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PARLIAMENTARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 142, 21 August 1880
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Wednesday, Aug. 18. CROWN LANDS IN OTAGO. The debate was resinned at the evening sitting by Mr. Dick, who was followed by Messrs. Jones and Brown. Sir George Grey blamed the Minister for Lands for using unbecoming language to Mr. De Lautonr, who had only done his duty. He then accused the Government of acting unfairly in the matter of land, and said that the Government benches were occupied by men who had acted in this way, referring to the Canterbury gridironing. He spoke of the time coming when such men as now occupied the benches would be swept from their position by the votes of enraged constituencies; their names would vanish from memory, while that of the noble young man of Mount Ida would be preserved because he had stood up for the rights of his fellow-men. Sir George then delivered a phillipic to Mr. George M'Lean, whom he set down as a man with a cold heart, greedily pursuing wealth, and, who, regardless of every thing, woulddestroy his fellow men and reduce them to slavery. After asking the House to abolish the Legislative Council and the office of Governor, the Speaker called Sir George back to the subject. Sir George then went on to say that the acquisition of large estates was closely connected with the constitution of the Legislative Council and the Governorship. Every, day gifted young men told him that, but for the way land was parcelled out, they would be able to earn honorable independence. He demanded to know whether homes were at once to be secured by the young men to whom he referred, or whether they were to remain victims of poverty and indolence. The motion for going into Committee of supply was then put and carried by 40 to 35, Mr. DeLautour’s amendment being thus negatived. COMMITTEE. The House went into Committee on the Public Works Estimates. Class s.—ltem Roads North Island, L 59,000. Mr. Shrimski proposed that the vote lie reduced by L4G,164. The vote was agreed to as printed. Item.—Roads, bridges and wharves north of Auckland, L66,C60. Carried. Item.—Roads and bridges unsettled 'districts in Patea and Taranaki, L 48,816 18s. 9d. Mr. Thomson proposed that it be reduced L2G,000. The motion was negatived on a division of 21 to 46,; and the vote as printed passed. Opening up roads and constructing bridges through lands recently purchased, L 10,104. Passed. Nelson, South-west Goldfields road and bridges, L1,G50. Passed. Roads to Grey mouth and Westport. Passed. Westland roads and bridges, L 5,000. Passed. Hokitika to Christchurch construction, supervision, and damage by floods, L 15,427 19s. sd. Passed. Roads to open up land before sale, LG1,544 9s. Id. Passed. Class G, Land Purchase, North Island. Vote—Chief Office, Wellington, L 120,622 2s. 4d. Mr. Montgomery asked the Government to say if theyintended to go onwiththese purchases, or whether they would try to withdraw from them as soon as possible. The Hon. J. Bryce replied that he did not wish it to ‘be understood that Government intended to complete ail these negotiations. Mr, Montgomery condemned the Government for entering into obligations which would entail the expenditure of a million of money without the sanction of the House. Mr. Macandrew, as a member of the late Government, repudiated the whole thing, and did not look upon it as a liability. The Government were not called upon to take the land at all unless they desired to do so.
The Hon. J. Bryce looked upon it as an engagement, and consequently asaliability. Government had entered into a solemn contract with the natives, which ought to be fulfilled. Mr. Whitaker deprecated the idea of repudiating bargains entered into with the natives. If they had agreed to pay them so much an acre they must do so, unless they could be honorably released ..with the consent of the natives. Sir George Grey moved the adjournment of the votes until the late Native Minister was present. The Hon. J. Bryce did not see the necessity for Mr. Sheehan being present, and insisted upon the propriety of the vote being disposed of.
At 2 a.m. the Chairman was so exhausted that Col. Trimble had to take his place. The vote afterwards passed as printed. Class 12. Contingency defence, L140;000. Passed without dissent. Class B.— Telegraph extension, L 43,577 10s. Passed without dissen t.
Class 7. —lmmigration, L 26,984 13s 4d, was reduced by LIOOO. ' Class 7. —Waterworks on goldfields, L 26,716. Passed. Class 9.—Miscellaneous public works, L 129,178 9s, 9d. On a motion that it be reduced L2OOO, the House divided—Ayes, 9 ; Noes, 21. Passed as printed. Class 10. —Lighthouses, L 4550. Passed. Class 13.—Charges and expenses on raising loans, L 189,430 19s, 9d. Passed ■without dissent.
