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NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 402, 22 July 1881
NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Thursday, July 21. The Council met at 2.30 p.m. A motion by the Hon. Dr Menzies in favor of Bible-reading in schools was carried by 15 to 12, the Hon. F. Whitaker having moved the previous question. The Banka and Bankers Act Amendment Bill was again committed and further amended, one amendment being that it is not to come into operation till January, 1882. The Regulation of Elections Bill was passed through committee, an amendment by the Hon. W. H. Reynolds to make voting compulsory under penalty of being struck off the roll being rejected. The Council rose at 5 p.m.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Thursday, July 21. The House met at 2.30 p.m. NOTICES OF MOTION. Sir W. Fox gave notice that he would move in the direction of prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors in Parliament buildings. QUESTIONS. In reply to questions, various Ministers stated :—That the extra traffic would not justify the extra expense of a special train twice a week, meeting the Middle Island West Coast mail coach at Springfield, but enquiries.-would fee made with a view of, if possible, obviating the present delay.—A committee was now considering the propriety of imposing a duty upon maize imported into the colony, and until the result of their labors was made known, Government was not prepared to say what they would do in the matter.—Government would enquire into a petition signed by 440 miners and others in the Mount Ida district, expressing confidence in the administration of justice under Mr Warden Robinson, with the view of getting it referred to a committee having under consideration a petition from 58 miners, praying for Warden Robinson’s removal.—Although not prepared to say they _ would this session legislate on the question, Government looked favorably on the suggest! m to amend the law affecting patents for inventions within the colony—(1) by reducing the fee on deposit of specification to LI; (2) by doing away with advertising, except in the New Zealand Gazette , such advertising to be free of cost to the applicant ; (3) by reducing the final payment to L 7, payable at or before the expiration of the fifth, instead of the third year, as at present ; (4) by issuing letters patent for seventeen Instead of fourteen years, as at present. WANT OF CONFIDENCE DEBATE.
Mr Sutton resumed the debate on the no-confidence motion. He admitted that Mr Wood’s speech had been an attractive one, but said that it did not touch on the real question at issue. The only practical suggestion it contained was that the Government should allocate L 200,000 for opening up the Crown lands in the North Island. If they could carry on their works properly without borrowing, he would be in favor of doing so, but he much doubted it. He defended the House against the imputation that it lacked the ability to afford redress. Mr Saunders’ speech was next criticised and condemned. The reestablishment of the provinces was impracticable. He believed that the time was not far distant when the provinces would not only be abolished, but their boundaries wiped out. Referring to Mr Ormond, he said that he liked an honest opponent, but he could not characterise Mr Ormond as such. Whatever the result might be, the action taken by him would delay the business of the country. Redistribution of seats was fully expected, and now in consequence of this action it must be delayed for another Parliament. The real object of the motion of the mover was hatred of the property tax. Failing to get rid of that tax he was determined to get rid of the Ministry. Presuming that he suceeded in driving them to the country, then he could tell them that they would return to Parliament stronger than ever. Captain Russell said that if the amendment was carried, the effect would be to bring into office a class of men whose avowed policy was a return to provincialism. He discussed at great length the utter impossibility of_ Mr Ormond ever working in unison with the men with whom he was leagued. The policy enunciated by Mr Saunders was, when examined into, impolitic in the very highest degree. The complaint about the redress of grievances was frivolous and unfounded. If they could not as a House redress grievances what body was there to do it 1 The complaint against the present form of local government did not come from without the House. There was not a single petition or complaint on the subject laid before them from anyone and any quarter. Mr Seymour recognised in the Government proposal an attempt to give some finality in the assistance to be given to local bodies towards the construction of local works. The 20 per cent, land fund subsidy was intended to open up and settle Crown lands. It had not done so, though bodies had appropriated the money for making roads throughout the settled districts.
