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PARLIAMENTARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 114, 17 June 1880
(Per Press Association.) LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Tuesday, Juke 15. After the presentation of papers and reports and the disposal of some formal business. The Hon. N. Wilson gave notice again to bring up the question of the J.P. roll, by moving that this Council is of opinion that the Government should remove from the commission the names of all insolvents and others unfit to be there. The Hon. Captain Fraser, in moving for a return, said that the Mines Department was worked very badly, and detailed two fatal accidents, the result of non-enforce-ment of the regulations. The inspectors of mines were given no power to sue breakers of the law, and the whole question demanded reform. In moving the second reading of the Gaming and Lotteries Bill, The Hon. F. Whitaker gave notice of a new clause prohibiting the totalisator, except to responsible racing clubs. The Bill was read a second time. The Council adjourned at 3.5 p.m. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Tuesday, Juke 15. AFTERNOON SITTING. The House met at 2.30 p.m. Mr. J. B. Fisher drew the attention of the Government to the fact that the Statutes of the last two sessions had not been gazetted in terms of the law, and suggested grave doubts whether they were really in force. The Hon. John Hall replied that he was much indebted to him for calling attention to the subject, and that it would have the immediate attention of the Government. ’QUESTIONS. Mr. Moss rtsked whether the Royal Commission on the Civil Service is authorised, among its other duties, to enquire how far the cost of the service might be reduced, and its efficiency increased, by extending local government so as to decentralise the administration of the railways, and other great departments of the public service ; also, whether the Royal Commissioners are likely to make an interim report in time to enable the Government to say before the debate on the Financial Statement to what extent a saving by this or any other means is likely to be effected. The Hon. John Hall replied that the instructions to the Commission had been published, and that he understood the report of the Commission would be before the House in the course of a week. Replying to Mr. Reeves, The Hon. John Hall said the Mr. A. J. Burns whose name appears in the correspondence laid before this House relative to importing colliers ' for the Westport Colliery Company was the same Mr. A. J. Burns who was appointed one of the Commission for Native industries, and that ho (Mr. Burns) was a gentleman who had always taken a deep interest in the development of local industries. ' Replying to Mr. Ireland, The Hon. John Hall said Government . intended to bring in a Bill to mitigate the ' hardship under Which hawkers labor with respect to their licenses in connection with County Council fees. Replying to Mr. Seddon, The Hon. W. Rolleston said that Government had no intention this session to bring in a Bill altering the constitution of the Waste Lands Boards of the colony by making them elective or partially so. Replying to Mr. Whitaker, The Hon. T. Dick said that Government had no objection to lay before this House all correspondence having reference to the classification of wool, and the provision of a suitable place for the exhibition of samples of the various brands of wool, which has passed between the Government and Mr. Albert Potter, of Hamilton, Waikato. Mr. Bowen asked (1) Whether orders have been given for the transmission of correspondence from England to New Zealand not specially addressed at certain specified dates ; (2) who is responsible for the great inconvenience which has lately arisen from the forwarding of letters and newspapers from London by various routes without regard to the arrangements for through transmission ; (3) whether the Government will take steps to put an end to the inconvenience as soon as possible. The Hon. John Hall replied that letters not specially addressed were sent by San Francisco. By that means the postal revenue of the colony was benefitted. Recently, however, that practice had been neglected by the London office, but a remonstrance had been cabled on the subject. The London office was alone responsible, and another effort would be made to remedy the mistake. Replying to Dr. Wallis, The Hon. R. Oliver said that most certainly Clause 23 of the general conditions of Government contracts, providing for the payment every fortnight in cash of workmen’s wages, would be enforced. The Government knew of no infringement of this provision, and had their attention been drawn to - any such infringement, action would certainly have been taken in the matter. THE FINANCIAL DEBATE. The Hon. J. Hall said that in consequence of the papers connected with the inscription of the. L 5,000,000 lean having only been circulated that day, and as it was necessary that these papers should be studied by members before proceeding