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Armageddon or Calvary: The Conscientious Objectors of New Zealand and "The Process of Their Conversion"

Appendix VII

Appendix VII.

The Parliamentary Order Paper, September 3, contained the following question and answer:—

Mr. Holland (Grey) to ask the Minister of Defence: "Whether, in view of the fact that peace had been declared, the Government will consider the advisability of granting a general amnesty to soldiers undergoing imprisonment, and to other military offenders either undergoing or liable to imprisonment."

The Hon. Sir James Allen, Minister of Defence, replied: "It is not possible to grant a general amensty to all soldiers at present undergoing imprisonment for offences committed overseas, as these unfortunately include a small proportion of serious criminal cases, and it is not considered that the declaration of peace warrants complete remission in all cases. Whenever a soldier arrives in the Dominion as a prisoner, his case is fully reviewed, and, wherever possible, he is given his freedom. In fact, at present, there is no soldier undergoing a sentence of imprisonment in New Zealand for an offence committed on active service overseas, but I am afraid there are a few still to come out whose cases will not justify a complete remission. So far as the military defaulters and shirkers are concerned, I may state that while orders have been given for the release of all those page 183who have been classified as bona fide religious objectors by the special Board, and those who were serving a second or third sentence for offences under the Military Service Act, the Government does not at present intend to remit the sentences of those who refused service for other reasons or to cease the prosecution of those who have so far evaded arrest."

This means that the Government denies the right of Conscience to the Socialist, the Irishman, the Maori, and the Christian other than the Christian as narrowly defined by the Military Service Act. It also means that the pursuit of the men with conscientious objections to military service is to be carried to its vicious extreme.