Wednesday, June 23.
THE RABBIT PEST. The Hon; Mr. Menzies presented a Southland petition asking for a Special Committee to inquire into the rabbit pest. IMPOUNDING BILL. On the motion for the third reading of the Impounding Bill, the Hon. Colonel Whitmore moved its recommittal to in- , sert a clause for half trespass rates on unfenced land. After some discussion this proposition was rejected, and the Bill was read a third time. MOORHOUSE RECOGNITION BILL. The Hon Col. Whitmore moved the second reading of the Moorhouse Services Recognition Bill. The Hon. Col. Brett seconded. Both gentlemen . eulogised Mr, Moorhouse’s services and character. A long discussion ensued, in which, tlie Hons. Oapt. Fraser, Mr. Mantell, Dr. Pollen, Dr. Grace, Mr. Buckley, Sir F. D. Bell, Mr. Chamberlin, Mr. Scotland, and others, ridiculed the paltriness of the proposed recognition, while speaking highly of Mr. Moorhouse. The*Hon. Mr. Buckley said that the framer of the Bill must have meant it as a practical joke. The Hon. Mr. Chamberlin said that Mr. Moorhouse said in his hearing that the Bill proposed to give him a State pauper’s ticket. All spoke against giving tlie testimonial system the dignity of Parliamentary recognition, and several characterised the measure as an insult to Mr. Moorhouse. The Hon Captain Fraser said that Mr. Moorhouse should be given 5000 acres of land. The Hon. N. Wilson spoke in favor of the Bill, and the Hon. Mr. Mancell moved that it be thrown out, which was done by 19 to 9. On the motion to go into Committee on the Deceased Wife’s Sister Bill, the opponents of the measure obstructed its progress by various means, asserting that it was attempted to be hurried through while those most opposed to it were away, not knowing that it would be brought on. Ultimately, after much discussion, and half-a-dozen divisions, in two of which the Speaker was obliged to give- a casting vote, the committal of the measure was postponed to July Ist, for which date the Hon. Mr. Menzies gave notice for a “ call ” of the Council. The Council rose at 5.15 p.m.
Thursday, June 24.
The Deceased Husband’s Brother Marriage Bill was read a first time after a short discussion, in wh'ch the J±on. Col. Brett termed the measure obscene. The Hon. Mr. Menzies moved for a call of the Council on July 16th, to consider the Deceased Wife’s Sister Marriage Bill. * On this there was a long, disorderly, and irregular discussion, during which several members were called to order. Some emphatic expressions were used concerning members (of whom there are now twelve) habitually absent. Ultimately after two divisions, the call was rejected by 22 votes to 8. All the papers relating to the Volunteer misconduct were laid- on the table. The Deaths by Accident Compensation Bill, the Adulteration Bill (Statute revision Bills) were passed through Committee and read a third time. The Council adjourned at 6 p.m. ■
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES.
Wednesday, June 23,
EVENING SITTING. Tho House resumed at 7.30. no-confidence debate.
Mr. Thomson resumed the debate. He deprecated the proposal to knock off borrowing altogether ; the reaction would be too great. They should borrow, say half a million a year, and that would prevent the reaction from the late borrowing system being felt so severely. That would be enough to enable them to go on with really judicious works without tempting them to embark in reckless undertaking. He had every faith in the future of New Zealand, and if they came to a standstill, an adverse influence would be exercised on their securities. The Hon. F. Whitaker moved that the House adjourn. The importance of the question at issue, coupled with the state of the House, justified the proposal. It was well known that certain festivities were going on, which was the reason that so many were absent. Major Harris opposed the adjournment, and Mr. Macandrew supported it. Mr, Turnbull objected to the adjournment, and, speaking to it, proceeded to discuss the main question. After speaking of the unwise conduct of Government ii talking so much abput the difficulties into which the cplpny 'had fallep, instead pf taking active measures to remedy the evil, the speaker said what he proposed doing was to assist the Government in doing that which they }ia4 so long neglected doing, viz., to rectify the evil ag it existed. If the Government would only bring down bold measures they would, all be prepared to assist them. They should flrgt of ajl. decide upon a per_ipanent form of taxation, apd for that reason he a land tax in prgferenoe to a property tax. The former was a more permanent subject for taxation than the other. The property tax itself would be more acceptable to people if its imposition on machinery were not enforced. In the way of retrenchment, he said that Ministers had acted rightly in reducing, or at all events in proposing to reduce, their own salaries. It would have been more graceful had they taken that step month ago. They should, however, commence at the top of the tree. They should cut down the Governor’s salary, say LSOO or LOGO per annum. If they could not dtf it with this Governor they should make arrangements for the future. He would not be in favor of a single servant being dismissed ; it would be a cruel step. What he would counsel would be to reduce their salaries upon a graduating scale, to commence with LBQO men,' andrciit off IQ per cent., goiqg down to L2QQ salaries, deducting say 2h per cent. He asked the Government not" to add to the general digtress by dismissing these men.' They all had been equally culpable so far