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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Friday, June 4.
The House re-assembled at 7.30 p.vn. HOSPITALS AND CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS BILL. The.debate on the motion for the second reading of the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Bill was resumed. Mr. Hutchison said the Bill, from clause 4 to 33 would be found to be cumbersome. He thought there should be the beginning of the principle of settlement inserted in the Bill. He meant by that that every person requiring relief should be admitted into the institution at once ; the question of what district should bo chargeable with their relief ought to be left over for after consideration. His reason for advocating that principle was that every part of the colony was not to be chargeable alike for the maintenance of these institutions, consequently it vyas but right that the settlement question should operate. The constitution of the Boards was a most important matter. It was necessary that these Board should not only be prompt in their endeavors to render relief, but they should also be careful not to destroy in any way that spirit of self-reliance, which was one of the most noble instincts of our nature. It was likewise necessary that great care should be taken not to weaken in any way the family tie—that tie which should lead them to do their utmost to prevent members of their family becoming chargeable on charitable aid. In connection with this subject, he deprecated the conduct of Government in attempting to reduce the rates payable for labor. That was economy at the wrong end, and tended to aggravate the evil" this measure was meant to alleviate. Mr. Barron regretted that the measure, though a good one, was necessary. Sir W. Fox looked on this as one of the most important measures that could be brought before the House. He could not apiprove of the Bill to the extent that other , members had done. The fault he found with it was that it dealt with the symptoms not the root of the disease. In doing so they only succeeded in driving the disease inwards. It was calculated to promote a taste for pauperism. The poor law agitation in England years ago had this effect. The men were, so to speak, born in pauperism, and they lived and were content to live in pauperism. Afterhaving grappled forty years with the evil it was a common saying that every respectable person or ratepayer carried so many paupers on his back. The fact was they had made a mistake in not striking at the root of the evil. How was it that the French peasant was enabled to hoard up his money. It was this : They did not indulge in the habit of the bar parlour ; they did not indulge in horse-racing or sweepstakes ; they did nothing of that kind. The only amusement indulged in was a game of dominos in a little parlour on Sunday afternoon, and they practised the most rigid economy in their expenditure and persevering industry in their labours. If they could rescue the money that was at present paid for drink ; if the Licensing Act proposed by Government was amended in a certain direction then that would be striking at the root of the evil. Close at least some of the public houses, and remove the temptations at present existing for drinking and “shouting.” Let them inquire what were the tendencies to pauperism. Let them ask the relieving officers, governors of reformatory schools and other public institutions, and they would be told that it was drink. If they would remedy those evils then the} 7 would grapple with the evil; they would be striking at its very root instead of merely trifling with it, or rather, encouraging pauperism by means ot a Bill of this kind. Sir G. Grey said that Providence had brought one essential aid to his side that night in the speech.just delivered by the previous speaker. He had traced out the evils of pauperism as it existed in Britain, and then contrasted it with the state of population in France. It was true that pauperism of the most dreadful kind existed in Britain. The Premier had admitted that this was a poor law. He maintained that a poorlaw oughtuottobe at present required in this country. The description of the French peasant, with his small holding of land, presented a striking contrast to the English paupers. The great difference was this, the latter had no little plot of ground he could call his own and had no home—he was an outcast. Looking at a starved wife and family was a sad picture, which made him resort to drink ; that was the secret of his sinking deep in the social scale. Now, what were the facts of the case in New Zealand 1 The Government and their friends had gridironed the country and done other things to prevent the poor man acquiring homes here as in Franco. He looked upon it that the tendency of our legislation was to create a pauper population, to make men drunkards and outcasts. He believed that if the previous speaker would only follow out his arguments to their own reasonable conclusions he would most assuredly come round to his side of the House, and take care that not another acre of native land was grasped for purposes of acquiring great landed estates to the detriment of population as a whole. In some of the countries referred to by the Premier in support of his proposed poor law scheme the chief portion of taxation was drawn from land. For instance, in Belgium 20|- per cent, of the taxation was taken from the land, but in New Zealand land was made to contribute next to nothing. He agreed with