The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas, Et Prevalebit. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1881. The Premier’s Election Address.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 430 p. m. j
Mr Hall’s speech to the electors of Selwyn is by far the most important that has yet been delivered, not merely from the position of the speaker, but also from its intrinsic excellence. It was pervaded throughout by admirable common sense, and knowledge of the actual wants' of the and theHe are Mr Hall’s specialities.’ He is no brilliant and elfl&PJftSe Gladstone: sqc üßrigbtn does wild .of ho&noJJa
not carry away his hearers by glowing perorations; he indulges in no glorious bursts of the imagination, or brilliant flashes of wit; he has no profound insight into first principles, and little learning respecting past times or distant countries. But he knows what his country is, and what his own duty towards it is, and does it with no ordinary skill. Within the limits he prescribes to himself, he understands what he is talking about so well, that it is rash to attempt to confute him on any of the leading topics of his discourse ; and where his statement or experiment is a little faulty, he almost always knows that too, and adroitly skates over the thin ice. If his hand is not strong enough, he “ passes ” rather than take the chance of being euchered ; and if the accusation made against him that his policy is borrowed and not original be true, that is of little moment. If the manager of a bank honestly makes profits for the directors of his company, we don’t ask whether he was much assisted by his accountant and tellers, or even by hints dropped by his enemies and rivals. The Premier began by referring to what had been done by the Ministry daring the past session; He referred with natural satisfaction to the saving which had been effected during the year df odo, which, together with some extraneous assistance from the revival of trade, etc., had served to keep the expenditure within the limits of the colony’s income. In that former sink of iniquity, the Native Department, the ordinary expenses had been reduced from L. 38,000 to 1,15,000, and the contingencies from to In consequence of the economy practised, it lias been found possible to expend on public jvorks more than in the previous year. Mr Hall then specified several of the more important measures passed during the session, notwithstanding the determined obstruction of many members, who avowed their determination to prevent the business of the country from being proceeded with. lie referred to the Representation Act, the Railways Construction Act, the Corrupt Practices Act, Elections Regulation Act, etc., and urged their importance and utility. With regard to all these and many other measures the colony has already expressed a very definite opinion in thei~ favor, and they have become law. The Bill for the abolition of distraint for rent was thrown out, but this measure, so obviously a much needed reform, the Government, we are glad to see, propose again to introduce. The old law, giving a landlord the oppressive feudal power to seize the property of a tenant without any legal process, is clearly one which farmers and people at large ought to insist on seeing abolished. On the native sedition on the West Coast, Mr Hall’s defence of the course adopted by the Ministry was completely overwhelming. He proved conclusively that Te Whiti and Tohu had openly set the Government at defiance, refusing even to state the nature of their claims to either the West Coast Commission, Mr Parris, Mr Rolleston, or even ithe Governor, and stating that they had nothing to do with the Pakeha’s laws. Mr Hall showed also that had the Te Whiti and the Parihaka people accepted the Government offers of land reserves they would have been the richest native tribe in New Zealand, and that as to the statement of Te Whiti’s being a man of peace, it was only true that he was so when there was an overpowering force at hand to compel him. Referring to the future, the Premier urged that it was necessary to resort to legislation to prevent such foolish obstructions in Parliament as those at the latter part of last session, which were only suppressed by the Speaker taking very large powers upon himself, powers which might not be exercised as firmly or as wisely, in the absence of any definite law, by his successors. The reform of the Legislative Council is also to be taken in hand by making it an elective instead of a nominee body, the proposed basis for the electors being that of a small property qualification, and the members being' chosen on Mr Hare’s system by all persons in the colony holding the requisite qualification. This would be a decided step in the right direction, as the Legislative Council has for a long time past been falling in public respect, and is a decidedly inferior body to the elective Legislative Council of Victoria. With regard to the election of representatives for the Lower House, it is proposed to give votes to leaseholders as well as to freeholders and mere residents, as at present. Plurality of votes is to be retained, on the ground that those who pass taxes ought to be partly composed of persons owning property. With regard to the railways to be henceforth constructed, the majority will be formed under the Railways Construction Act, by the inhabitants of those districts where it is thought they are required, by means of land subsidies, but the railways constructed by the State will only be those to complete the main trunk lines and those calculated to open up large tracts of land for settlement. Of the latter, however, the quantity open to the public for purchase or lease is already over 8,000,000 acres.
An Electioneering Trick.
Our attention has been drawn to a paragraph which has appeared in the various morning journals throughout the colony, as emanating from the Press Association agent for this district. As we are the agents for the Press Association, most of the telegrams to the evening and morning papers are forwarded by us and bear our signature. It is only fair to give publicity to this fact, as many of our readers may be under the impression that the several telegrams ingeniously cloaked with falsehood for political motives, and which have appeared in several morning journals, come from us. Only a few days ago we drew attention to the fact of a gross and wilfully mis-stated telegram had been forwarded and inserted in the Southern papers, relative to the polling places in the Wakanui district. We have now a repetition of this “ wire trickster’s ” political ingenuity. Of course our readers will have little or no difficulty in tracing from whence the telegram emanated, as its object is chiefly to ridicule pertain influential electors by mis-stating facts. Although the matter may be "hardly worth while; drawing i
attention to, yet we fee 1 bound, in the common interests of the majority of.the Wakanui electors, to protest, “ with no uncertain sound,” against such telegrams being sent, and which are so infamously incorrect. The elector referred to is Mr Hughes, and he desires us to contradict the assertion imputed to him re the persons signing the requisition. What he did say about the candidate was certainly not in good taste, but was in a measure called for, owing to the remarks which fell from the candidate during the evening. The concluding portion of the telegram calls for special attention; the remarks about the payment of the hall are decidecly ungenerous, as well as uncalled for, nothing, in fact, could be in worse taste. The following is the telegram to which we have referred, clipped from the Otago Daily Times of Monday last : Mr Francis Philip O’Reilly, a candidate for the suffrages of the Wakanui (Canterbury) electors, addressed a very large meeting in the Town Hall, Ashburton. He was listened to throughout with the greatest good humour, but at the conclusion an elector went on to the platform and soundly rated him for his action in coming forward, denouncing him and his supporters (those signing the requisition) as political humbugs and shams. No vote of any character was carried. Before the meeting the hall-keeper declined to open it until the rental was paid. For this the candidate had come totally unprepared, and had, before the meeting was commenced, to obtain the necessary balance. An attempt to borrow it from one of the reporters present was unsuccessful.