Letter of "A.C." Broad 26 Sep 1922

published in the Otago Witness

Note: "Civis" was the psuedonym of a regular column writer in the "Otago Witness"


"Civis" in his last Notes remarks "Fact-gleaning, statistic-mongering is not my job". In a former Note he wrote "My forte is not statistics, nor facts nor figures" Every week's notes from his pen show this is but journalistic blather. Fancy two columns weekly of "Passing Notes" from "Civis" without a fact or figure! The Notes themselves contradict such a statement. Convenient so-called facts and figures to bolster up prohibition failure from Bible times to the present delight him. Seeing the millions of pounds the licquor traffic has at its command for its defence and continuance, there is no dearth of such propoganda available without his misquoting what I wrote to you.. I did not write that "'Civis' wanted to drink alcoholic drink where and when he chose" I wrote that he demanded the "liberty" to purchase, for I believed then, as now, that "Civis" desired the right only to purchase, believing that he did not indulge in alcohol as a beverage.

When one remembers that America is composed of some 50 states and territories with a population of 110 millions, including a prodigious number of mixed foreign parentage and of negroes, these in the aggregate being computed to be approximately near half the total population, it seems to me little short of a miracle that prohibition for the whole country is the pronounced success it is shown to be.. Arrayed against it are the multi-millions of the capital of distillers and brewers, whom Quebec, British Columbia and the Bahamas are aiding and abetting in shipping and smuggling from their shores.

Yet, despite all these handicaps, if we compare - not as "Civis" does, two "dry" years, one with the other - the "wet" year of 1915 with the "dry" year of 1922, we find this astounding result, that in New York, admittedly one of the "wettest" states of all, the prison population falls 36 percent, drunkenness 76 percent and total arrests 40 percent. If New York can attain this under the handicaps mentioned, what can New Zealand attain without one of them? No country in the world is better suited or situated, not only for prohibition but enforcement.

Well may Archbishop Julius have the vision of a better enforcement in New Zealand than any other country, because of the character of its people and isolated situation. Another dignatory of the Church, after 11 years' experience of no-license in Oamaru, that the conditiond there are infinitely better than under license. Business men tell the same tale. Only a few days ago a contractor there said there were 53 building contracts let, and but one of these was for under 400. Is this the sort of ruin that prohibition spells?

I am, etc

A C Broad