The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1879.
Our last issue, it will be remembered, appeared without our usual telegraphic report of the House’s sitting. On inquiry we found that the mistake had been made by the operators at Blenheim, to whom is entrusted the transmission south of news by the special wires. The Telegraph Department have tendered to us their apologies for the misadventure, and we are assured by them that the mistake will not occur again.
The situation of affairs political is just now an interesting one. It would be affectation on the part of the most fervid supporters of the Hall Government to say that danger did not threaten it, but the hope of a return to power for any length of time is Just as distant for the Ministry who have bid adieu to office. The majority claimed by either side is so scant that a division may at any time occur and leave Government in the minority, and the Opposition are perfectly alive to this fact. Trusting to the courtesy usually extended by the House tc a new Ministry, in allowing them time to prepare a policy and to examine the state of the affairs they are henceforth to administer, several of the supporters of the new Ministry have left Wellington, confident that an adjournment would take place in the usual course and that they would return in time for the trial of strength. But whosoever reckons on the observance of custom and Barlirmontary usage by Sir George Grey trusts to a broken reed, and it is therefore not surprising that the Hall Ministry finds itself threatened with a no-confidence
motion jiirit, at, a lime when the < ipposlthm know thorn to ho weakened hy tho absent-) oi several supporters, who wore foolish enough to believe in courtesy at the hand* of Sir George and his followers. It took the last Ministry, with a strong majority at its back, two years to -muddle up the public business to the extent to which it is now involved, and the same time t’s bring before the country the outline of measures of reform likely to meet the approbation of the country. They expect the Ministry who succeed them to clear tho entanglement in a few hours, or rather they are afraid that the entanglement should be so far unravelled so as to let in more light upon their doings than now shines upon them. Having no wish that their maladministration should be exposed they arc in sweating haste to return to the benches from which they but a few hours ago were ejected. The Governor's speech, it will bo remembered, was remarkably reticent on tho question of finance. It did not suit the Greyito.s book to say more about financial matters than they could well help, ami the country, though fully aware that a largo delioit was all that Sir George could report, however ingeniously lie may account for it, was conveniently left, in ignorance of what financial policy the Grey Government meant to pursue. No one ever expected to find, after Sir George and his Ministers had been some time in office, that tho finance of tho colony was nourishing ; and every settler was prepared to hear of taxation u sorted to til at would cut deeply into the taxpayers’ purses. Hut the part} - who concocted the Governor’s speech had to bid for popular favor, and they had done so. Hid how ? Not by securingasound financial
bottom through the medium of taxation that w>uld have placed their income in keeping with their expenditure, and enabled them to come before the House with a budget that would not have filled the people with alarm. No. It was necessary that their name should stand high with the mass, and so a free breakfast table was aimed at by the remission of Customs duties—a remission that has not relieved the consumer in any appreciable degree. To supply the place of those duties a fanciful land tax was imposed likely to cost more in its collection than the amount it will yield. But the working man has had his eyes opened to all this fanfarronado of pseudo-Liberalism, and if the Hon. John Hail can only circumvent his opponents, and hold his own ■ —as Sir George Grey did when ho first came into power—until a budget has been prepared, there is every likelihood that some very ugly features of the Greyite finance will bo made apparent. Some matters, not at all to the credit of Government, may also bo expected when a now broom sweeps out the accumulated dust of the Native Office, and the indecent baste of the Opposition to regain power before Government have held office long enough to make a thorough overhaul of the departments can only be attributed to a desire to keep from view what it is their policy to hide. No other construction can be placed upon the conduct of men who were so loud in their “ Liberal” professions to the country, in now doing their very best to stop the x j asaage into law of the very measures to pass which they were sent to Parliament. “ Liberal” wore the Greyitos in the extreme if we were to believe their own professions ; and ultraConservative and self-seekers of the most selfish kind were the members of the Opposition. Yet we find the first measure brought down by Mr Hall to be far more Liberal than the same measure was even hinted at by Sir George Grey ; and wo find, too, that same measure is the first to bo stone-walled by the “party of progress,” the liberators of the 60,000 serfs, the great Liberal party.