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Mr J. 0. Wason addressed the electors of the Wakanui District at the district ®choolroom last evening.' There -wer® about 100 persons present, including several ladies. Mr George Leadley was voted to the chair, and briefly introduced Mr Wason.

Mr Wason, on comiiig forward, was re- , ceived with loud applause. His address ■ as mainly a repetition of those given previously at other places. Amongst other subjects he alluded to the party which had lately appeared which advocated the “ bursting up ” process, or coirimunism. He spoke of the pamphlet, “ Are we to Stay Here,” as containing the creed of several of the candidates for election, and deprecated the idea of having men returned who would form extreme American ideas, which could not be assimilated to our own country. The pamphlet contained many fallacies, and he would just point out one as an instance. The author stated that there were four estates in the Ashburton County containing 44,000 acres. Did those present believe this assertion? No. (Applause). Mr Wason then touched upon the fatal policy of a sliding land tax—whatever that meant—, the capacity for mischief which Sir George Grey has, and at the same time the great power of oratory which the latter commanded, when any great question was discussed, and the I’ability of his obtaining followers from this cause. Mr Wason also spoke of the genuineness of the Hall Ministry, and the benefit the colony had obtained by the system ,of unpleasant though enforced duty which had been their lot since they took office. The opiposition to the property tax did not, come from the farming community, but from a certain class known as well-to-do land speculators, who made their money by buying and selling small holdings, and it was against this class that electors should guard at the present time. (Cheers.) Mr James Brown said that Mr Wason had contorted the meaning of the author of the pamphlet in such a manner as to be misleading. What he had experienced in regard to the land laws was snch that when he came first to Ashburton he could not get a 200 acre section on the south side of the river, owing to its being “ gridironed.” Mr Wason said there were several gross errors in the pamphlet, and its 99 pages of political matter were the ideas of communists.

In answer to questions, Mr Wason said that he had nothing to do. with the fixing: of the boundaries of the district, nor taking Barrhill into the Wakanui district. This had been done by the Government, and he supposed it was to get the requisite number of electors in the district. He was willing to have the Bible read in schools after school hours by the elder children. Did not like any compulsion in the matter. Was not in favor of denominational education, which, if now introduced, would sweep away -the whole system of national education. Was greatly in favor of direct steam communication with England. Thought that the appointment of a Minister for Agriculture combined with forestry would be of great benefit to the farmers, and he would strongly support it. Mr Brown said he would like to point out the injustice of the Property Tax, and instanced the fact of a merchant importing cornsacks having to pay such a tax on them, and which, of course, would have to be paid again to the merchant by the farmer as extra cost in consequence, and so the merchant slipped through untaxed. Mr Wason said the farmer and the merchant were taxed alike, and if either had the sacks they would have to pay, provided they were worth more than LSOO. He did not like the Income Tax, because it was inquisitorial '

Mr Brown said his own share of taxation, for a family of eleven, was D 55 11s per annum. Mr Wason said that Mr Brown had had certainly a large family, hut he could not see how his property taxation, was higher than anyone else on that account. (Laughter.)—ln reply to further questions, Mr Wason said the working man was not heavily taxed in New Zealand. He objected to the system of paying wages to workmen by means of cheques, as the temptation was given them to cash the cheques at the nearest publichouse. (Cheers.) He would do his best to alter the high standard in the State schools, which were absolutely cruel to the children. (Hear, hear.) He agreed that there was a necessity for better school inspection, and an increased subsidy to school committees. (Cheers.) He was aware of of the great importance of a district representative on the Education Board for. Ashburton, which was quite as necessary as representation on the Harbor Board. (Applause). Would favor the system of night school instruction, and would give hit utmost support to such a scheme. There was little or no reform needed in the Upper House, and if any was proposed, he should favor the entire abolition of it, as one chamber might be found to be sufficient. Did not think that by abolishing Bellamy’s any good would be done, as there were many members who could not stand the wearisome debates without a good “ nip,’’ and further, it would be impossible to keep the House together. He had the honor of being a Government whip for some years, and he could inform Mr Brown that the duty of a whip was, generally to keep his eye open (Laughter.) The Sparrow Bill was introduced by Mr Saunders, and he believed was thrown out, owing to the thinness of the Upper House, and the personal opposition of one member of that body to Mr Saunders. He would, if elected, en-

deavor to get a Small Birds Nuisance Bill passed. He saw no hope ot the extension of the Southbridge railway through Wakanui to Longbeach. The law of trespass .was still in force, and any holder could claim damages for stray cattle. All he knew was that he was compelled a short time ago to pay heavy damages for some stray sheep. Was not in favor of an elective Railway Management Board by the people. Was opposed to the Gaming Act, and the introduction of any large body of immigrants. Was in favor of Triennial Parliaments. Did not think the elective Licensing Bench would work satisfactorily. Had never heard that the Hon. J. Hall had staled at Leeston that retiring members of the Assembly would be allowed the expenses of re-election. A number of other questions were asked, after which Mr Tameson proposed, and Mr Butterick seconded, a vote of thanks to Mr Wason for his address.

Another elector proposed, as an amendment—“ That a vote of thanks and confidence as the representative of Wakauui be accorded to Mr Wason. ”

. The proposer and seconder to the resolution agreeing to the amendment being put as above, it was declared carried, by a majority of 7. 21 voting for and 14 against. Mr Brown said he had another amendment to make, would the chairman take it?

The chairman said that he could take no further amendment as the resolution was carried. Mr Brown said this was against all Parliamentary procedure, and appealed to Mr Wason as to whether he was’ right. Before, however, Mr Wason had time to reply, a number of electors rose and were about to leave the room, but on being seated again at Mr Wason’s request, Mr Wason explained the usual method according to May, and while he was speaking Mr Brown retired from the room amid a shower of hisses. A vote of thanks to the chair was then proposed by the candidate, which was carried with acclamation, and the meeting dispersed.

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Bibliographic details

MR WASON AT WAKANUI SCHOOL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 494, 5 November 1881

Word Count

MR WASON AT WAKANUI SCHOOL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 494, 5 November 1881

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