Thursday, November 27.
In the Council to-day the Marlborough Rivers Union Bill and Southern Native Districts School Bill passed first reading. The Waitara Harbor Bill and the Registration of Electors Bill were read a second time. The Christchurch Drillshed Bill and Qualification of Electors Bill passed a third reading. The Hon. J. N. Wilson moved the recommittal of the last Bill so as to get the clause altered to allow all Maori holders of land owned in common to vote, but after a debate his proposal was rejected. Replying to Mr. Miller, The Hon. F. A. Whitaker said five agents were now employed in Great Britain—Mr. Holloway at £l5O a year ; Mr. G. M. Reid at £6OO ; Mr. Clayden, £250 ; Mr. Bathgate, £350; Rev. J. Berry, £3OO. The Council rose at 9.50 p. m.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Thursday, Nov. 27.
The Marlborough Rivers District Union Bill was read a third time ; and the Voting Act Amendment Bill, No. 2, was passed through Committee before the House rose at 1.20 a.m.
AFTERNOON SITTING. The House met at 2.30 p. m. NOTICE OF MOTION.
Sir r G. Grey gave notice that on going into Committee of Supply he would move —“ That the finding of the Select Committee that he (Sir G. Grey) had not been duly elected a member for Christchurch bo expunged, as also the finding that the Hon. E. Richardson was duly elected.” QUESTIONS. Replying to Mr. J. T. Fisher, Mr. Hall said that the subject of making provision on the Supplementary Estimates to provide suitable accommodation for His Excellency when he may please [to visit the large centres of population— Christchurch and Dunedin—was under consideration.
Replying to Mr. Reeves, Mr. Hall said that the extra cost of keeping a staff of operators at the Telegraph Office, Parliament Buildings, would be £230, and that besides the cost, such an arrangement interfered with the working of the central office. Replying to Mr. Andrews, Mr. Oliver said that inquiries would be made concerning the men (late unemployed) now working on the Weka Pass railway—(l.) As to the number of single men employed, and upon whose authority. (2.) As to the rates of pay for day work and for piece work. (3.) As to the style of books kept and mode of hooking, especially as to time books. Mr. Wakefield asked whether the Government have any information as to the Agent-General having taken up his residence at Falmouth ; whether they consider he can properly attend to his duties while residing so far from London, and whether they intend to insist on his abstaining from taking part in politics while retaining his present office. The Hon. J. Hall replied that with regard to the first and second questions, Government had no ‘information on the subject, but they believed he I ad merely gone to reside at Falmouth for a holiday. They had, and would continue to insist, that he took no part in British politics.
Mr. Bowen asked whether Government will make some provision for the maintenance of existing domains and public gardens. Mr. Hall replied that a vote of £IBOO had been put on the Estimates for the purpose. Mr. Reid asked if the Government would fulfil the promise made by the late Government, to send Professor Ulrich on a visit to the Rangitoto District, in the County of Westland, in order to report on the silver mines and mineral discoveries in that locality ? Mr. Oliver said that a report on the subject had already been made by Dr. Hector, as Professor Ulrich's time was not at the disposal of the Colony. Mr. Ormond asked whether the system of letting clearing and formation of the line on the Napier-Manawatu railway in small contracts to settlers residing adjacent to the railway was intended to be dispensed with ; also, if the work is to be in large contracts, whether any provision will be made whereby the settlers resident in the locality may obtain employment on the works ? The Hon. R. Oliver replied that the clearing would be let in small contracts. No provision could be made for the large contracts as desired, but settlers on the ground would have a good chance of getting employed on the contracts. Mr. Bowen asked whether the Government was in position to supply the cadet corps throughout the Colony with light rifles, and if not whether they will take steps to do so without delay. The Hon. J. Hall replied that the matter had been placed before the War Office by the Agent-General.
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY. Several resolutions were reported from the Committee of Supply, and adopted.
BILLS REPOSTED. The Special Settlements Bill was withdrawn.
The District Courts Proceeding Validation Bill was read a third time and passed. The Onewhero Grant Empowering Intercolonial Probate Administration, the Leases and Sale of Settled Estates Act Amendment, Imbecile Passengers Act, and the Extension of Sheriffs Act, 1878, Amendment, were read a second time.
PAYMENT OF MEMBERS. The Members of the General Assembly Expenses Bill was considered in Committee.
