, LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. . Thursday,: August 12. - The Counties Act Amendment Bill, fu Joint Stock Companies Act Amendment Bill, and the. Auckland College and, Grammar School Bill, from the Lower House, were read a first time. The Diseased Cattle Proclamation Validation Bill, and the- Sydenham Borough Council Empowering Bill were. . read a third time. The greater part of the sitting was occupied in Committee on a number of small Bills, and, in a long discussion whether the Ashburton Waterworks and Malvern Water-race Bills were privatei or: public Bills.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Wednesday, August 11. .. . . . EVENING SITTING. ' THE RAILWAY COMMISSION. , Mr. Vincent Pyke moved—“ (1) That this House is of opinion that the report of the Royal Commission on in so far as it deals with lines which have never / been submitted to or sanctioned by Parlia- 1 ' ment, was unnecessary and uncalled for. (2) That in so far as it condemns railway n < lines, the construction of which has, after ' due consideration and careful enquiry, been sanctioned by this House, the said report has not sufficient foundation, and should be regarded as a mere expression of individual opinion hastily formed without any special knowledge or experience,, ; on: the subject. (3) That it woidd thdre- ' 1 fore be unwise and highly detrimental to the best interests of the colony for the Government to shape its public works policy upon the opinions and recommendations embodied in the said report?’ - In 1 speaking to the. motion, he bitterly con* | demnedthe report, and it was worth no more than so much waste paper. The ■ Commissioners had made no attempt to secure, at least in his district/ proper information, and they had recommended the Livingston line, while the Strath-Taieri line would populate . arid open up thousands of acres of CroWri lands. Mr. Shrimski defended the Livingstone ’ line. ■ - ■ - - - "■ Mr. Levin attacked the report regard- . ing its finding on the Wellington-Foxton line. ■■■■•■■ Mr. Fulton protested against the con- “ ■ elusions arrived at by the Commission in-- 1 ■ regard to the Otago Oentralßailway. Mr.- ’ Stewart harped oh the same string. l ■ - Dr. Wallis defended the Commission ' and the Public Works Statement/ but ■ > denounced the Immigration ahdi ■ Works Policy, as a one-sided affair that pampered''the South Island at' the i'es-i pense of the North.’ - - : onj f- r-: The Hon. R. Oliver spoke of the able 1 ■ and efficient manner in which the Commission had discharged its duties,-ahd only) ■ : regretted that the same care:, and intelli-' gence had not been bestowed on the’ - ' making and projecting of railways years' ago. Had that been so, a very different -■ < state af affairs would have existed toiday.'- s*. A million of money would be required: for i th vDtagb Central Railway—a fatal objec- ’' tion to its immediate-construction.>iS Mr. Whitaker said the fact that lines in the districts where'-the- members of thei Commission lived were not recommended.:,' proved that the Comriussioners had been honest and impartial.;: ??t. Sir Wm; Fox advocatedthe construction - of the Wellington-Foxton line J d 1 i«,.< .1 Mr. Reeves supported Mr. Pyke’s motion: .: ■; y/y y y'-yy YSIWAd Mr. Wright moved-the adjournment of the debate as he desired time to pre- - • pare . a reply to the accusations brought ; : against the Commission, The debate was adjourned till Friday afternoon. -i ■>- Thursday, August 12. The House met. at 2.30 p,m. The Hon. W. Rolieston, laid, on, the ... table the report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of a prisoner named John Wilson in the Invercargill Gaol, and, on the motion of Mr. Bain, it , was ordered to be, printed. . : s Replying to Mr. Pitt, . ; .. . The Hon. John Hall said that the Go-. vernment had taken, the opinion of the Crown Law Officers on the Deceased i. Wife’s Sister Marriage Bill, and when the ~ Bill was, before the House Government’ would be prepared to take action in ac- - ■. cordance with the opinion, given. ‘ iReplying tn Mr. Adams, , The Hon.; R. ..Qliver said that Lfi,Boo was the estimated amount of the future outlay to complete the Nelson and Bell* Jl grove Railway, the formation and station work having been already done. Replying to Mr. Seddon, . The Hon. J. Hall said that the salary of the Governor could not be interfered . , with during the incumbency. of the gentleman lately appointed to the Governor* .. ship, and in that case it was not. desirable that the time of the House should be taken' ■ up this session with the consideration of ar a Bill to reduce the salaries, of future Go« ' vernors. - . ? Replying to Sir George Grey) : ; j The Hon., J, Bryce said .that, despite,.,, tlie fact that certain liabilitiesi,for. forms had been incurred by" Yoliinteer
