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NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 401, 21 July 1881
NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT.
♦ - LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Wednesday, July 20. The Council met at 2.30 p.m. The Licensing Bill (from the Lower House) was read a first time. The Wellington Queen’s Wharf Sale Bill, Regulation of Elections Bill, and Oamaru Harbor Board Bill were read a second time, the latter (on a division) by 14 votes to 10. The Companies Bill was passed through committee with numerous amendments. Thp other business was postponed, and the Council rose at 5 p.m. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Wednesday, July 20. The House met at 2.30 p.m. NOTICES OF IIOTIOK. Mr Macandrew gave notice to more for the appointment of a committee to consider the best means for establishing direct steam communication between New Zealand and the Homo country. QUESTIONS. In reply to questions, various members stated It must depend upon the development of public events ai to when the publication of the Governor’s dispatch bearing upon the state of native affairs and the imprisonment of natives could be published without prejudice to the public interest.—The power of inflicting a penalty equal to 1,000 per cent, on the rent due in the event of a tenant of Crown land in Kelson district not paying his rent on the day it fell due was conferred upon them by law.—The law as it stood was sufficient to prevent the public health being endangered by impure milk supplied to customers. The Health Boards had power to inspect and clean dairies, and take what action might otherwise appear to be necessary for the public protection.—Prison officials would be promoted in accordance with their merits, and the recommendation of the Prisons Inspector of appointing retired naval and military officers would not be given effect to. WANT OF CONFIDENCE DEBATE, In the absence of Mr Fulton, Mr Levestam resumed the debate on the motion for the second reading of the Crown and Native Lands Rating Bill. He said that he would confine his remarks to a statement of the reasons for the vote he proposed to give. The proposals of the Government ■would not recommend themselves to the country. The real secret of good local government was to set aside a fund for the localities, tu be distributed in accordance with some welldigested scheme, leaving those bodies to expend the money to the best advantage. He also objected to the proposed constitution of the Board of Works. He desired to see it elected by the districts, and not in the mode Government pxoposed. He demurred to the statement that this House was the place where grievances should be best redressed. Unless Government took back their proposals, and substituted others, he would be bound to vote against them. Mr Collins said that the country had been renewing its social and political strength under the wise administration of Ministers. If this vote of want of confidence was carried, it would mean a return to the former unsatisfactory state of affairs. Considering the condition of the country, he thought it would be most inadvisable to disturb the present administration. He had made no promises when elected, but he intended to vote for the Government, in the exercise of a strong conviction that he was doing what was best both for his constituents and the colony. Their proposals were not revolutionary. They were simply an endeavor to make the institutions they had more useful. They had been invited to discuss various schemes for local government, but co his mind none of those were so satisfactory as the one put forward by the Government. To ask them to go back to provincialism was simply to invite them to disinter a fossilised animal and feast on its carcase.
Mr Murray said it was most unusual in cases of this kind to find all the speeches made on one side of the House. Their opponents must surely have a poor tale to tell when they were so loath to tell it. It would have been fairer and more straightforward to have tabled a direct vote of no confidence, and not try to bring about such a result by means of a side issue. The complaint that proper redress of grievances could not be got was not peculiar to this House. The same complaint existed against the Provincial Councils. He would vote against the amendment. Mr Turnbull contended that the improved state of the colony was not due to sagacity on the part of the Ministry, but to the buoyancy of its natural resources. If the Bill was not a good one, and he contended that it was not, then their duty was to put their foot upon it at once. The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment. On resuming, at 7.30, the debate was continued by Mr Turnbull, who charged the Government with having practised false economy in the matter of retrenchment. Instead of helping the country on they had driven away the bone and sinew of the country in disgust. The . Bill before the House would have the effect of throwing a groat deal of patronage into the hands of the Government, and in that way would secure a fresh lease of power for them—a lease they could not otherwise expect to secure. He looked upon Mr Saunders’ proposal as the most reasonable, and being a friend of the Government they could not do better than adopt his hints. Mr Te Wheoro criticised the proposal for rating native lands. The object of the measure was to swallow up the lands of the natives. The principle of the Bill in this respeet was monstrous. It meant allowing Ministers to have control over native lands.
Mr Tawhaio said that the Colonial Treasurer, as member for Taranaki, had already had a taste of the sweets of native lands, and ho was now anxious to have another bite at them. The conduct of the Treasurer reminded him of Ahab when he coveted Naboth’s vineyasd. He for one was not prepared to yield up the lands of his forefathers. He would like to see a mill-stone tied round the nock of the Bill and have it thrown into the depths of the sea, 1,000 miles from New Zealand.
