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Thursday, June 23.

The Council met at 2.30 p. m

In reply to the Hon. R. Hart, The Hon. F. Whitaker said that the question of amending the Property Tax Act was now under consideration. A Bill would be probably brought in remedying the defects, among others possibly settling the question of the liability of persons like Mr 'i’ollomache. The Hon. F. Whitaker informed the Hon. M. Holmes that a Fencing Bill would be brought in if there was any chance of getting : it through. ■ If otherwise, a temporary Validation Bill for Provincial Acts could bo passed. The Hon. F. Whitaker informed the Hon. N. Wilson that a letter had been received from Sir Julius Vogel of such a nature that it had been returned to him. The Hon. N. Wilson then carried a motion that all correspondence should'ho presented. , ■ On the Hon. F. Whitaker’s motion, goldfields and mines and native affairs committees were appointed. The Hon. Dr Menzies moved that Government should enquire as to the practicability of passenger steamers carrying electric lights to be used to reveal danger. After a short debate, the motion was carried. On the Hon. M. Holmes’ motion, a committee to inquire into the rabbit nuisance was appointed. The Native. Lands Frauds Prevention Bill, and-the Native Succession Bill were read a second time, with a brief discussion, and referred to the native affairs committee. The Council adjourned at 4.15.


Thursday, Jctnb 23. The House met at 2.30 p. ra. QUESTIONS. In reply to questions, various Ministers slated :—Government had under consideration what regulations should be made providing certain holidays for railway employes without stoppage of pay.—Government had not communicated with the Government of any of the Australian colonies desiring them not to employ telegraphic, official* dismissed or retired from the ser-, vice of this colony. The names of certain parties who had taken a prominent part in the recent strike were, however, reported to the telegraph departments of those colonies.—Under the Act of 1873 it was competent for the Government to reserve land on which gold'had been .found, and that Government did not see the necessity for further legislation on the subject. —A Rill was in preparation authorising the boarding-out of children committed to reformatories or industrial schools, and if time permitted it would be brought down this session. FIRST READINGS., In committee, » Bill tp enforce and collect the duties on the estates of deceased persons, was introduced' and. read first time (Hon. Major Atkinson), and also a Bill to declare lands of the Crown and native lands rateable property (Eton. ■Major Atkinson). ’ SECOND readings;' The following Bills were read a second time :—Auckland : Exchange of Synagogues Site (Mr Speight). Wellington : Queen’s Wharf and Stores Sale (Mr Levin). Port Chalmers Cemetery Bill (Mr Macandrew). , Mr Shrimski moved the second reading of the Oarharu Harbor Board Bill. Mr McLean opposed the Bill. The land anight be reguiredlfop other purposes. * It might prove to b* auriferous, and if dealt with under this Bill great loss .would be sustained by'the colony. to do was to warn the House, as regards the dangers of the step prhjposed to be taken. Mr Macandrew supported the Bill. > The Hoji. W. that although nob personally in favor of the Bill he had deferred to the opinion of the; Waste Lands Board. The motion was carried. . - LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

