NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT.
legislative council. Wednesday, July 27. The Council met at 2.30 p.m. The Hon. N. Wilson moved —“ That in the opinion of the Council the laws relating to the taking of oaths and affirmations should be consolidated and amended. ” The motion was carried. The Education Act 1877 Amendment Bill (Dr. Menzie’s) was read a third time ; as was the Imprest Supply Bill, No. 2 (from the Lower House). Nearly the whole afternoon was spent incommittee on the Oatnaru Harbor Board Bill, in which many amendments were made. The Council rose at 5 p.m. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Wednesday, July 27. The House met at 2.30 p.m. notices of motion. Sir G. Grey gave notice to move that the proceedings of the Christchurch election committee of 1879 be expunged from the records of Parliament. questions. In reply to questions, various Ministers stated that the Government had no intention of removing to Greymouth the Government House at Hokitika. —Government considered that the law allowing a landlord to distrain for rent in arrears should be altered, but that it would depend upon the despatch of public business as to whether a Bill for its abolition was introduced this session or not. —An offer to the effect that he was prepared to construct the Otago Central Railway on favorable terms had been received from Mr Proudfoot, contractor, but they preferred making provision for the work under the projected Railways Companies Construction Act, NEW BILL. The following Bill was introduced and read a first time :—To enable persons elected to be members of the House of Representatives to make before taking their seats an affirmation in lieu of an oath (Sir G. Grey). SUPPLY. An Imprest Supply Bill was introduced in committee for L 250,000, and passed through all its stages. NO-CONFIDBNCB DEBATE. The no confidence debate was resumed by Mr Reeves, who commented on the conduct of members in condemning the Government and the Bills brought down, and yet refusing to vote for the amendment, He denied that the Government had been instrumental in improving the prospect of affairs throughout the colony, and referred to the fact that the Government of the neighboring colonies had refused to vote money ior immigration purposes, alleging that the mal-adminis-tration going on in New Zealand would drive sufficient population from that colony to their shores. He concluded by announcing his intention of voting for the amendment. Mr McDonald announced that he would vote for the amendment. He condemned the counties system, and otherwise took exception to the present mode of local administration. Major Harris said he would fill up the time for a few minutes to enable the Colonial Treasurer to reconsider his apparent determination not to reply. He criticised the position of parties, blaming the Government for having accepted the amendment as an adverse motion. The House adjourned at 5.30 p.m., and resumed at 7.30. NO-CONFIDENCE DEBATE. Mr Richardson considered that the amendment was hasty and inconsiderate. He thought that the Rating Bill might be put into such a shape as would make it a useful measure. The Roads Construction Bill was, he thought, hopelessly bad, and he would vote against that measure. At the same time he intended to vote against the amendment, as he thought it would be a great misfortune to have two elections in a short time without re-distribution. If the Government would hold over their Bills until the forthcoming election that would be the best course to pursue. As a preliminary step in that direction he argued the necessity for losing no time in bringing down the Re-distribution Bill. He gave it as his opinion that in the first instance there should have been fewer counties, and that it should have been compulsory on them all to bring the Act into operation. That was the direction in which he would still go, rather than that an additional Board of Works should be constituted.
Mr Shephard said that wide-spread dissatisfaction existed throughout the country with the existing state of local government. He did not believe that there -was any general desire for a return to Provincialism. What was wanted was an amendment of the present system. What was promised when abolition was given effect to had not been realised. What was promised was an inexpensive form of local government with substantial revenue, so that local residents might be enabled to take a more direct share in the local administration. What was wanting was not provincialism, but the powers and extensions under which provincialism operated.
Mr Hutchison said the question was. Is or is not this proposal satisfactory 1 There could be no doubt but that the reply had been in the negative. The only really sensible thing that had been said on behalf of the Government was that the mover of the motion had not been true to his allegiance. He could not understand the gravamen ®f the offence. At the outset they were told by the Government that the country was not asking for local government, and yet at a later stage they bring down this local government scheme. What was required was a scheme based on a compromise, to take a little here and get a little there, until they had accumulated a sum total in the shape of a workable scheme. They had been menaced with a dissolution. Ho had no doubt but that if defeated, Government would endeavor to get a dissolution, but he questioned if it would be given. Be that as it may, what they had to do was to vote on this point irrespective altogether of the more remote consequences. Mr Bryce was not satisfied with the Bill before the House, and he questioned if there was a member in the House satisfied. In the nature of things it was not reasonable to expect that a generally satisfactory scheme could be put forward. The time had come when the local bodies would have to look to themselves and not the Government. Government might not have intended to introduce a vital alteration in the local governing system, but they certainly did intend to make certain changes in the financial arrangements, as witness (the fact that they put a statement of that kind in the Governor’s mouth. The great dissatisfaction that existed amongst local bodies was the want of money. He denied the statement made by the previous speaker that the Treasurer’s speech a couple of years ago had had an unfavorable effect on trade. The fact was that trade became firmer, and commenced to revive in consequence of that speech. The speech made by Mr Ormond last year could not have led them to anticipate his present action. What he then complained of was the property tax. In these circumstances it would have been much fairer if he had raised a direct issue upon the repeal of that tax. If he did attempt to form a Government he thought that he would meet with insurmountable obstacles in attempting to repeal the property tax or sell the railways, as he did not believe the gentlemen with whom he
was leagued could possibly join him in such a proceeding. He did not believe that the country wanted the present system of local government essentially altered, but just improved in such a way as to make it work more freely. He defended the Government in the opinion that the amendment must be regarded as a vote of want of confidence, which ‘ie would vote against. The House adjourned at 10.45.
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NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 407, 28 July 1881
NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 407, 28 July 1881
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