with the discussion on the financial proposals, he proposed to defer that discussion, and instead the Native Minister would proceed with the second reading of the Native Land Sales Bill. Sir G. Grey demurred to the Native Land Sales Bill being taken up until they had the whole of the proposed Native Lands legislation before them. Mr. Seddon proposed that they should have the local administration measures before discussing the financial proposal. The Hon. Major Atkinson said that he had consulted the leader of the Opposition, Mi\ Macandrew, as to the postponement of the discussion on the financial proposals, and he agreed that it should be delayed in view of the importance of the papers laid on the table. If, however, that course were objected to, then the Government would be prepared to proceed with the debate on the financial proposals. Mr. Macandrew said that he had been consulted on the subject, and in view of the importance of members making themselves acquainted with the contents of the correspondence placed on the table, he thought a postponement was the be§t course to follow," The IJon. W- Gisborne supported §ir G. Grey’s proposal, and thought the whole native policy should be before them before they proceeded with the Sales Bill, The Hon. J. Bryce said that the policy of the Government was before the House. Of course they oould hot tell what course the Legislative Council would adopt with the measures now before that Chamber. Still that did not affect the fact that the whole native policy was before the House. REGULATION OF ELECTIONS BILL. The motion for going into committee on the Regulation of Elections Bill was then put and carried. In committee, Mr. Hutchison moved the amendment of clause 28, which empowers the returning officer to question the elector as to whether or not he had already voted in this electoral district. The amendment proposed was that the clause should bo
made to read, “have you already voted in this or any other electoral district.” The discussion was interrupted by the 5.30 p.m. adjournment. EVENING SITTING. The House resumed at 7.30. Progress was reported an the Regulation of Elections Bill. NATIVE LAND SALES BILL. The Hon. J. Bryce, in moving the second reading of the Native Land Sales Bill, said the law at present was not in a satisfactory condition. The object of the Bill wus to simplify these laws. Each of the eight Bills brought in embodying the Native policy deals with a different branch of the subject. Hitherto their course on this subject had not been a satisfaccory one. They had all along gone on the assumption that their policy with respect to the Natives’ lands must be based on the treaty of Waitangi. From the time of that until now it had been deemed that the fee simple remained in the Crown. Until 1855 there was no regular machine, y provided to ascertain the nature of the title. In 1844 some pressure was brought to bear upon the then Governor He issued a proclamation enabling private parties to deal in these lands. A few months afterwards he issued a second proclamation reducing the payment from 10s. per acre to one penny for the issue of the Crown grant. The pre-emptive right was resisted by Sir G. Grey, the succeeding Governor. The right ivas maintained till 1855, and he believed they would all agree with him in saying that it was a very great pity that that right was not maintained. After that date the right of private persons to purchase these lands was recognised. The next change was in the year 1871, when the public works policy was inaugurated. At that time and subsequently as much as three quarters of a million were appropriated for the purchase of a landed estate in the North Island. Then commenced a system which had done more than anything to demoralise the natives ; he meant the purchase of native lands by agents. These agents scattered money amongst like , dust, and asked them to take rum, and resorted to almost every species of demoralisation. These Government agents did not regard themselves purely as Government agents. They purchased land not only for Government, but also for themselves and their friends The result t was that the Government got the bad y land and these parties and their v friends the good land. They, as a Go- c vernment, had got the reward which d the evil courses resorted to might have g led them to expect. In 1876 a Bill was n introduced by the then Government li which deserved more credit than it got, but it was too complicated. It was intro- t duced but withdrawn. In 1877 another Bill was brought in by the same Govern- ti ment. It went in the direction of the n free trade principle, and though an im- ft provement on its predecessors in ma- si chinery, it too had to be withdrawn. It n was withdrawn, as an amendment was t] accepted by the Government. It was ii known as the Native Lands Court Bill, si and it served one useful purpose, as it in- b dicated the direction in which the country o wished legislation in native land. It in- f( dicated that the House did not wish free n trade in native lands. The Atkinson