Mr Murray move,d—“ That in the opinion of this JLpuse local government is ’ conducted uncter great disadvantages, (1) from defects in the system, (2) from £he local funds for the payment of rates j to effect local improvements being absorbed by general government taxation, (3) from the counties having been deprived of the 20 per cent, of land fund (except in the case of New Plymouth), and that the Government be requested to bring in a Bill this session i to remedy the/above causes Jof ./complaint, and others which may bo -established d uring the •-debate upon this resolution. ” He had been induced to bring the motion forwards at the instigation of the County Council of the county he represented, as well as- other neighboring counties, .and after tracing; the different steps by which the provinces were shorn of their local revenues}, he-went on to say that abolition had led to disastrous results. What.he-; suggested wj£s ?thah:tli6 ? present Parliament should prepare a sohsmo of ■local government which might-be laid befoire the various constituencies for their, consideration and approval. What was wanted was a system which<fot a minimum of official expenditure'will do the largest •amount of useful work; We- wanted thrift inculcated by the wholesome rule that those who spend the money must provide it. We wanted extraneous aid on a definite and equitable principle, not determined by a Parliamentary scramble for', public: money, degrading to public morality ; and destructive of economy and independence. The; prudent jpjd-thrifty should not have .for , the extravagant and improvident. 1 ’ principle by which; a portiohiof the price of returned to the'land to render it' available for profitable colonisation should bo restored. The 20 per cent land fund, and deferred payments should be paid to the, shire councils towards road-making approved by the Government. What he would’ propose was th's: —That cities returning members of Parliament should retain their independent form of local government ; that other’ boroughs ‘ should become wards of the shire in which situated, but preserve their interests and autonomy, their mayor representing them }in the -shire; that ridings and highway districts should be identical, the chairman being annually elected by the ratepayers, and being their, representative to the shire council; that there should be one general valuation and rate for general purposes, but that ratepayers in particular' districts should be allowed to rate themselves for special works >nd_ purposes; where three or more counties and cities united, the chairmen and mayors should, form the Waste Bands Board of the united shire, and should bo endowed with the net proceeds of the land or property tax in their districts; that such shires should have the maintenance and management of -Hospitals and charitable aid, with such powers as to secure, local, supervision and local knowledge to wards' ensuring' economical management and' Relieving parliament from work it cannot satisfactorily perform. V 1 ’ Mr Ormond said that he had agreed ’ to second the motion, but, after the statement made by the Treasurer, he fe}t somewhat embarrassed. He was one of those who regretted that the subject was not dealt with in the Governor’s Speecli. Thete were three large questions before the public at present. The first was local the second public works, ■ the third division of taxation. He hoped ; that during the .debate pn this motion, the Government wo’ulijl indicate; thd direction ih which- 1 they J proposed moving. I : r•’ */. "all i/JJ |

This question, of local government should take special precedence Of’such questions as hospitals and charitable aid, as/the latter broached the subject of government. After alluding to the municipalities and their functions, he said, that that left them with the counties add the Road Boards. These two bodies had

precisely the same work, and in fact they clashed. Litigation had taken place between these two bodies in certain places as a result of that clashing, Tiie universal opinion, he maintained, was that the counties were not performing their duties satisfactorily. In that case what was the direction local government should take ? Their first step at improvement mmst bo decentralisation ; they would also have to make permanent provision fer the local bodies. It was only the Government that could do that. He had an idea, however, what would be the

best finance. He would not, as a private member, go further than to say that direct taxation was the proper method. "Next as regards decentralisation. For years back they had been building up the central administration, but the question was what powers could they give the local bodies. The county system h»d not been a success, and it would be unfair to continue them by a name that had not been iri the past a success. The Government should define the districts larger than they were, keeping always in view the fact that they had a community of interests. There could be no doubt but the management of waste lands should devolve upon the districts. He would propose that the powers of the Waste Land Boards should be vested in these District Boards, and the Waste Lands Boards themselves abolished. The complaint was that the people had no voice in the adrfiinistrations of these . Waste Lands Bbards. The transfer of these powers as indicated, would be of immense advantage to all concerned. Then again, the opening of _ land for settlement was a function which might very yvell be relegated to their local bodies. He did not reflect on the Minister for Lauds, but still the fact remained that this branch of the waste lands administration had caused no end of dissatisfaction to the districts. That arose simply because,they had hot a direct voice in the management of these lands. He next referred to education. The power of Education 1 Boards might very properly be vested' in' the local Boards. There were other functions, such as charitable aid, which might properly be relegated to the. local bodies. He next alluded to railway 'management, and would give them that function also. He would give .them all powers in the Acts referring to local matters. He meant by that all that referred to the afiairs of daily life., in country districts, and such matters as Ihe readjustment of Road Boards’ boundaries, etc. At present such a subject had to be dealt, with by the Government as a subject on which they had no local knowledge whatever. Under the old Provincial system the people had a ready means for obtaining redress of grievances, but under the present system the same ready means for obtaining that redress did not exist. .If a-settlor who had a grievance.came to the Government he had great difficulty in getting a hearing at all, and when a hearing was got the one reply was generally given, viz., that his letter had been. received. In that respect alone a return tb some such form of Government as previously existed would be welcomed by all; The objoption he had been mainly met with was how this was to be provided ! for. 7 Last session the Government brought down a method in the Local Public Works Bill. Whether; that was the best means or not, one thing was certain, that . it was better than the present system of funds going through the hands of the ■ central Administration. .'He would ask if this .Houso pWaa at all likely to deal satisfactorily with this large question. Hot only would they not deal satisfactorily with the matter,'but' he contended that they had no right to attempt it. It should be relegated to the. people; In that case the business of the session should be done as 'Soon' as 1 possible, the Redistribution of Seats,Bill framed, and then they should go to the country in connection with this , subject. ’ The Hon. ’John Hal!said that it was impossible for him to speak on the subject until the Government had put their views on the point before the House as promised by the Treasurer. He would therefore ask them to adjourn the debate until they had had an opportunity of placing their proposals before the House, VAfr Bunny moved the adjournment of ‘ for a fortnight, to enable the Government to bring down their proposals on the subject. Mr Moss felt that the conclusions come to by Mr Ormond were lame and impotent, He scouted the idea of leaving the whole, question to the next general election.; ; He asked them to consider the question carefully, with "the view of elaborating, a complete scheme. The proposal for the Government to take over the main roads had been laughed at by Government. His opinion was that they were bound to take over these roads. They had taken all the revenue, and they had left the districts nothing to work upon. His opinion was that the Redistribution Bill should not be settled ; until this question was decided upon. A proper: scheme of local government would enable the number of members of'the Legislature- to be reduced at least one-half, besides a: great reduction in .the expense of their attendance at Parliament. In that case they might. hand over to the local bodies the property ta* and other sources of revenue • at present absorbed, by the central Administration. If the motion was put he would ask-thafc the following addition be put to it—“ That no Bill will be satisfactory that, does not provide a system of local government which-will relieve the General Assembly of the necessity for local legislation, thereby reducing the number of members of both Houses, and effecting a corresponding reduction in the enormous expenditure of the central Government. ”

