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The Star. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1879.

The Eatepayera' Association appears today beforo the citizens, together with the nominees they are putting forward for election in the different wards of the city. Afc one time, we anticipated that much good would arise from the establishment of a Reform Association of this kind — the field for municipal improvement being undoubtedly large — and had the leaders of the movement cast the lines of their Institution broadly, so as to comprehend all anxious to secure reform of present abuses and the future good government and advancement of the city, there can be little question tbat our expectations would have been realised. The leaders o£ the Association have, however, elected otherwise. They have proceeded upon the assumption that no ratepayer outside the ranks of their own superfine respectability, can bo a true lover of good government or really anxious to effect reform. The idea that there are ratepayers having within them just as honest intentions and as sincere desires as themselves for the good government of the city, bufc who nevertheless are engaged in (to their infinite disgust) the low business of keeping Bhop, or are occupied with trade or — greatest sin of all — employed as an artizan or labourer, has been scouted by the Association as supremely ridiculous. The true patriot is the gentleman in black cloth. The more superfine his cloth tho moro Buperfine his patriotism. The Association has refused to accept as its foundation the broad basis of public support — ifc declined to endeavour to raise the citizens fco high ideas and sound principles ; and by so much it has thrown away power and rendered its efforts contemptible. In order for any citizen, anxious fco aid in the cause of reform, to become a member of the Association, he must find two sponsors for his respectability. The members of the Association are nothing if nofc respectable. The overweening sense of thoir own pre-eminent respeotability has swept over every other consideration, and, like all other intensely Conservative organisations, the people are to be eyed with suspicion, and the rest of the municipal world kept afc a distance. A member of fcho Ratepayers' Association — if not holier than his neighbour — musfc afc all events be regarded as infinitely more respectable. Tbe result is, that instead of an institution powerful for good, we have only a big olique. In fact, fche Ratepayers' Association may be regarded as only a larger development of fche origbal Oashel street faction, with its Chairman of the Board of Directors for itß self-appointed chairman. A meeting of some sixty citizens, or, let us suppose, fifteen from each ward, presume to dictate fco tho ratepayers who the gentlemen are who should be returned to the Oity Council, and they contemplate dictating who shall be Mayor of Christchurch. Of the twelve nominees, only one — thafc of Councillor Ga.pes — is an artisan, and only two — Messrs Thomson and Hulbeet — are engaged in trade. Councillor Ga.pes has been taken — nofc because they either love, admire, or respect him — but because ifc was felt fchafc by no possibility he could be

kept out of the Council ; the Bame observation applies to Mr H. Thomson, one of the Association's founders, of whom, together with Mr Hulbeet, ifc may be said thafc, if engaged in t r ade, their occupations are of no vulgar type. It is due to Messrs Bishop and Hulbert, however, to say that they were in nomination before they were taken up by the Association, and are therefore to be considered to some extent independent candidates. Of the names submitted, ac a whole we have nofc one word of fault to find, except that they have allowed themselves to bo brought forward under the auspices of a narrow olique evidently aspiring to govern the city. We challenge their election upon that ground alone, which we hold to be ample and sufficient. We feel sure that the citizens will resent this attempt; at dictation upon - the part of a small knot of gentlemen who presume to consider themselves their betters. We trust thafc any citizen of respectability and average intelligence who has any desire to Berve the ratepayers, will not hesitate to offer himself as a oandidate against the nominees of tbe Oashel street institution, and ifc will soon be made clear where the power lies — whether in the hands of this narrowminded clique, or in the broad sympathies of the ratepayers of the city.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TS18790903.2.6

Bibliographic details

Star, Star, Issue 3556, 3 September 1879

Word Count
741

The Star. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1879. Star, Issue 3556, 3 September 1879

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