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The Hon Mr Reliance, the Minister fo: Lancs and Defence, accompanied by hii private secretary, Mr Butler, arrived in Ashburton by the express last evening. The Minister occupisd apartments ai Quill’s Commercial Hotel, and last night attended the concert given by bt John 8 Lodge in the Masonic Hall. This morning bis Worship the Mayor had an interview with the Minister, and Mr Ballance reiterated a promise already made by letter, that the railway reset ves in the Ashburton river bed below the railway should at once be gazetted as recreation reserves. Referring to the Minister’s proposal in reference to village settlements, the Mayor pointed out the danger here of placing men upon small pieces of land and relying upon oulside employment for their maintenance. Mr Ballance promised to consider the view expressed by the Mayor. Accompanied by Mr E. G. Wright, Chairman of the Canterbury Plantation Board, and Mr Hatch, M.H.B, for Invercargill, the, Minister inspected a _ reserve of about 160 acres adjoining the railway line, two miles north oi Ashburton, with a view to ascertain its adaptability for a Village Settlement. The Minister also inspected a Police reserve of 640 in the neighborhood of Diomore.' The first reserve Mr Ballance suggests should be subdivided into rmalt allotments ' for occupation by workmen, 'to find employment elsewhere the larger reserve, tbe Minister thinks might with advantage be divided into larger blocks—say 60 acres —and cccupied by men who would mainly, or in great part, maintain themselves from the produce of their holdings, s' This afternoon Capt. Douglas and Lieut. Fooka, of the Ashbbrton Biflea, interviewedtheMinister in respeott 'Volunteer business. Mr Ballance, replying to the-officers; said ha thought be might give r Volunteers additional facility for attaining efficiency by establishing six quarterly inspections, atteudanoeas power to qualify for the capitation grant. Mr Ballance thought he might obtain a grant from Government for ' the erection of a drill shed in Ashburton. Ha . expressed himself as lavetable to a proposal ip increase the maximum strength of Volunteer corpJS to 100 mien, a numerical strength of 60 tojl qualify for capitation. Captain Douglasl suggested that the Adjutant should, ini lieu of the Captain, be empowered to in-l flict the fines*. The Minister noted thol suggestion, and said he would, if found I expedient, give effect to it. The Minister I stated he did not see his way to grant in- I crease in the capitation grant. Mr 6aU I lance took occasion to express (he value I he placed upon the services of the Volun- I taers, and assured Captain Douglas and I Lieutenant Fooks that the interests of I ha I different corps would always leceive his I most earnest attention. I Mr W. 0. Walker, M.H R., who was I in town on Thursday expecting to meet I Hr Ballance, had no noticj of the Minis- I tor’s visit to-day, but agreeable to in- I •tructiona left at the County Council office I by Mr Walker, a special messenger was I sent to bis residence this morning, but the I member for Ashburton arrived in town ■ too' late this afternoon for a notice of bis interview with the Minister to appear in this-issue. Mr Ballance intended to spend ten or fourteen days in Canterbury inspecting the waste lands of the district, but having yesterday received an urgent summons from his colleagues to return to Wellington upon business connected with the Defence Department, he was to leave Ashburton by the express this evening. We desire to express to Mr Ballance end to Mr Butler, the Minister’s Private Secretary, our appreciation of tbe courteous reception and ready information afforded to- our representative.

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Bibliographic details

THE MINISTER FOR LANDS AND DEFENCE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1517, 18 April 1885

Word Count

THE MINISTER FOR LANDS AND DEFENCE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1517, 18 April 1885