HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Monday, August 23. . EVENING SITTING. After the usual formal business had been disposed of in the House yesterday afternoon, the Premier moved the re-committal of the Electric Telegraph Act Amendment Bill, for the purpose of giving members an opportunity of further considering the new clause, inserted last week by the Premier, dealing with the special wire.t There was a good ,deal, of discussion on the subject, the majority of the speakers being averse to the terms of the clause in granting a special wire to any person or association. The result was that the clause was excised, and the Bill, as reported, makes no reference whatever to the granting or use of a special wire for press purposes. The Colonial Treasurer moved the second reading of the Beer Duty Bill. In doing so, he referred to the question of saving effected in the expenditure. He pointed out that the Estimates calculated expenditure at L 3,473,000, but reductions had been made in Committee of Supply of L 167,000, and, including the 10 per cent, reduction on salaries, the net saving amounted to L 197,000. The surplus at the end of the year was estimated at L 134,000. So far as he could see he did not think it necessary to correct the Estimates. 1 • The revenue would all come in, except perhaps in regard to the railways, the falling off in which would probably reduce the surplus to L 95,000. The savings effected this year, if carried into effect next year, would amount to L252,0Q0, and this the Government hoped they might be" able to increase. The House would, however, see that the proposed taxation was the lowest they could do with, as next year they would have over LIOO,OOO to the bad. With regard to the Local Boards, and Eating Bills, the Government very much regretted that there would be no chance of passing them this session. He looked upon them as of very great importance, and for himself he was a thorough believer in them. It would, however, necessitate the extension of the session some four or six weeks to deal with them, as they required great consideration by the House and.country, and already members had been engaged in political matters some eight or nine months out of the last thirteen months. In regard to the subsidies the ment proposed to pay one-half for the remaining nine months of the financial year. This would amount to about LIOO,OOO. They might fairly expect to get about L 50,000 from the land fund to go towards the subsidies, and the other L 50,000 would come from the consolidated fund. The whole question would receive further consideration during the recess. As; to the Beer Duty Bill, it was practically the American Act, except that its provisions
were not so stringent ; and it was similar to the Act of 1878, with very few alterations. The total amount they had collected up to the 3rd June last was at the rate of L 58,000 a year, but stocks were being held back. He very much regretted having to bring this Bill forward, but it was simply a matter of necessity. Upon going into Committee of Supply he would give particulars as to tke state of the loan, so that the House might know exactly the position in regard to that. Mr. Reader Wood objected to the proposed tax, and did not think, from the Premier’s own statement, that the amount of taxation which was proposed was necessary. He thought the beer tax should bo reduced to 3d., and the property tax. to s £d. Mr. Macandrew said the only ground upon which he could agree to s the,beer tax wfis the necessity of providing subsidies to local bodies., Mr. Gisborne said he intended to oppose the tax altogether. After some further discussion, Mr. Barron moved the adjournment of the debase. The general feeling seemed to be that the discussion on the question of taxation should not be' fully' gone ■ into until the second reading of the Property' Tax Bill came on for discussion. In the evening Messrs. Shephard and; Reid and Sir George Grey next spoke in succession, and in opposition to the Bill, and Messrs. Hurst and Murray spoke in favor of it. The motion for the adjournment of the debate was then put and negatived; Mr. Moss endeavored to show that without the beer duty there would be a surplus of revenue over expenditure of L55,0Q0, and this, to his mind, did away with the necessity of imposing the tax. He expressed an opinion that before next session it would be found. necessary so revise the whole system of Government. A division was taken; on the second reading, which was carried by 51 to 2.0. The Premier then moved the second reading of the Property Assessment Amendment Bill, merely explaining its