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MACKENZIE'S MINISTRY.

-; . . » ■ ■ ■ ■ ... CM THE CABINET ftJN Tftl 'CWrKT^Y? Will Conservatism Overwhelm It? AN APPEAL TO THE COUNTRY IMPERATIVE,

If Sir Joseph Ward accepted the verdict, of the country last December as an. indication that he was not wanted . jas the .leader of the Liberal Party, his l su<jcesspr as. Prime Minister, the Hon. Thomas Mackenzie, m the. selection of his colleagues, has, apparently,-'irite.r-preted-the will of the people to mean ■that all who kept Sir Joseph Ward company m the Cabinet would alsoliave^q, keep him company out of oftlce. i«The Mackenzie Ministry, as constituted, bears out this suggestion. Beyond the Prime Minister himself, not one of his colleagues has ever before |..a trained Cabinet rank. It is of course possible that, with the splendid example of Sir Joseph Ward's self-ab-negijtjpn which manifested itself m his abdication of office as" Prime . Minister, his .colleagues "decided to play no part m %jae. Ministry which Mr Mackenzie, aftQr either considerable difficulty or difficult consideration, has succeeded m farming. Naturally, the resignation of the Prime Minister carried with it the resignation of his colleagues, though the Hon. R. McKenzie, with an excuse., which; to say the' least, was thin, resigned, it seems, rather impetuously, before Sir Joseph Ward retired from office. "Roddy" MeKenzie 1 resigned, so he declares, to give the lie to £he statement that he was kicking over the traces, and rendering' more difficult the task set to "Tammy." As c. Minister of the Crown m the past, •Roddy* has been more thick-skinned. When, for instance, he frightened seven bells out of poor old John Smith, Wellington's delightfully dolorous De- j puty-Mayor, and Mayoral candidate, I "Roddy" MeKenzie didn't show any indication of being perturbed "by the penpricks of a puerile daily press; Truth" believes that "Roddy" MeKenzie is, or was, a. disappointed man. Why need he have resigned to facilitate the task of "Tarn," when he knew that Sir Joseph Ward was ready to hand m his resignation the moment his elected successor . had formed' his Ministry, and that with Sir Joseph's resignation "Roddy" himself would be looking for a Ministerial job? If it could be believed' for a single second that the Cabinet colleagues of Sir Joseph Ward Went out of office gracefully, m a spirit of self-abnegation, their action would be commendable. The evidence, however, seems to be against them, and almost positive proof of serious Cabinet splits m the past is adduced m the fact that the new Prime Minister has surrounded himself with the best talent available outside of his recent fellow Cabinet Ministers. At best, with perhaps one exception, the new Ministry is a Ministry of mediocrities, but it would be unfair to condemn it without having given it. a fair, and impartial trial. . • *! ■ » Liberalism, since the death of Richard J. Seddon, has drifted. As we pointed out m our last issue, it has gone from bad to worse. In 1905 the leader had at his command "a bCTital majority," m 1912 the leader has 1 as followers a party which nuznericaifly is m a minority. Sir Joseph Ward, even if he did survive a vote' of no-confi-dence, could not hope to carry on the business of the country, and the more the political position is studied greater seem the difficulties which now confront Sir Joseph Ward's successor. It ,>as r apparent to all, no matter how blind feome pretend to; be, that Conservatism predominates ml the present Parliament. Massey, Mid all that Masseyflom stands for/ :i s every whit as bad sir and as disastro/ us to «» democracy ot

the Dominion as was the Toryism of old, and all for which, that -Toryism ■stood. The'party which accepts Mr Mas.sejr as leader may strive to hide .ita'afl-.r tentions behind the disguise' of "Reform," but the remnant and, survivors of every bad and bold Buccaneering Partjr* of Boodle, which m past .-ijlays have cursed Australasian GoA'ernment, haye endeavored m later years to re-