Mr Taiaroa spoke against the Government, and condemned adversely the proposal to rate native lands. The House adjourned at 6.30 p.m., and resumed at 7.30. Mr Bunny announced his intention of voting against the amendment. The action of the Government during the present session had strengthened his purpose of supporting them, frequent changes of Government wore not beneficial to the colony. They had had the effect of handin" over the Government to the permanent heads of departments. The Government had done good service in reducing expenses ; they had put their financial affairs on a satisfactory footing, and, in his opinion, they would not be wise in turning this Government out, and putting in they would not say who. He had strongly opposed abolition, and Mr Ormond had strongly supported it, but he felt that they could not now go back to provincialism. They had got to make the best of abolition. Mr Weston said that the question raised by the amendment was not as respected the past Government, but as to the future. What they had to do was to
say whether the proposals were satisfactory or not. Mr Ormond, in moving this amendment, showed in his speech good taste as well as good sense. There could be no doubt but that his aim was to reintroduce provincialism,-although he was caref-il not to propound any policy. 'ln that course ho did right ; it was not his place to propose a policy. He utterly disagree with the proposals of the Government. They were unworkable, and
not for the good of the country. - They did not go far enough in certain respects, He advised the Government to gracefully withdraw their proposals, so as to admit of a moie acceptable scheme being brought forward. The proposal to allow the trust funds of the colony to be made use of for local purposes was, to his mind, contrary to all propriety. It was utterly wrong in principle. If the local bodies were unable to repay the money, then the colony would have to do it. He next referred to Sir George Grey’s Local Government 1 Bill, which he also criticised adversely; It was more visionary and wild than the proposals of the Government. It was separation in disguise. The country was not prepared to receive such a scheme. The provisions proposed for the adminisstration of law and justice alone were sufficient to justify the rejection of the proposal. He referred to the remarks' made by Sir G. Grey about the Judges. It was an attack of the meanest kind, cruel, and utterly unfounded. He denied that there were the slightest grounds for any charge against the Bench. Mr Macandrew had said to him that there were plenty. He wanted to know where they were to be found. If Sir G. Grey’s policy were to be adopted, the evils of the proposals before them would be greatly intensified. He approved of a limited provincialism—call it County Councils or whatever they liked. The duties . devolving on them as a central Legislature were far too great. He went on to deprecate the idea of a dissolution, saying that it would involve a cost of at least L 25,000, and otherwise inconvenience the general public. The various sections of the House would have an opportunity in the natural course of events to propound their various schemes to the country, and there could be no sound reason advanced for an immediate dissolution. The desire should be to make this Parliament as useful as possible, and allow it to expire in - the ordinary course of events. He would vote against the amendment, and at the same time he would vote against the Bills brought down by the Government. Sir G. Grey said, in reference to the statement made by the previous speaker, that there was a Judge who, being supposed to have a strong predilection for a central government, had recently told a jury that the double form of government had been instrumental in causing a miscarriage of justice. If any other Judge pursued the same line of conduct, he would repeat what he had already said. The Hon. John Hall reprobated Sir G. Grey for the attack he had made, and the explanation just given of the attack upon the Judge made the matter worse. The terms of the amendment left the Government no alternative but to accept it as a vote of no confidence. The appearance of the lobbies also indicated that this was a noc onfideuce motion. If Mr Ormond did not mean to upset the Government, it was plain enough that the Opposition meant to do it under his auspices. He denied that there was any discontent with the existing local government institutions, or any demand for a new form. The only real complaint was a want of means to carry out their, work. What was wanted was assistance to carry out existing L institutions, and not to alter them. The . charge made by Mr Ormond that the sesskn had been wasted by the Government had been completely answered in the fact that, although they had only had twelve sitting days for Government business, they had passed measures of the highest importance to the social . wellbeing of the country. They had been charged with having pursued a “ donothing policy.” The truth was that an absence of pecuniary resources had compelled them to put a drag on public works. The. Treasury had been low, and they were prevented from going into the borrowing market. But yet within the [ last twelve months two millions had been | spent on public works. As to the disproportionate expenditure in Taranaki and ’ Hawke’s Bay, the facts of the case were—- , In Taranaki the expenditure since the public works policy commenced was ! LBl7,ooo,andinHawke’sßay,tp which Mr , Ormond belonged, it had been L 604,000. [ He defended the Government against , the charge of not having brought down , the Redistribution Bill at the commencement of the session, by saying that it was impossible to have done so until they had the census returns. The local Boards of various kinds had been complained of as too numerous, but when looked into it would be found that they distributed the labor of local administration amongst the people. The speaker charged Sir G. Grey with having tampered with his speech in “ Hansard.” If Sir G. Grey’s proposals were carried out it appeared to him that one-half of the people of the