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Per our Special Wire., Volume I, 16 October 1879
Per our Special Wire.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Wednesday, October 15. In the Legislative Council to-day, after the usual routine business, the Hon. Mr Menzies gave no.ice to ask the Government if they intend to alter the constitution of the Upper House. On the Public Revenue Bill coming from the Lower House, Mr Whitaker said he intended to move the postponement of all other business till Tuesday, when the House would have settled tlie question of confidence or no-confidence, the Council would, however, need to meet a few minutes next evening to pass an Imprest Bill Colonel Whitmore expressed his belief that the Treasurer’s Statement had proved the gross exaggeration and falsity of the charges of extravagance made against himself and his colleagues, It was clear, however, that they must abolish subsidies and increase taxation. His official experience had shown him that it was almost impossible to reduce the expenditure on the number of the civil servants.
Sir F. DiLlon Bell thought Major Atkinson’s statement had a misleading effect in the way it would be put in a brief telegram to England. It would imply that there was an actual deficit of over £900,000, and might do the country incalculable damage. The Hon. Mr Waterhouse thought much reliance had been in the past placed on the land fund, and the lesson conveyed by its great diminution should be well considered.
After short speeches from Messrs Woods and Miller the Bill passed. The Council adjourned at 5 till 7.30 next day.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Wednesday, October 15. The House met at 2.30. MB. SHEEHAN GETS THE DIE.
Mr Tomoana said he wished to contradict a statement made by Mr Sheehan He denied having alleged that Mr Hall promised that the Native Lands Court would be abolished, and all selling and leasing stopped. Mr Sheehan said he would take an opportunity of referring to the subject on the next sitting day. SYDENHAM POST OFFICE. Replying to Mr Stevens, Mr Rolleston said Government would take steps to erect a post office and telegraph station at Sydenham with the least possible delay. THE SUBSIDIES. Replying to Mr Fulton, Major Atkinson said the subsidies to the various local bodies in Invercargill would be paid as soon as the Deficiency Bill had been passed. FENCING RAILWAYS. In replying to Mr Bain, Mr Oliver said the question was under consideration of fencing the railway line from Bluff harbor to VVinton. It was a matter of the broadest application, and to make provision On that scale would involve a serious cost, and would therefore have to be carefully considered. THE IMPOUNDED LAND FUND. In reply to Mr Murray, Major Atkinson said Government was disposed to pay to the local governing bodies in Otago the £54,000 of the land fund impounded by the late Government, and which the Public Accounts Committee had reported belonged to the Otago provincial district. It would be paid on the completion of negotiations for the loan. THE £5,000,000 LOAN. In reply to Mr Murray, Mr Hall said Government had received information regarding negotiations for the £5,000,000 Loan. These had not been completed, but a telegram to hand last night would be laid before the House for perusal. LOCAL INDUSTRIES AND MANUFACTURES. In reply to Mr Levin, The Premier said a Select Committee would be appointed to enquire into the best means for promoting and encouraging manufactures and local industries in the colony. TUAPEKA MUNICIPALITY. In reply to Mr Murray, Majority Atkinson said the Municipality of Tuapeka had asked for a loan of £5.000 from the Government Assurance Department, but the Department did not consider the security good enough. VOLUNTEERS.
In rep’y to Mr Murray, The Premier said there were no volunteers under arms in the colony at the present time. domain reserves. In reply to Mr Tole, The Premier said Government would lay before the House a return showing the amounts paid to the various bodies having tty© control of reserves under the Public
Domain Act for the year ending Juno 30th last. MANDEVILLE AND RANGIOR A DRAINAGE. Replying to Mr Bowen, Mr Rolleston said Government will take evidence and report as to the drainage system of Mandeville and Rangiora District, but whether by Royal Commission or otherwise, had not yet been decided upon. WAKATIPU GOLDFIELDS HUNS.
In reply to Mr Finn,
Mr Rolleston said the late lessees of the Wakatipu goldfields runs had been allowed to surrender their leases on condition that the rents would be paid. Nothing had come to his knowledge to cause him to alter that determination about the payment of rents.
The following Bills were introduced and read a first time :—Wanganui Endowment Schools Bill; Lyttelton Harbor Board cind Corporation of Lyttelton Exchange Bill ; the former by Mr Ballance, and the latter by Mr Allwright.
THE ELF.CTOUL BILL. Mr Sheehan resumed the debate on the question of leave to introduce the Electoral Bill. He said Government did not command the confidence of the House, and it was not right they should be allowed to bring in that measure. It was really and truly the measure of the Liberal party, and the Government in office did not belong to that party. They had simply taken the measure from their predecessors, because they knew the country demanded it. He would therefore move the previous question, but before doing so, he asked, if carried, could a similar measure
be introduced again that session. The Speaker replied that it could. Mr Sheehan then moved the previous question. The Premier asked leave to explain the course he intended to pursue. Government proposed that before the want of confidence motion was taken they should be allowed to place their policy before the House. [A correspondence on the subject between the Government and the leader of the Opposition was read.] He had now to state that if they allowed Government the present week to bring up their Bills, they would agree to the no-confidence motion being brought on Tuesday. Mr Macandrew said if they agreed to take the motion on Friday he thought that matters could be arranged. The Premier replied that the Government could not possibly be ready by Friday. The Native Minister was busily engaged preparing his statement. Ho was at work from 10 a. m. till 2 o’clock in the morning, and would take all the week to complete inquiries. Mr G. McLean thought the Government proposal was a verj reasonable one, and expressed his opinion that when matters were inquired into by the Government, the Opposition would be only too glad to retreat from the position they had taken up. Mr Moss suggested the Native Statement should be made during the course of the debate on the No-Conlidence motion. Mr Seddon said that Government should allow the No-Confidence motion to be brought on at once. In event of that course not being adopted he considered that all business should be suspended, so as to force them into the course proposed. Mr Pitt said it seemed simply to be a question as to who would have the honor of passing the Liberal measures the House had been returned to enact. In the present spirit of parties it would be impossible to do so. He urged them to adopt some course of action that would enable business to proceed. Mr Murray deprecated the action of the Opposition, and expressed an opinion that the offer of Government w r as fair and reasonable.
