HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Friday, July 2. EVENING SITTING. The House resumed a 7.30. THE LICENSING BILL. The Licensing Bill was again resumed in Committee. Sub-scction 1, clause 18, was amended, on the motion of Sir W. Fox, to read “ one half,” instead of “ two-thirds.” Mr. Macandrew moved that the whole of sub-section 2, clause 25, be struck out. It proposed to do away with the bottle licenses. These licenses had been tried in Otago and found to work very well. Members who took an interest in the point were absent, under the impression that the Bill would not come on that night. On the suggestion of Mr. Be Lautour the motion was altered to a postponement of the whole clause. The Hon. T. Dick said he had reason to believe that a number of petitions were in course of signature in Otago against the retention of the bottle license. He would not oppose the proposal for postponement. Mr. Bowen objected to the postponement. The objections came only from Otago and Nelson, where this class of licenses had been in force. This was another instance of .vested interests clashing with what was for the general good, Mr. Moss said that it was against the will of many parts of the colony that they had not this form of license. In Auckland they could not get a bottle of liquor or less than two dozen unless they went to a public-house, and liquor there was dearer there than in any other establishments. He had seen the working of the system in Otago, and despite all that had been said against it he was favorably impressed with its operations. Messrs. Fulton and Andrews objected to the postponement. The latter said that the Good Templars were well pleased with the Bill as it stood. They were impressed with the idea that the Government in this matter was legislating for the good of the country. The motion for the postponement was put and carried. Sir W. Fox objected to clause 26 providing that the Minister for Public Works may grant licenses at the Railway Stations. It was a temptation thrown in the way of guards ; and drivers,.,.tt) whose care and management life and property were entrusted. It was both a bad and a dangerous system. • Mr. Macandrew hoped the Committee would agree in striking the clause out. These places were quite unnecessary, as public houses were always erected near these stations. The Hon. T. Dick said that a good number of leases were in existence at present for railway stations refreshment rooms. . The Hon. E. Richardson trusted that the clause would not be struck out. He argued that they were a great convenience for the travelling public. If they compelled passengers to go from a station to got reasonable refreshments, it would entail extra delay for trains, and make the journey more tedious than it was. It was bad enough as it was, and he hoped nothing would be done to make it worse. Mr. Thomson spoke against the system. Mi-. Bowen said that these places were greatly abused. Persons, not travellers frequented them. They were, unnecessary, and hotels were generally erected close to the railway station. Mr. Saunders said that they were making efforts to prevent licenses being granted for the establishment of public houses. H< was to be regretted that this power should be vested in the Minister for Public Works. Its effect would be in many instances to neutralise the effects of the proposed local option. He hoped that the power would not bo granted. Mr. Andrews also supported the motion for striking out the clause, stating that an engine-driver and railway officials had been seen rolling drunk in consequence of the facilities afforded by these places. The amendment for striking out the clause was, put and carried on the voices. The Hon. T. Dick moved, on clause 27, to omit the first two paragraphs thereof, and to substitute in lieu thereof the following:—“No brewer or spirit merchant shall be entitled to carry on his business of brewing or the sale of spirits, notwithstanding he may be registered under the Distillation Act, 1868, unless he shall obtain a wholesale license under this Act. The license fee payable under the Distillation Act, 1868, in respect of the registration of brewers and spirit merchants is hereby abolished. Henceforth spirit merchants shall not be required to register themselves under the said Act, but brewers shall be registered thereunder as heretofore, except that no fee shall be charged for male registration. ” And in paragraph • 3 to omit the words “ or spirit merchant.” Thei clause was passed as amended. The House rose at 12.30.
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