The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1880.
The papers throughout the colony, who do not see eye to eye with the present Government, have been as usual somewhat lavish of their sneers at Sir William Fox, and his recent success at Rangitikei has not mollified them in the least. It has been industriously circulated that Major Willis only resigned to make room for Sir William, who was “ wanted ” on the Ministry. Sir William stoutly denies this rumor; infact, itscarcelywantsanydenial, and only shows what straits the Opposition are reduced to. Sir William Fox’s nonsuccess at Wanganui, at the general election, was a loss to the present Government and his accession to the Rangitikei scat only restores to tliem what they lost at Wanganui. Notwithstanding what his foes say of him, the old man is a power in the House, and it was a pity that for a time he was shut out from taking part in. it deliberations—at a time when his party somnehrequiredhis aid. Without him they attained to power, succeeding in hurling from their position the men who had so helplessly allowed the colony to go backward, and in securing the position they had vacated. Sir William Fox led the first attack on the so-called Liberal fortress, but he was withdrawn from the fight by losing the Wanganui seat. Now that he has been returned for Rangitikei he will be able to add his influence to his party’s fighting power, and his experience of native affairs, greater perhaps than that of any man now living in the colony, will be found useful in the highest degree. His invaluable services on the Native Commission have been most opportune, and now that the native problem
is about to receive, let us hope, a final and effective solution, Sir William’s return to Parliament could scarcely have happened at a more happy time.
The Government are evidently to meet opposition from the Nelson members on the question of a railway. Nelson has only one Parliamentary idea, and that is, that it has not received justice at the hands of Parliament in the matter of public works, and therefore whichever Government will set on foot a railway that will connect Nelson with the outer world will receive the hearty support of that province, but whichever will refuse that boon must be the object of her unplacable opposition. The withdrawal from tender of a proposed railway over which the Nelsonites were shaking hands with themselves has set their teeth on edge, and in public meeting assembled the offending Government have been roundly denounced for daring to sacrifice the best interests of the place. The sorest point seems to have been with the Nelson people, that while their railway was withdrawn from tender, there were others in the colony that had been proceeded with, and a local paper in a recent issue instanced the fact that the Mount Somers district was a favored one, and that tenders for a railway through it had been called for. It takes some time for news to reach Nelson apparently, and the place seems to have been in happy ignorance of the fact that our railway had been included in the general onslaught and withdrawn from the contractors’ competition. When Nelson learns that fact she will learn at least that she is not alone in her suffering of “injustice,” but that there are districts in the colony besides her own that have to put up with “neglect.” The reason assigned by the Public Works Minister for the withdrawal of these works is the financial position of the colony, which, he states, will this year be one million or more backward. When the tide cf finance keeps so steadily on the ebb as it has done for the past eight months—when the trade of the colony keeps falling off, as indexed by the reduced Customs receipts—it is high time to think of retrenchment; and if Government have not the money to go on with works of the trunk railway kind, so essential to the well-being of Nelson district, then the only course open for Government is simply not to undertake them. We fear there are too many works of the kind that will have to be abandoned for a time, and however much colonists may wish to see public works progress in every part of New Zealand, there is no man will advocate the construction of such when the sinews of war are not fortcoming, and especially when the works themselves hold out no hope of a return within a reasonable time. The colony will look anxiously for the report of the Railway Commission, for we feel certain that by that report will many of the works now clamored for in certain districts be weighed, judged, approved, or condemned.