad Hour to protect tho farmer in New Zealand, but now, when condition? were strained, Chav wanted to take advantage of the position, and leave tho people in the lurch. If tho i'aim-er were gring to aviont trud attitude, or if ilia- fanner would not grow wheat, only one thing could be done : got wheat from count ties where farmers grew it. (Applause.) Either that or the Government world lave to grow wheat. Urn speak-m- referred tn the possibility of iitilif big prison labor iu this direction by v.iv m hwilthy rafonn. New Zealand had got the climate* and the land for growing n neat, end if farmers would not- grow it, someone else would have to bo put on the land v, ho would grow it. (Applause.) Attention van next given to the operations of the Sugar Trust, and he mentioned that, :;lilmugh rim trust's <itvidead was 13 per writ, before the war, Uw, price of saga-; had been raised since the outbreak o; v ■ ;a by j , ;ton. (cilnnicl) And yi they had a ;d >.ha heiieji;, of a protective tariff 1 ’I. lie only (iovernnu-at tho' was dealing v. ith the" qmHimi wav the Labor Gov am men t of j, Wale? (Applause i The rem.d. ~f \ eu - inland might turn the L-d.ci may down, but the day < would uam- wh.'n they would cry out for a Labor (lovennn-i't. (A up) a use.) —Tho Refoini Tarty’s Remedy.— Air Mars,y n..id told tlmm that thern was going to he no undue explanation, and that there vat a j;-. a, in tha countrv ; but let them ask the mi;urns, who knew that they could a-r-i wheat. K;; (Mr Alunro) wa-, i.ruvun ei ano time was a certain quantuy of wh.-a.i in ihe (;oi,r--try, and by ilu- Govmnnieu;, nut enforcing the powers vested_in than they hail failed to rise- to the poc-ilion. that a. Government should take to «•-_> that justice, was done to the people. Air Munro then went or. to refer to clauses in the Regulation of Trade, and Commerce j>oi dealing with the sus--pei eiou cf .awards and statntoiy provisions. They could see, said Mr .Munro, what the intention of the Government wae ; to awe p away all the regulations a? to hours of labor, wages, amt so on. Fortunately, the Labor members— got to work" on Me Alassev, and pointed out that this would almost- cause a. rob.d'.ic.u j n the country, and they got an amending clause inserted in tho Lid. live irii-uilioii ot tnc- Governwent was, however, evident. —Liberal-Labor Alliance.--Another great outcry by tho papers was that tho country would R -;t get a, stable Government under existing condilions, but ho could not a giro with that. The Labor members lied undertaken, to stand by tho Liberal party if they secured a majority in tho House during the course of the war. at any rata, notwithstanding the fact that th* Labor party were gain*; to jealously guard th»ir itid*p«ndenc«. ' It must 'fee recognised that fieri— th-k colossal war they could not expect much advanced legislation, but they could watch for administration. They would protect the interests of t-fi‘s people so long as tho war lasted. —A Alan of Peace and a Patriot.— A statement had been made that if he had 20 sons, not one of them would go to war. That was an absolute fabrication, tor years he had been a keen follower <:> i Robert DlatcMord. of the ‘ Clarion,’
and though ho (Air Alunro) belonged to tho anti-military party in this country, he saw what militarism was doing for Germany. And if he had 20 sons ho would at!vise every one of them to go to the war and fight for peace. He instanced the- pica of Air Blatchford for extensive preparations against the menace of militarism, and remarked that if the English people had taken tho wealth of the wealthy people and .merit im to £400,000, 300 on a navy there would have been no war to-day. It .seemed to him that tho wealthy people wanted the working class to “ pay the piper” every time and all tho time. He was in favor of England seeing this war through to an honorable end. (Cheers.) It was a cardinal principle with every patriotic citizen of every country that the lives of the able-bodied men of a country should belong to the whole of the people of that country, and should bo used for defence and other purposes, but the wealth of a nation also belonged to the whole nation in time of war or in lime of stress. The wealth of tho British nation must be recognised ns common property, and the same obtained here, ami when that was recognised the Germans would be, beaten. They would realise that here was an absolutely and completely united nation. Tho Government should have put a war tax on everybody, instead of handing on financial burdens to posterity. The tax should be graduated until the wealthy man was paying his proper share for the defence afforded to him. (Loud applause.) —II un tly D isast er. - - 11-’ 1 was coins to show why they should put the Alasrcy parly out end keep them out. They never saw anything now about the Hnntly disaster. Tho newspapers comfortably put it aside. It was a question they did not like —(laughter)—and the Government did not like it. (Hear, hear!) But ho was going to resuscitate it. (Applause.) The it,’rime 'Minister bad said that the person to blame would he punished. (Applause.) Had they hoard of anyone being charged? Voices : No. Afr Alniu'o; What about the 'Daily Times’ and ‘Evening Star’? (Laughter.) Whv did they not protect the people's interests? (Applause.) The newspapers should carry out that duty, and not leave it to a " silly Red Fed." '.Mr Alunro drew attention to the fact that the Prime .Minister was also Alinister of Labor, and had been for some time, and declared that ho would rather lose the scat than alk— a wrong to a section of the workers go by without it being challenged. (Loud applause.) —Labor's Duty.— The Labor men wore not going to allow the Liberal party to stand still. He had criticised the Liberal party before, and would do so again if necessary. They said the Labor people would bring pressure to bear upon tho Liberal party, and wuiild get all kinds of legislation. Ho thought the average elector was intelligent enough to know- that they were intelligent enough to know not to expect too much, but he thought they would giro a muchriccdcd stimulus to the Liberal party. They were going to he detectives of the party. They were going to sec that the people were not going to ho exploited. We were a food-producing country, and though during the war wc must recognise as inevitah'ts that in a large number of cases we would have to pay higher prices incident,ally for some of our own productions, yet there was no reasen in the world why we should pay unnecessary prices for our own local products. Tiie working nun agreed that he would have I'i pay higher pri ;cs, but they expected those people who produced foodstuffs to be a* patriotic as the working people. Away with tho man who donated £IOO to a patriotic fund and then increased prices and made 81,000. (Prolonged applause and cheering.) —A True Sport.In connection with the recent election Air Alunro stated that his estimation of Ihe true sport was this: that if he had been in Mr .Massey’s place ho would have taken (be icspoii-,-iriliiy of acting under clause. 257 of tlm .Legislature Act, and then tho people of this country would have- acclaimed him an honorable) politician. —T.u Only Platform.—DctSucncv wa; a na.v.o only, and he wanted to impress upon them that after tho war the country was going to pass through a very serious financial crisis, and in Li, esliniation the only people Wjm could alleviate that trouble were the-Labor j party. The only people who would he bold enough would be tho Labor party, and in hi-; opinion the electors throughout Now Zealand would be clamoring for their platform—clamoring for a State currency, lor Slate activities, to save them from vested interests. They wanted a Labor party in power to sec justice done, to see that the people were protected. (Applause. ,) After a number of questions, pertinent and impertinent, were dealt witli trie motion handing this article' w.i; unanimously carried with acclamation, followed by three cheers for the candidate and a vote of thanks to tho Alnvor.
Permanent link to this item
DUNEDIN CENTRAL, Evening Star, Issue 15707, 22 January 1915