as he could see. *They should give fheni" fojp warning, but should not push filings to ap extreiqe at present, and aggravate thpgeneral distress by throwing them out qf employment altogether. That was Jda opinion, despite all that was suggested by the Civil Service Commission. He had hopes that when the provinces were abolished a national spirit would spring up. Far too much was expected at-the hands of the Government. The children of the colony were nursed in a Government cradle, educated at the expense of the Government schools, supported and fostered in a Government office, and buried in a Government coffin. The motion for adjournment was then put and carried, and at 10.20 the House adjourned. Thursday, June 24. The House met at 2.30 p.m. THE “IMAGINARY SWAMP.” Major Harris moved that leave of absence be granted for a week to. Mr. Hamlin. Sir W. Fox asked for further information as to the nature of the business for which leave of absence was sought. It had appeared from the public prints that' he had gone away to the West Coast for the purpose of discovering an imaginary
swamp, the existence of which had been already denied. Mr. George insisted that it was improper to resist an application of this kind. The Hon. George M‘Lean complained that this action on the part of the Opposition was calculated to excite the Native mind, and that was what the country would say if any evil consequences ensued. . . Mr. Andrews condemned the opposition made to the application, and at the same time reprobated the practice of members absenting themselves without leave. Mr. Hursthouse said that the member had gone on public business, and thought the application should be amended accordingly. He (Mr. Hursthou&e) knew the country very well, and believed that it would take fourteen days, and even then he would have some difficulty in finding a swamp. Mr. Seddon argued that, so far as they could tell, a blunder had been made in making the road through the swamp. The Hon. Major Atkinson complained that the statement made by the Native Minister had, in his absence, been misrepresented. They had further information that the road had been abandoned, and no swamp had been encountered. The Government had instructed plans of the road to be prepared for the information of the House. The name of Mr. Crombie Brown, correspondent of the Lyttelton Times , had been mentioned. It wag quite possible that they might have something to say about that gentleman before the matter was finally disposed of. There could be no objection to Mr. Hamlin or any other member visiting the district. The motion was than put and agreed to. CIVIL SERVICE REPORT. Dr. Wallis asked at what hour previous to 12 p.m. on Friday, June 18th, 1880, the Government supplied the New Zealand Times, the Otago Daily Times, and the Christchurch Press with copies of the Civil Service Royal Commission. In explanation, he stated that the copies in question had been obtained by the New Zealand Times, New Zealand Herald, Otago Daily Times, and Christchurch Press, and published by these papers to the prejudice of other journals. The Hon. J. Hall said that the report became public property so soon as it was forwarded to the Governor, and before it was laid on the table of the House. It was forwarded to the Governor at 4 o clock on the afternoon of Friday, and was returned by him about 7 o’clock. He had not an opportunity of laying it on the table until a late hour of the evening. In the interim, two press reporters applied to him and obtained copies of the report. It was simply a case of vigilance on their part, and had applications been made to him by other members of the press they, too, would have been supplied with copies. It was simply a case in which one or two press reporters were more active than their neighbors. Had all been equally active they would all have had copies alike. Mr. Jones asked what steps had been taken to discover and punish the person who stole the report of the Royal Civil Commission, as stated in the House on the 20th inst. by the Minister for Justice. The Hon. J. Hall replied that ‘ ‘ stolen” was rather a stronger phrase than the Government wished to convey. He would prefer saying that a report was obtained in a highly irregular manner by a member of the press. He had questioned the Government printer as to how the report had been got hold of, and the reply he made was that it could not possibly have been got through any laches in the office. If the Government could find out the offender they would certainly cause him to be punished most severely. THE NO-CONEXDBNCE DEBATE. The debate was resumed by Mr. Hutchison, whose tame speech was cut short by the 5.30 adjournment. Mr. Macandrew followed. He condemned borrowing any more money, the interest on the debt already piled up amounting to more than a million and three-quarters. To having to pay this interest the depression prevailing was traceable. He thought there was a possibility of reducing too much, and killing the patient by a too free use of the lancet. He denounced the Centralism that had Supplanted Provincialism, and he never would have gone in for the Public Works Policy if be had thought it was not to be locally administered. He objected to further increase of taxation, believing in the more equal distribution of the incidence. An income tax was no better than a property tax. The hon. gentleman advocated retrenchment in expenditure and reduction of taxation, which was too high now. He denied that the Opposition wished to unseat the Government on this matter. It was the wish of the Opposition, who were not bidding