NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT.
* LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.
■ Tuesday, July 12. The Council met at 2.30 p. m. * The Hon. F. Whitaker said that Go- ' vevmnent did not intend to intro- • duce a Bill to alter the jurisdiction of the District Court to L2OO, or allow the ; Supreme Court to try cases to that amount - by District Court rules. By the end of ■ the month the final report of the Judicature Commission would be received, and then the whole question would be open to consideration. On the Hon. W. Robinson’s motion, after a short debate, it was agreed that in the opinion of the Council the fares and freights on the railways should, so far as practicable without entailing loss, be so adjusted as to enable the lines to compete with outside carrying companies. At 4 p. m. the Council rose. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Tuesday, July 12. The House met at 2.30 p.m. NOTICES or MOTION. Mr McDonald gave notice of motion affirming the desirability of the functions of Waste Land Boards being vested in the County Councils. Mr Andrews gave notice of motion in favor of holding next session in Christchurch, and for an address to the Governor to place a sufficient sum for the purpose on the estimates. Mr Bain gave notice that he would ask if the Government intended to provide for the resumption of nominated emigration. QUESTIONS. In reply to questions, Ministers stated : —The land known as Otara block had been withdrawn consequent upon the construction of the Edendale Railway, and that three months would have to elapse before it could be disposed of. Steps, however, had been taken in that direction. Plans had been prepared to be submitted to the Local Waste Lands Board, and a portion of the land would be disposed of on the deferred payments system at the upset price of 30a per acre, the remainder being disposed of for cash payments.— Government had not paid the whole of the cost of the Wellington Hospital ; L 37,000 had been voted by the House from time to time, and about LIO,OOO came from the Hospital Trust Fund. As to furnishing, the House had voted Ll,ooo, and the remainder of the money which ft had cost had been found by the Trust, As to maintenance, the whole cost had only devolved on the Government when the subsidies were abolished. Most of the other hospitals were in the same position. Previously, Government had given LI for LI. NEW BILLS. The following Bills were introduced and road a first time:—For the Reduction of charge for Miners’ Rights ; to Amend the Education Act, 1877 (Mr Pyke) ; for the Establish-
ment and Management of a High School Bangiora (Mr Bowen); For the Establishment and Management of a High School at Akaroa (Mr Montgomery) ; to extend the Parliamentary Franchise to Women (Dr Wallis); the Armed Constabulary Act, 1867, Amendment (Mr De Lautour) ; the Gisborne Harbor Beard (Mr McDonald) ; Waimakariri Harbor Loan (Mr Bowen).
LICENSING BILL. The Licensing Bill was recommitted for the consideration of clauses 12, 22 to 28, inclusive, 30, 31, 32, 37, 54, 81, 122, 126, 137, 140, 141, 194, and 218. MINISTERIAL STATEMENT. The Hon. Major Atkinson moved the second reading of the Crown and Native Lands Rating Bill. In doing so, he , wished to state the views of the Government on the whole question local selfgovernment, which, he believed, was agitating the minds of members a great deal more than it was the minds of the country. He did not intend to press the second reading of the Bill that night. The first difficulty in the question was that no two members seemed agreed as to what local government was. Thus Sir G. Grey wanted the establishment of provincialism, not local government, while Mr Wood’s .desire was for the establishment of sovereign states with federal government, and Mr Ormond wanted, not local government, but something between local government, and general government, and Mr Murray wanted something else. None of them touched the real question of local government. If members wanted something else, they should say what it was, and call it by its proper name, not mis-call it local government. The Government held that the country had got local government already. If the people were consulted, counties and Road Boards would remain the local government of the country. What the country desired was a simplification of what they already possessed, its extension in certain directions, and sufficient funds to work with. He denied the assertion frequently made that local government had disappeared with the provinces, and all local administrative powers had been centred in Wellington. He held in his hand a return of all the local powers so centred. Of all the administrative provincial Acts, only twenty were now administered from Wellington, and of these, thirteen must, under any circumstances, be so administered i as being of general application. Of the other seven, four might with advantage ■ be dealt with locally. These were—Animal protection, Licensing, Cemeteries, and Auctioneers. The others were—i Land, Neglected Children, and Bank- » rupts. The remaining Acte were either administered locally or jointly, and must ) necessarily be so. Instead of centralising, 3 the Government had decentralised and I were decentralising administration as far as 3 possible. They had given local bodies many ; powers formerly centralised in the provinces, t As to Mr Ormond’s allegation that griev--5 