NEEDHAM'S NOVEL NOTIONS
Temnka's Political Phenomenon
Soldier aiid A Man m the Field.
If the Dominion of New Zealand could return a Government of Phil, ft. Needhams what a wonderful country ours would really be within a very few years. In just two shakes of a dead lamb's tail the multitudinous millions of national debt, which it has taken our fair land to amass since. the beginning- of time, would fade into oblivion like snow m thaw. PhlL- R. is an aspirant to political fame, and has already cleared the barrier m > the Election Stakes m the Temuka division against Tom Burnett, the man from^the wilds of Mackenzie Country who has for the past three years conscientiously followed William Ferguson into the division lobby, and a younjs: returned soldier, T.. H. Lattgford, -who hails from about Temuka way. Phil. R., by the way, is an.lndependent Liberal -Labor according to his own definition, while Langford sports the* registered colors of the Wilford stable. , Phil. R. Needham first saw the light of day round Washdyke way, but has trudged further afield, and, politically, made a start against Member Nash last election but pulled out before the flrßt furlong was reached. Hlb meet--1 ing m Temuka, when he made his debut as a political candidate, was a very well attended affair, and it is certain that Temuktf has never had a more enjoyable evening's entertainment gratis for many a day. But before the meeting opened "Truth's" rep. made it his business tp get m touch with the afflicted one—; for, be it known that the political bug has Phil. R. fast within his grip— and was informed that he resided "(town m the river." Fifteen minutes' walk traverses the ground from the Temuka township to the rlvor, and the pressman wondered on the way if Phil. R. was a kind of Davie Jones with a "locker." The river was reached, and on asking a passer- by where "Mr. Needham" resided- he was directed to a small -market garden on the river bank. Here sure enough was "where my caravan has rented," and In the midst of a barbed wire enclosure divided into various small beds was a caravan, the residence of Phil. R. Needham, would-be member of Parlla-* nxent for Temuka, In His Majesty's Dominion of New Zealand, and also of his worthy spouse.. After several attempts "Truth's" man penetrated, the entanglements and was hospitably greeted by no other person than Phlli R. himself. ' The mission was soort made clear, and Phil, "jumped to ItV m his llthest gait, hopped into th«i caravan and out again "at the double," for "Phil', It, may bo whispered, is a returned soldier. Ho had a visitor, so our host invited us into his other compartment, which was a small scrim erection, liberally overgrown with sweet peas In bloom, and housing in- . side the tiniest of cabbage plants, tomato plants, and one or two other " growing things that are not known m botany. Like the true politician, Mr. Needham sports a handy lltle brief bag, with a conspicuous identification; "P.R.N.," m black caps. From tho innards thereof Phil, drew forth quiro upon quire of foolscap M.S.S., and tipping tho wink, assured the pressman that he had about four hours of "stuff" there, but would not "put it all over." If ever any person wqji hopelessly Immersed m the absolute grandeur of hl« own brain waves that person is Phil. R. Needham. His gront stroke is a "basis of reconstruct tip-." Phil, strike* his all on this. "HurQ'n ft nibble." thought tho presaman, and asked this political expert to place his plan before the ©yea of the present generation m cold print. "No, no," snid Phil., with a selfsaticfivd air. "that's not being 'put over' to-night. If they will not take this m Now Zealand I have wrltton to v friend of mine who holds an influential position m tho 'Sydney Morning Herald,' and he informs mo: Noedham. old man, your basis of reconstruction la alright. If thoy will not havo It m Now Zealand thoyll rush it hero.' " But sttJl this wonderful panacea for tho Ilia of tho present disturbed,, world remains undisposed. , But to como to tho mctrtlni;, It must be Halt!- thnt Phil, did well. Ho proved a first-rate "turn," had any amount of aniuslnp "pntter." and hl.n rhetorical^ powers would do full Justice to any circus clown. Ho pin himself on-aide at the Jump, and spitting it off his chest m tho approved soap box stylo, declared. Hko the" hero In tho play: "In opening my campnlßn, permit m« to drnw attention to the fact that as a soldier and a man I wish you to thoroughly understand that I consider my first duty to my King, my country and my liag." This wa» well received, and when It was backed up nnd forced down by the almost Intoxicating crescendo that, "1 am contenting this electorate In tho interest* of thu masses of the people. "For the distance and tho future nnd the j?ood that 1 can t\o,' " one could have hoard a. pin Urop — then there was bedlam. For a full 90 minutes thereafter the Ifirge— ln fact, crowded— audience was Hometlmoji enthralled, nomottmoa
$■> . _ tickled, sometimes pitiful, but mostly always highly amused at the lofty id-eals and quaint remedies of this master mind. And over and anon he preferred tp his mystic "basis of reconstruction," m which "violence is not tolerated, while direct action would become extinct. Under it We lose sight of salary cuts, unemployment ' and national debt. "But," he 1 said, arousing his audience from the Utopian dreams into which they were commencing to nod tfieir way, "I will hot give you details to-night as time will not permit. Tho contesting of this electorate by me Is just a means to an end In bringing this gigantic plan of reconstruction ihto operation." Space will only permit of dealing briefly with two planks of tho'platform of this political phenomenon. First of all he received : a rOund of applause when ho shouted with de-, cßimatory effect: "Under no circumstances will I advocate prohibition." His theory was that if alcohol ' — which was a most potent drug — was barred, every, other drutf should be barred. Pursuing his contention to its logical conclusion, Phil. R., who had evidently been studying a pharmacopoeia; declared that there were few, if any, medicines without drugs, therefore medicines could not be manufactured. This would, lead to a fearful boom m the undertaking business which the Dominion could not sj;and at -the present stage m its ' history. If alcohol were taken away from hotels, chemists, from students m the Universities, and out of Bellamy's, were chased out lock, stock and barrel, "then he would vote for it to-morrow." Although salary cuts were unknown on Phll.'s basis of reconstruction, here Is how he proposes to stabilise the country's finance: , No. 1-^-His Excellency tho Gpvernor. who was only £7000 per annum, to receive £1000 while we were 1 hard up. No. 2, — William the Conqueror — Prime Mlnister-^from £5000 to £600. No. 3— Sir James Allen, £5000 to £1000— ho did more work than William Ferguson. ' No. 4— Nine Cabinet Ministers, were receiving £3000, £'1000, £2000 and£26oo. In one year he would save £26,000 and m five years £125,000. No. 6— Seventy M.P/s from £600 to £400 would save the country £86,000 m five years. No. 6— Abolition of tho Upper House — the Old Men's Horne — would save £1,600.000. No. 7—60.000 public servants receiving over £400, £500 and £1000 and all reduced to a maximum £400 per annum would glvo a grand total of £'80,270.000. "If returned," declared tho candidate, "I propose to prespnt a Bill for retrenchment along these lines. This would be real economy," he said, with evident satisfaction, "and economy is my watchword." And how often does tho cry go up to-day: "Oh, for a Richard Sedcton"! There were no questions asked of Phil. R., although they were invited, and no motion was proposed, though also invited, until Mayor Gunnion. : who presided, said it was always customary to propose a vote of thanks, which he did>, and it was seconded and carried. The candidate asked if any who would act on his committee would remain behind, but none did — or if there wore any they kept out of sight — and Phil: R. goes on hl» way lonehanctod, ,
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NEEDHAM'S NOVEL NOTIONS, NZ Truth, Issue 884, 4 November 1922
NEEDHAM'S NOVEL NOTIONS NZ Truth, Issue 884, 4 November 1922
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