for office, that all hands should go to the pumps, and help to save the ship. Mr. Macandrew then entered into a criticism of the Government’s proceedings in regard to the last loan, and 1 other matters of their administration, stating that, but for the indecent haste of the present Government to get op the Ministerial benches, these matters would have been more satisfactorily managed than they have been since. In the course of his criticism of the Financial Statement qf’ thp Treasurer, |£r. Macandrew read one that he had piepared to show how the thing should have peen done. The Hon. R, Oliver congratulated the last speaker on his skill in manufacturing financial statements. Had be exercised Jus undoubted ability in that line when he was in the Government it would perhaps have been better for the country, and undoubtedly it would have been to the advantage of the Government of which he was a prominent member. It was plain that there was no proper understanding or agreement amongst those on the Opposition side. It was not the finance of the colony that they had been considering, but,,a general system of doing everything, down to governing the universe. It was a most disagreeable duty to be called upon to engage in this unseemly fight, to simply defend the Government benches, without any colonial advantage or benefit being gained for the qolpny pt large". IJe contended that' a “property tax was 'more in the form of an all round tax than anything that could be devised. ' It was not only a land tax, but it doubled the taxation under that tax. The member for Port Phalmers was somewhat unintelligible Jxe’gpqke exbqqt nq uiorg ppd the energetic pushing on of the public tforks policy of 1878. He quoted from a speech made by the member at Port phalmers, in which he said that he (Mr. Macandrew) had often thought that it would have been much better if the L 8,000,000 loan had missed fire. He did not see how he reconciled that statement with what he had just now said about the negotiation of that loan. The present Government would gladly quit the Government benches if they could do so with any approach to honor or a sense of duty. They would be only too glad to leave then ; of that he could assure them. Mr. Ormond, Mr. Shepherd, and Mr. Sutton, were the other speakers before the House adjourned. EVENING SITTING. The House met at 2.30. Mr. Kelly presented a petition from Taranaki, praying for a modification of the Property Tax. The Hon, John Hall gave notice that he would, at next sitting day, introduce the Representation Bill. The Hon. John Hall laid the evidence taken by the Civil Service Commission on the table. Mr. Macandrew spoke in favor of getting the evidence printed. Mr, Hall pointed out that it was most
voluminous, and that the cost would be enormous. Mr. Brown moved that it be printed, and after discussion the motion was withdrawn. Reptying to questions, it was stated that the time for making returns under the Property Tax had been extended to let August. It might be inconvenient to make a general rule for the periodical removal of Wardens and R.M.’s at least every three years. Government did not expect to receive any revenue from the extra Customs duties on imported beer for the financial year 1880-81. The following Bills were introduced and read :—Gold Duties Abolition, Registration of Dentists, and Heathcote Bridges. THE NO-GONEIDENCE DEBATE. The no-confidence debate was resumed by Mr. Reeves. He condemned the Property Tax, and never expected to have seen it brought into operation. A better plan for meeting the emergency would be to impose a half-penny on wool, washed and greasy. That would realise a sum of L 150,000; besides, it would increase labor, as all the wool would be washed. Another impost he suggested was a duty of os. per ton on coal ; that would yield L 40,000, and would aid in developing the local mines. The proposal to abolish subsidies was most unfair, as most local bodies were committed to engagements on the distinct understanding that they would extend over a period of five years. Mr. Russell, as a member. coming from the district of the member for Clive, could not agree with much he had stated. He could not agree with the suggestions that the best way to deal with the Civil Service would be to knock off L 250,000. That was far too sweeping a proposal. He commended the Treasurer for the courage he had displayed in setting forth the true state of the case, uninviting as the subject no doubt was. He regarded the financial proposals as a whole as being for the welfare of the colony. He approved of the Property Tax, and considered it a slur on the industrial classes that the tax would hamper them. He was opposed to the beer tax, and thought it would be better if they had stuck to the Property Tax as originally adopted. Mr. Stewart said the more the financial proposals were considered the more inexplicable they seemed to be. With anything like decent management the prosperity of the country was bound to return. The Property Tax was essentially inquisitorial. It struckatprecariousasweli asfixed incomes, and a tax of that kind was sure to retard enterprise. Chopping and changing about from one tax to another as they ' were doing was calculated to aggravate ; the evils of taxation. If the tax was insisted upon they might just as well proclaim the colony a sheep run, as that was sure to be its outcome. Mr. Mason argued that the education ' vote should bo reduced so as to provide only for primary education. The debate was interrupted by the 5 "30 adjournment.
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