gain power by adopting such idle and foolish names as Reform and Liberal Parties. Everywhere, m Australia, today, where Labor is m power Or in>opposition, it is opposed by either a Reform or. a Liberal Party, and the distinction between Reform and Liberal Party lies only m the name. True Liberalism, so far as Australasia is concerned, has. existed only m New Zealand, and to-day, if a careful calculation is made, , it will be found that true Liberalism has ceased to exist. In Australasia, which, of course, includes 1 New. Zealand, there is no room for third parties; Liberalism has given way to Labor, which is Liberalism extended its, full length, and against Labor there can be but one party, viz.> that representing' the Conservative, land-grabbing, free-holding', free-boot-ing class, m itself an infinitesimal minority. , By. : the stransge irony of fate, due primarily to the base desertionof old Liberal 'principles' by so- |. called Liberal politician's, New Zealand,, a .democratic country, last December elected politicians .either as crusty Conservatives disguised as relormers, and shell-back Tories masquerading as Liberals, all intent on '■'enriching themselves at the expense of others, bent on the repeal of land laws •aiming at the bursting- up of big estates, closer, settlement, small holdings, tending- 'in the direction to uphold the principle of. leasehold as against the freehold. It is extremely doubtful if ever an Australasian Parliament of recent yiears combined such qualities as does fhe present Parliament of New Zealand. Party ties" may, at the present critical juncture m New Zealand's political history, save the situation, but. papty loyalty has been severely ;strained. , Though a fervent hope has been, and is being, entertained that cdrcumstaiices will arise which will abolish the party system, the hop 3 is a futile, one, and though it may prove a temporary success, it is inevitable that m this Dominion the party system of politics will develop two parties, one a great and solid Labor Party, representing the hopes and aims of the great masses, against a party, redolent of boodle, standing for boodle and all that boodle signifies. These reflections have an important bearing on the present political situation. Parliament, as constituted, apart from the strength of parties, is a Parliament not m sympathy with the progress demanded by the great democracy. Th 3 Prime Minister himself is a recruit, a, recent recruit it might be said, from the ranks of the party which' is sitting m opposition to him. The convert from Conservatism, who, by a strange trick of fortune, finds himself the leader of a party the political principles of which m past years he "damned up hill, and down dale" must well expect to be accused of inconsistency, and might experience considerable difficulty m laying down the - wraiths of other days. Much more curious, however, is the position of the Prime Minister when his Cabinet is closely scrutinised. With presumably due deliberation, he has called to his assistanc-j colleagues whose political predilections and principles are almost comical, and ,14 as -is often the case, a politician

raised to -Cabinet Tank compromises with himself by swallowing' a principle 'or two, "Truth" is sadly afraid that m order to work amicably the Mackenzie Ministry will swallow so much principle that real progress will be impossible. • « «> The Mackenzie Ministry is as follows: — : HON. THOMAS MACKENZIE (Egmont) — Prime Minister, Minister of Lands, Commissioner of State Forests, I Minister m Charge of Land for Settlements, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Industries and Commerce, Minister in' Charge of Tourist and Health Resorts- and Scenery, Preservation Departments. HON. A. M. MYERS (Auckland East)— Minister of Finance, Minister of Defence, Minister m Charge of Land and Income Tax, Minister m Charge of State- Guaranteed Advance Office, Minister of Ra ilways. HON. W. D. S. MACDONALD (Bay of Plenty)— Native Minister, Minister of\ Public Works, Roads and Brides. Minister m Charge of Valuation Department. HON. J. A. HANAN (Invercargill)— Minister of Education, Minister of Stamp Duties, Minister of Justice, .Minister m; Charge of Police Department, Prisons Department, Crown Law (including Law Drafting).

HON. G. LAURENSON (Lyttelton) --Minister of Customs, Minister of Labor, Minister of Marine. Minister m Charge of Machinery Department.

HON. G. W. RUSSELL (Avon) — Minister m Charge of Hospital and Charitable Aid Department; Minister m Charge of Menial Hospitals Department! Minister of Public Health, Minister of Immigration, Minister of 'internal Affairs, Minister m Charge of State Fire Insurance and Electoral and Advertising Departments. .

- HON. J. COLVIN (Bulier) — Minister of Mines', 'Minister m Charge 'of Old Age Pensions, Government Printing and Stationery Department.

HON. TE RANGIHIROA (Northern Maori) — Minister m Charge of Cook and other islands Administration, Member of the Executive Council representing the Native Race and m Charge of Maori Councils, Minister m Charge of, Government Insurance Department and Public Trust' Department.