officers on the faith of the full capitation allowance being continued, it is not their intention to make provision in the Supplementary Estimates for meeting such liabilities which a half capitation allowance will not cover. If the Government made any exception, they might just as well return to the full capitation in all cases, as each district would be sure to make out an exceptional case. The Hon. Major Atkinson said that the Local Finance Bills would be brought down when the Estimates were passed. On the motion of Mr. Levin, that the House go into Committee on the Wellington Racing Club Bill, Sir. Wm. Fox moved that the House go into Committee on the Bill that day six months. He said that the member in charge of the Bill had, in replying to him on the motion for the second reading, made out a rather strong case of inconsistency on his part in denouncing racecourse practices in general. He was charged with having thirty years ago been a steward in a Wellington race meeting. Now that was the case, but then horse racing in those days was a very different thing from what it had now become. In those days it was in every respect a good old English sport, which excited an emulation similar to that at a game of cricket or football. They had no betting, nor any of the other evils attending modern turf pursuits. The motion to go into Committee was carried by 28 to 17. Further consideration of the Bill was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment. EVENING SITTING. . Mr.'Moorhouse moved the third reading of the Deceased Wife’s Sister Marriage Bill.-; w... Mr. Pitt had hoped that the Bill had been re-committed, .in order to remove certain defects which appeared on the face of it. In its present form he believed it would not receive the royal assent. The Hon. Major Atkinson said that the opinion of the law officers was that the Bill was not exactly what it would have been had it been introduced by the Government ; still, those objections were not of such a character as would warrant the Government in opposing its passage. , The Hon. W. Gisborne thought the Bill might bo re-committed, to obviate any objectionable features which might exist. -r-Mr..-Stewart dealt with the legal rights of parties'likely to be influenced by the Bilk . The,: wording was not altogether satisfactory. ~Mr., Speight spoke against the passing of the Bill. It had been forced through to.suit the peculiar circumstances of a few favored persons. They were asked by the Bill to legislate for persons who had broken the law.
The House divided : Ayes, 32 Messrs. AUwright, Atkinson, Bain, Ballance, Barron, Beetham, Brown, Bryce, De Lautour, Dick, Fisher (J. T.), Fulton, Hamlin, Hirst (Wallace), Hursthouse, Kelly, Mason, Masters, M'Donald M'Lean, Montgomery, Moorhouse, Oliver, Reeves, Rolleston, Saunders, Sheppard, Shrimski, Sutton, Swanson, Trimble, Wood. Hoes, 13—Messrs. Bowen, Gisborne,'Hutchison, Harris, . Jones, Xiundon, Pitt, Reid, Seddon, Tawhia, Thompson, Turnbull,
Wallis. The Bill was then'read a third time and passed. • The Companies Act, 1872, Amendment Bill was read a third time and passed. The report of the Royal Commission on Local Industries was laid on the table. : The Members of the General Assemby Expenses Bill was considered in Committee. i -
The Hon. Major Atkinson hoped that the member in charge of the Bill would see his way to agree to progress being reported. There was no chance of the Bill passing and there were other measures before the House which members were anxious to see gone on with. Mr, Seddon said that he was in the hands of the House. The Government had refused to bring in a measure of this kind, and it was in view of that fact that he had brought the measure down.
The motion for reporting progress was then put and lost on a division by 26 to 20.