provisions in a few word?. Mr. Reader Wood looked upon the Bill as opposed to the views of the people, generally. He moved the following amendment :—“ (1) That in the opinion of this House the property tax should be reduced from Id. to -|d, ; that the exemptions from the opera don of the property tax should include steam engines r and all machinery used in manufacturing,' pumping, mining, and mill purposes ; all books and wearingapparel actually in use, agricultural implements actually in Use only, and all property below the sum, of, L3OO. (2) That the beer tax be.reduced from 6d., to 3d. per gallon. ” Mr. Saunders announced his intention to. vote'against the Bill, and do everything, in hia power to prevent its passing. It is needless to particularise the views of the various speakers, as the subject was fully discussed during the noconfidence debate, and. Jt has frequently . cropped up since.., Suffice it to say. tflat the opponents of the proposed taxation based their objections on a great variety of grounds, while those in favor of it urged in extenuation the present, financial condition of the country. Sir George Grey pointed out what he considered a very awkward predicameht^viz.;'-that a no-confidence motion: was just raoved by one of the Government supporters,: and backed up by others of the same party ; while the other side did hot want the Government to go out, not seeing at present who were to fill their places. Sir George was very humorous and satirical ... all through his long speech. Referring .to Mr. Reader Wood, who had moved the amendment; he said, although ! h’d’t(Sir George) did not wish to.turn out the Government, he would follow the lead of Mr, Wood in this matter. The Government ship was sinking at last, 1 and all knew who were the first to leave a sinking ship. This palpable hit at the member for Waitemata and one of the *‘ Auckland four” created a furore, of laughter. He advised all to take this opportunity to march boldly to the victory,which awaited them in carrying the amendment to the proposals of what he called “that seminaked and impotent rabble which now sit on those benches” (the Government). ..The debate continued in a somewhat ' flat manner in a thin House till 1.10 a.m., when, without any reply from the Government benches, a division was called for, with the following result :—For the second reading, 31; against, 9. The second reading was consequently agreed to. The House rose at 1.20 a.m. Tuesday, August 24. The Speaker took the chair at 2.30. On the motion of the Hon. the Premier, the Speaker was 1 empowered to issue a writ for the return of a member to the House during the! present Parliament for the electoral district of Waikaia, in the place of the late Mr. Ireland. i > The following new Bills were introduced :—A : Bill to enable !the'Government to grant certain land and privileges to any person or company willitig i to construct a railway between the City of Wellington and Porirua (Mr. Brandon). The Railways Construction Bill (Hon. Mr. Oliver). The Hokitika Harbor; Loan Bill (Hon. Mr. Hall), and the Canterbury Roads Ordinance Amendment BilLv The report of the Committee on the Electric Telegraph Act, 1875, s-Amend-ment Bill was brought up, and the amendments agreed to. The Bill was then read a third time and passed. After several members had, spoken,, the House went into Committee on the Beer Bill, which was being considered when the House adjourned at 5.30.' h< •• EVENING • SITTING: *< 'H The House resumed at 7.30 on the Beer Bill and Property Assessmeiit Bill. Considerable discussion took place, especially on clausa 2/ which' fixed the duty, at fid. per gallon, and at least half-a-dozen hon. gentlemen rose at once. Mr. Ballance moved that the . .word ‘ sixpence” be struck out, and the word “ threepence” inserted in lieu thereof.^ The Hon, the Colonial Treasurer assured the House that they would want every penny that the sixpenny tax would raise. He regretted as much as any member of the Committee .the necessity for this tax, but ;as it was really required,, he hoped the House would pass the Bill as it ,stood. After remarks and expressions of opinion from several members; on bqtjj sides of; the House, the amendment that the tax be thieepence was put and,- carried on the voices. ‘
The succeeding in the Bill were then considered, and passed without dissent. • 1 -',‘
