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MR IVESS AT THE TOWN HALL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 810, 5 December 1882
MR IVESS AT THE TOWN HALL.
Mr Joseph Ivess last night gave an account of his stewardship to a meeting of liis constituents at the Town Hall. Very few persons were present at 8 o’clock, but soon afterwards the “free and independent ” ones commenced to put in an appearance, and about 150 persons gradually assembled. Mr Ivess proposed that the Mayor should occupy the chair, and the latter thereupon walked on to the platform and opened the proceedings by remarking that it seemed only a few days since Mr Ivess was there before as a candidate for their suffrages, and now he stood before them, having fought the battle successfully, to toll them what ho had done during the past session. Ho (the Mayor) hoped that they would hear what Mr Ivess had to say without interruption, and any questions they might wish to put to him could be asked at the close of his remarks. Mr Ivess began by assuring bis auditors of the great pleasure it afforded him to meet them, and to render to them an a- - count of his stewardship as the first representative of the constituency of Wakanui. They should remember that the contest for the seat was a very keen and protracted one, and on his arrival at Wellington he found the session far advanced, and was consequ mtly placed atadbadvantage, for he found the Order Paper teeming with members’ private business. He thought it best to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the forms of the House before taking any very prominent part in its doing:;. He was there that night to tell them what he had done, and could assure them that lie had endeavoured to do his best. (Applause.) He came out |as they would remember as an opponent of the present Government, and had therefore no difficulty in choosing the aide to which he would belong. He joined the Montgomery party —a largo and influential section of the House. The Op; osition had done much to bring about useful legislation, and although not in the majority, had been still sufficiently strong to act as a chock upon the actions of the
Government. They would have done more in this direction had it not been for the great difficulty experienced in effecting anything like unanimity. It would he useless that evening to attempt anything.like a succinct account of the many and various statutes passed during the last session, but he would endeavor to b'uch upon the new legislation which was likely to bo particularly interesting and important to both his constituents and the colony at large, ilr Ivess then went on to apeak of the Land Bill introduced by Mr Rolleston, the provisions of which he considered were of a harsh and severe nature, and which he had therefore found ii, necessary to opnoso He thought it would have the effect of strengthening the hands of the large capitalists and large landholders. Coming to the recent loan proposals, Mr Ivess said that it would be within their recollection that he had opposed further borrowing unless it could be shown that (be money was to be expended on reproductive works, and he had also deemed it necessary to oppose these proposals. of the West Coast railway movement, Mr Ivess said that had the Canterbury members only been as determined as those of Otago, there would have been no necessity for a West Coast Railway League. The voice of Canterbury would certainly be heard during the coming session. He could only characterise the Roads and Bridges Construction Act as deceptive and misleading. Only LIOO,OOO had been allocated to meet the Government subsidy promised under this Act of L 3 for every LI subscribed by local bodies, and as seven millions of money had boon applied for they would see at a glance that it would be impossible for the Government to carry out its intentions respecting the subsidy. The Bill appeared at first sight a very liberal one, but it would be found unworkable, as time would prove. The successful passage through Parliament of Mr Steward’s Bill for the repression of the small birds nuisance was matter for congratulation for the farmers. The measure was modelled on that introduced by Mr Saunders. The Ashburton County Council with characteristic energyihad been the first public body to put the Bill into operation, and if the Council and the various local bodies would avail themselves of the Bill doubtless the evil which it was framed to remedy would in time pass away. The reduction in the railway tariff was a reform which probably every member of the House would take credit to himself for effecting, whereas it was really the Opposition who had brought it about by constantly agitating in the matter. He was glad to think that a reduction in the passenger tariff was also con'em plated whereby passenger faros—s ngle rates—would be reduced by about one-third, the return fares remaining as at present. Mr Ivess then proceeded t > speak of Mr Wason’s expenses in connection with the Wakanui election, and the sorrow tha" he (Mr Ivess) had experienced in consequence of the heavy sum which that gentleman had been called upon to pay through the blundering of an inexperienced returning officer. He also spoke of the efforts he had made to get the expenses refunded. He hoped next session to introduce a measure which should render impossible a repetition of what had happened in Mr Wason’s case. Direct steam communication was the next matter referred to. The speaker had felt confident that a company could be found willing to undertake a service with a smaller subsidy than that proposed - L 40.00 he had supported an amendment that the amount be reduced to L 20,000. Two companies he was glad to see were now taking the matter up. The importance of direct steam communication with England could not be overestimated. Mr Steward had endeavored to abolish cumulative voting at school committee elections, but the Upper House was against hi u. There was no doubt that reform in this respect was badly needed. Major Atkinson’s National Insurance scheme had met general opposition, including that of Mr Ivess, and the proposal had been shelved. The speaker considered that it would if put into operation, have the effect of driving away the wage-earning class from the colony. Mr Green’s Employers’ Liability Bill had his (Mr Ivess’s) support, for he thought it should bo attended with good results. Ho was sorry that he had not been more successful in the interests of Wakanui ; but lie had done his best. Thera was no part of the distdet which required any very elaborate public buildings, but what few matters needed loodng to had received his host attention, and he was happy to think that he had got L 5,000 voted for Dobbin’s ford bridge. (Ap-
plause.) The retirement for .a time of Sir John Hall was a great loss to the country. He (Mr Ivess) found he had under-eatimated Sir John’s ability as a politician, as a statesman, but when he came in personal contact with him ho recognised his merits at once. He hoped shortly to welcome the re-entry into public life of Mr Robert Stout, whose reappearance would materially strengthen the Opposition. Mr Stout was one of the most advanced Liberals in the colony. He would not detain them longer, but would be happy to answer any questions they might wish to put to him, and would merely add in conclusion that he was ready to retire at any time they felt dissatisfied with him.
