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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Election Tactics

Election Tactics.

Unscrupulous politicians, at election times, always adopt illegitimate means for securing their ends. They do not hesitate to malign and misrepresent their opponents in the expectation of attracting support to themselves. page 5 These tactics are being pretty freely employed during this election. As far as I am personally concerned they are not likely to do a great deal of harm, for I am so well known to a large proportion of the electors that any attempt to blacken my character is not likely to be successful.

I am being misrepresented by those who are masquerading in the character of the working man's friend. They are endeavouring to poison the minds of the working men in order that their natural common sense may not have full play. Amongst the many things that are being said to my disadvantage is that I am the representative of the capitalist class, and am therefore not worthy of the support of the Labour party. That is lie number one. I am not the representative of any one class, and should emphatically decline to be nominated as such; and so far from being a representative of the capitalist class, I know that my known sympathies with the workers of the world has on more than one occasion recently aroused the enmity of the few but powerful men in our midst who take up a hostile position to labour.

It is well known that at the meeting called to establish an Employers' Association in Dunedin I attempted to get a resolution passed as an indication of policy, to the effect that the meeting recognised the right of wage-earners to combine for the protection of their interests, and that the principal object of the Association should be to form a recognised body to represent employers in I negotiating with the labour unions for the peaceful settlement of disputes on the lines advocated by me in a letter to the Daily Times which I wrote at the time of the Shag Point trouble.

Mine is no newly-born sympathy with labour, paraded for the purpose of attracting votes, and I should not have alluded to the matter were it not for the misrepresentions that are being industriously circulated by my opponents with a view to damaging my chance of election.

I am also accused of being a "Tory." Now, such a word is meaningless in connection with New Zealand politics. There are really no political parties, properly so called, here. In Great Britain the term "Tory" is applied to those who are opposed to the "Liberals" in politics. I ask you, after perusing the report of my political opinions, whether "Tory" is an appropriate designation for any man holding the views I have expressed.

I ask the working men of Dunedin to consider well, before recording their votes, whether it will not be more to their advantage to be represented by a plain man of business like myself than by men of shattered reputations who, for their own purposes, loudly proclaim their pretended sympathy with the labour party, while secretly laughing in their sleeves at the gullibility of the working men. Look into the character of such men and see whether their actions in the past square with their present loud-mouthed professions, and ask yourselves which of the candidates before you are most worthy of your confidence, and likely to serve you faithfully and bring no discredit upon the important constituency of Dunedin.

As it is against my principles to make a personal canvass, I must ask my friends to aid me with their influence to secure my return, assuring them that I shall highly appreciate the honour of being chosen one of the representatives of a city in which I have passed the greater part of my life.

I am, gentlemen,

Yours faithfully,

R. H. Leary.

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One Man One Vote.

Note.—Every elector may give one vote to each of three candidates, and he may give one vote to any less number, but he may not vote for more than three, nor give more than one vote to any candidate.