Sir George Grey moved—“ That the clause providing for the payment of Members in the Upper House be expunged,” and in explanation said that he was not advising the non-payment of Members of that branch of the Legislature. That being a nominated body, it was not right that they should be provided for in the Same Act as the elective Chamber. Jdr. M'Lean opposed the motion, and moved— M That progress be reported." The House divided on Mr. M'fcean’s 4mendmentmAyus,29 i 32,
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In support of the contention that a difference should be made in the amounts paid to Members in the Lower and those in the Upper House,, it was argued that the former were put to the trouble and expense of a contested election, whereas the latter had not such expense to provide for. Messrs. Gisborne and Reid argued in support of that view of the subject. Mr. Dick thought the defeated candidates were more entitled to be considered than the successful, and if they were going to put a sum on the Estimates for themselves, he would move —“ That the claims of these gentlemen be also considered.” There was no argument in fact, that gentlemen in the other House were men of large means. If that argument was good, the same thing would apply to this House. They had men of means amongst them, and these men would be equally entitled not to receive pay as Members of the Upper House. Sir George Grey, replying to Mr Dick, said that the effect of his proposal would be that the elections would be contested by every qualified man in the place. There would be a perfect rush to the hustings were candidates to be assured of their expenses.
On the question being put the House divided—Ayes, 41; Noes, 28. The amendment of Sir George Grey was accordingly lost.
Mr. Lundon then moved—“ That the Chairman leave the chair.”
The House divided—Ayes, 48 ; Noes, 23.
LANDS BILL. The Lands Bill was then considered Committee.
Per our Special Wire.
Friday, November 28.
The business in the Council to-day was of small interest. After a large amount of oilier matter had been disposed of, it was ordered, on the motion of the Hon. Mr. Hart, that a month after the beginning of next session a return should be submitted showing the number of electors in each rating district subject and not subject to the new property tax. The Reprint of Statutes Bill, The Timaru Water Works Bill, and the Wairarapa Race-course Bill were read a second time, and the Hamilton Volunteer Hall Site Bill, and the Fencing Bill a third time. The Council then went into Committee on the Registration Bill, and had not made any important amendment up to adjournment at 6 o’clock. EVENING SITTING. The whole evening was spent in Committee on the Registration Bill. Many amendments were made, but none of importance. Tlie Hon. J. N. Wilson made an ineffectual attempt to abolish plural voting. The Council adjourned at 10.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Friday, November 28. The House met at 2.30 p.m. MESSAGES.
Messages were received from the Legislative Council that the Hokitika Harbor, and Mastcrton and Greytown Town Lands Bills had been passed with amendments.
QUESTIONS. Replying to Mr. Tamoana, Mr. Bryce said while Government attached great importance to such a Bill they would not this session introduce a Native Lands Bill. Replying to Mr. Richardson, Mr. Hall said that under the Act of 1807 Government has power to give authority to those persona who are at their own cost carrying on establishments for fish culture to take trout and salmon spawn from the rivers of the colony, and they will be prepared to grant the necessary authority. Mr. Shrimski asked Government if they woulc take steps during recess to have mme careful exploration made than has hitherto been possible in the short interval of time at the disposal of the Engineer-in-Chief of the passage in the Katsuma ranges, with a view of ascertaining whether a practicable route exists for a line of railway connecting central Otago with Waitaki and South Canterbury. Mr. Oliver was understood to reply in the negative, adding that Government was not yet satisfied the line should be constructed at all.
Replying to Mr. Pyke, Mr. Bryce said at present it would not be advisable to dispense with the services of Dr. Buller, who had been retained as counsel in connection with native land purchases. Replying to Mr. Shrimski,
Mr. Hall said Government did not intend taking action in reference to the construction of a telegraph from Oamaru to Ngaparn. SIR GEOROE grey's TROUBLES. On motion for going into Committee of Supply, Sir 6. Grey was about to move the finding of the Committee (declaring he had not been duly elected for Christchurch, and that Mr. Richardson had been elected) be expunged as a record of the House, when, Mr. M‘Lean submitted the motion could not be entertained.
