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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73


The Premier replied expressing his regret for what had occurred, stating that he had always deprecated personalities, and that Mr. McKenzie was "the last man in the universe who would ask his colleagues for authority as to what he was to say, or for approval or otherwise of what he had said." In reply, I pointed out to the Premier that it was not a mere question of "personalities," but of a brutal and cowardly attack upon me of the worst possible description—that, taking advantage of his position as a Minister, and under shelter of his Parliamentary privilege, Mr. McKenzie had assailed my character in the most reckless manner, and in language coarse and scurrilous. I assured him again that there was not a particle of foundation for the serious accusations which Mr. McKenzie had made in relation to my dealings with the Horowhenua Block, and, as he had said he could prove his words, I challenged him to come out in the open and do so—not before a "Royal Commission" of his own creation, but in the Supreme Court of the land, and before a jury of our countrymen. I also informed the Premier that I had written to the Hon. the Speaker craving permission to be heard in my own defence at the Bar of the House. (The correspondence in full will be found at the end of my cross-examination, Exhibit I., p.p. 14-15.)

Instead of complying with my very reasonable request, the Minister of Lands brought my letter of October 26th before the House as a breach of privilege, and threatened that if the motion was rejected he would forthwith leave the Ministry and resign his seat in Parliament. After a debate which lasted the whole day, the motion was carried by a large majority; and at the adjournment of the House, at 5.30 p.m., I was summoned by the Speaker (Sir Maurice O'Rorke) to attend at the Bar of the House, at the evening sitting, two hours later. I appeared accordingly, and the accompanying report of what then happened is taken from Hansard, as published by authority.

In conclusion, I have only to say that I shall ever gratefully remember the kind expressions of sympathy which reached me, by letter and by telegram, from all parts of the colony; and that I shall always honour the New Zealand press generally for the manner in which, from an instinctive sense of fairplay and without distinction of Party, it championed my cause and condemned the cowardly conduct of the Minister.


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