the previous speaker in thinking that this Bill was calculated to promote pauperism. If the Government would tear up their Native Lands Bill and bring forward Bills for promoting s ona fide settlement instead of promoting Piako Swamp jobs they would do more to prevent pauperism; more to prevent drunkenness, than all charitable aid schemes could possibly do. The Hon. W Rolleston said that the reception this matter had met with convinced him that the country was now content to settle down to practical legislation, The q uestion was pne which had different origins, and therefore required to be dealt with by different methods of treatment, The distress contemplated by the measure before the House had had a variety of origins. For instance, indiscreet immigration promoted by Government was one. Another was that arising from the vicious habits of the population. A third was that which arose from accident and disease. Each of these demanded different modes of treatment, and he claimed for the measure the credit of having made ample provision for each of these cases. Sir W. Fox had spoken of. certain evils which ought to be dealt with as striking at the root of the evil such as drunkenness and horse racing. He had to remind them that it was these evils in their secondary consequences, in their consequences upon the wives and families of guilty men with which they were called upon to deal. What they had to do was to face the evil as existing, and he claimed for the measure that it would effect that object through the local bodies. By assisting Government to make the Bill a complete measure they would do good service to the country. Mr. DeLautour could not agree with Bill. It would bear particularly hard on the province from which he came. Outside Dunedin all the hospitals reared by the hands of the people would fall. They had not been in the habit of looking upon their hospitals as semirworkhouses, but as
institutions provided by their forethought, and into which they could go without sacrificing their independence of character. As an administration Bill it was bad. They were raising up bodies responsible to nobody. It was to local bodies they had to look for checking the tendency to pauperism. Again, unnecessary expense and extravagance would be the order of the day, as it had been in connection with their education system. Government ought to know that making grants without the exercise of direct control by Government was a great blunder, and one which had led to the most serious abuses. In Scotland it was found that the outdoor relief system had been the means of aggravating the evils of pauperism, and yet, with that fact before them, this Bill proposed to confer that power of outdoor relief upon the dispenser. He deprecated the combination of charitable relief with relief to accident and disease contemplated by the establishment of hospitals. This was an attempt to forego the system which had been established in Otago, and place them on the Canterbury system. The Bill was calculated to create pauperism of the worst kind, and was fatal to our institutions as they existed. For these reasons he would oppose the motion. The Hon. R. Oliver spoke in support of the Bill. He maintained that it was designed to foster a spirit of independence, and would tend to the more perfect management of charitable institutions. •Mr. Speight thought the Bill had been presented to them in a straightforward manner, still he took exception to a number of its provisions. The Hon. J. Hall denied the statement that Government desired to reduce the price of labour. When Government wanted labour it paid current rates ; when it did not want labour it provided, so to say, for those unemployed, a kind of subsistence. It was right that the terms under these circumstances should be such as would induce the person so situated to accept them for as short a period as he possibly could. In reply to the objections stated by Sir W. Fox; lie said that they had disease, and it was absolutely necessary that they should deal with it, as it at present existed. Had the evils been fewer, they would be bound not only to eradicate them, but take steps for the cure of the afflicted. He was alive to the necessity for encouraging habits of sobriety and thrift amongst the population. If there was one man in New Zealand who had done much to encourage the accumulation of large estates, that man was Sir George Grey, and yet he took this opportunity of twisting the subject so as to make it a weapon of offence against the present Government. It was curious that he should condemn a Bill that the Government of which he was the head had prepared. Mr. DeLautour not only sneered at the Bill, but sneered at those who had gone the length of giving Government credit for good intentions. He could not have read it, or he would not have spoken as he did. He spoke about the tendency of the Bill to induce the erection of extravagant buildings, as had been done under the education system. In fact, hoyever, the two wore very widely different. Under the education system, the districts provided no part of the fund, while under the Charitable Aid Bill, as proposed, the districts would have to tax themselves to provide one half of the money. He looked to local taxation to avoid any tendency of the kind. The motion was put and carried on the voices, and at 10 15 p. in the House adjourned. “ CAPTAIN WILLIAM JACKSON BARRY.” In a parliamentary paper just received, is given the whole official correspondence relative to the appointment of Captain Wm. Jackson