Mi'. Seddon moved an extra clause,- to the effect that any brewer who shall wilfully affix any stamp to any cask, with a view tp mislead, shall be liable to a penalty for every offence. . The clause was accepted by the;Government.and agreed to. ; The Hon. Major Atkinson said - ,that after the reduction which had been made in the beer tax, it would be Jiecessary.that the Government, should cqnsider the Property Assessment Bill, and ho would therefore ask. that the consideration of that Bill be postponed. He would therefore ask that .progress be reported , to ' the House on the Beer Bill. It was resolved to go, into Committee on the Property Assessment Bill on the following day. . . , An important amendment to the., Deceased Persons Estates Duties ,Bill wan agreed to, on the motion of Mr., Downie Stewart, by which all estates under the v aide of LSOO are exempted > from ; succession duty, r V T-t.V Bhe Stamp . Fee Bill , having. had; no amendments in it, was read a third time and passed. The Stamp Act Ain'enciment Bill was also read a third time and passed. The Hon.: the Premier .moved, the second ; reading of the Waikato .Confiscated Land Billy :and,briefly..explained its object, i[The motion .was.agreed to,-qand the Bill was read a' .second.timei-i^-The
House then went into 'Committee on the Bill. Mr. Sheehan explained tho precise objects of the Bill, which ho considered was the most important which had been upon the Order Paper this session. If the Government could succeed in carrying it into effect, the Maori difficulty in the North Island would bo settled. Mr. Seddon strongly opposed tho Bill. The Hon. the Premier made some very severe remarks as to the conduct of the member for Hokitika. Mr. Seddon said he would not oe crushed out or put down, even by the Premier. At 2.20 the Bill was reported with amendments, and the House adjourned. Wednesday, August 25. Mr. Bowen brought up the report of the Conference of the Elections Petitions Bill, to the effect that when two Judges disagreed the sitting member should retain his seat. The report was agreed to. Replying to Mr. Macandrew, The Hon. J. Hall said that members might make arrangements for returning home on Monday at the latest. The Public Revenues Bill, introduced by message, was read a first time. The Waikato Confiscated Lands Bill, and the Deceased Persons Estates Duties Bill were read a third time. The Beer Duty Bill was read a third time after being recommitted for an amendment requiring all casks to be branded with the number of gallons contained. In Committee on the Property Assessment Bill, The Hon. J. Hall said that after the loss of revenue entailed by the reduction of the beer duty, they could not afford the loss of revenue by the further exemptions proposed. He wished members, therefore, to consent simply to pass the Bill providing for a simpler form of schedule. Messrs. Saunders, Barron, and Brown all moved exemptions or alterations, and considerable debate arose. The Hon. J. Hall at last moved that progress be reported, so as to shelve the Bill" saying that Government would endeavor by other means to simplify the schedule. Sir G. Grey objected to this course. The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment. EVENING SITTING. After considerable debate in Committee on the Property Assessment Bill, Sir G. Grey said that this taxation was rendered necessary simply by the maladministration by the Government of Native lands. The Attorney-General, after being rejected by a constituency, sat wrongfully in the Upper House, and such dealings as his with Patetere had rendered this taxation necessary. Such Jobs as the Patetere and Murimotu were the cause of the poverty of the country. They should now have a land and income and a wool tax, instead of what was now proposed. Sir G. Grey was once or twice called to order while speaking. Mr. Moorhouse denounced Sir George Grey as a mischief-maker, setting class against class. He. was utterly corrupt, and it was high time that a stop was put to the humbug Sir George Grey was continually talking. After some further discussion, the motion for reporting progress was passed by 43 to 29. The Hon. J. Hall, in Committee, moved the resolutions approving of the employment of three agents for the conversion of stock at a remuneration of onetwelfth of one per cent. He described the advantages of inscription, and spoke of the t special fitness of Messrs. Julyan, Sargeant, and Vogel to perform the work. The latter would in that case resign the Agent-Generalship. Mr. Stevens moved an amendment that no conversion should take place until the House approved of it and the terms proposed. Mr. Ballanco thought the whole matter should be left over till next year. Ho could not vote for the motion or the amendment. Mr. Reader Wood moved the adjournment of the debate, and the House rose at 12.30. Thursday, August 26. The House resumed at 4 p.m. The Printing