In Committee, Mr. Shepherd moved — “ That L2lO per annum be struck out and the amount be fixed at LlO5,
Mr. Bunny said that this was well spent money. The honorarium was spent among the people. The Triennial Parliament meant that a man had to spend L4OO on his election, and unless they had a fair honorarium it would throw representation into the hands of the rich, and poor men like himself could not afford to go into Parliament. He hoped that the Bill would be withdrawn, and a measure fixing the amount definitely at not less than L2lO would he brought next session by the Government. Colonel Trimble thought the honorarium at L2lO was not too much. At the same time he thought it was a matter to be dealt with by the Government. Dr. Wallis said that their work was quite as onerous as those performed by Ministers. If these Ministers were paid LIOOO, that amount should be divided into four, which would make the honorarium L 250. • He would vote that the amount be'riot less than L2lO. Mr. Seddon said that the member for Waimea might be able to do with LlO5, as he was a newspaper editor, who was doing his work all the time he was here. Mr. Shepherd protested that the remark was a gross insult to him. The remark of the previous speaker could not be resented in the way such remarks would be in the case of a man of more refined sensibilities- That, however, was impossible in the case of Mr. Seddon. He denied that his ordinary avocation was that of an editor. It was that of a sheep farmer. Referring to the member for Wairarapa, he said he was not aware that the honorarium was ‘ intended to meet election expenses. The member for Auckland'City West had given them a lecture on morals that became him. Dr. Wallis—Do you refer to my profession. , ■_ "Mr.' Shepherd said he did not. He would press his motion to a- division, and if it did not succeed he would take other divisions that would possibly occupy the whole night. If it did no other good it would show the necessity for bringing down next session a measure to settle the matter finally. Mr. Moss said all that was wanted to fix was to say whether they would get a few pounds more or less. Mr. Swanson said that there were as good men in that House when the honorarium was LlO5 as now that it was L2lO. If the expense of successful candidates was a fair charge, as had been argued by the member for Wairarapa, against the honorarium, then what provision was to be made for the expenses of unsuccesful candidates 2 It was very unfair that.? members living in Wellington, sbihe' of whom, by the way, were present, should be paid anything at all. These men could attend their own business, or as he Supposed they had done to-night, go quietly home to their beds. It was most unfair that these men should be paid at all. A motion that the Chairman leave the ftiair was put and carried on a division by 25 to 20. MUNICIPAL COBPOBAPIONS BILL. Mr. Hutchison moved that the amendments made in .Committee on the Municipal Corporations Act Amendment Bill be agreed to. , , ' The Hon. T. Dick hoped that the Bill as reported would not be accepted. Some of the'amendments were inconsistent, and and. others were incorrect; The Bill was eo bungled that if passed as it stood it Would,be a disgrace to their Legislature. He moved that the Bill be re-committed.
The proposal for re-committal was carried. The House then went into Committee on the Municipal Corporations Act Amendment Bill, which passed through Committee, was reported with amendments, read a third time and passed. The House adjourned at 2.30. Friday, Aug. 13. The House met at 11 o’clock. The following Bills passed through Committee, were reported without amendment, read a third time, and passed : New Zealand University Reserve, Canterbury Rivers Act Amendment, Dogs Registration, Brands and Branding, and High Schools Reserves. The Fencing Bill was partly considered, and leave granted to sit again. The House resumed at 2.30. The questions on the Order Paper were postponed, at the instigation of the Government, to take up the adjourned debate on the motion that the report by the Railway Commission was detrimental to the best interests of the colony. The debate was resumed by Mr. E. G. Wright. Referring to the Otago central line, and the attack made by Mr. Pyke on the Commissioners in connection with their recommendations regarding that work, he said the Commission was disappointed infinding how very little the interior of that district had to justify railway construction. The estimated cost of the work was L 1,100,000 ; but from what he knew of the country he apprehended L 1,500,000 would be nearer the mark. They concluded that the colony would not be justified in incurring that expenditure to open up not more than 213,000 acres of valuable land. Members of the Commission had been most unanimous in their finding, and in respect to none of their recommendations were they more so than in reference to that work. They had condemned a line in which a late Premier had taken a strong interest, another in which the present Premier had similar interest, and likewise a line in 2» elsou which the Chairman of the Commission himself had long labored to promote. It had been stated to the House that the cost of working the Dunedin railway station was L9OO for three months, while that of Christchurch had been L 1,200. That turned out to be wilful perversion of the truth, the fact being that the guards of the Dunedin section were included in the Christchurch returns. They had been blamed for not recommending railway communication to certain boroughs on the West Coast (Middle Island), but the fact was that these very places were what he had often heard of, but never before seen—rotten boroughs. The member for Rodney (Mr. George), had made a similar complaint regarding his district. From enquiries made they ascertained that the district was so rough they could not go oyer it, even although they went on their hands and knees. Then again, the district was well supplied with water carriage. He mentioned that to show the character of the country through which they were blamed for not recommending that railways should be made. Referring to theWelling-ton-Foxton line he showed that the route by Maaterton was not more than thirty miles, while the Crown Lands through which it would pass, were at least four times as great as the other. He blamed Government for having given too much weight in the Public Works Statement to the opinions of the Engineer-in-Chief for the Middle Island, and showed that two lines in Southland which were favorite projects of his were vastly inferior, as regards their prospects of paying, to the two recommended by the Commissioners, the former having been provided for in the Public Works Statement, and not the latter. He condemned the Kawakawa line, stating that more data for the work should have been given, the more so as. it was a work in which a distinguished member of the Executive was personally interested. The new wharf at Wellington, and the wharfs erected at Foxtonand the Bluff, he mentioned as useless pieces of extravagance, wholly unnecessary and unjustifiable. The Commissioner recommended that the railways should be placed beyond political influence, and Mr. Wright gave evidence of abuse in that respect. If a scheme could be devised for enabling all railway employees to participate in profits beyond 4 per cent., hebelieved that the lines would be made to pay handsomely. The House adjourned at 5.30.
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