ASHBURTON MATTERS IN PARLIAMENT.
THE WATERWORKS BILL. In the Legislative Council last Friday, Mr. Miller moved—“ That the Council should resolve itself into Committee to consider the Ashburton County Council Waterworks Bill.” To this Sir F. D. Bell moved an amendment —“It is inexpedient to allow the establishment of a precedent that the ■ County fund of a County should be involved in liability for any public work undertaken not for the benefit of the County, but only for part, thereof, without the assent of the ratepayers of the whole County.” On this there was some discussion relative to, the need of passing, the Bill, and the lion-compliarice with the Standing Orders by its promoters, but ait 4 o’clock the debate was adjourned, and the motion lapsed for the day as.did four others. THE RANGITATA BRIDGE. At the afternoon' sitting of the House on Friday, in reply to a question by Mr. Pyke as to the condition of the piles which were being driven into the river at the Rangitata Bridge in 1878, , The Hon. the Minister for Public Works stated that he had found a memorandum from his predecessor in office (the hon. member for Port Chalmers) to the effect that there was no reason to suppose that the conditions of the contract had not been thoroughly carried out. Mr. Wright, as the contractor in question, .would like to say a few words. He had built bridges in the aggregate averaging . some , seven miles in length.' The bridges at Rangitata south and Rangitata north were each 2000 ft long, and every bit of the work had been scrutinised carefully before it was passed. The piles, however, had been scoured away by the heavy floods of 1878 pervading over the whole, of the uppoi portion of the province'of Canterbury. THE OXFOHD-TEMUKA LINE. Mr.' Pyke asked the Government—(l) Whether they are aware that the railway line from Oxford to Malvern (Sheffield), recommended by the Railway Commissioners, is a mere pretext, committing the Colony to building a line from Oxford to Temuka ; (2) whether such railway will be of any public benefit, and to what extent; (3) whether the proposed line of railway passes through the estates of the Hon. John Hall, the Premier, and of Mr. Wright, a member of the Railway Commission ? In asking the question, Mr. Pyke said he was not quite sure what it was that had vexed the Premier on the previous day, but if it was the form of the question he would slightly alter it and leave out the word “ pretext ” in the first part of the question. He would ask whether the construction of the line from Oxford to Mal Vern would result in the making of the line from Oxford to Temuka. He would ask the question in that way, to remove any feeling there might be on the subject. He put the other questions as they stood on the paper.
The Hon. the Minister for Public Works said the first part of the question would open up debateable matter. With regard to the second part of the question, he would answer in the negative. The Government was not aware that ,it was a mere pretext that would commit the Colony to the line from Oxford to Temuka. The section from Oxford to Malvern would be a most useful one, and had been recommended by the Commission. Ho person on the Commission had property on the line of that railway. ; The third part of the'question was put in such a way as to make it very doubtful which of the lines it meant. The line was commenced some years before the present Ministry took office, and abandoned since they came into office, and he could assure the hon. gentleman that neither of the gentlemen interested had property in the neighborhood of the line at present under consideration.
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