The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30
It was true that they had now an armed force, but it was necessary to maintain their harbour defences. That force cost the country about £48,000 a year. It was only the nucleus of a force, and it was absolutely necessary to continue that force for the particular work. The number of men in each battery was exceedingly small, and it would be impossible to reduce that force without leaving their fortifications unprotected, and without being put to large expenditure in organising a force in time of difficulty. They had abolished the A.C. force, and the system of keeping the natives in order at the point of the bayonet, and they had gone into this harbour defence and had created a new force, and it was for the country to say whether that force was absolutely necessary, or not In his opinion, and in the opinion of most competent judges, 350 men were not too many for the protection of the principal harbours of the colony. With regard to the Volunteers, there had been an expenditure of £25,000 per annum going on when he took office. He admitted that a very great increase had taken place in that particular item, the expenditure now Volunteers being now about £44,000. But they had more than double their number, and they had brought them into a state of more efficient organisation than they were before. His impression was that at the time they took office the Volunteers were on the point of falling to pieces. There were only three or four thousand at the utmost in the four centres of the colony, the country districts were being neglected, and the Cadets were virtually abolished throughout the colony. Now they had 3000 Cadets, and good Volunteers, and the total cost of the force was £44,000 a year. The question now was whether they should take their part in the defence of the Empire by keeping up that force. In his opinion they were not paying too much as compared with other colonies, and they had a more efficient force, His intention was, as far as lay in his power, to uphold the volunteer force as it was now organised (cheers).