Per our Special Wire. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Friday, Oct. 17, 1879. The House met at 2.30. Replying to Mr Ireland, Mr Rolleston said the surveyed sections on Run 369, Bengler District, were intended to be opened under the pastoral deferred payment system. They would be opened as soon as the Bill before Parliament dealing with the matter of these lands was disposed of. Replying to Mr Bowen, Mr Oliver said he would cause a report to be furnished as to the provision required for weighing grain and other farm produce at the railway stations where such goods are received for transit. Replying to Mr Andrews, Mr Rolleston said that he believed the present system of payment by stamps, at the several Police Courts, had caused some inconvenience, and that steps would be taken to remedy the same. Replying to Mr Murray,
Mr Oliver said it was the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill for the regulation and management of coal mines.
In reply to Mr White, Mr Oliver said the question of fencing railway lines was a large subject the Government were not yet prepared to deal deal with.
In reply to Mr Johnson, The Premier said Mr Sheehan, while Native Minister, had power to charge against the colony his passage from Auckland to Napier to contest the Clive election after his return for the Thames. He had not done so, but had paid the cost from his own pocket.
Mr Fisher moved to refer the Auckland petition against the return of Dr Wallis and Mr Hurst to a Select Committee to enquire if the forms of the House had been complied with, and the requirements of the Elections Petitions Act, and to report to the House within seven days ; also, to postpone the appointment of an Election Committee until after such report had been presented. He would nominate for the Committee of Inquiry Messrs Bowen, J. B. Fisher, Fulton, Pitt, Stewart, Tole, and the mover—three to form a quorum. A lengthy debate of a purely technical character followed, the objection raised being that the petition could not employ the names of two members against whom it was directed. It was ultimately agreed that the names of the committee should should be left for subsequent decision. The petition against Sir George Grey’s return was next taken.
The Speaker intimated that Mr Richardson, the petitioner, would be represented by Mr M orhouae, and Sir George Grey named Stewart, the Speaker appointing^!! - Fulton Chairman of Committee, the remainder to be struck tomorrow. The House adjourned at 5.30.
EVENING SITTING. The Native Statement. On resuming, Mr Bryce said he thought the Opposition would give him credit for being a silent member— one who did not occupy the House with many remarks. He asked to be allowed to speak regarding the position of the. Government. He claimed that‘the Government had been put there fairly, and under no false pretences. Mr Sheehan had announced, during the late jNo-Confidence debate, that coalition was impossible, and it was in view of that fact that a Government had to be formed out of their own party, so it was unfair, to say anything to the contrary. ; The Opposition may have a majority; still, he would ask them to concede what was evident, that as a Government they represented a very considerable section of the House. He made these remarks as he did not intend to take any part in the proposed want of confidence debate. It had ; amused him to sec the alarm with which what is called by the Opposition the Detective Ministry was regarded. It reminded him of the Scripture passage, “ The wicked fleeth where no man pursueth; but the righteous is as bold as a lion.” He would now proceed to deal with the mode in which his department had been conducted—the system of personal government that had been pursued and he would afterwards deal with tables connected with the department itself. Most members desired to see the personal goverment of the. Native Minister done away with. That wds' the feeling of the couutry, and he quite agreed with it. He could remember the good old days when personal government in the Native Department was in full bloom, but he was mistaken if latterly the late Sir Donald McLean was not of the same opinion. At one time a little outlay' went a long way with the Maori—a few blankets and some sugar and tea was all that was asked : now, however, the native demands had risen with the change in the administration of affairs, and the Maori talked about as much as a million of money. Under Sir D... M‘Lean : the department was being reduc6d/but under - the late Government it had returned to all its pristine glory. The late Native Minister had been waited on and corpmunicated with too much by the for him to receive 100 or 150 telegrams in a day, all of the same tenor — demands for money, or money’s worth. He had sanctioned a telegram in which a sum of £2OOO was demanded: that was only one of very many similar communications on the same subject. He had been absolutely astonished at the amount of money which had been taken out of ‘ the House’s control and appropriated by the Native Minister in this way. The Opposition had said that they knew all this before. Well, he could only say that not very long ago they were of a very different opinion as to its policy. He gave another example of the mode of personal S uncut. In 1878-79 £20,000 were AAm tho. estimates for native rettreUw and-’ bridges,' and it was handed, practically speaking, over to his sole disposal. These disbursements tended- to. jjpdermine the prestige of the , House in the native mind. And the y dirsctioS,!ri which their pernicious effects ! ! hdV given sons a tolerable qducatiop apd then insisted upon
getting them into' the Civil Service. There was no proper employment for then, and they were kept going about Wellington, at a cost of £7OO per annum. At present the matter was trifling, but it was a thing that was rapidly growing, and unless properly checked all the young natives would be sent to Wellington to become a burden upon Government. Last year the appropriation in this department was £4,730, and the expenditure £54,498. In one of these items —“ contingences ” —the vote was £2,500, and the expenditure £18,598. The Land purchase Department had assumed great magnitude. A return showing the state of this department was produced and laid on the table. It had been argued that this land might become useful for settlement, and yet not be a commercial success. He denied the correctness of this, and imagined that if the land was good as a commercial speculation it must of necessity promote settlement. He quoted figures in support of that theory, showing that where land obtained from the natives was good it was readily taken up, and poor land was left in the hands of the Government. Between 1878-79 the the total land purchase appropriation was £732,000, the amount expended £705,000. That left a small balance, which, however, had disappeared. Last quarter the purchases amounted to £124,000, and for the current year the estimated expenditure was £201,000. To complete transactions entered into a sum of £1,181,000 will be required. The salaries of officers in this department amounted to £10,255. That was voted in a lump sum, and the House had no control over the allocation of the money. Then, again, he thought the time had arrived to consider the policy of this landpurchase system. In a recent report from a land agent on the West Coast it was stated that two or three years ago he could have got land for 2s 6d per acre, for which 7s 6d and 10s was now demanded. If it was worth that, then there could be no objection to the price asked, but he knew personally that a very great deal of it was practically useless for settlement. He instanced cases in which, speaking from his own knowledge, land being so dealt with was not worth more than 10s per acre. When the late Government took office native affairs were in a hopeful state. Were they so now 1 It only required a little patience, a little firmness, to make things beneficial to both races, but going amongst them, fondling them, making them believe we wanted something from them had been disastrous to the interests of all concerned. He could see no reason for keeping up a large defence force on the Waikato. If there was no probability of the late Native Minister coming back to office within the next few days he (Mr Bryce) would take goed care if he could do no good he would do no harm. It was right to enquire into the Waimate plains grievances, but their rectification would not heal the late troubles ; they lay much deeper. He passed a warm eulogium on the natives affected by these troubles for their forbearance, and it was painful to note the low estimation in which British law was apparently held by them. Had this personal Government not something to do to cure this state of affairs, he would be for doing away with this Native Department, as a Department, and would relegate the Native schools to the Educational Department. The native roads, &c., should be placed, not nominally, but actually under the Public Work’s Office and appropriations for them voted by the usual Parliamentary authority. Native pensions he would consign to the Colonial Secretary. Then again, he would have some plan of placing their lands before the public for sale, either by Waste Lands Boards or otherwise. The Boards could provide for the survey and subdivision of the land, together with a per centage for opening up the land by roads, the balance could be handed over to the Maori owners. Means for investment should also be provided, so that the Maori should have an opportunity of making permanent provision for himself. These, however, were his own sentiments, and had not as yet been fully considered in the Cabinet. If members approved of them good and well, if not, they knew what course to pursue. The report was cut short by the two o’clock telegraphic adjournment.
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