LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Thursday, August 5. The Hon. Colonel Whitmore moved the printing of a return of expenditure for last year. In a speech in support of the motion, the mover stated that, though the Grey Government passed eleven and ahalf millions through their hands in two years, it was nearly all fixed charges, over which they had no control, less than three millions being for public works, against over four millions of loan money spent by the Atkinson Government in its last two years of office, and over two millions to ba spent by the present Government this year. Colonel Whitmore also stated that there were over three millions of the L 5,000,000 still unexpended, and the only liability was a million for native land purchase, which the Government did not intend to carry out. The return was ordered to be printed. Several items of unimportant business was transacted, one or two Bills advanced a* stage, and the Council rose at 5 p.m.
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES.
Thursday, August 5. The House met at 2.30 p.xn. The Hon. T. Dicu laid on the table correspondence relative to the defective railway waggons, called for by the member for Cheviot. PETITION. Mr. Stewart presented a petition from residents of Dunedin, protesting against section 78 of the new Licensing bill. On being read, it was found that the petition spoke of the measure before the House as tyrannical, unjust, and unconstitutional. The Hon. T. Dick asked the Speaker to rule if the language was respectful. The Speaker said that the course was to move that it be not received. On the question being put that the petition be received, the response was in the affirmative. After soma discussion, it was decided to sit on Friday, at eleven o’clock, to expedite the passage of certain Bills, a motion also being passed allowing Committees to sit during the sitting of the House, provided they attend the House when the hell rang for a quorum. The Taranaki Iron Smelting Works Land Act Amendment Bill was passed. On the motion for the second reading of the Wellington Racing Club Bill, Mr. Hutchison moved that it be read that day six months, and Sir W, Fox in seconding Mr. Hutchison’s motion, denounced the racecourse in no measured terms, and was very hard on the saturnalia of thimbleriggers, blacklegs, jockey boys, and other questionable characters who frequented these racecourses. Mr. Levin recalled Sir William’s memory to 1857, when the hon. gentleman was a steward of the Club, and did not then denounce racing. The second reading was carried. A motion to remit all measures altering, amending or adding to statute law to a joint Committee of both Houses, for consideration previous to passing the final stage was carried. Mr. Wright moved a return showing the nature of the existing arrangements for the purchase of materials in Great Britain or elsewhere on account of the Public Works Department, also the amounts paid during the last two years under such arrangements by way of salary, fees, or commission, and the names of the recipients. The motion was carried. Mr. Wright moved for a return of the correspondence between the Stores Department, Christchurch, and Mr. Conyers, Mr. A. D. Smith, and Messrs. Guthrie and Larnach relative to the supply of galvanised iron. Carried. The House adjourned at 5.30. In the evening the Deceased Wife’s Sister Bill was in Committee. The opponents of the measure stonewalled it persistently, while the Maori members said the marriages sought to be legalised were a return to the old customs of the tribes before the missionaries came. Mr. Seddon spoke nearly an hour against the Bill generally, and demanded that Government should promise that before the third reading the AttorneyGeneral’s opinion be taken as to whether the Bill was constitutional, Mr. Hall said the Government could not consent to make any terms on the matter. They would act as they usually did. The discussion then went on, the minority insisting that the third reading should be postponed, but refusing to pledge themselves that if postponed there should simply be a vote and no more cussion on it. Mr. Speight avowed his readiness to remain there till 3.30 next day, if the minority would agree to continue to oppose the Bill till then. Dr. Wallis spoke at some length against the measure, and the talk went on till 2.48, when, on the suggestion of Major Atkinson, it was agreed - that the third reading be taken on Thursday next at 7.30. The Bill was then reported without amendment. On the motion to fix the date of the third reading as arranged, Mr Brown moved an amendment that it be now read a third time. On the House dividing the amendment was lost by 2 to 29. The motion was then agreed to. The third report of the West Coast Commission was laid on the table by Major Atkinson at 2.45, when the House rose.
Friday, August 6. The House met at 11 o’clock this morning, and went into committee on the Crown Grants Amendment Bill, which passed without amendment. The Counties Bill was next considered in Committee. The following, on the motion of Mr. Murray, was added as a new clause :—“ It shall be lawful for the Councils of two or more Counties to unite for the construction, repair, use, and maintenance of bridges, roads, tramways, and ferries, in any of such Counties." The following additional clause by Mr. Reeves was added, on a division of 24 to 25 “In addition to the powers contained in section 30 of “ The Counties Act 1876, the Governor in Council may by proclamation alter the boundaries of any County, and from and after a day to be named in such proclamation, the naw boundaries set forth in such proclamation shall be the boundaries of such County, subject, however, to the condition that a petition shall have been presented to the Government signed by three-fourths of the ratepayers of a riding, praying that such riding may be severed from the County in which it is situated, and made a part of some other and contiguous County. The provisions of sections 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35 shall be read with and be deemed to be a part of this Act.’ The Bill was reported and the House want into Committee on the Land Transfer Act Amendment Bill, which was passed with amendment. The amendments were agreed to on the District Roads Bill, which was road a second time, passed through Committee, reported with amendments, read a third time, and passed. The Otago Road Rates Validity Bill was read a second time, passed through Committee without amendment, read a third time and passed. The House adjourned at 1.20.
The House resumed at 2.30. Mr. J. B. Fisher moved that the report of the Goldfields Committee on the case of H. Rowe and others be approved of. He stated that the Committee found that the petition contained unwarrantable allegations against a judicial officer, which had not been supported by evidence. The Committee strongly reprobated such conduct. Mr. Rolleston concurred in the finding, and expressed his strong disapprobation of the number of unjustifiable complaints that were from time to time made against officers of this kind. The motion was carried. The House went into Committee on the Native Land Sales Bill. On Clause 3, Mr. Reader Wood moved that the word “ may” be substituted for the word “ shall,” so as to make the clause read that natives may at their own option bring their lands under the Act.
Captain Russell felt convinced the effect of the Bill would be to prevent land being sold at all. He would support the amendment.
Captain Colbeck concurred. So strongly did the natives feel on the subject that he was convinced they would be prepared to fight rather than submit to the measure.
Mr. Thomson complained that Government was throwing an unfair reponsibility on the House by leaving to it such a material alteration in the Bill. If Government were really in earnest in their
purpose to pass the Bill at all, the y < h to make it a Government question. Mr. Sheehan was quite sure if the Bill passed as it stood no land would be brought under its operation, or if it did, it would pass out of the hands of the natives without any corresponding advantage being secured by them. Sir George Grey said that when the amendment was disposed of, he would move the following addition —“ except as herein provided in case of native lands vested in trustees.”
Major Te Wheoro said he would support an amendment leaving the land to bo dealt with by native committees. The Maoris should be empowered to elect the committees, defining the powers they are to be allowed to exercise. Despite what the newspapers said to the contrary, he denied that the members were actuated by factious motives.
Question put that the clause remain part of the Bill—Ayes, 34 ; noes, 25. Sir George Grey moved the amendment of which he gave notice. His object was to provide that the sale of land be competed for in open market, and the natives themselves get a fair price for their land. The discussion was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment.
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