Mr Wakefield regretted that _ those gentlemen who were acquainted with the natives had not given them a fairer estimate of the contents of the Bill. It was plain from what had transpired that they had been ill-informed on the point. He denied a statement made by Mr Ormond to the effect that his demand for local government was in any respect similar to that of Sir G. Grey. The two claims were diametrically opposite. In this matter ho desired to be in no way associated with the action of Mr Ormond. He had said that he would support any statesmanlike scheme for local government independent altogether of party considerations. Sir G. Grey proposed to restore Provincialism, and with that issue Mr Ormond had identified himself. He (Mr Wakefield), on the other hand, advocated an extension and improvement on the present system. For himself, he would like to see the Government bring down a bolder scheme than they had done, giving local bodies a definite position and larger powers. Their scheme, however, went in the right direction —the direction of rendering local bodies more useful and efficient than they had been. He had watched the operation of the County system since it was first inaugurated, and he had seen enough to convince him that it had a great deal of local self-government
in U. He instanced its operations on the west coast of the Middle Island* and then (raced the operations of the system in Canterbury, where a great many of the Boad Boards had been absorbed. Indeed, taking the whole colony through, it would be shown that amidst many disadvantages it had worked well. In Glivo the county to which Mr Ormond belonged, it had worked so wtll that they made the whole of the roads county roads. Indeed, lie had been surprised at the success that had attended this system all through. The Government proposals were of a nature to effect much needed changes without causing any great disturbance of the system in operation. Looking back . oh the last two years, he could not but be struck by the success that had attended the administration of the Government. They were men of the highest personal character, and they had been successful in communicating that high character to their administration. They.had been an economical Ministry ; they had reduced the expenditure to a degr e that they how managed to do what they had never done before—that is, live within their income. Then again in native affairs they "had wrought a great improvement compared with what had been the state of matters under the administration of the late Government. The native office and all its corruptions had been swept away, and yet, despite the predictions of the lateNative Minister, there had been no bloody war. Under the late administration thousands were squandered in attempting to open up negotiations with the King natives. This Government had let the natives alone. They had no trouble with Tawhaio. They told the natives that they would be governed the same ms the Europeans, and what did. they fijid 1 Tawhaio was now moving quietly about ih' the European settlements, no notice being taken of him. And what did they now find ?” They found these natives bringing in their followers and delivering up their arms. Had this taken place under Sjr. G. Grey’s jftovernment it would have been heralded aU over the colony, and great work otherwise made over the event. What did this Government do under the circumstances 1 They did not even announce the fact to the House until the Honse questioned them on the point.. Mr Ormond explained that lie had been, as stated, on| terms cf intimacy .wkk the Government this session. life had had communications, but not of the. nature attempted to be set up by the last speaker. He had been carefully reticent with the party. Government quite understood hia feeling towards them, and he had not by word or otherwise given the Government to understand that he continued a member of the party on a confidential footing. with them. In addressing his constituents , months age he had clearly defined his position. The Hon. Major Atkinson rose to con- [ tradict this statement, but was ruled out of order.
Mr Wakefield said he had spoken on information, which he believed to be re* liable.
Mr McLean said his communication* with Mr Ormond led him to believe that he was a supporter of the Government.
The Hon. W. Rolleston said that ha had heen on intimate term* with Mr. Ormond. Their communications were such as to cause him great Surprise at finding Mr Ormond taking up the position he had done.
Mr Wood. agreed with the previews speaker as to the character of the Government administration, and yet he would be found in one lobby and Mr Wakefield in another. He opposed the Government proposals upon two grounds :—First, they ■involved additional taxation, and second, further borrowing. The Government puffed what they call the prosperity of the colony in a manner that was not warranted. They did not find English statesmen boasting of the extraordinary prosperity of the country. The ground of this boast * was that money was easy., --This wmjiy o ?;*- indicated that there was no outlet for the money. When trade was goed money was ’ never cheap, but when trade was slack and business scarce money was. cheap, because there were no investments. The money all came from England, wnere it was plentiful from the cause named. Take Wellington and they found building after building for said or to let. That was not a sign of prosperity. In all parts of the colony there was a want of employment. That was not a sign of prosperity. Within the last twelve months wages have decreased 15 to 20 per cent. Then, again, millions of money in sovereigns had to|be sent to England out of the loan. It was questionable if they would be able to continue doing this. Upon what principle, of justice could they impose rates on native lands that were not held by Crown grant. It would eventually fall on the purchaser. These lands were generally sold at 3s and 4s per acre, and when the rates exceeded that it meant confiscation. Then natives did not want roads ; they even objected to allow telegraph lines to pass through their lands, yet the Government proposed to foree them to pay for what they did not want. If they went on advancing until the rates exceeded the value of the land where was the security. He believed that there was still an alternative between borrowing more money and the total suspension of all works. They had spent one million o! money on acquiring a landed estate in the North Island, which was paying nothing. Out of the balance. cf the public works fund a sum of L 200,000 should, he would propose, be employed in the opening up _ the lands. In that case they would get back their million of money, and provide for a continuous stream of the land fund... m He proposed to take the opinion of the House on a proposal of that kind at an early date. The resolutions he should propose provided that this money should be allocated amongst the different districts— L 50,000 north of Auckland, L 50,000 to Wellington, and so on, and the rest to bo expended by the local bodies. In the allocation he would purposely .leave Taranaki out, as he could not see a spot in that favored province where there was room for any more expenditure than they had already had. Mr Oliver said that usually when rotes of this kind were proposed grave charges were adduced. He had never known the existence of a Government threatened on such frivolous grounds. The only real demand by the local bodies was to provide them with the funds necessary to carry on their work. This was the only demand that came to them from tho country itself. What was proposed on the other side to take the place of the present form of local • government was a modified system of provincialism. What power would such bodies have to redress grievances more , f than they had. He did not think that/, tho country was prepared to go back to such a system of provincialism. Superintendents occupied, no doubt, a happy position, but he ventured to say that, had they continued to the present day the colony would have been bankrupt. He twitted Mr Ormond with a desire to return to the position he had already held in Hawke’s Bay —that of Superintendent —feeling, as he no doubt did, that since he lost that position he had lost much of his personal importance. The proposal' for rating native lands was a step in the right direction. What was wanted was to make the Maoris fully recognise their responsibilities, and this was a getting in of the thin end of the wedge. He also spoke in favor of the proposal to rate Grown lands. It wtus simply the measure of the necessary contributions that the localities had a right to expect, from the Government. He believed this action of Mr Ormoftd would be disastrous. It , would comprise the issue on which they would go to the country, as there would be no time for a re-distribution of repre* sentation before the next election. They
would haye a and then they Wbuld have to dnaolro -again in, any, six months, And Mr Ormond would lie iesponsible for all that trouble and ex* pence. On the motion of Mr Beethara, the House adjourned at 12.15.
NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 401, 21 July 1881
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