Prohibition poll meeting

Stacks of sheaves built with skill and symmetry during the harvest on Mr Elder's Estate at Hokonui, Southland. - Otago Witness, 7.8.1918.
Stacks of sheaves built with skill and symmetry during the harvest on Mr Elder's Estate at Hokonui, Southland. - Otago Witness, 7.8.1918.
A meeting was held in the Burns Hall last night to inaugurate the campaign for a poll on the Efficiency Board's proposals to effect the abolition of the liquor trade.

The hall was about three parts filled. The chair was occupied by Mr J. J. Clark (Mayor of Dunedin), who was supported by a number of ministers of the Gospel and other citizens. The mayor said this was not a meeting of any prohibition party or any section of the community, but it was a meeting of citizens of Dunedin, who were asked to attend to consider certain important questions. The war had taught them very many things, and especially had it taught them two things,.

First, the absolute necessity of national efficiency in every direction. The other was that government should be by the people and for the people. The speakers were going to give their reasons why the people should have the right to express a direct opinion that this question should be decided by the people . . .

The Rev. C. Eaton moved ''That this meeting of citizens of Dunedin endorses the present demand of the New Zealand Alliance for a poll this year on the lines of the Efficiency Board's report on the single issue of national prohibition of all manufacture, importation, or sale of alcoholic liquor, except for sacramental, scientific, industrial, or medicinal purposes, the proposal to be carried by a simple majority of those voting, and the vote to take effect immediately, if carried.''

The speaker said there were four planks in the present platform that he could support. The first was the right of the people to settle this question. At present the right was in the hands of politicians. The liquor question, however, affected so many people and was so big a question that it ought to be given back to the people to decide.

Another reason was that they were not quite sure of the politicians (applause and laughter). In no hands was this thing safe except in the hands of the people. Further, the question ought to be settled on bare majority principle (Applause). The party stood for the settlement of the question now and once for all. Urgency was the whole point. After further address, the motion was carried unanimously, and the meeting closed with a verse of the National Anthem.

Influenza epidemic

In view of the recent cable messages as to the spread and virulence of the new influenza epidemic in England and on the Continent, inquiry was made by a Dominion reporter as to whether the local medical fraternity had been advised of the new epidemic through the professional journals.

A recent cable message stated that 5000 deaths from influenza had occurred in Birmingham alone, and another declared that the last German offensive has been delayed by its ravages among the rank and file of the German army. Dr Barclay, superintendent of the Wellington Hospital, informed a reporter that so far he had not noticed anything bearing on the epidemic in the English medical journals.

As to whether it would travel this way, Dr Barclay, taking the past as a guide for the future, said that we were almost sure to get it in a year or 18 months, as we did the formidable ''la grippe'' of the nineties. Though there was small doubt that the new influenza would in time reach New Zealand, it would probably come in a weakened form, as was the case with ''la grippe''.

- ODT, 1.8.1918


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