Mr Sutton said that the county system in the North Island had worked moderately well. In Hawke’s Bay the Council had -spent more in the: construction of roads and bridges than the Provincial Council during a corresponding period. At present the Road Board and county system were in antagonism, and what he wanted to see was the fusion of these two bodies into one. Crown lands should be rated the same as other.lands, and by that means the local bodies would be recouped by the expenditure in virtue of which the value of their lands was greatly enhanced. Mr Wood agreed in the opinion that the motion should be adjourned until the Government had brought down their proposals. The whole question resolved itself into one of finance and finance only. At present they had got a machine, but no motive power; it was a constitution that could not be got to go. The revenue of local bodies was insufficient for their purposes, and unless they could find them money they could do them no good. This might be made an electioneering cry, but it could do no; real good. Where the money was to come from he did not know. If the Government succeeded in bringing down an efficient, system, they would do a great work indeed ; but he did not look, forward to it. One thing, true, had been said in the debate, viz., that under present circumstances they had come to a stoppage of their public works. Such he was sorry to say, was the real facts of the case,*and that’meant something very serious indeed for the colony. Men were placed on small patches of land wholly shut out from any market, and could do literally nothing. The ratepayers were fully alive to the fact that a great deal of money was spent in administration and |

very little^.on roads. What the ©tilers , 1 0 wanted-wsrs*mbney ; that was whaf* they ashed for, and instead of giving them money the House gave them institutions. They were sent there to devise a scheme of local self-government, and if they went back to the constituencies and said ne cannot do it; you will have to do it youiiolves —that would mean that very few of them would come back again. He was sorry that this business had not come on sooner; They had been a fortnight in session listening to long lectures on teetotalism. Then they were told that they wonldhave other eight days before the real work pwno on ; that meant that it would not come before them until such a period of thi session as would prevent anything effscUve being done, and the session would) ind just as other sessions had done, without any real good being achieved.' : M " < Dr Wallis was speaking at the 5. adjournment. i I ) The House resumed at 7.30. I SECOND KE4DINO. Mr Richardson moved the second read- \ ing of the Harbor Act Amendment Bill, i, which, after a brief discussion, waaagseed \ to.