and Debates Committee presented their report, stating that they had not been able to agree upon any recommendation as to the publication oi Mansard. Sir George Grey introduced a Bill to make further provision for the admission of persons as law practitioners. He would not press the measure further this session. Its object was to abolish certain conditions now provided for admission as a law practitioner. The Bill was read a first time. The Hon. Major Atkinson moved the second reading of the Financial Arrangemenls Act, 1878, Amendment Bill. He explained its objects to be the provision for a continuance of the subsidies nnder the new arrangement, as previously explained. Mr. Pyke moved, as an amendment, that it be read that day six months. He characterised it as an act of repudiation, which, if carried to its extremity, would result in the repudiation of all colonial liabilities. What it proposed to do was to pay 7s. 6d. in the LI. It was only in keeping with the whole conduct of the Government. The local bodies had not received a farthing on rates collected during 1879. What he demanded was that subsidies should be paid on these rates, as they were collected before the slightest premonition was given of the intention to stop the subsidies, to enable the works now in hand to he completed. Mr. Thomson supported the amendment. Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Barron condemned the Bill as an. act of repudiation on the part of the Government. Subsidies were provided for a period of five years, and it was hardly worth while to suspend them now that only one year had to run. Mr. Gisborne denounced the proposal as likely to paralyse the public works of local bodies. Mr. Gibbs suppoi-ted the Bill, and Mr. Shrirnski the amendment. The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment. EVENING SITTING. The House resumed at 7.30. The debate was resumed on the Financial Arrangements Bill. Messrs. Stewart, Reeves, DeLautour, and Macandrew spoke against the Bill, and Messrs. Sutton, Wallis, Richardson, and MLean supported it. ■ The Hon Major Atkinson replied. He said that local bodies were part of themselves, and subsidies would have to be taken out of their own pockets. Was any hon. member prepared to go to his constituents and tell them that another penny was to be put on the property tax to meet these subsidies. If he was, he was a bolder man than him (Major Atkinson). He was always opposed to the 20 per cent, of the land fund being given to local bodies. If it had been secured so as to nrovide for opening up lands it would have been well, but such was not the case. Only a very small portion of it indeed had gone for that purpose. The motion for the second reading was then put and carried. Ayes, 43; noes, 23. The House went into Committee on the Custom Duties Bill. , Mri Lundon moved a new clause to iiupose'an export duty of ss. per ton on kauri gum, to be imposed by order of the
Govornor-in Council, and the proceeds to be given to the counties in which the gum was produced. The Hon. Major Atkinson supported the proposal. Mr. Shrimsld objected, and moved that in lieu thereof a duty of 4s. 2d. be imposed on every hundredweight of wool. Dr. Wallis opposed the duty on kauri gum. It would simply apply to some northern counties. It would bear heavily on a poorer class of tradesmen. Whenever other employment could not be got the men took to digging gum, and it would practically be the imposition of a tax on the unemployed. Such a tax would be a disgrace on any Legislature in the world. Captain Colbeok objected to the tax, which would be a tax on labor. Mr. Reeves, in supporting the tax, contended that the tax would fall on tho storekeepers. The storekeepers got the gum at from L 25 to L3O per ton. In England it was worth LIOO to Ll2O per ton. The Speaker ruled that the proposal could not be put, and the Bill was reported with amendments. Tho Financial Arrangements Act Amendment Bill was considered in Committee. Mr. Macandrew moved that clause 3, suspending 20 per cent, of tho land fund payable to provincial districts be struck out. The question was put that tho clause stand as printed. Ayes, 34 ; noos, 34. The Chairman gave his casting vote in favor of retaining the clause. It was agreed that the clause should pass on the understanding that the Bill should be recommitteed. On consideration of clause 2, Mr. Pyke said that the Bill could not possibly be made retrospective, and that if it passed he would summon the Government for subsidies due since April Ist last. The Hon. Major Atkinson said that if they would pass the Bill he would be prepared to defend any such action. The clause was then passed, and the Bill was reported without amendments. 