colony would be employed in governing the other half. He could not think that provincialism . without legislation could, however, possibly cure any ills under which they suffered. Would Timaru or Canterbury, Oamaru and Southland, or Otago, be content to have their affairs administered from their respective provincial centres t He had no reason to be ashamed of the ■ work done by the provinces, still provincialism had had its day. Let them by all means go to the country with Mr Sheehan’s proposal for the restoration of the provinces. Mr Wood was opposed to borrowing, and was not satisfied with the manner in which they spent the money, but still he was prepared to spend it himself in his own way. There were sixtythree counties in the colony, and that did not look as if there was any deficiency of local government. Then they had the Road Boards, and of the two he was of opinion that they were the most serviceable. Government proposed to. decentralise as far as possible, but they did not wish to see the colony cut up into a number of feeble states, unable to do good themselves, and preventing the colony from doing any good either. They proposed to extend and improve the County and Road Board system. They proposed to delegate many power.B to the . counties at present vested in the Governor, and to give them reasonable pecuniary assistance for opening out their districts. He then reviewed their proposals for main district road purposes. They did not say that their scheme was perfect; they would be glad of any assistance to make these proposals more perfect when in committee. Mr Ormond had said he was anxious that these proposals should be considered by the country. If he was not prepared to take the responsibility of his own act then they would have to go to the country without redistribution,- and he was sure that the people would resent that procedure. Whatever might be the result of the division, he and his colleagues on those benches could look back to their two years’ administration of the Government with feelings of satisfaction, and with the wannest gratitude for the generous support given by their party. Many members had been good enough to give them ; credit for what they had acchieved, but it was the hearty support of the party which had enabled them to attain whatever good results might have attended ;heir administration.
Sir G. Grey said that here was a Government deserving pity. They had lived from hand to mouth without any policy, and they were now getting to the end of their tether. They deserved pity and assistance. He denied that he and his 4 friends had attempted to restore provincialism. They never thought- of any . ' -('C ' Al , ■'
. t ihiqg bo insane/ They knew that a nation could not go back. What they proposed was to take a step in advance. Win purpose had been grossly misrepresented. Mr Weston had not read and considered his Bill, or else he was lamentably deficient in ears. He did not often approve of the conduct of the Government, bat he did approve of their having removed a man so ignorant of law from the judicial bench. Each district was capable of exercising all the powers that the House possessed. The Premier had said that the people of New Zealand had no right to govern - themselves, but had a right to be well governed. Not to govern, that was what he had said, and was saying now. Mr . Weston had used most improper language and grossly misrepresented what he had said. So had the Premier. Such things ought not to have been done. The terms used by Mr Weston were intolerable. The whole plan of the Government in reference to local government was wrong. The people would, at least insist on having their rights given to them. What harm could there be in leaving districts to govern themselves. That was all he had asked for them. Set up a form of government to get them together, and let them r work their own constitution. Were they unworthy of being entrusted with these powers 1 On the contrary, it would be well to give them these powers. What r harm was there in suggesting that they should have power to establish their own Courts ? Mr Weston knew well that there would be no opening under such a system - for him. In Great Britain many places had powers such as he asked for, and many corporations elected their own recorders. . < Was that House alone able to choose a Judge 1 He would prefer to be tried in one of the courts he spoke of rather than in court presided over by a Judge elected by that House. He had been told that all the best of the Crown lands had gone consequently they could not have them, as he proposed, for endowment. There , were great tracts of such lands which might yet be saved for the purposes he proposed. , In every way injustice had been done to them. The real question was had the time come when certain great families were to have powers which no one else were to enjoy. Mr Bunny had told them that in giving their vote on this question they had to look to the outside creditors. That was not the case. What they had to do was to look to the inside of the colony. There they sat on the Government benches the representatives of the outside creditor. Let them now have men seated there who would not represent the outside creditor, but who f look ' inside the colony. Let them have Mr Bunny’s vote, as he told them he intended to give it to them. They would have none of it. The House had been misled about the Representation Bill. He begged those who loved their country to follow him -into the lobby, in order to give New Zealand free institutions and deliver it from the restraints which now pressed so heavily npon it. -■----- Mr Saunders said that when he rose on Tuesday night he little thought he was taking part in a movement that would bring about this important crisis to the country. While there was a danger of the two members for the Thames and the member for Port Chalmers getting upon those benches he could not support the amendment. Mr Hursthouse moved the adjournment of the debate, and the House rose at 12.50. ,
NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 402, 22 July 1881
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