Last night Mr. Joseph Ivess, one of the candidates for the Mayoralty of Ashburton, addressed the electors. Despite a very wet evening, a large audience assembled.
The Mayor, Mr. Bullock, introduced Mr. Ivess, bespeaking for him a fair hearing.
Mr. Ivess, said that in aspiring to fill the seat Mr. Bullock now vacated, and had so worthily filled, he did so with a full knowledge of his many shortcomings. He came before what, however, he believed an indulgent audience. He had not much material to bring before them as there were but few questions agitating the public mind. When the municipal form of Government was introduced things had a far more prosperous aspect than they had now, and perhaps at this moment it would have been better for the borough if she had not sought the intervention of the Colonial Secretary to divorce her from the old Road Board. They would, however have to be content with and make the best of their situation. The funds of the borough had run very low and one of the first questions the Council would have to face would be a reduction in departmental expenditure. It was always a disagreeable duty to discharge gentlemen who honestly perform their duties, but circumstances demanded it. The first office it ought to be the duty of the Council to dispense with oramalgamate
with some other would he the Town Clerk. The Road Board in this district and elsewhere passed a far greater amount of money through their hands; and they did so with only one officer, who united in his person the clerical office and that of Engineer. Auothei officer who ought to be dispensed with was the Borough Solicitor. Mr. Ivess then summed up the probable annual income, of the Borough as follows ; —Rates, £1,155 ; licenses, £385 ; dogs, £SB ; cottage rents, £52. The masts of a ship were very useful, but when a vessel was on her beam ends it was necessary to cut them away to save the ship. The Council was in that position, and their officers were the masts they would require to cut away. He then referred to the reserves belonging to the Borough, suggesting that in letting them a clause should be introduced demanding a certain extent of improvements. This would prevent the locking up of the land. ’He had never known any town in which the reserves were scattered over it, and left open, but which was retarded, and he advocated letting them for building purposes. He fancied an error, —a want of judgment—had been committed in the recent appointment of a valuator. He considered that the tender of Mr. Ansteo for £ls, being passed over, and also an intermediate one for £27 ; and the acceptance of one for £4O: was an injustice. Mr. Anstee was just as competent—just as intelligent—and from his building knowledge better qualified to be the borough’s valuator than the one who got the appointmont. No section of the Council had any right to set themselves up as the judges of any tenderer. The speaker then referred to the vJater supply. It would be impossible to carry out the water scheme the Council had in view, and for which two shipments of pipes were on the way—without the floating of the loan of £15,000 recentlypassed by the ratepayers. Pessimists may growl about it, but it would have to be raised, if the water scheme was to bo carried out. He had no doubt this could be done as some other small loans had been raised by the Union Bank —the loan for Hawkes Bay, and the Christchurch Cathedral loan. He then referred to the drainage question, which he held was one that ought to be grappled with, seing that there were several hotbeds of disease here .and there throughout the borough. After a further reference to the loan the speaker said lie favored Mr Hutchison’s Municipal Corporations Amendment Bill ; a clause of which provided for the abolition of Assessment Courts and the substitution of the Town Council as the sole valuing authority. On the subject of tree planting, Mr. Iveas acknowledged the aid he had received while he was in the Council from Mr. E. Saunders, and he hoped that advantage would be taken of the provisions or any Act that would enable' them to turn their belts into shady avenues. The footpaths in the town were then criticised, and Mr. Ivess said that the gravel should bo screened before it was put upon the paths. He had heard that it was said ttie present Councillors had expressed themselves as opposed to his election. He had never been on any other than courteous terms with his fellow Councillors, and he had no doubt if lie were returned as Mayor he would be able to secure the courtesy and good feciing of the Council, as he would be able also to guide their deliberations. He was quite sure this rumor was an invention of the enemy. The election up to that time had been conducted with good feelmg, and he hoped it would be continued throughout. He asked any ratepayer to question him on subjects of interest to the borough. The speaker was occasionally applauded during the delivery of his speech. Mr. Joseph Leggat wished to know if it was Mr. Ivess’ opinion that the Council would be a more impartial judge than the R.M.
Mr. Ivess thought they would not be more impartial, but they sat all the year round, while the R.M. Assessment Court sat only once a year.
Mr. Leggat—Were they not interested parties ? Mr. Tvess thought the burgesses would be safe in the hands of ten men.
Mr. Leggat—lf that is your opinion why could you not trust them with the election of a valuator. —(Loud laughter).
Mr. Ivess said he had attributed their error to one of judgment—(Renewed laughter). Mr. Bradley—Why did Mr. Ivess leave the Council when he was a member 1
Mr Tvess explained that the exigencies of his business arrangements at the time necessitated his withdrawal. Mr. Bradley wanted to know how many streets the £15,000 loan would drain, &c. Mr. Ivess said he had not the Engineer’s report by him, but it had been widely circulated. He thought it included all the streets.
Mr. Bradley said the nuisances were caused mostly by hotels. Was it fair that we should expend £SOOO for the benefit of five or six people ? . Mr Tvess said it was a matter that interested every man who cared for cleanliness and health.
Mr. Cates—Why did Mr. Ivess desert the unemployed t —(Laughter.) Mr. Ivess had advocated the raising of a loan to take in hand the making of the outfall drain, and that would have found them work to a great extent and kept many good men in the district. He did not desert the unemployed, for he was not in the Council when they made their demonstration, and their interest was necessarily his interest. Mr. W. Leggatt asked if Mr. Ivess was in favor of taking the hanking account of the borough by contract. Mr. Ivess went over his well known ground re the New Zealand Bank, stating his opinion that better terms could have been made with the other institution.
Mr. Cates wanted to know if Mr. Ivess favored a measure to prevent a recurrence of such a calamity as that of the Glasgow Bank.—(lmmense laughter). Mr. Ivess replied.
Mr. Joseph Leggatt desired Mr Ivess to state the difference between the financial statement he gave when he first asked their votes and that he gave that night. He had stated on a former occasion that £2OO would be obtained for dog tax. Mr. Ivess said the information then available was very meagre, and he did not know the individual residences of the dogs. Mr. Quill proposed and Mr. St. Hill seconded a resolution to the effect that Mr. Ivess was a fit and proper person to fill the Mayoral Chair for the eusuin«year. Mr. Leggatt supported the resolution in a short speech.
The resolution was then put, and carried.
Ivlr. Ivess then thanked the meeting for their expression of confidence, hoping that if ever he did anything deserving their reprehension, they would ask him to resign, as he had no wish to .hold an office in which lie did not have the confidence of his fellow citizens.
A vote of thanks to the Mayor closed the meetin '-.
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