Class 9.—Public buildings, vote —judicial, L 61,429. Passed as printed. Postal and telegraphic, L1J,025. Mr. Hall agreed to reduce the amount by L 550. Agreed to. Customs, L9OO. Passed, lunatic asylums, L 55,500. Passed. Hospitals, L4OOO. Passed. School buildings, L 106,031175. lOd. Passed. .It 4.30 progress was reported and the Hoase adjourned till 7.30 to-night.
Thursday, August 19. The House met at 7.30. WEST CCA«T SETTLEMENT BILL.
The Hon. J. Bryce moved the second reading of the West Coast Settlement (North Island) Bill. The West Coast problem was one of much difficulty—one that had lasted for a considerable time, and had been steadily growing. It was one that the present Government was not responsible for. They found it ready made, and as that was the case, they had to deal with it. The Government were responsible for the appointment of the Commission, and better men could not have been found to do the work. It was the object of the Government first to satisfy the natives that their just claims would be fully recognised, and, second, to convince the natives that the authority of the law must be established on the coast. The simple object of the Government was to deal wWi the difficulty in such a -way as that it would not break out again in future years, to the prejudice of the body politic. There was only one mode of settling the difficulty, namely, by setting apart land to satisfy the just claims of the Maoris, which should be recognised. At the same time, Government was fully determined that they should be made to feel that they would be dealt with firmly. Government had opened the district by a road, and cut a number of tracks so as to intersect the district. These proceedings, he thought, had already had the effect of convincing the Maoris that it was the full intention of the Government to settle the district and at the same time to give them and their claims ample justice. It was the intention of the Government in a very short time to advertise a considerable portion of the land for sale. They would, however, take care to cut out ample reserves, so as to reserve for the Maoris not only their cultivations, but likewise the land to- which they attached special , value. Government thought that the r land regulations at present in force were l sufficient to settle the district. Their treat aim Was to reserve a close settlement t ■ duthe i an( j. Government thought that the sutlers must be defended, but they had
district with military settlers. If the Maoris were so ill-advised as to interfere with the settlers, then they must be punished. A settler could not at the same time be a soldier. It had also been suggested, that the unemployed should be placed on the laud. Government, however, rejected that proposal, as to some extent demoralising. These men would rely on the Government, and not on what they could make off their land. Care would be taken not to irritate the Maoris. Although their direct acquiescence could not be secured, he thought, nevertheless, than an indirect acquiescence would be secured. In fact they had already to some extent secured that acquiescence. Government was quite as unwilling to go to war as he believed the Maoris themselves were, and anything in reason that would prevent warfare ought to be done. He believed, however, that they would be able to avoid -warfare. If the natives had any desire for war it was not likely that they would allow their most warlike brethren to apprehended. If they only managed a few first steps in peace and quietude ho believed that the remainder of the work would be comparatively easy. It was proposed to make a new land district, which would be placed directly under the control of the Government, instead of a Land Board. The reason was to avoid complications. It was an exceptional proposal, but then the circumstances were exceptional. It was necessary that the Government should have very large power, as without such it would be absurd for any Government to undertake the work.
Sir G. Grey said that the report of the Commissioners was worthy of the colony of New-Zealand: It deserved all credit, and he fully admitted the trouble that they had gone to. He was not equally satisfied with the Bill. Instead of being a permissive measure the Bill should have adopted the report as a whole, and enjoined the full carrying out of its just and righteous x'ecommendations. In the passage of the Bill through Committee he would endeavor to get the Bill so amended as to convince the natives that the whole report had been adopted, and that they would get all that the Commisioners recommended. The Bill should be divided into two parts, the one. adopting the report and recommendations, and the other embodying the penal clauses. If the Government acquiesced in that view, he would give them all the assistance he could in passing a measure giving them all just and necessary powers. He felt great satisfaction in the remarks made by the Native Minister. He had hoped, however, to hear him say that the men who had made the recommendations should be entrusted with the task of carrying them out. A course of that kind would enable gentlemen in all respects worthy of the colony to finish their career in a great and good work, and a work which must be of great importance to the colony in all time coming.
Major Te Wheoro complained that the reserves had been selected in the interior and not on the Coast. He agreed with the Native Minister that there was no likelihood of the natives enteringupon hostilities. He said that he would oppose the Bill if it was to be understood that it was to apply to natives already in custody. Mr. Pyke criticised the Bill. He saw no hope so long as a corrupt Government had a servile majority at its back. The Speaker called upon Mr. Fyke to withdraw the latter portion of his speech, which was done.
