E.P Lee resigns as North Otago Jockey Club treasurer

A British big gun is hauled by caterpillar tractor along a muddy road to the front in Northern France. - Otago Witness, 7.3.1917.
A British big gun is hauled by caterpillar tractor along a muddy road to the front in Northern France. - Otago Witness, 7.3.1917.
The announcement that Mr E. P. Lee, MP, has resigned his position as a member and honorary treasurer of the North Otago Jockey Club is a sign of the times which racing authorities and racing people generally would do well to ponder.

The resignation was accepted ''with regret''; and it might be wished that the regret extended to some of the phenomena which caused Mr Lee to take action.

The member for Oamaru is of opinion that this form of sport should be discontinued for the duration of the war, in view of the material and moral responsibilities with which the community is confronted; and there is reason to believe that his attitude will be approved, wholly or partly, by an increasing number of people who are not prejudiced against racing in normal circumstances.

Whether all turf fixtures should be abandoned until the war is over may be a question fairly open to argument; but we regard as virtually incontestable that some steps ought to be taken towards curtailing the too ample facilities for light-hearted sport afforded to a section of the community which is notoriously touched with moral irresponsibility.

The steps ought to have been taken much earlier, but public sentiment on the matter has been strengthened of late as the result of various facts and observations; and if nothing is done voluntarily in the course of the next three months there will be plain speaking, and perhaps plain action, when Parliament meets.

It is a matter of moral sentiment and seemliness and right feeling quite as much as, or even more than, a matter of practical economy, though the latter aspect is by no means negligible.

We have no hesitation in saying that the man and, still more, the woman, who at this crisis devote (as many men and some women do) a very considerable part of their leisure to racing interests display a deplorably perverse attitude towards life's present duties and responsibilities.

To mention one detail, there ought to be no further special race-trains or reduced fares in connection with race meetings while the war is raging.

•Answering the objection frequently raised by farmers when before Military Service Boards that labour cannot now be obtained, Mr J. S. Evans, chairman of the First Canterbury Military Service Board, said at Ashburton on Tuesday that he knew a man, a personal friend, who was a thoroughly competent farmer.

There could be no question of his ability, and he had retired from his Southland farm with a comfortable fortune. His age was 56 years, and being too old to go to the front, but wishing to do what he could, he has patriotically offered his services, free of charge, to any farmer called up in the ballot, or who wished to enlist.

He had travelled from Invercargill to Christchurch, interviewing farmers and leading land agents, but could not find anybody to accept his services.

He had been in Christchurch during the past week, but all his efforts to find work had been fruitless. He was a capable ploughman, and was not only willing to work himself, but would take his two sons with him, both being capable ploughmen.

But he simply could not get an engagement. Another instance was that of a Canterbury farmer who had advertised for a married ploughman and had received 24 replies. Mr Evans concluded by saying that it was all humbug for farmers to say that labour could not be obtained.

•The pickpocket is out again in the practice of his nefarious operations in Wellington, this time with perhaps more violence in his methods than hitherto.

On Sunday a well-known Wellington resident, while returning from a day's outing at Day's Bay, was relieved of a small roll of notes. There was a big crush, and it is believed that the thief was busy in the crowd. The gentleman in question felt a tug at his coat tails, but paid no attention to it until later, when he found he had been robbed.

The notes were in a purse attached to a chain, and the receptacle was in the hip pocket. The purse had been snipped off the chain, so it is evident that particularly smart experts are at work.

•Whilst out deep-sea fishing at the end of last week (says the Christchurch Evening News), Mr W. B. Whitta and party caught a big stingaree about five miles out from Pigeon Bay.

The fish measures about 6ft from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail, is about 4ft in width, and weighs about 4cwt. Fisherman at Lyttelton say it is the biggest of its kind caught in these parts. It is proposed to exhibit the fish on behalf of the Red Cross Fund.

- ODT, 8.3.1917.


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