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WELLINGTON CITY ELECTION. The Field of Choice.

THERE are nine candidates in the held Three are wanted to represent tihe City in the new Parliament. Who shall they be? On the score of personal capacity and public performance, the whole nine will challenge scrutiny. An excellent lot of candidates in faith, of whom the city may well be proud. But purely personal and local considerations ought not to be allowed to obscure the minds or the electors to the larger issue of Party, which is involved in this question. It is that which ought to dominate their choice. If they are satisfied that the colony is safe vi the hands of the Liberal Party, and that it would be an unwise thing to change the ruleirs under whom it has prospered so abundantly for twelve years past, then persona! coinisrderations ought to be brushed aside if they stand in the way of the public weal. » • • In this City contest the Opposition have formed "a ticket" — Duthie, Aitken and Atkinson — and mean to give a solid vote for it On the personal side, it is not possible to find fault with it. Mr Duthie is a citizen of the highest standing and of unimpeachable integrity. But, as a politician, he is bitten with an incurable bias against Mr. Seddon and his party, and has been so long given, up to the practice of denouncing them and all their works that, as Dr Fwidlay has pointed out, he has settled down into "a political scold." Although so long associated with the party that lias never ceased to cry from the housetops that the Seddon Government was driving the colony to ruin, it is reassuring to have Mr. Duthie's testimony that the oolony's finances are still perfectly sound. And, even though he keeps on telling us "the old, old story" that political corruption is rampant in the country, we may take heart of grace from the fact that he fails to bring forward his proofs. * • * At any rate, however much Mr. Duthie may dislike the Premier, here is what the "Otag© Daily Times," perhaps the strongest Opposition organ in this colony, has to say of him — "We differ from the Premier on political grounds, but we endeavour to do him justice, and we recognise and appreciate his splendid services, and are satisfied that, in his desire to advance the prosperity of the colony, he is actuated by pure patriotism, and is disinterested and singleminded, and his personal character and honour are beyond all question." That is the testimony of a powerful adversary. As for the political corruption which Mr. Duthie s-ays is so rampant, let him trot out the evidence of it. In the meantime, Mr. Duthie is far nicer out of Parliament. Politics only sour his milk of human kindness. * • • As Mayor of Wellington, Mr. J. G W Aitken has put up an excellent recoad. This is his first essay in the political arena, and we do not think he would be happy were he to get into Parliament. It is rather out of his line. Still, he would make a capital representative, watchful of the city's commercial interests, moderate even m his opposition towards the Government, and not likely to prove either a chatterbox or to spoil his temper. But, he is, by habit and temperament , Conservative, and will remain true to that character. Mr A. R. Atkinson is a pushing young lawyer, with many Radical notions, and a sublime belief in Prohibition. His one point of affinity with Messrs Duthie and Aitken is his hostility towards the Government, m which he is uncompromising. He has served one term already, and, if he did not exactly set the Thames on fire, he was always on hand to stick pins into the Government. At present, he is operating with a sharp pin oalled "Miramar," and another labelled "the £40 steal." It is not a large political armoury. * * * Of the other six candidates, three are Government supporters, and three may be styled Independents. Dr. Findlay

stands conspicuous in the former category, and is the most brilliant of all the young debutants whom this general election has brought into the arena. A New ZeaJander born and bied, he has won his way to fame by a striking scholastic career, which he has crowned by success at the Bar. He has enlarged his experience by travel, and stands forth to-day as an ardent Liberal, impelled by conviction to range himself with the Government party, and able and eager to champion their cause. If he is elected, amd of that there seems to be little doubt, Dr Findlay is bound to make his mark in the House. He is certainly one of the coming men. And he w ill 1 do honour to* tbe City and serve it ably. • * • Mr. Godber, another of the Liberal candidates, deserves well of the people. He is an old and esteemed Wellington citazen, and his interests are bound up with the place During the last few years, he has been taking an active share m its local government as a member of the City Council, and he has also widened his field of observation by seeing for himself what the rest of the world is doing. Mr. Godber is Liberal by instinct and training, and, if elected, will give a whole-hearted, intelligent support to the party of progress. • « • Mr. George Fisher is taking his time in a remarkably leisurely way, for he seems to have gone into strict retirement since Parliament put up the shutters. Still, the public have his advertised assurance that he is "a slow beginner, but a desperate finisher." At any rate*, George's> platform and politics are wndely known, and if Wellington has not changed its mind about him, Barkis is, no doubt, "stall willin.' " Only, he ought really to step forward to the> footlights before the polling starts, and let the public hear his views on the political situation. • • » Mr. P. J. O'Regan is one of the most talented members of the Young New Zealand Party. Although his watchword is "Principles before Party," tihe:e is not the slightest doubt his politics will identify him with the Government side. They are Liberal and Democratic right through. Of course, he is a bit dead-weighted with the single-ta^s fad, but. he may be* indulged in that little fancy, which the great majority wall not take seriously. All the same, P. J. O'Regan is a coming man, make no mistake about that. He is richly endowed with talent, a courage whioh won't admit defeat, a strength of will that difficulties will not daunt, and a force of character equal to the purpose which animates him. He left his impression upon the House during the few years he was in it. He will make a deeper impression still when he geis back to it, as assuredly he will, whether it be this time, or later. • • • Mr Da,vid McLaren is a thoroughly sincere and conscientious young man. But, his definition of "Labour" '® altogether too narrow. In this community, we ail belong to the ranks of Labour, and the interests of the particular class of labour of whirfi Mr. McLaren is an exponent would be served by alliance with the Liberal party ; not severance from it. To that party it owes a debt of gratitude for all the reforms and advantages which have been won for it since 1890. Mr. McLaren, however, takes up the role of a political Ishmaelite, and must be wonderfully sanguine if, stand'ng alone as he does, he expects to win a City seat. As for Mr. E. G. Jellicoe, if he is really serious m his candidature, ho has waited too long, and can hardly hope in two or three days to push himself into the forefront of the battle.

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Bibliographic details

WELLINGTON CITY ELECTION. The Field of Choice., Free Lance, Volume III, Issue 125, 22 November 1902

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WELLINGTON CITY ELECTION. The Field of Choice. Free Lance, Volume III, Issue 125, 22 November 1902

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