Mr. S'.ewart said that the one feature of the Bill in which he agreed was that these persons were to be brought before the ordinary tribunals of the country. Mr. Moss said that as a political measure the Bill was bad. He agreed with Sir G. Grey as to the Commission, and that the Commissioners ought to be entrusted with the power of working out the objects aimed at.
Mr. Macandrew protested against the Bill. It was a Bill unworthy of Englishmen, and the future historian would refer to it as something similar to the doings of the Star Chamber or the Massacre of Glencoe.
Mr. Tainui did not agree with the Bill, and would endeavoi to have it amended in Committee.
Mr. Reader Wood also bore testimony to the skill, care, and knowledge shown by the two Commissioners, and the exhaustive nature of the report and proposals made by them. The Bill was not entirely founded on that report, but it \as proposed to settle the disturbance /in the recommendations suggested in tlie report. The report did not recommend force, but to go to the natives themselves and negotiate terms with them. That course ought to have been adopted earlier. Had the natives meant war they would have committed murders and rapine, and not ploughed land and allowed themselves to be apprehended. War would not be solely a loss to the natives. If driven to desperation the North Island could be rendered almost unbearable to the Europeans. He agreed with the proposal of the member for the Thames, that they would do well to allow the administration of the Bill to rest in the hands of the Commissioners.
Mr. Ballance demurred to the proposal of allowing the Commissioners to administer the Bill. The responsibility ought to rest with the Government of the day. He asked why it was that military settlers occupying frontier settlements could not be established. By that means they would establish a sort of defensive peace between the natives and the general settlers. It was not necessary that they should be military men, but men trained to arms, who could be called on to aid the Government in settling disturbances and defending the ordinary settlers. He did not think that much restriction should be placed on the Government. He did not believe that the intention of Te Whiti was one of peace. When they w r ero strong Te Whiti was remarkably humble, but so soon as they were weak, or seemed to be weak, then he showed his teeth. The Government must be strong, and have power to enforce their authority, otherwise he did not believe that the district could be settled with any degree of safety.
The Hon. J. Hall said that it ■would be hopeless to think they could solve the difficulty unless they could show the natives that while they meant to deal justly with them they were strong enough to enforce their authority. He bore testimony to the ability shown by the Commissioners, and the manner in which they had devoted themselves to the work. He did not think that the natives were bout on war ; but, on the other hand, nothing was farther from Te Whiti’s mind than to submit to the tribunals of the land. They wanted to set our tribunals at defiance, and the only hope of a satisfactory solution was to give the Government exceptional powers. It was, therefore, in the interests of peace and the natives themselves that the Bill was brought down. The settlers in these districts would, no doubt, be enrolled as volunteers, therefore all the purposes of a military settlement as had been suggested would be provided for. Were they to attempt to take the recommendations out of the report and put them into the Bill, it would in a great measure make the latter unwarkable. The most that they could do was to set forth the intention of carrying out these recommendations so far as was politic and practicable. It would be impolitic to vest the administration in the Commissioners, or in any one but the Government. All that the Government desired was that' the difficulty should be settled upon the best and most expeditious terms. Mr. Sheehan moved the adjournment of the debate until to-morrow. Ho wanted to speak on the Bill, but was unable from indisposition to do so that night. The Hon. J. Bryce concurred, admitting that it was evident that Mr. Sheehan
was unable to take part in the debate that night, and they would therefore agree to the postponement as soon as other members had spoken. Mr. Saunders took exception to the report of the Commissioners. The main reason of the war of 1800 was that the Arms Act of Sir George Grey was repealed, thereby' enabling the natives to arm themselves. In that respect the report was defective, as it did not allude to the fact. Colonel Trimble moved the adjournment of the debate till to-morrow at 7.30, which was carried. BILLS DISCHARGED. Native Lands Frauds Prevention, Native Lands Contract Act Validation ; Native Lands Stamp Duties ; Natives Reserves and Miscellaneous Native Claims Bill. MICELLANEODS. The Hon. Major Atkinson gave notice that ha would ask for a further imprest supply to-morrow. On the motion of the Hon, T. Dick the Licensing Bill was discharged. Progress was reported, and at 12.15 the House adjourned till to-day at 11 a.m.
PARLIAMENTARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 142, 21 August 1880
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