ances had no remedy, it was the first duty - of that House to remedy all grievances, • and if they did not do it they should do. , They could not hand over the duty to an fc inferior body. He reviewed at length the ; present constitution of both general and s local governing bodies. The first quesl tion was were all these bodies necessary ; - could they not be amalgamated and made s more efficient. He thought that very i little good could be done by abolishing i any of the existing bodies. There was , great difficulty in getting competent men s to administer affairs. It was, therefore, r better to get men who understood a t special subject, and who were willing to • give up their time to deal with those sub- - jects only. This was the case with River Boards, Harbor Boards, Education 1 Boards, &c. There was no leisure class ' here able to give up time to large bodies dealing with all these subjects. As to Waste Lands Boards, he had no great , love for them, and Government had it i in contemplation to abolish them, and to consult County Councils on all questions : affecting land within counties. As to s boroughs, that local government was : working very satisfactorily, although they, ■ perhaps, wanted more money. As to > County Councils and Road Boards, no two persons seemed to agree what should i be done. In some places the County did the work and in some the Road Boards, , but in no case had they been asked to - join two counties. If the ratepayers i wished union of this kind they would effect it. One point on which all these i bodies were agreed was a desire to get I more money. There was still ' a 3 feeling abroad that money could be - obtained in some other way than out t of the pockets of the ratepayers. They must recognise the fact that there was no other way of getting money than out of their own pockets. Tins was the view on which the Government scheme of local finance was founded. It was founded not on partnership or the land fund, but on the principle that all ebtained from the land should be expended on the land. He repeated that the scheme would supply all the wants of the local bodies. If the Opposition would not accept the scheme they should in ’ duty to the country bring down some t other proposals to meet the necessities of . the country. He was prepared to fight • for his own scheme. Government held that every facility should be given for counties amalgamating and merging RoacJ. Boards. They proposed to take power to delegate to Councils all powers of administration under the local or general Acte, which could be delegated safely, also to give power to counties to levy the rates for Road Boards, and where the Road Boards desired it, to spend the money for them on definite works. They proposed also to'give County Councils powers now exercised by the Government as to Road Boards boundaries, and until the property tax valuation roll was available, to allow existing valuation rolls to be used with annual amendments. Then as to Road Boards, Government proposed to introduce an Act for the simplification of Road Board machinery, especially in regard to elections for which the Local Flections Act was too cumbersome. This would be permissive. Extended power for merging would also be given to Boards. No portion of a county should be outside of Road Boards, and as far as possible road districts should be electoral districts of the county. As to Hospital and Charitable Aid Boards, he considered them absolutely necessary, and that the districts must necessarily be large, in .order to provide suitable buildings and medical aid. Unless they were to hare a poor law administered by officials, they would require these Boards, consisting of the people doing the work for love, and administering local contributions. He believed these proposals would meet all legitimate demands for local self-government. - Sir G. Grey considered that the Government had arrived at a lame and impotent conclusion to satisfy the wants of 500,000 people. He contended that no real local government now existed in New Zealand. The way votes in local districts were proportioned to property rendered real local government impossible, and for this the Government proposed no remedy. He denied that there was no other way of getting money than out of the people’s pockets. There were other means whicS could easily be got at, and which the House, he was sure, would get at sooner or later. He had been taunted about not really meaning to introduce a Local Gp : vernment Bill, but tlie only hint he ha. 4 yet given on the subject had been eagerly seized on by the Government, and that was as to the rating of native land and the method of collecting the rates. The Government had, he was glad to say, taken his suggestion. His Bill was now in the hands of the printer. He was not afraid to show his hand. All his cards were tjio property of the people of New Zealand, and it was for them to say how