The Speaker ruled the motion could be entertained, and Sir George Grey moved it accordingly. He road a decision by a previous Committee finding that a candidate may be nominated for more than one seat. Such was the case when the Christchurch election was questioned. On these grounds he was justified in asking the finding of the Committee, as it referred to himself, to be expunged from the records. As regards the second part of the report, finding that Mr. Richardson was elected, he held that was invalid. The law was that notice should be given to the electors before the election took place. Then, in that case their rates were thrown away. In other words, the Disqualification Act might be used for unseating the member disqualified, The law did not go the length of holding that the next candidate on the polling list was elected. If so, that would be affirming the principle that these elec, tors wore to bo punished by having their votes literally thrown away. Ho moved the motion altogether apart from party foolingi Mr. Hall contended the argument put forward by thtf mover plight have very properly beeti argiled by the Committee by whom the matter Was tried; Jft Would he d»ngeroii» fo go behind a qUcetiPt} of this kind hpaet t|i9 decision $1 an aJflistJah ? co»j|Mitfoei ?nd * fiomoiittae My gfefC B 81*1 '|!)g
I case. Whether, these committees wore I the best tribunals for the trial of election I petitions 1 s questioned. So long, howI ever, as it was a function delegated by j law to them, ho hoped the House would | respect their decision. He combated a j statement by Sir G. Grey to the effect j that the finding of the Committee had j practically disfranchised a majority of the j electors of Christchurch.
The question was put, and on the voices was given in favor of the original motion. A division took place—Ayes, 36 ; Hoes,
Ayes—Adams, Bain, Colbeck, Hurst, Allwright,Bowen, Gibbs, Hurst, Andrews, Bryce, Hall, Hursthouse, Atkinson, Kenny, M’Lean, Murry, Masters, Montgomery, Oliver, Ormond, 8011, Pyke, Richmond, Richardson, Rolleston, Saunders, .Stevens, (teller) Studholme, (toller) Sutton, Swanson, Tomoano, Trimble, Whitaker, Wallis, Wood.' Noes—Harris, Seddon, Barron, Hutchison, Shephard, Delatour, Ireland, Shrimski (teller), Finn, Lundon, Tainui, Grey, Mason, Tawhai, Hamlin, Reid, Thompson, Tole (teller), Wallis. The motion for going into Committee accordingly carried. The Speaker then left the chair. THE ESTIMATES. Native Affairs Department Salaries and contingencies, £15,74:2. Mr. Bryce said there were a good many things in this Department with which he was dissatisfied, vnd if he continued in office he would attempt considerable retrenchment, failing which, he would retire from office.
In reply to Mr. Montogomevy,
Mr, Bryce said Government had already taken steps to check the spread of contagious diseases amongst the natives at Little River.
On the item, General Contingencies for purchase of food and clothing for natives, also, for rewards and presents to native chiefs, and for the purpose of encouragement of agriculture, Ac., £6OOO,
Mr. Gisborne moved that it be reduced £2OOO.
Mr. Bryce opposed the reduction on the ground that the sum of £2OOO out of the vote had been spent before the present Government took office.
The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment.
The House met at 7.30. The vote as printed was put and carried.
Native Land Court, £12,129. Mr. Hamlin proposed tho item, chief judges (also judge of the District Court) £IOOO, be reduced £2OO. Mr. Reader Wood supported the reduction, but suggested that the remodelling of the whole department be left with the Native Minister.
Mr. George proposed to reduce tho item 5 judges, at £6OO, £3OBO, to £2500. The total vote as reduced was passed.
Native Lands Frauds Prevention Act, 1870, £558. Passed. Miscellaneous services £13,360. The rate was passed as printed. Lands and Mines Department votes — Crown Lands Department, £10,579. Vote passed. Crown Lands—Miscellaneous services, £14,064. Passed. Coalfields, £413. Passed. General Survey Department, £BB,OOO. Passed.
Photographic and Lithographic Printing Branch, £2llO. Passed.
Mines, £27,000. Vote passed as printed. Colonial Treasury Department.—Treasurer, £6,732 ; Land Tax, £5,985 ; Miscellaneous services, £7,123. Passed. Commissioner of Customs Department— Customs, £34.235. Tho Collect at Auckland, £OOO, was reduced £SO. With that reduction the vote was passed. Miscellaneous services, £lO,lOl.
The bonus to bo given to the exporters of rabbit skins, £BOOO, was objected to, and a motion made that the amount shall be reduced to £4OOO. The item as printed carried on the voices, and the vote as printed was put and earned. Marino and Harbor—£33,32o. The item Hinemoa, including expenses while laid up for 0 months, £4OOO, was objected to by Mr. Andrews, who moved it be struck out. Neither of the Government steamers were adapted for the purpose, and much more suitable steamers, more especially than the Hinemoa, could be got.
Mr. Saunders supported the proposal for striking out the item. Major Atkinson said the money was very nealy all spent.
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