HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Wednesday, Oct. 29. EVENING SITTING. In the House last night the debate continued on the Local Option Bill. Mr Andrews opposed it, thinking Government should bring forward a complete matured measure instead of such a crude and unsatisfactory one. Mr Pyke agreed with Messrs Dick and Oliver approved the principle, though the Bill could be amended in Committee. j&essra Pitt, Fulton, and J. T. Fisher, incurred with Mr Fulton, saying the Bill would come from the Committee so altered as to be unrecognisable.
Mr Speight supported the Bill, but opposed compensation, as did also Mr Hursthouse.
Mr Stewart spoke strongly in favor of compensation.
After further debate the second reading was agreed to. The Resident Magistrate’s Act Amendment, and tlie Ashburton County Council Waterworks Bills were partially considered in Committee, and the House rose at 1.10.
Thursday, October 30, 1879.
AFTERNOON SITTING. The House met at 2.30. QUESTIONS.
In reply to questions, it was stated that Government intended basing the expenditure in Auckland district and other parts of the colony pursuant to agreement with some of the Auckland members on a basis fair to all parts of the colony. Government had arrived at no decision as to the removal of the Commissioner of Railways to Dunedin. A sum would be placed on the Estimates for the erection of a Courthouse at Warkworth. Government had no power to make arrangements for the sittings of the Waste Lands Board at Greymouth. A Bill would he introduced to regulate Chinese immigration this session. Government would consider the action required for removing doubts as to the efficacy of contributions to Friendly Societies, so that they may obtain full benefit of registration under the Societies’ Act, 1878. NEW BILLS. An amended Land Tax Act, and a Bill to prevent Corruption in Parliament, were introduced and read a first time. OTAGO GROWN LANDS. On the notion of Mr De Latonr, it was agreed, “ That in the opinion of the House, it is clesii’ahle that a Committee should immediately be appointed to classify Crown lands in the County of Maniototo, and that in the vicinities of Naseby, Hamilton, Hyde, and Blackstone Hill, land which may be classified as ‘ pastoral land ’ should be sold by auction in terms of the Land Act, 1877, on pastoral deferred payments, in sufficient and suitable areas, twelve months before the exphy of existing leases.” HONORARIUM, On the motion of Mr Moss, it was agreed that the honorarium of members should bo fixed by statute. LOCAL SELF GOVERNMENT. Mr Sutton moved—'“That it is desirable that the system of local self government at present in existence should bo extended to provide ! (J,,) For the efficient construction and maintenance of public works (excepting railways and harbor works) All hospitals and charitable institutions. (2.) That ip ovchij,* jo enable local boflis» to fiarry put thfj? dstd’* it i# new«a*j» that thtjif reypuiiy.i |hpuJ4 p? ibcmied h» m eayipfiti fnp'Hlfefyj sml 4«bti ssl. }h ; PtH'h djfdtM ’ jf'jjWltfß
upon land or succession ; (b) by increasing the maximum uf general rates in the case of Counties. (8.) That steps should he taken to prevent the Counties and Road Boards clashing, and to more distinctly define the. powers jand duties of each of these bodies. (4.) That the Government be requested as early as possible to introduce a Bill for the qmrpo.se of carrying these resolutions into effect. ”
Government acquiesced in the general tenor of the motion, and admitted that it was absolutely necessary to place County and other local administration on a much more efficient footing than it was. If the mover would not press the matter at present, Government would undertake during the recess to give the whole matter careful consideration, and be prepared to bring down a measure next session. At 5.30 a motion for the adjournment of tlie debate was carried.
EVENING SITTING. The House resumed at 7.30 p. m,
The Heathcoto Bridges Bill was read a second time.
In Committee, the Ovmrii Harbor Bill was considered, the first three clauses passed, and leave granted to sit again regarding the remainder.
The adjourned debate on the question—- “ That the goldfields duty be reduced Is per ounce,” Mr Pyke moved as an amendment—- “ That (id be substituted,” and argued in support of the amendment that the reduction hy the other sum would have the effect of cripjiling local revenues. On a division, the amendment was carried hy 30 to 18. The W'aiuku Recreation Reserve Bill was rejiorted with amendments. Friday, October 31. AFTERNOON SITTING. The House met at 2’30 p.m. Replying to questions, Major Atkinson said ; Telegrams were sent by the late Ministry on electioneering subjects as public telegrams, and if on examination Government considered it would not be prejudicial to the public service, copies thereof would be produced. Government concurred in the opinion of the late Government that it was inexpedient for the Agent-General to he a candidate for a seat in the British Parliament. The Agent-General had been requested to retire from the Directorship of the New Zealand Agricultural Company, and he would he expected to comply with that request within a reasonable time. Stops would be taken to secure 4000 acres in the district of Wellington, as provided for by the University Reserves Act, 1875, and a larger area than 20,000 acres, set apart in Tawhawi, and afterwards appriated for another purpose, had been again set apart. The amount of loss to the revenue during the last nine months was—tea, £'25,000 ; sugar, £OI,OOO.
A suggestion made by the Conference of raihvay Commissioners, for an alteration of raiway tariff was under consideration. FIRST KEADIXOS. A Bill to reduce the price charged for miner’s rights, and Land Claims Arbitra tion. ELECTOR AT. QUALII'ICATIOX BILL. Mr Hall moved the second reading of the Electoral Qualification Bill. Sir George Grey said the Bill was complicated, and its language obscure. It proposed increasing the powers of property. The property qualification was such as to enable one man to exercise twenty votes, provided he was owner of property valued at £25 in twenty different districts. It deprived Maoris of their electoral rights, v.dicreas by the Constitution Act it was provided that Maories and Europeans should he placed on an equal footing in that respect. He would insist on the manhood suffrage franchise. The Bill was not what the country expected, and he would do his best to defeat it.
Colonel Trimble pointed out that by a Bill before the House the Returning Officer could prevent any one from recording more than one vote at a general election.
Mr Wakefield charged Sir George Grey with having last session defeated an effort made to secure manhood suffrage, insisting that property should have its fair representation. He denoanced Sir George as practising cant and humbug in the demand he now made to sweep away the property qualification. Mr Gisborne denounced the proposal to take away the Maori franchise until they were in possession of full information as to what was to take its place. He would not oppose the second reading, hut Imped to see the Bill considerably modified in Committee.
Mr Reader Wood advised the principle of manhood suffrage. It was people and not property they were returned by, and consequently people should have the voice in their election. The residential clause was also reprobated. It made no provision for men who were compelled to reside away from home for a few months, consequently these men were liable to lose their electoral privileges. lie would do away with the property qualification altogether, and have the residential claim modified. The House rose at 5.30. The debate proceeded at the evening sitting.
Tawhai warned the House that trouble would probably arise if the natives wore deprived of their existing electoral rights. Mr Hall, by way of explanation, stated that Government did not intend to prevent persons having votes in more than one district if they possessed the needful qualification. The clause in the Regulation of Elections Bill apparently preventing the exercise of more than one vote was a mistake.
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