they were to be played. There should he large local bodies constituted, taking in the whole counties and boroughs, and then full powers should he given to the people in those districts to determine the form of their own administration of local institutions, so as to best meet their own requirements. All the present woes of the people arose from the abolition of provincial institutions without any commensurate substitute being provided. The people should be given full power to manage their own affairs, and determine the form of institutions best calculated to meet their own necessities. A very short measure could provide a complete system of self-government. Ample powers for making by-laws should be given. The geographical formation of the colony rendered- such a system necessary and desirable, The local bodies should have power to make by-laws on almost all subjects on which the provinces used to legislate. While he would not give them power to legislate on external or internal defence, he thought the volunteer force might be placed under local control. He thought the volunteer force was likely to become the finest force in the world. They should not be allowed to pass by-laws about telegraphs and one or two other matters, but should have power to make all regulations for mining purposes. He denied that the House could ever do justice to the whole colony in redressing grievances. It could not sit long enough to bear the expense. Power to redress grievances promptly and on the spot should be given to local bodies to establish Courts having large powers, but inferior to Supreme Courts. Powers to appoint their own judges should be given, and thus Justice bo brought to each man’s door, and then they would no longer have the Bench occupied by Judges actuated by strong party feelings. By reducing the work of the Central Government, the House could be reduced one-half, and the other .chamber found to be a redundant blessing, with which they could dispense. There would be plenty of money available for local bodies. The surplus revenue, after provision for general purposes, should be divided amongst the local bodies in proportion to population. Rates on Crown and Native lands should be imposed by local districts, and be expended by them, the rate being the same as on all other property. Large landed endowments should be granted to the local bodies,and rendered inalieniable. In time the rents from these should free the people from all taxation and provide for all their wants. Future generations would bless them if they did this, but the Government proposed a continuance of a system of legislation belonging to an expiring civilisation, instead of welcoming the new civilisation which was dawning on the earth. Mr McLean said ho would like to see Sir G. Grey’s Bill, and consider the whole matter more fully before going on with the debate. He accordingly moved its adjournment. This was, after some discussion, agreed to, the debate to be resumed at 7.30 on Tuesday evening next. LICENSING BILL. The Licensing Bill was further considered in committee. On clause 29, Mr Pitt moved the restoration of the bottle license. The motion was negatived on a division by 38 to 31. Mr Oliver moved that the New Zealand wine license bo struck out.
The question was put, that the words “ New Zealand ” stand part of the clause — Ayes, 33 ; noes, 32. Colonel Trimble moved that the clause be amended to read “ New Zealand grape wine license.” The motion was negatived on the voices. Mr Stewart proposed to add, as a subjection, “ Bottle licenses in such districts ae they at present exist. ” The motion was carried by 36 to 25. Clause 30 —Mr Turnbull moved the extension of hours from 10 to 11 o’clock for ordinary licenses. The Hon. T. Dick opposed, pointing out that the hours could, at the option of the licensing committee, be extended to 12 o’clock.
The motion was negatived on the voices and the clause passed as printed. On clause 37—Mr Bastings moved that the words requiring payment of an additional fee for the extension of the license to 12 o’clock be struck out.
The motion was negatived. Mr Weston moved that the fee be L2 instead of LlO. The motion was negatived. Mr Bastings moved the omission of the sub-section requiring the payment of an additional fee for extra bars. The committee divided on the amendment, which was negatived, and the clause was retained as printed by S 3 to 26. Clause 64, “ Licensing Committee may of its own motion take cognisance of objections.” Dr Wallis thought this should be struck out, as it gave power to refuse any existing license without assigning any reason or granting any compensation. The amendment was not pressed, and the clause was amended, on Mr Sheehan’s motion, to provide that not less than seven days’ notice should be given. Clause 80—It was proposed to strike out sub-section 4, allowing renewals to be refused if the house was not required in the neighborhood, or was near a church or school, or likely to disturb the quiet of a place. The amendment to strike out the whole sub-section was withdrawn, and a proposal by Major Harris to omit the words relating to places of public worship, schools, and hospitals, was agreed to, and the clause as amended, passed.
Clause 108, license fees sub-section—Mr Pyke moved to insert the words “ having a population of 1,000 persons ” after the word borough.
Mr Barron suggested that the number should bs 500.
Mr Murray moved_tbat-the fixing of the "amount of the license in each case should be left to the local body receiving the fee.
Mr Oliver said this question was so important, and the hour so late, that he moved that progress be reported. The motion was agreed to, and the House rose at 12.45.
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NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 394, 13 July 1881
NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 394, 13 July 1881
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