Barry as lecturer in England on the very important subject of emigration to New Zealand. Many persons who know the “ captain” have often wondered what strange infatuation seized the last Government, under the influence of which they sent the worthy “ Captain ” to England to trumpet forth his own praises, with the colony’s as second fiddle. But the correspondence now before us gives us, an account of how the thing was done, and it appears from the letters there given that the Hon. Robert Stout must have fancied the idea a happy thought, of ridding the colony of the redoubtable “ captain,” inasmuch as he seems to have jumped at the proposal with great eagerness. The proposal to Mr. Stout to send Home the “Captain” originated in Otago, whether with Barry himself or with the 127 persons who in a memorial to the Premier recommended him as a lecturer, it is difficult to say; but a memorial thus extensively signed was forwarded to Wellington, with the almost immediate result that the Dunedin Immigration Officer was ordered to find the Captain a passage Home in a sailing ship at a cost of LIO, with L2O to find him in cash when he arrived in England. We do not say that Mr. Stout did not do the colony a service when he thus took steps to get rid of the Captain ; but do say that the service was not so effective as it was wished to be, for the Captain is here again. It was in September, 1878, that Captain William Jackson Barry set sail, and in the same month the Agent-General had penned to him a memo, by Mr. Stout, apprising him of what had been done, and stating that the passage and pocket money paid was to be recouped bj “ lectures” delivered by the Captain. When a sufficient number of these oratorical efforts had been made to wipe off the debt of L6O due by the Captain, “the question of his further employment” was left for Sir Julius Vogel to determine. Sir Julius acknowledged this memo, in November, but at this time Captain Jack had not arrived Home. In December, however, of the same year, Mr. Ballanco saw fit to be at Sir Julius again on the question of the Captain. Barry had been vaporing about the colony of his grand appointment as an immigration agent and public lecturer, and Mr. Ballance not at all prepared to risk his Government’s reputation for wisdom, by owning to their selection ag a lecturer of a character like Barry, told Sjr Julius that with him lay Barry’s employment as a lecturer. Sir Julius, whatever his faults, has a keen eye to the colony’s good name, and he, failing to recognise the Captain’s merits, of course hailed' to eon ploy him. Captain William Jackson Barry then set oiit on his “ own hook,” and according to- his own story, the exMay or of Cromwell became a great man in England. There is no further correspondence between the Agent-General and the Government on the subject of Captain William Jackson Barry until January of this year, when we find that, however, successful the Captain may have been in England in his own eyes, and however high a pinnacle of fame he may have reached, he had become hard up. Anyhow Sir Julius Vogel paid his passage over here again, and from the tone of his published letter we infer that lie was very glad for the credit of the colony to have the old man hurried out of England, and back to the colony, which, while residing in it, he could not injure. The Captain is now in New Zealand, and it is quite refreshing to notice his “cheek.” To. wit j this is how he writes, almost immediately on arrival, to the Immigration Minister : “ Referring to the memorial addressed to the Government in October, 1877, signed by many of the chief representative men of Otago, I have now respectfully to submit that it was only right that the Government shoukl reimburse me for the actual outlay which I have incurred in the service of the colony. It is true I have no legal claim, but I venture to think there is a moral obligation. I have
a letter from the Immigration Munster to the Agent-General, in which the question of my engagement was left to his discretion: but when I reached Home bir J. had just received a telegraphic message from the Government which precluded him from incurring expenditure. I therefore proceeded to work on my own resnosibility and at my own cost and expense —expending £SOO in travelling through England and descanting upon the advantages which New Zealand presented to labor and capital. The result I need not describe. The press throughout the United Kingdom affords ample testimony to this, and I have no hesitation in saying that through my efforts and labor a wider and more extensive interest has been excited in New Zealand than has ever been created through any individual instrumentality. I may say that Sir J. Vogel, in a letter to Mr. Macandrew, admits the value and extent of the services which have been rendered by mo. I shall not further dilate on this now, as I trust that is unnecessary, and that the Government will see its way to ,reimburse me the outlay which I have incurred, either in money or in land.” The Minister for Education, however, fails to find any promise or undertaking in the whole correspondence on the subject of the Captain’s employment that would justify the Government in entertaining the application, and so ends one of the greatest farces the ex-Government ever enacted. It is amazing that men claiming to the character of statesmen, could ever have been so far left to themselves as to send home a mountebank like Barry to cry up the colony of New Zealand.
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