Wellington, May 28.
Parliament was opened at two o’clock yesterday by the Governor in person. There was only a very small attendance of members in both Houses of the Legislature.
Sir William Fox took the oath and hia seat for Rangitikei. His Excellency’s Speech.
His Excellency delivered the customary Speech, giving an outline of the work to be done during the session, • The full text is given below :
Honorable Legislative CmincUlors and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives — In accordance with what was understood to be the wish of both branches of the Legislature, I have called you together at an earlier period of the year than usual, and after an interval of little more than live months since the last session of Parliament. When I last met you, the cquntry was suffering from severe monetary pressure, arid a general depression in various branches of Indus? try and trade. It ig gatigfactpry for nje to be able, on the present occasion, tp con* gratulate you on the partial relief which has been experienced, and on the degree of confidence which has been inspired by an abundant harvest, and by the’increased value of most of the staple products of the country. At the same time, the condition of the colony demands your careful consideration. I regret that there should be a considerable amount of distress among the working classes, but I and believe this may be only of a teiS
porary character. It is engaging th? serious attention of my Government, whp have taken steps for enquiring into the means best calculated to encourage such local industries as will afford steady and remunerative employment to the people. In accordance with the decision of the Legislature, I appointed a Royal Com-
mission to enquire into the alleged grievances of a portion of the native race in respect to their lands on the west coast of the North Island. The reports and recommendations of that Commission will be laid before you. I trust that the measures, at once firm and conciliatory, which have been adopted by my Government will issue in a permanent and satisfactory settlement of the difficulties which have arisen in that part of the colony. >, The determination which has beem''sfiSwn to redress grievances where mey may be proved to exist, and at the same time to assert the supremacy of the Crown, cannot but favorably affect our relations with the whole Maori race. The steps’which should be taken for the defence of the harbors of the colony have been carefully considered and duly reported upon by Colonel Sera tchley, an experienced officer of the Royal Engineers, You will be asked to consider tire extent to which it will be advisable to give effect to his suggestions. Gentlemen of the House of Representatives Carefully prepared estimates of the revenue and expenditure for the ensuing twelve months will be laid before you. The facts elicited by Commissioners whom I have appointed to enquire into the present position of the Civil Service, will, I have no doubt, assist my Responsible Advisers in effecting substantial reductions in the cost of that service. I regret to have to announce to you that a falling off has taken place during the past financial period in almost all the principal items of revenue. While these may in some measure be attributed to temporary causes, it would be unwise to ignore the fact that prior to the existence of the depression there had been a time of extraordinary inflation, consequent upon the expenditure of large sums of borrowed money. With the lessening of the abnorriral influx of foreign capital the country must look for a diminution in the rate of it has recently been accustomed to, both in respect to its ordinary and territorial revenue. In these circumstances my advisers entertain no doubt as to the course to be pursued. Expenditure must be decreased, luxuries must be curtailed; the public works which have already been constructed must be made more reproductive. It is to industry and economy that the colony-has to look for a development of its resources, and the maintenance of healthy progress. Yon will be asked to consider a plan, which it is believed, will place the finances of the local bodies on a satisfactory basis and will enable those bodies to carry bn their works in a self-reliant and independent manner. Honorable Legislative Councillors and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives — At a time when it is indispensable that the closest attention should bo bestowed upon the state of our finances, upon the solution of questions of grave importance, upon the settlement of waste lands, and upon the general economy of administration, it is not the intention of my Government to ask you to devote a longer time to the duty of legislation than will be required to complete the constitutional measures already initiated, and to deal with pressing questions of social and administrative reform. Bills will be presented to you for the consolidation and amendment of the licensing laws of the colony ; for placing the administration of hospital and charitable aid on a sound and intelligent basis; for completing tire changes in the electoral law which were commenced in the last session of Parliament ; for re-adjusting the representation of the people; and fur amending the laws affecting the dealing with native lands and the constitution of the Native Li£L?b Court. The work of consolidating as authorised by you, has made considerable progress, and a number of Bills, the result of the labors' of the Commission, will also be placed before you. The necessity for revising the whole sj stem of legal procedure now in force, in the Supreme Court, and in other Courts of the colony, has forced itself upon the attention of my government. The subject is too large to enter upon during the present session, but it is proposed to institute an enquiry with the view of preparing such measures of reform as will render the administration of justice more speedy and efficacious, as well as less costly, than at present. The work of opening up the waste lands of the Crown for settlement has been vigorously prosecuted, and blocks of land for occupation upon the deferred payment and village settlement systems have been set aside over a large portion of the colony. The desire which exists for the occupation of land in small holdings evinces a determination on the part of the people of the colony to devote themselves steadily to the development of its resources. It is to be regretted that in some parts of the country land of this class has been bought on teims with which the purchasers have found it impossible to comply. The subject is under the consideration of my Government. I now leave you to the labors of the session. I have to assure you of my earnest desire to co-operate with your efforts to promote the welfare of the country, and to express my hope that God’s blessing may rest upon your deliberations. THE ADDRESS IN REPLY. In the House of Representatives, a notice was given of an Address in Reply on behalf of Colonel Trimble. THE LATE PRINCESS ALICE. A despatch was received from the Imperial Government, containing the Queen's jvcknowlcdgjnent of the address pf condolence presented by both Houses of the Legislature on the death of the Princess Alice. NEW BILLS, Ministers laid a number of paper on the table, and gave notice of the Regulations of Elections, Corrupt Practices Prevention, and Election Petitons Bills. The Telegraph Act Amendment Bill was read a first time. Both Houses adjourned until Tuesday.
speeches. Also a similar scheme couM settle the difficulty between the two branches of Legislature in New South Wales. Mr. Childers, Secretary of State for the War Department, will, it is expected, resign his position on the Commission now sitting with reference to the question of Colonial Defence. The despatch of the Fine Arts collection for the Melbourne Exhibition is at a standstill owing to the absence of a definite reply from the Melbourne Commission as to the return of the Sydney collection. Sir Gavan Duffy declined overtures to offer himself for a seat in Parliament, until he has published his history.
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