ti Government went out and the Grey n Government then came in. One of their tl objects was to reform this very practice, and he had no hesitation in saying that m in this respect the Grey Government was flan utter failure. It never attempted to h deal with the matter until a few days h before it'went out of office. He despaired oi almost of making the House understand G the terrible iniquities perpetrated by the fc recent Native Lands Purchase depart- al ment. He would give them a few examples of these iniquities transacted. B The advance system had been the great G feature of these transactions, and the tl particular mode of making these advances g] was something atrocious. He meant the r< system of giving orders on storekeepers. In Tauranga alone LII,OOO h?d B passed through one Government agent’s L hands in the space of eighteen months. S The process of granting these orders was A for the amounts to be left blank in the ft vouchers. The agent was supplied with h funds by an imprest, and when he was tl called upon to account for these sums by tc the auditor he filled these vouchers up to ft suit the occasion. A transaction took ft place some months ago which induced him si to send up and examine matters at Tauranga, and the result was something extraordinary. The auditor reported r( that he had found that moneys charged p, had never been paid at all, and where r< it had been paid the grossest irregularities had taken place. In connection with these payments two items were specified, V i one for L3O, and another Ll5O, as much S£ as L 77 of the latter being spirits and beer consumed at a tangi over the land agent’s w brother the late Judge Young. Then m again it was stated that the negotiations with the natives were conducted with the utmost irregularity. He had already said r( that they had been guilty of iniquities, B but they had received no equivalent for ft their trouble. When they came to settle A the negotiations connected with these vouchers, on which advances were made, they would most undoubtedly be repu- ft dialed, and the Government stands to r( lose a large amount of money. Again, p this fund had never been closely scruti- anized, and it was most grossly abused. If a Maori wanted an order to pay his expenses or to get rum it was charged to C this fund. The rule was that any e questionable payment was charged to this ft fund especially. He would now refer to h the West Coast. He did not think e; that the system of land vouchers obtained <J there, but all the other objectionable ft features in the system were observed. The agents there would agree on a price it for land they had never seen, and which C no white man could tell them anything, n about. They had purchased land which ft the surveyors now reported to be broken and worthless. The agents had to rely upon the statement as to the area. In one case the estimated area was 60,000 acres, but when it came to be surveyed it was found to contain not more than 7000 acres. The result of this was that the money advanced was far more than the total value of the land was in and about Wanganui. Further up the coast a gentleman who had been treating with the I Government got LIOOO for his alleged inte.est in a block. That gentleman was then appointed a land purchase agent at 0 L4OO a year to complete the purchase of ° that block, which has not been done yet. S More than that, this gentleman was a I storekeeper, and the advance made to the Maoris was paid through him, buggies, G harness, and other articles purchased from h his store having been supplied in lieu of C the money. The payment of compen- « sation for the confiscated land was next referred to. Payments to the chiefs were ri piade in secrecy, and they were ordered to sign fictitious names to hide the pafure of 1 the transaction. A sum of LIOOO, the e expenses of a great Maori meeting at Waitara, were provided for in a most ex- 11 traordinary way. The native agent at Waimate got that amount by imprest, and a to satisfy the auditors he got these Maoris, who did not possess an inch of land in 11 the place, to sign receipts for the money. " What he would contend for was that the whole system was demoralising and that they would not reap the expected benefits T from their efforts! They must do away with the old system. No system could possibly be devised that could work worse than the present system. The pre- n emptive right was, in his opinion, the best tl device that could be resorted to, but it fi would be impossible now 1o carry that s< out., Free trade in native lands was h equally untenable. What then remained a j for them to adopt ? Ho believed that the h only valid system was that contained in o:
jd the Bill, the second reading of which ] now prouosed. The great object shou ie be to settle these lands, and he contend* that the Bill before the House was a sti in that direction. It was, he thought, tl host law that could be devised under tl circumstances. It was true that tl a- Maoris might not be disposed to plai their lands in the hands of the Was Lands Board. To make it popular wit 10 the Maor is it was proposed to enable thei 38 to make reasonable advances upon th a lands. As regards the Maoris themselvei 16 it would eventually be a very great relii J to them. It would save them froui tli 0 perpetual annoyance of those persons wh h were always after them for their land; n He detailed the features of the Bill, an 7 concluded by moving the second reading. e Major To Wheoro moved the adjourn d ment of the debate. ® Mr. Hamlin, in seconding the motio 'f for the adjournment, said that they ha t heard something from the mover wide • they would much like to inquire into y Then again they wanted to have the othc measures to see their effect upon the whol r question of Native policy. He hope* a that the Government would not object ti 3 the motion. Mr. Macandrow supported the motioi - for adjournment. The measure was on< r which required calm consideration. 3 The Hon. W. Gisbourne said the native t Minister had quoted from documents noi ■ before the House, and that itself was i 1 reason for asking the adjournment. I Mr, Lundon also spoke in favour of the i- adjournment. ; Sir G. Grey said that the speech had been chiefly an attack upon other persons, i and it fl-as only fair that the late Native Minister should be present before the debate was gone on with. The motion for 'the adjournment was then put and agreed to, and the debate adjourned till Friday. The Native Reserves Bill was withdrawn. The House then went into committee on the Pharmacy Bill and, on resuming, it was reported with amendments and ordered to be considered on Friday. At 11.10 the House adjourned. Wednesday, June 9. AFTERNOON SITTING. The House met at 2.30. Replying to questions, it was stated that the money was advanced to Waimea Railway Company on the 18th March last, and would be repaid to Public Works Account by the Annuities Department in a day or two, in addition to L 40,000 of guaranteed debentures at 7 per cent. A mortgage was taken over the Company’s line. Government hoped to be able next week to introduce a Representation Bill. The per centage of females over male teachers was rapidly advancing, and in the natural course of events it was bound to increase still further. In these circumstances, Government did not think it necessary to give extra encouragement for the more frequent employment of females in that way. Government had under consideration a Teachers’ Pension Act, there being a large preponderance of females over that of male teachers, and the uniform scale of 6 per cent, deduction would not be fair, as females did not take to teaching, like males, as a lifelong employment. The matter would be more fully thought over. Government acted most leniently in the matter of the Land Tax defaulters. It was only after every effort had been exhausted to get payment that recourse was had to legal proceedings, and then the list of defaulters was taken up alphabetica’ly. Govt, hoped, however, it would not be found necessary to go right through the alphabetical list. The cost of surveying the line through Bellgrove towards Roundhill, NelscnGreyinouth railway, was not known, and the survey towards the Tophouse is in progress, with the view of deciding upon the route for the line. Government was aware an auctioneer in Blenheim, named Griffiths, was receiving LSO per annum for acting as clerk to the Sheep Department. When the Sheep Act came into force his services were continued by the late Government. He had had theappointmentpreviously, anditwas thought they would soon be in a position to dispense with his further advices ; but in the meantime the district was a badly infected one. SIR GEORGE GREy’s PROPERTY TAX EEPEAL BILL. Sir George Grey introduced a Bill to repeal the Property Assessment and Property Tax Acts, 1879. He moved it be read a second time to-morrow eight days. The Hon. John Hall said it was tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in Government, and moved it come on for second reading tomorrow. Sir George Grey consented, and the Bill was ordered to be read a second time tomorrow. NEW BILLS. The following Bills were introduced and read a first time:—Otago Rivers, Sydenham Borough Council Empowering, Taranaki Iron Smelting Works, Lands Act, 1874, Amendment. EARLY CLOSING. A motion in conformity with a report from the Standing Orders Committee, recommending an adjournment of the House at 12 - 30 every night, was discussed and carried on the voices. SETTLEMENT. Mr. Hutchison moved the appointment of Committee to consider the best means for encouraging the settlement of the waste lands of the colony, and further, what hope and encouragement may be properly extented by Government to those who are desirous of taking up small sections of land. Mr. Dick moved, as an amendment, that it be an instruction to the Waste Lands Committee to deal with the subject of the motion. The discussion was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment.
PARLIAMENTARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 114, 17 June 1880
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