NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT.
—♦ LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Tuesday, July 26. The Council met at 2.20 p.m. In reply to the Hon. G. Johnston, The Hon. F. Whitaker said that Sir J. Coode’s report on all the harbors, including Gisborne, would be laid on the table in a fortnight. On the Hon. F. Whitaker’s motion, the committal of the Licensing Bill was postponed for a week, until the question of confidence had been disposed of. The Married Woman’s Property Protection Bill and the Port Chalmers Drillshed Bill were passed through committee. The latter was read a third time. The Council rose at 5 p.m. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Tuesday, July 26. The House met at 2.30 p.m. EEPORT. Mr Murray tabled the report of the Industries Committee, recommending that the same duty be imposed on imported maize, except from Fiji, as on other cereals, and that the duty on tobacco grown in the colony be reduced to one shilling per pound fora period of five years. QUESTIONS. In reply to questions, various ministers stated, that Government was not aware of any members of the Waste Lands Board, Auckland, having resigned, but inquiries on the subject would be made preparatory to stating whether or not it was their intention to vest the powers and functions now vested in the Board in the various County Councils within the provincial district of Auckland.—That in reply to petitions of the unemployed at Oamaru Government hadjoffered to transport these persons to such parts of the colony as they might be likely to succeed in getting employment in, but none had taken advam ta»e of the offer. Since then another petition had been received, and on the same offer being made a limited number took advantage of it. NEW BILL. Mr Murray moved for leave to introduce, a Bill to* regulate the duration of Parliament, to come into force after the dissolution of the present Parliament. Mr Barron objected, contending that
Bill of this nature should not be introduced during the last session of Parliament. The House divided—Ayes, 38; noes, 34. The Bill was introduced and read a first time. On the question that it be read a second time on Wednesday week, Mr Barron moved as an amendment — “ That it be read a second time that day six months.” He said he was quite certain that the measure would not pass, and such being the case, he thought it would be better to crush it at once. Mr Brown spoke in favor of the Bill, adding that it would be better for the country if elections were for life, with a proviso that on a petition being signed by a certain number ef electors, members should be forced to resign. A plan of that kind would bring about a unity in Parliament that could not otherwise be obtained. Mr Seddon spoke for the amendment, giving it as his opinion that a Bill of this kind should not be brought before an expiring Parliament, Mr J. B. Fisher supported the motion, adding that it had now been shown that triennial parliaments were a mistake. The Hon. J. Hall said that Government had no intention of interfering with triennial Parliaments, and when the proper time came they would be found objecting to any interference on that score. Still, there was no reason why they should object to the Bill being brought before the House. Mr Gisborne said that while he would object to any attempt to prolong the present Parliament, constituencies at the next elections ought to see this Bill, and have an opportunity for judging it. He thought that the duration of Parliament should be not less than four years, and at all events, seeing it was not to interfere with the expiry of the present Parliament, there could be no injustice done in allowing it to be brought forward. Mr Macandrew voted for triennial Parliaments, but he now questioned the policy of that measure. However, as it had only been passed two years ago, he certainly would not be disposed to see it interfered with now. Mr Bowen concurred in the opinion that triennial Parliaments were a mistake, but having been passed only recently it would not be politic to interfere with it already. Mr Levin had been returned to support triennial Parliaments, and he would support them, at all events until he had gone back to his constituents, and got their views on the point. Mr George would support triennial Parliaments, as it had only been passed during the present Parliament, but should the question come forward during next Parliament, and he be in the House, he would be found voting against them, as he thought it would be found that they were a mistake. The question was put that the Bill be read a second time on Wednesday week. Ayes, 37 ; noes, 34. SUPPLY. In committee of supply, The Hon. Major Atkinson moved for authority to move for deficiency bills to the amount of L 200,000. Mr Brown asked the Government to state when the Otago Central, Canterbury Interior, and Wellington and West Coast Railway Bills, and the new Representation Bill would be introduced. The Hon. Major Atkinson said that these Bills were in a very forward state, and would be introduced so soon as the no-confidence motion was disposed of. Mr Moss brought up the question of the West Coast Native affairs, and the connection of Major Parris with the West Coast Commission. He reprobated the arrangement by which the native inhabitants of that part of the colony were placed entirely at the mercy of an irresponsible commissioner, who was said to be entirely guided by Major Parris, who was the person mainly responsible for all the troubles on that coast for the last twenty years, and who, it was believed, most unduly favored the chief Honi Pihama. He held it to be absolutely necessary that these affairs should be placed directly under the control of the Native Minister. He proposed to read a letter re the management of the commission, but on refusing to give the name of the writer he was not allowed to proceed. The Hon. W. Rolleston said that he held himself directly responsible for the administration of these affairs. The conduct of the previous speaker in making a cowardly and scandalous attack on a valuable public officer on the authority of an anonymous communication, was most unjustifiable. The whole proceeding was one which reflected the utmost discredit on the hon. member. Mr Moss repudiated the imputation made against him, and reiterated the charges against Mr Parris in the administration of native affairs. Mr Whitaker said that Mr Moss had attempted to under-rate the importance of Tawhiao’s visit to the Waikato, and as representing the constituency more immediately affected by that visit, he defined the importance and general significance of the same. Mr Sheehan said that the main proposal before the House was the issue of deficiency bills, and he objected to the whole question of native affairs being revived and discussed on it. He admitted the importance of the king’s visit to the Waikato. It was merely the result of a gradual movement, and the present Government had merely succeeded in putting the keystone upon that movement. He could not allow party prejudice to prevent him admitting the success of what had been done. The motion authorising the issue of the deficiency bills was put and carried and the resolution reported. The House adjourned at 5.15 p.m., and resumed at 7.30. NO-CONPIDENCE DEBATE. Mr Montgomery resumed the debate on the no-confidence motion. He declined to recognise anything as before the House but the proposal of the Government and the amendment by Mr Ormond. He objected to the House being called on to decide between the proposals of the Government and those of (Sir G. Grey. He was opposed to both. Whatever the result