Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 9. 1965.
Sirs,—Mr. Holyoake has announced that his Government has decided to send New Zealand troops to South Vietnam. That is we, the people of New Zealand, have decided to send troops.
Mr. Holyoake finally let us into the secret in his speech at the opening of Parliament on Thursday, May 27. The following day the motion, that New Zealand troops be sent to South Vietnam, was debated in the House. The House voted 39 for sending troops and 33 against involvement of this nature. These figures also represent the number of members present, of the Government, and the Opposition. It is obvious that voting was purely on the basis of party membership.
In the afternoon of Tuesday, June 1, a public meeting organised by the Committee On Vietnam was held in Parliament Grounds. One of the resolutions of this meeting was to keep the issue alive until the next General Election.
Does this mean that the sending of New Zealand troops to South Vietnam is to become a major party policy, a vote-catching device? I Question this. Surely this is a matter for the individual's conscience, not the dictates of a party policy. Our stand on such a matter should come from a careful consideration of ALL the facts and not a consideration of next year's likely votes.
I hope that this highly complex and crucial problem will not be dragged down to the level of infantile vote-catching propaganda. It is a problem for responsible discussion. But I despair.
John J. Miller.