THE DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL.
The Dunedin City Council have bcetmn famous, or rather notorious, of late. Tin present Mayor of the city—Mr. Walter—it v\ ill be remembered, took advantage o a lan* designed to prevent jobbery ii public bodies, and to render it impossible as far as law can, for a member of sue! body to use his position as a member foi the purpose of making pecuniary profit tt himself. The advantage of this law taken by Mr. Walter was the ousting fron the Dunedin Mayoralty of the nc.vlj elected Mr. Fish, who had a persona interest in a contract for building a Town Hall. The snobs of the City Council were meanly spiteful enough to try tc annoy the man who was courageous enough to fight for the honor of the law, and fortunate enough to ho successful. The species of annoyance to which the smailmiuded dolts of the Dunedin City Council descended was such as might have been expected from a ‘‘bested” black-leg, but was altogether unworthy of men holding to he the representative men of a large and important city, that claims to the seat of How Zealand’s learning, and the chief emporium of her commerce. The Fathers of this great city, in high dudgeon at Mr. Walter’s success —we will not insinuate that they felt they themselves might some time be in similar danger with Mr. Fish —voted the abolition of the salary that had hitherto been paid to the sitting Mayor, and left Mr. Walter to discharge the duties and bear the honors of his position on an allowance of £1 per year. To this act the reply of Mr. 'Walter was simply grand. It was short, but it ought to have been iron in the souls of the Councillors that is, if they had any souls to pierce. It was as follows Gentlemen, I beg to thank the Council for voting no salary because I look on a pound as no salary. I can assure the Council that during the number of years X have been associated with it I have never, cither as Councillor or Mayor, looked upon it as a source of income to me. I can assure you, gentlemen, that the duties of this Council, that the duties of this scat, will bo carried out as if I received £IO,OOO a year. It is not the matter of the salary voted me as Mayor that will cause me to do tho work ine'liciontly ; the work will be done as efficiently without salary as with it. Gentlemen, I thank you.” But the Dunedin City Councillors did not stop at a reduction, or rather abolition of salary. They now seek to secure to themselves the right of electing the Mayor, and have put the matter to the vote of the people. But they might have saved themselves the trouble. The election of tho Mayor by the ratepayers has been the ratepayers’ right since 1875, and just as Dunedin is not all Otago, nor Otago all New Zealand, so one Town Council will not be able to deprive the colony’s municipal ratepayers of their right to elect their own chief man. Nowhere else has any objection been raised to the system of popular election, and we only know that a law is oppressive or objectionable when wo hoar the popular voice raised against it. The best efforts of the Dunedin parochial magnates were unsuccessful in galvanising the ratepayers into getting up the faintest show of enthusiasm on the question, and when the subject reaches the House of Representatives—if it ever does reach it —the question that will naturally be asked will bo—“Who wants tho change 1” To this question can only bo replied—“ The Citj' Council of Dunedin ?” and the fogies of the southern metropolis being only a small item in the list of New Zealand municipalities will get quietly laughed at.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 61, 14 February 1880
THE DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 61, 14 February 1880
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