Mr Wakefield pointed out that the effect of the amendment being canned would be the whole week would be wasted, without any business done. Even after the NoConfidence motion was carried, he looked forward to the work of the session being carried on with a great deal of difficulty. Mr Speight urged that the No-Confi-dence vote should be taken without delay. In voting for the amendment, he maintained they were bringing the business to a focus. That in the present state, of affairs, was a very important step.
Mr Reader Wood said Government had had ample opportunity for laying their policy before the House. To show no impartiality, he would admit the Electoral Bill was a decided improvement on that brought down by the late Government last year. They had therefore had all they asked, and there was no reason why they should not proceed with the motion for No-Confidence. If the House had no confidence in the Government it was nonsense to speak about proceeding further than they had gone. There would be no use of a Native Statement until the Government by whom it was brought down had asserted their position in the House.
Colonel Trimble contended that whether the No. Confidence motion came on that day week or that day fortnight it was necessary that the Government measures should be brought down. It was of great importance Government should take time to mature its measures, and he hoped they would not consent to any proposal that might prevent that course from being pursued. Messrs Cutten and Bussell both spoke in support of the view urged by Government.
Mr Whitaker moved the adjournment of the debate. The Premier said what Government contended for was—having come into office with a majority they should have an opportunity of placing their measures on the records of the House —that, he maintained was no waste of time. They were entitled to have their measures recorded, and that was what they were determined to do. As a constitutional principle they were entitled to do that, and it was of the greatest importance in making the foundation of representation a part of the constitution of a young colony, that a principle of the kind should not be violated. What the Opposition said was this :—You had a majority lately, we have got that majority now, therefore wo at once bid you leave the Ministerial benches. Whilst the question was this—Whether they would take the vote on Friday or on Tuesday. All the difference was one sitting day. For the sake of this one day they were asked to lay down a wrong constitutional principle. It was an indecent scramble for office. The Opposition, so soon as they had made one 1 or two conversions outside the House,
had takeo the course they had adopted. Had the leader of the Opposition had his own way, he believed the proposed for delay would have been agreed to at once. Mr Macaudrew said his real object was not place nor power, but 4 to assist in estab lishing really Parliamentary government by party.
Mr Bowen said the conduct of tire Opposition suggested to his mind that they wanted to prevent the policy of the Government being made known to the country, and by that means to prevent the new members from being brought within what had been designated party lines. It was monstrous to say the very man whose administration had been condemned should have power to say that a Government commanding the confidence of the country shall not be allowed to disclose its policy. The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment. EVENING SITTING. On resuming at 7.30, after some unimportant business, Mr Macaudrew moved the adjournment of the House. He said the proposal he made for going on with the business not having been assented to, he had no other course left to him.
The Premier appealed to the House to allow the private business on the Order Paper to be gone on with. He hoped the determination to obstruct business would not extend to hindering the progress of that business.
Sir Geo. Grey said he stood there as an outcast amongst men ; he was therefore in the position of an independent member pure and simple, and able to give a disinterested opinion. He denied that any time had been lost, the time spent was of the utmost importance to the colony, which now stood fifty years in advance of what it was at the beginning of the session. Members of both sides of the House were now committed to passing those Liberal measures he had so long advocated. Those who once opposed him would now be bound to go in the same lobby with him. He would drag them along at his chariot wheels. It was the duty of all men to insist on the removal of those gentlemen from the Government benches. He had been told that so long as he remained leader of the party members would not vote for those measures. He bowed to that opinion, and retired from his position. It was the duty of the Government to follow his example—to retire -when they found they were obstructing the measures referred to. Not having done so simply confirmed the opinion he had formed—that their chief object was to subserve the purposes of the landed aristocracy. The hon. member at the head of the Government should not have been allowed to resign his place in the Upper House, and the Governor in allowing the resignation made himself a partisan. In fact Mr Hall simply held a seat there as the representative of the Governor. The Government having been constituted in that way, it was the duty of the House to oust them from the Benches. He would say they did not represent the country, and they ought not to be allowed to hold their seats. An address should be moved to the Governor himself to dismiss them. Mr Hall was the representative of the great land-ring of Canterbury, and the member called to the Legislative Council hold a similar position with respect to the North Island. If, then, the great Liberal cause was to triumph, it was imperative that such a combination should not be allowed in the administration of affairs.
[Owing to the difficulty with the Cook’s Straits cable, the telegraphists were unable to transmit the continuation of the report before closing time, 2 a.m.J
Per our Special Wire., Volume I, 16 October 1879
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