'The Hon John Hall proposed that the rule about taking new Bills after 12.30 be relaxed for tbe evening, so as to allow the Order Paper to be cleared off as far as possible,, and enable the session to be brought to a close to-morrow. A number of members having left the House, the Speaker ruled that the necessary quorum was not present so as to admit of the question being put. The Hon. Major Atkinson moved that the Financial Arrangements Act Amendment Bill be read a third time. Mr. Murray moved its recommittal, with a view of having the 20 per cent, land fund clause considered. The question was put that the Bill be read a third time. Ayes, 41 ; noes, 30. Mr. Bain then moved—“ That the Bill be read a third time to-morrow.” Mr. Brown spoke in favor of the amendment, and denounced what had been done as an attempt to plunder the local bodies. Mr. Turnbull spoke to a similar effect. Mr. Wright was of opinion that the action taken would prove detrimental to the best interests of the colony. Mr. Thomson also spoke against tho retention of the clause. After some further debate, Mr. Macandrew said that he supposed they must accept the inevitable, as Government would not consent, even to an adjournment. The Bill was then read a third time and passed. The House rose at 2.15 p.m. Friday, August 27. The House met .at 2.30. Mr. Pyke gave notice that he would mo ve—“ That in the opinion of this House it is desirable that the Northern and Middle Islands of New Zealand should be erected into separate colonies ; that, with the view of effecting such separation, a Commission should be appointed to consider and report upon the allocation of the colonial debt, and the conditions subject to which the duties of Customs and the Postal and Telegraphic charges should be adjusted to each island ; that a message be sent to the Legislative Council, asking their concurrence, and inviting that branch of the Legislature to appoint a Committee to confer with the Committee of the House thereupon. ” Mr. Bain gave notice to ask if Government would prepare and circulate during the recess a Bill embodying the recommendation of the Committee re the bankruptcy laws? , , , ... Mr. Fulton gave notice that he wouldask Government what course they intend pursuing in regard to local bodies who had entered into contracts for public works on the faith of a continuation of subsidies!?
Mr. Sheehan moved, without notice—- “ That the evidence in the petition of Clarke and Gittos be printed.” The allegations in the petition reflected on his character, and had been a good deal commented upon ; and as the evidence completely exculpated him, he thought it was only fair that the result should be made public. Agreed to. Replying to questions, it was stated That Government would, during the recess, consider the desirability of increasing the ad valorem duties 011 articles which can be manufactured in the colony. A sum of money would be placed on the Supplementary Estimates to encourage local industries, and if passed, Government would consider what amount should be devoted as bonus for the manufacture oficement— It was intended to amalgamate the post and telegraph offices, and where the combined revenue would warrant the extra sum of 6d. charged on telegrams sent from non-paying offices, it would be rescinded. —Government would consider any proposal for laying the permanent way on the formation of railways from Hokitika to Arahura, conditionally on a guarantee of 15 per cent on the outlay being given. The attention of Government had been directed to tho utilisation of spark catchers for locomotives and so far as they had been applied they ha i been moderately successful in preventing conflagration.—The cost of procuring secondary and university education out of rents of reserves and other public funds, in addition to the rotes under clause 8 of the ordinary Estimates, and class 9 of the Public Works Estimates, had been L 449,022. —Inquiries had been made into the truth of the report alleged against two detectives in forcing an entrance into a young woman’s bedioom after notice that any excitement would he dangerous to her life, and it was found the report was not Justified.—IThe 1 The cost of the works for protecting the railway north of Timaru, including haulage, was L3616.—1t was intended to give effect to the recommendation of the Industries Commission on the conservation of public forests. The Public Works Bill was read a second time, and partly passed through Committee. The House adjourned at 5.30.
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