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Mr Ballance met the electors at Wanganui last evening. His address was a long one, arid generally reviewed the work of the last session. As to the deficiency in the land revenue, he said there was none during the Grey administration, but if began during the first year of the present one. He characterised Major Atkinson’* statements on the subject as throwing dust in the eyes of the. public. He referred to Major Atkinson’s many changes of opinion on the Beer < Tax. The Property Tax was in danger. It wa* even assailed by Mr Ormond, and had been proved to be a failure, being more than L 200,000 less than the first estimate, either from miscalculation or from unnecessary machinery, or unfair exemptions. Had the Land Ta,x been doubled, it would have nearly reached the Property Tax, besides covering a greater area.- Major . Atkinson an Income Tax, but in 1878 ho was th< strongest supporter of it. Major Atkinson’s advocacy of the Property Tax would prove its death knell. No one proposed that farmers should pay a Land as well as an Income Tax. The policy of thf Liberal leaders touched the farmei lightly, and the speculator more heavily, as producers should be protected. No , large system of taxation should be imposed without going to the country j and a Property or income Tax would be the test question of the next election. He referred to the proposal to lease oi sell the railways,' which, he said, could not be carried out. The lines could only be rendered productive by filling up the gaps, but he disapproved of grants of land to companies for that purpose. Ho advocated the division of the lines into two classes, such as Canterbury to Westland, and Wellington to Foxton. They must continue to borrow to complete the main lines, the amount of borrowing to be based upon the increase in the annual revenue. The other class of lines might be carried on by means of land grants. No more money for general purposes should be borrowed, nor even for railways until the oxist'hg lines had been carefully scheduled. He condemned the want of administrative ability shown in the management of the railways, and the refusal of Government to carry out the recommendations of the Civil Service Commissioners on the subject, as well as excessive freights under which lines could not pay. As to the retrenchment policy, he considered it clearly understood that a sliding scale on large salaries should be adopted, but Government broke faith with the House by imposing a uniform ten per cent, reduction on great and small. As to immigration, he pointed out that the existence of a class of unemployed was demoralising to the whole labor market, and he advocated no more free immigration whatever. The influx of Chinese was disastrous to the colony and laboring classes, whom they unfairly handicapped ; and it should be prohibited either by direct limitations of numbers, or the imposition of a capitation charge. Upon the land question he opposed fixity of tenure in Otago leases, and supported leases determinable by a year’s notice. Ho referred to the small number of landholders in Otago and Canterbury, and said that the question affected everyone in the colony. He opposed the reading of the Bible in schools, which would destroy the national system, and lead to a denominationalizing scheme. He supported the existence of Education Boards as part of the system of local Government. As to the representation Bill, he considered the present system better than single electorates. He had heard that Government intended to repeal the Triennial Parliaments Bill, with a view of a longer lease of power, but such repeal was not likely to be carried, and he would strongly oppose it. In conclusion, he believed the Liberal party had a great work to do for the welfare of the greatest number, and not merely a class. A vote of thanks and confidence was carried unanimously.

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Bibliographic details

MR BALLANCE AT WANGANUI., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 342, 12 May 1881

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MR BALLANCE AT WANGANUI. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 342, 12 May 1881