Tuesday, July 13. In moving for a return the Hon. G. M. Waterhouse alluded to the great charge upon the colony for education, and said the children of the country were being educated above their station, and- were all bent upon getting miserable clerkships, &c., in preference to becoming useful Settlers.
The Hons. Col. Whitmore and W. H. Reynolds reiterated Mr. Waterhouse’s remarks, and said the teachers were far too highly paid, and were not to be subjected to the same reduction as the civil service Teachers of too high attainments were also employed to teach infants rudiments.
" The motion for a return of all employed (with ages and salaries under the Education Act was carried.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, July 13. The House met at 2.30 p.m. QUESTIONS.
Replying to Mr. Andrews, The Hon. W. Rolleston said Government would take steps, if possible, to recover from the Westport Colliery Company the expense to which the colony was put in consequence of the said company, through their general manager, Mr. A. J. Burns, refusing to find employment for miners brought out to the colony at the request of Mr. Burns ; one item alone of which expenses, viz., rations, amounted to L 239 7s.
Replying to Mr. Murray, The Hon. J. Hall said that the 10 per cent, reductions would be made to apply to salaries under the permanent account and pensions, but that no distinction would be made between pensions drawn by absentees and those drawn by residents. The reduction, however, would not be made to apply to judges, whose salaries were fixed by law, and were unaltered during their tenure of office. Mr. Andrews asked if Government will inform the House if the removal of the Commissioner of Railways for the Middle Island from Christchurch to Dunedin may how be looked on as permanent, and whether the offices in Dunedin are to be for the future the permanent headquarters of the Commissioner. The Hon. R. Oliver replied that the Commissioner or the General Manager, as the case might be, would be located in the place where he had the most important duties to discharge and in the interests of the department generally. At the present time it appeared that Dunedin required his attention in that way. Replying to the Hon. E. Richardson, The Hon. R. Oliver said that Government had no intention of removing the passenger station at Timaru from its present site between Strathallan and George streets. Replying to Mr. Wright,
The Hon. R. Oliver said the erection of the Rakaia Gorge bridge would be put in hand at once.
Mr. Moss complained that the present electoral system in excluding leaseholders from the franchise was doing a gross injustice. In cities it not unfrequently happened that leaseholds were more valuable than freehold rights. He wanted to know if Government intended bringing down any amendment this session.
Mr Montgomery objected to one piece of property carrying two votes. He trusted there wouldbe .no alteration in the law as it stood. The Hon J. Hall said if the member for Parnell thought this was such a grievance, he ought to have brought down a distinct resolution, and not have confined himself simply to asking questions on the subject. Government did not intend to make any alterations in the electoral roll, but if the hon. member thought it right, Government would afford him every facility to bring down a proposition on the point. He concluded by expressing an opinion that all that was aimed at was to put the Government in a false position, and he twitted the Opposition with having no cohesion, as had just bean shown in connection with this matter. After further discussion the House went into Committee of Supply. A number of votes on the Estimates were considered all of which were more or less reduced. The Estimates were before the House till 2.45 this morning.
Wednesday, July 14. The House met at 2.30.
Mr. Murray gave notice to move (1.) That, subject to the approval of Parliament, Government should invite offers for the purchase of half interest in railways ; (2.) purchasers to work the railways and have all profits up to L 5 per cent, on the purchase price, thereafter profits up to Ll 7 per cent, to be clearly divided with Government ; (3.) Government to have a right to regulate freights and fares, and inspect and audit accounts-; (4.) Government to have a right of re-purchase at valuation at any time after thirty years ; (5.) that from moneys so received Government to advance to corporations or individuals half the expenditure for constructing and completing such railways as may be authorised by Parliament upon the terms stated in paragraphs 2,3, 4, and 5 ; (6.) the corporations constructing railways under paragraph 5 through Crown and native lands should have special privileges of purchasing for purposes of settlement. Dr. Wallis gave notice that he would move for an amendment of the Electoral Act, so as to. extend the franchise to leaseholders.
Sir W. Fox presented a petition praying for religious teaching in schools. Replying to questions, it was stated that Inspectors of Coal Mines had been appointed, but Government would not in the financial state of the colony make similar appointments for gold mines— Government was desirous of affording every facility for native girls attending European schools, instruction in needlework as.far as possible to be afforded. Sir William Fox moved—“ That the Education Act be amended to provide permissive powers being granted to Education Boards to introduce Bible reading in schools, subject to time-table and a conscience clause. ” He contended that a house to house canvass would prove that a large proportion of parents were in favor of the motion, and argued that, while professedly a Christian community, the Bible was the only book expressly expressly excluded from their school ingDr. Wallis condemned the motion.
Mr. Rolleston opposed. The difficulties of the question had been intensified by the ecclesiastical feeling imported into the subject. One-eighth of the population was Roman Catholic, so that the assertion that a large proportion of parents were in favor of the resolution could not hold good. The introduction of the Bible would not tend to foster, but rather to destroy, the national system of education, which the colony aimed at. The motion was, therefore, inopportune. They did not desire to see a return to denominationalism, nor did they wish to see the system wholly in the hands of a class professing a contempt for all religious instruction. Public opinion was in favor of their system of teaching being religions, so far as the difference of opinion prevailing in religious matters would permit. Mr. Stewart supported the motion, and Messrs. Saunders and Ireland opposed it. The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment.
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