of the present debate, he held that the redistribution of seats must take place this session. He defended Mr Ormond's action. He objected to the proposed method of rating Crown lands, and to the constitution ot the Public Works Board, which would really place eleven Ministers in the House. He also strongly condemned the method of distributing local aid. Bad as it was there was the further objection that no guarantee existed that it would exist for more than a year. Local and general finance should be entirely separated. He contended that funds should be assured to local bodies without reference to any central body, and that they should be enabled to perform their functions without any interference from Wellington. These were three points on which he thought the House shou'd insist. Towards this end he would suggest a plan which had _ been approved by the Canterbury Provincial Council in 18G9, when South Canterbury raised such a cry as the whole of the outlying districts of the colony were now raising. Jt was then proposed to constitute a Local B.oapd ,of fifteen members, elected by the people, and electing its own chairman, who would have generally the powers of a superintendent; the net and fund to be allotted to immigration and local works, and for Road Boards. Of course immigration was now out of the question. The Government, forced by the pressure of public opinion, had passed a number of measures prepared by their predecessors, but had failed miserably when called on ,
to originate new measures. They had done well as administrators, but had failed miserably as legislators, and even now they had not put a policy before the House. The Treasurer’s finance he regarded as thoroughly unsound in proposing to add to the public debt by means of a local loan. For these reasons he should vote for the amendment. Ho despaired of getting good measures from the present Ministry. Their prestige was gone, and whether defeated on this motion or not their days were numbered. Mr Bowen denounced these motions of want of confidence, as they produced a disinclination to attend to the practical business of the country. He was inclined to think that if they could get rid of this system af party government, a great improvement would be brought about. The ast great debate in this House was on abolition. That was a question worthy of the occasion, not like the present question, which was one of no such importance. He counselled them to bring the debate to a conclusion at once, pass the estimates and the Representation Bill, and then go somewhere else to address their constituents.
Mr Ballance said they had been discussing a great question of public policy, and they had been doing so at the invitation of the Government. They had been told that a motion of this kind should have been brought forward by an organised party. The motion had been brought forward by one of the best organised parties that could be conceived of. It was one of the strongest Oppositions this Government ever had to contend with. Under these circumstances be would like to knew what the previous speaker desired. If they were not to have party government, what were they to dol Were they each to act upon the dictates of their own sweet wills ? They heard dissatisfaction from all quarters concerning the existing state of local government. It had been said that there was no desire for amalgamation or for larger counties ; indeed he believed that the tendency of the counties was to reduce themselves to the status and functions of Road Boards, and yet the Government proposed to give them facilities to amalgamate and form themselves into larger counties. They wanted an intermediate body between these and County Councils and the General Government. Referring to the Bill before them, he said that it propounded two great schemes, viz., racing Crown lands and rating native lands. Referring to the former, he said that the rates should have been wholly set apart for opening up the country, and no portion of them used for main roads. A better scheme than the one proposed would be to appropriate say 20 per cent, or 33j- per cent., to be handed hack to the local bodies for opening up the blocks and making roads to the land sold. Reference had been made to Sir G. Grey’s Bill. Without committing himself to all its details, he thought that the measure to a great ex-, tent outlined the form of local government they required. The great blot on the county system was the large voting power given to property. Sir G. Grey’s Bill was a comprehensive scheme, and he entirely approved of the popular basis on which the local bodies were to be elected. He also agreed with distributing the funds on the population basis. He supposed the amendment, on the ground that the proposals were objectionable, and that the Government had failed to show that they possessed administrative capacity equal to the occasion. Mr Pitt said that while the Government had been attacked on all manner of subjects, the fewest number of .speakers had attacked them on the financial aspect of the measures now under discussion. He remarked as curious that none of the previous speakers had given them a scheme of local government finance such as they would wish to see introduced. He trusted that the amendment would be negatived, as it would entail a result which would not be for the good of the country at the present time. The Government had rendered good service to the country, and they could not well spare them from the Treasury benches just now. Mr Andrews did not think that the House would ever think of passing the • Government Bills as they stood. He was astonished that they should make these Bills Government questions, seeing that it had been openly stated that what they desired was to make them acceptable to the country. Referring to the members of the Government individually, he had the highest opinion of them, but collectively they failed to lead the House. He objected to the proposal made for rating the native lands. The roads were not made for the convenience of the natives, and it was unfair to tax them. He spoke in favor of railways being placed under local control, giving it as his opinion that it would tend to make the railways pay better. He was fully persuaded that the Government had not the confidence of the House or the country. Mr Levin contended that their first duty was to consider consequences. He did not entirely approve of all the Government measures, but still the Government had not lost his confidence, and would have to commit far greater sins before he would vote to turn them out. They had redeemed the finances from a deficit of L 1,000,000 to one little more than L 5,000. They had been instrumental in redeeming the credit of the colony both at Home and abroad. Then, again, they had passed those liberal measures which other Governments had kept dangling before the eyes of the country. He would have preferred something more bold than the scheme of finance proposed; still, his opinion on that score was not by any means weak enough to induce him to reject it altogether. He referred to the fact that the Saving Banks returns showed an increase last year of L 116,716. That was, to his mind, a strong proof that the prosperity of the colony was reviving. To a great extent that improvement had been due to the Government, and the country at large had continued confidence in their administration.
Mr Reeves moved the adjournment of the debate, and the House rose at 11.15.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 406, 27 July 1881
NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 406, 27 July 1881
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