Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 15. July 26, 1939
Labour or Not
Labour or Not
A terrific crowd surged into the gym for the annual visitors' debate, including a row of Parliamentary gentlemen who had come to see a couple of their friends carry on with the day's work, and a refreshing number of strangers. The place was crammed to the back stairs, and Mr. Hatherley seized the opportunity to put over a little obvious propaganda with regard to better accommodation in the future. And then, with their minds made up, everyone settled down to discuss whether or not the Labour Government merits the continued support of the country.
Opening for the affirmative, Dr. Macmillan dwelt rapidly and briefly with the many tangible and psychological advantages which have resulted from the administration of the Labour Government during the last few years—a familiar enough recital which was still greeted with approval, and statements such as "The present government does not believe in conscription, but if necessary would conscript both men and wealth." and "Taxation has increased. We don't deny it. But the increase in the collective income is far higher than the increase in taxation" were greeted with as much applause as the startling statement that "We must keep one eye on the past and one on the future."
Seconding for the affirmative a very vigorous and at times flowery Mr. Lewin contrasted the past and present states of New Zealand in rather more detail, and also dealt at length with education as it was and as it is, probably in deference to his audience, and sat down like a gladiator who has killed his lion.
Mr. Holland's arguments for the negative hung together excellently well if one could admit their premises. The basis of his dissatisfaction with Labour's policy was their "tinkering promotion of class hatred. Believing that the farmer is the backbone of the country, he was antagonistic to a policy which, by "making the relief camps more attractive than the farms" had enticed the necessary man power from primary production. Farmers had in consequence to decrease the numbers of their dairy herds, which would in turn result in fewer exports and disturb our balance of trade.
Farthering this side of the argu ment, Mr. Edgley said that Labour could take no credit for the present prosperity of New Zealand, and mentioned various promises which had not been kept—that there would be no more strikes, for example.