The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30
In conclusion, Mr Ballance said—I have gone over a great deal of ground, but the occasion was an exceptional one. It was necessary I should say something of the policy and the work of the Government during three years. It was necessary, also, that I should say something with regard to the intentions of the Government for the future. As far as my own position is concerned, I have been a member for Wanganui for some years, and I shall esteem it the greatest favour and the greatest privilege to represent my own place, and it will depend upon yourselves whether I am returned or not. If I have the honour of being a member of the next Parliament, I hope that I shall be able to do my duty. I shall try to do it at any rate, and I shall try to go upon the same lines I have pursued since I became a member of Parliament. My opinions have not changed, they have developed. I have made some progress. I have not gone back, I am not afraid of expressing my opinions, and my opinions have not changed. I hare not wavered in regard to them during the time I have been a member of Parliament. (Loud and continued applause.) I think it right to say this before I conclude: I am the first member, I believe, who has spoken since the prorogation of the House to his constituents, and I shall not be the last by a long way before another month is over (laughter.) The whole country has risen in arms with regard to the Ministerial policy, and gentlemen we are not afraid to have our views and policy fairly placed before the country. I would ask a fair hearing for both sides, and that the people should not be carried away by mere claptrap and abuse. Let the issues be fairly put before the country, and let us have a little more than that; let us have just an inkling of the policy of the other side. We should then know what they were going to do, if they get into power. If they have a policy at all, why should they be ashamed of placing before you those measures which they believe to be for the colony's good? Well, of course they will tell you that if they get into power, they will do everything for the good of the country and of the people; that their administration would be characterised by energy and vigour. We want to know what it is they are going to do for the country, supposing they are brought back to power. Suppose the country return a majority against us. They will not extinguish us nor our principles. As individuals, we will remain, and our principles will remain with us. I am perfectly indifferent, personally, as to what may be done at this election. I am certain that the principles we have enunciated, are those which should be passed into law for the good of the people of this colony, and I hope, in whatever position I shall be placed, I shall always be a staunch advocate of the principles I have placed before you. (Loud cheers.) Wall, now, gentlemen, I hope, in conclusion, to be able to address you again before the election. I have calculated the time, and in about ten weeks I think the writs will be returnable; possibly it will be a little earlier. Your are aware that the district of Wanganui will be greatly enlarged by th8 inclusion of Aramoho, Eastown, Castle Cliff, Westmere, Campbelltown, Putiki, and Durietown, I hope to have the pleasure of addressing some of these communities in their centres before the election, when I shall be able to deal with other questions. I hope I have done justice to the subjects dealt with, and I am afraid that I have taken up too much of your time. I beg to thank you very heartily for the very patient hearing you have given me this evening. (Mr Ballance page 16 resumed his teat, amid much applause, after speaking exactly two hours.)
The Chairman intimated that Mr Ballance would answer any questions put to him.
Mr Armstrong, of Putiki, asked whether Mr Ballance did not think a smaller number of members would be able to carry on the work of legislation quite as well as the present number, to which Mr Ballance replied, as stated in his last address, that he was not in favour of a reduction of the number of members.
Mr G. Beaven proposed, in a few suitable remarks, That this meeting expresses its renewed confidence in Mr Ballance as member for the Wanganui district,
Mr J. Paul seconded in a happy manner, and alluded to the fact that Mr Ballance had been asked to contest larger and more important seats, but he had positively refused and said "No: I will stick to my old love."
Mr Barton, of Hawera, made a few remarks in support of the motion, which on being put was declared to be carried unanimously amid great enthusiasm.
At the request of Mr Paul, three hearty cheers were given for Mr Ballance and an additional cheer for Mrs Ballance.
Mr Ballance in reply said: Permit me to thank you very heartily indeed for the kind way in which you have responded to the proposal and for the honour you have done Mrs Ballance and myself, Mr Paul has referred to my returning to my first love. It would be most ungrateful on my part, if I were to be tempted away from my first love. I hope always to have the gratification and pleasure of returning to my first love, Wanganui. I hope, further, that my future conduct will be such as to merit the continued confidence of the people of Wanganui. The feeling that I have the confidence of the electors of Wanganui is the greatest reward—the greatest compensation I can receive for my services, (Cheers.) Let me propose that a hearty vote of thanks be accorded to the Mayor for his conduct in the chair this evening. The motion was carried by acclamation, and the meeting separated.
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