DRAINAGE BILL. I The House went into committee on the ! Drainage Bill, which was reported with ( amendments, and ordered to be read a third time that day week. LICENSING BILL. | The House went into committee on the ! Licensing Bill. 5 Clause 108—Club license, L2O. Mr Andrews moved that it be reduced to L 5. The object of licensing clubs was to suppress bogus establishments. This could be attained by a small as well as by a large fee, while a large fee would be w hardship to genuine working men’s clubs. Mr Bastings thought the club fee should be L4O, the same as public houses. -• Mr Jones concurred in this view. Mr Saunders pointed out, as a reason why no license fees should be reduced, that the effect of their present legislation would be. to reduce the number of all kinds of licenses, thereby increasing the value of those left in existence. The amendment was negatived on the voices, and the fee passed as printed. • Sub-section 6—Hew Zealand win* license, LI. Mr Bastings moved that it be increased to L2O, contending that these licenses would be abused for the sale of other than ‘ New Zealand wines. Messrs Wakefield and George bujpprted such licenses as being an encoiragement to a valuable local industry. Mr Turnbull opposed the proposal "-O grant these licenses altogether, although every facility should bo granted to -load manufacturers to dispose of their produ- ; - ■ tions. Mr Beeves thought that a colonial her license should be provided for. The prposed license would simply be a cover 3 ‘ sly grog selling. . , Dr Wallis supported these licenses. The amendment was negatived, ail the orginal LI license carried by 36 to T The following is the division list:— *■ Ayes, 36 Messrs Bain, Ballanci Beetham, Brown, Bunny, Colbeck, Co 1 lins, DeLautour, Dick, Fisher, J.’ E-. (Bullet), Fuller, George, Gibbs, Hal i Harris, Hirst EL (Wallace), Hursthouse ' Johnston, Kelly, Levestam, Lundoa McLean, Moss, Murray, Ormond, Pitt Shanks, Stevens, Sutton, Swanson, Taw hai, Tole, Tomoana, Trimble, Wakefield: Wallis. Noes, 17—Messrs Allwright, Andrews, Bastings, Fisher J. T., SirW. Fox, Messrs Hutchinson, Jones, Montgomery, Oliver, Beeves, Bichardson, Saunders, Shephard, Speight, Stewart, Thompson, Turnbull Subsection 7—Pacfcet license; 1 Mr Colbeck moved that after license i the-words be added—“ for vessels excbed* ■ ing fifty tons register.” ./'■ Mr Levestam moved that amount be L2O instead of LlO. i Mr Murray wished to know how the fees were to be disposed of. For instance: i Would the Union Company’s steamers i pay the fee at Port Chalmers ? The Hon. T. Dick explained that thr 1 Bill made provision that the foes shook * be paid in at the place where the licens> Was taken out. Mr Colbeck’s amendment was agreed to , The other was rejected, and the fe< ; pasted at LlO for vessels over fifty tom and L 5 for vessels under fifty tons regia ter. ' Subsection B—Wholesale Mr Andrews moved that it be increased to L2O. The amendment was adopted. Subsection 9—-Conditional licenses, sum not exceeding L3O, at the discretion* of the authorities. v s Mr Andrews moved that L3O he 'stfnck. out and L 6 per day be inserted. The House divided on the question that the clause as printed he passed. Ayes, 26 ; Noes, 24. Mr Tole moved as an additional subsection—A confectioner’s license, authorising persons who shall keep refreshment houses and shall pursue therein the trade or business of a confectioner, or shall keep open such house an eating-house for the purpose of selling victuals to be consumed therein, to sell liquor to be consumed with (such victuals during such times between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. as the licensing committee shall - determine ; provided such licensee sjiall not keep any public bar or tap-room on such premises Pee, L 5. \ The House divided. Ayes, 19; noea,27. The motion was lost. Mr Pitt moved as a further subsection that an accommodation license shall authorise the licensee to sell and dispose of any intoxicating liquor on the premises therein specified, and such license may be granted on the terms of repairing or keeping in repair any road or bridge in the vicinity of such premises, keeping a ferry or providing good accommodation for travellers, or on such terms as the licensing committee shall think fit, including the payment of a fee of not exceeding L2O, to be fixed by the licensing committee. . Sir W. Fox objected to the clause, alleging that this was the description of house in which such abominable decoctions known as Maori rum, which was well-known to be fast destroying the aboriginal race, was sold, and where sawyers and shearers underwent the process known as “ lambing down. ” The Hon. T. Dick thought that the provision for special licenses under clause 7 would meet all reasonable requirements for accommodation houses situate in remote localities. The House divided. Ayes, 33; noes, 11. Progress was reported, and the House rose at 1.20.

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NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 378, 24 June 1881

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NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 378, 24 June 1881

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