HON. H. G. ELL (Chi'istchurch South): — Postmaster-General and Minister of Telegraphs, and Minister m Charge of Friendly Societies Department. •■ " '

. HON. THOMAS. BUXTON (Tomuka) — Member of the Executive Council without portfolio. .

It is at once a mixture of Freehold, Liquor reform, Gambling reform, wowserism, anti-wowserism, Conservatism, Liberalism and Radicalism.' It is, and "Truth says it freely, the best possible Ministry m the extraordinary ,circumstances which prevail. Will l -it last? The Prime Minister, the Hon. Mr Mac Donald, and -the I-Ipn .G. W. Russell, whatever principles they may swallow, ; cannofc swallow their land principles. How can the Hon. Geo. Laurenson, m particular, reconcile his land views with those of his chief and colleagues? On the question of the Bare Majority m the Licensing Poll,' how many members of the Ministry stand committed to the Bare Majority? Can the Hon. A. M. Ms'ers, careful financial administrator that he undoubtedly is, accept with equanimity as a Cabinet Minister, any decision of Cabinet to accede to the 'demands of the- No-License- Party ,on the Bare Majority question? The Hon. Mr Ell, as a private member, and a supporter of the Liberal Party, has long: been an opponent of the Totalisator. The fact that the Totalisator is safe m the present Parliament might afford Mr J<lll a salve to his conscience that it is impossible at present to abolish the machine, but should the . contingency arise, and it is possible that the enemy of the "Tote" should seek its abolition, where would Mr Eli stand, and, incidentally, . where would the Hon. Mr Colvin stand? Mr Colvin is a sport, a racehorse owner, is popular, represents a mining constituency, and, has lonfe" cherished a grudge against the Racing Commission which deprived hig district and surrounding districts of their race meetings and totalisator permits. Already we find the New Zealand Alliance loud m its lamentations against Brewing interests being represented m the Cabinet. Can a Cabinet, as we find it, to be, hope to draw support from freeholders, leaseholders, squatters, farmers, settlers, No-license advocates, "The Trade," wowsers, anti-wowsers and the workers? The Prime Minister apparently thinks it possible. * .» '#■ Already there are rumblings. It cannot be hidden that dissatisfaction exists m the Liberal ranks, and "Truth" imagines that already Tarn Mackenzie wishes he could adopt the attitude of RusselJ Lowell's garrulous "Pious Editor," who averred: It ain't by principles nor men My preudunt course is steadied— I scent wich pays the best, an' then Go into it baldheaded. What "preudunt course" can Tarn

Mackenzie take? Already the indications are- that, having dropped Sir Joseph Ward and his Cabinet, Tarn Mackenzie proposes to avoid all the possible pitfalls of which the Governors Speech was. full. What is he going to offer? His vagueness is de-' lightful. "Truth" declines to judge Tarn Mackenzie on his past.' It pins its faith to the strong- Radical elements m his Cabinet. It believes that antiwowserism will- swamp the wowser element, it believes that the Mackenzie Ministry is only a makeshift Ministry, that it -will help to maintain party Government, that it will keep the Massey wolves at bay till the next election, when, it is to be hoped, the workers of the Dominion will be thoroughly aroused to the dangers which have ■ been and are besetting them, and that a Labor Parts', firm and united, will take its place m the Council of the Nation, and forever set the seal of doom on those recalcitrant reactionaries who have endeavored to clog the wheels of progress. Whatever fate is m store for the Mackenzie Ministry, it can be claimed for it that it Js far more radical than its predecessor. It is, despite the strange qualities' composing it, far more acceptable than ihe Ministry which it succeeds. • It is a Cabinet founded on compromise, the result, no doubt, of the Prime Minister's futile task to please all sections of the community. It is, however, a Cabinet .infiniitely preferablo to the one which "Moses" Massey could form out of the wandering tribe which htr is leading through a wilderness, because a Massey Government, "to be true to Reform traditions, would enslave, the workers. Notwithstanding, however, that the Mackenzie Ministry is the best that could be expected, tho fact earlier pointed out that Conservatism or Toryism, prevails m the present Parliament, will be sufficient to effect its discomfiture, and must result m an early appeal to the country.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19120406.2.2

Bibliographic details

NZ Truth, NZ Truth, Issue 354, 6 April 1912

Word Count
2,183

MACKENZIE'S MINISTRY. NZ Truth, Issue 354, 6 April 1912

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