Mr George Cates was the first querist, and his rising to his feet was the signal for general laughter, mingled witli cat-calla ami yells of “Platform,' 1 “Speak up, George,” etc , etc. Mr Gates mounted the platform, and was received with loud applause. Ho confronted Mr Ivess, and said that there was a subject upon which he wished for information—a subject which had long engaged his thoughts. (“Go it, George”) He referred to colonial defences. (Applause.) “ When,” said Mr Cates, “ I read of the number of armies about it almost makes me afraid. (Loud laughter.) When I think of the ironclads, a id that they are ready to drop upon us at any time—that we may at any time see their banners waving instead of ours, I tremble. (Loud laughter and applause.) Would you, sir (turning to Mr fvess), be in favor of urging this matter upon the attention of the Government, so that wo on this broad Pacific may feel at rest ?” (Roars ) Mr Ivess set Mr Cat. s’ mind at rest by informing him that while in Wellington he had seen some heavy guns, imported at a groat expense by the Government, waiting to be placed at the Heads, in readiness to repel any invadin.; foe. Mr C*tes hardly waited for his reply, but ran down again into the hall, where lie was received with great enthusiasm. In reply to Mr Quill, Mr Ivess said that an amended Licensing Act had been passed last session, which empowered Licensing Committees to grant 12 o’clock licenses for a fee of LlO, and 11 o’clock licenses for a fee of L 5, and also authorised them to amalgamate licensing districts.
Mr Hughes said Mr Ivess had spoken of having got L 5,000 appropriated for Dobbin’s ford bridge, but be (Mr Hughes) had been told that the Wakanui people would have to raise L20,0l)0 themselves, and get Government to aid by a grant of L 40.000 more. Mr ivess said L 5,000 bad been placed upon the estimates for the bridge, and was now available fur its erection, but it had been thought best to build it under the Roads and Bridges Construction Act. The work was estimated to cost L 30,000, and under the above Act the Government would find L 22,000 and the Wakanui resi-
dents L 7,500. But, as he had already p:ointod out, the LIOO,OOO set aside would go no way to meet the heavy demands that had arisen, and there was therefore
small chance of the bridge being built in
No more questions being forthcoming the Mayor said that—seeing the clear and explicit manner in which Mr Ivess had spoken that night as well as his conduct; as their representative in Parliament—‘J they ought not to disperse without soma; expression of opinion. Mr St Hill moved—“ A vote of thank*,.' and that owing to the open, honorable, and straightforward manner in which Mr Ivess had spoken, they had more confidence in him than ever.” Mr Hughes said he would like to make a few observations before the resolution was put. Amidst cries of “platform,” Mr Hughes then got upon the stage, and said that when Mr Ivess had sought.their suffrages he had promised a good many things, and that evening he had confessed ho had done—nothing. (Applause and groans, and uproar.) Ho had oromised a tlot about the railway employes and their wages, and had done nothing. Ihe big men in receipt of big salaries had had their reductions restored, but the poor men, whom Mr Ivess professed to befriend, had not been so well treated. What had Mr Ivess done as their representative ? He had promised to get a telegraph office established at Tinwald—had he done it ? (No, no.) Me had promised to get a Oourtheuse for Rakaia—had he done it? (No; no.) He had told hem that he had got a grant allocated for Dobbin’s ford bridge, but according to his own confession Government never kept its promises, and they might wait twenty years for the bridge over Dobbin’s ford (mingled applause and hisses), Mr Ivess reminded him of a very little boy he had seen that afternoon who was tottering along with a very big wheelbarrow. He could hardly move it. Suddenly his big brother came along and pushing the little fellow into the barrow he wheeled him off as if he had been nothing at all. (Laughter.) Well, that was just like Joseph Ivess and Mr Wright. If Mr Wright came along he would drop Mr Ivess into his barrow and wheal him right away. (Loud laughter, and cries of “ no, no,” “yes, yes,” groans, yells, cat-calls, and general confusion). He would speak, for he was an independent elector of Wakanui, and had a right to speak. [Here the speaker’s voice was rendered inaudible by the hubbub, and the Mayor begged the audience to hear Mr Hughes, and they would be the better able to refute him ] Mr Hughes continuing, said that the “ burning question,” according to Mr Ivess, at the time of his candidature, was the land question. He had been a warm advocate for “ bursting-up ” the big estates. He said he would do his best to burst up the big estates, and was without doubt a “ regular burster.” (Laughter.) What had he done ?—nothing. To burst up these big estates would bo to bring the greatest curse upon the working man possible. He would instance Longbaach. He would talk about Grigg’s property which they knew. If he talked about Invercargill or some place they did not know he would be like some politicians who tried to humbug them. (Laugh-1 ter). Mr Grigg went into the Land Office and purchased his property, and it was only rich men who could afford to wait as he had wait d for their property to improve and become valuable. Mr Grigg was a large employer of labor, and into whose pockets went the wages he paid away ? - Why, into the pockets of the working man. (Applause). Then let them look at Lowcliffe. Why, fifteen miles of drainage had been done on that estate during one year. Who did that work ?