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Bits from Hansard

NOT A PUBLIC ENEMY.. The honourable member for Lyttelton has enunciated a doctrine that I think is to be reprehended—that is to s,a.y, the doctrine that the State should undertake to . keep persons from accumulating more than a certain amount of wealth. It is true that we have legislated to tax those who have accumulated wealth on the graduated basis. We do that in the death 'duties ; we do it in the graduated land tax ; these are two of the systems under which we do it. Now, to my mind, it is a wrong thing for a State to look upon a man who acquires wealth as a public enemy. No man can acqxure wealth without either 'using it himself or placing it somewhere where it will enable more wealth to be gained, unless he is a miser and hoards it. If a man puts his nxoney in a bank,, then it goes into use, and is lent out by the banker for the pui’pose of encouraging the industries of the coxmtry of one sort or axxother, so that really a person cannot gain wealth without btnefitting industries and those who want employment. And if we are going - to penalise porsoxxs who acquire wealth beyond a certain amount, what will those people do ? They will simply go out of the country, and take their wealth with them. That, is what must happen if you thus treat people who acquii'e wealth ; you simply make enemies of them, and they will take their money to other places where they will be better treated,— Mr Reid.

HHAT THE WORKERS WANT

The honourable member for Lyttelton aptly said that the people had got political equality. They are nowi demanding greater economic equality. That is true. There is no doubt about that. When we see in other lands, whose example we are in a large measure following the wealth-producers—those who are responsible apart from the natural factor of land —those who are responrible for the production of great wealth in the older countries only I’eceiving on the average about oneseventh of the wealth produced, the marvel to me is that it continues. When I see these men and women with hunched backs and shoulders, with distorted limbs, with faces lined and seared, and worn with toil and care and penury, suffering poverty, sickness, and every kind of human ill, yet patiently drudging their lives away for a pittance—too often the most miserable—l often wonder whether the condition of the slave was much worse, and I think, with amazement of the patient and long suffering of these people, who are eternally piling up the boasted wealth of the nations, of which they themselves receive but the most trifling portion. That, to me, is the problem of the age. As said by the honourable member for Lyttelton, that is the question that will have to be faced in this country in the near future. —Mr Barclay.

Clause 21 provides that under certain circumstances the Government may make regulations enabling people to live oil their land—that they need not necessarily comply with the residential conditions. Now, I take serious objection to ■ this clause. What will be the result. It will en-

able wealthy town people—merchants and so on—to have country residences to which they can go and spend their week-ends. Why, we shall have men with the £BOO to £IOOO motor cars driving out w'ith big cigars in their mouths, to spend the week-end ; and yet the Minister of Lands in his travels round the country expounding his Land Bill laid great stress upon she fact —that there were hundreds of people applying for every section that is offered for selection. He now makes this provision, which wall enable the wealthy people t o have their country farms where they can grow spring chickens, and lamb, and asparagus, and all the luxuries of the season, to be consumed in their town houses 1 . If there was- a difficulty in getting the country settled, I could readily understand a provision of this kind, but considering the limited land ,we have at our disposal, I think, myself, this is a monstrous proposal, and one which ought to be struck out of the Bill. According to the Minister’s own showing, there are any number of men who would make good settlers, and who wish to go on the land to make a living—not men who wish to have farms simply for their pleasure. This clause 21 could only have been inserted in the Bill at the instigation of some city* people. Why, we might have the honourable member for Rutt going out in his motor car for the week-end. I am only using this by means of illustration. And there are men in needy circumstances Mr Wilford : Like yourself. Mr Rutherford ; You may be a& wealthy as I, and it is only the iarea of land I hold that would bar me from taking up one of these sections. I Mr Wilford : You are a social pest.

Mr Rutherford ; I am not sure that lawyers are not greater social pests than the landowners. That, I think, has been the experience of a 'great many people.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/SOCR19071026.2.31

Bibliographic details

Bits from Hansard, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

Word Count
867

Bits from Hansard Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

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