—Why, the working man, of course. When Mr Grigg bought his property it was nearly all swamp—let them look at it now—and who benefited by the change 1 —Why, of course, the working man. And these were the men—the men who put money into the way of the working man—they wanted to “ burst up.” He would tell them that such men as John Grigg were public benefactors, and that the fellows who tried to set them against them were political bombshells, who sought to set them against their best friends. [Renewed uproar and loud cries of sit down, go on, etc.] The Mayor, addressing Mr Hughes, begged him to remember that it was Mr Ivess’ meeting, and that he thought he should keep to the resolution. Mr Hughes thought not. He had an amendment to propose, and before putting it wished to state his reasons for moving it. Mr Ivess had told them months before that the principal plank in his platform was the land question. That plank had proved worthless. [Renewed uproar], Mr Hughes said he would draw attention to Mr Ivess’ gross inconsistency in spite of them. Mr Ivess was an Irishman (a voice: “so are you ”). Mr Hughea said he acknowledged it, and was proud of it. But although Mr Ivess was an Irishman he had nothing but contempt and contumely for his countrymen at Home He heaped abuse and calumny on them in his paper. They were assassians at Home, hut out here when they had a vote to give him —and more fools they for giving it—they were something entirely different (yells). He knew Mr Ivess’ supporters were present in the gallery, but he was not afraid of them, if Mr Ivesi or of his “Ashburton Buster” (laughter). He would not detain thorn much longer. He wanted to make a little personal explanation (deafening noise). Ho must ask them to hear him out. He was not fond of politics, and had done with them, but had a few words to say about a personal matter. Some time ago he had met Mr Ivess one day by Shearman's, Mr Ivess had come running after him with a copy of The Guardian in his hand, and had asked him his opinion about a letter of Mr O’Reilly’s appearing in that issue of the paper, and as to whether ha considered it libellous. He had said after looking at it that he thought it was, and within
three-quarters of an hour of that time, he was served with a subpnma by Mr Ivess to attend at the Magistrate’s Court. That
was the shameless way in which the thing was dune, and it wai only a shamelss politician who would do such a thing. The amendment ho wished to propose was —“ Tha this meeting has no confidence
whatever in Mr Ivess.” (Confusion). Mr Ivess craved a moment’s indulgence. He had been accused by the last speaker of boiug untrue to his election pledges. Now if th re was anything ho prided himself on it was his consistency. “1 ask, said Mr Ivess, “ (he railway men to say whether they have not got back 6d a day!”
Vo, no.) Mr Ivess said that he would ask
them to turn to Hansard, and see what he had said to the Hon. Mr Johnson on
this matter, and the Minister’s reply. With regard to the Courthouse at Rakaia, ho had endeavored to get it, but had
failed ; but Mr Dick had concluded or was about cnnclu ling an arrangement with the Rakaia Town Hall Company for the use of the hall as a Courthouse. As to the opening of a telegraph office at Tinwald, that would hav ; been done long ago had
the station-master been a telegraphist, but it was the wish of the, Tinwald people that Mr Lawrence should not leave them, and therefore no ene 'lso had been appointed, ho (Mr Ivess) not wishing to run counter to the desire of the residents that Mr Lawrence’s services should be retained. As to large estates he would refer them to Hansard. He felt that the opposition he had met with that night was a harmless opposition, and ho would not sully his lips by replying to the charges which had been brought against him. He could only say once more that ho had not t‘ e slightest wish to retain bis position as their representative one moment longerthan they desired him to do so. (Applause.) Some railway employees present hero again audibly expressed their dissatisfac-
tion with Mr Ivess. The amendment failed to find a seconder, and the resolution b«ing seconded by
•• ■- —wssss > a Mb Malcolm, of the IBinds, was declared carried unanimously by;'the Mayor. . Ingoing jout of tlfy-jhall Mr Hughes challenged Mr Malcolmj and told him -that be had ho right to' have any voice in .the meeting, fdr ho was not a Wakanui elector. Mr Malcolm having rep]!" ’ ‘hat he'had a right to ;do-as he pleased, Mr Hughes began to make unpleasant references to turning some one out of the hall, and things looked stormy, when some friends intervening the altercatmh ended.
Amidst.considerable confusion Mr Ivess moved a vote of thanks to the Mayor for presiding, and thus terminated a rather lively meeting. ■
MR IVESS AT THE TOWN HALL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 810, 5 December 1882
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