We noticed tho other day with satisfaction that tho General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church had decided to take steps to petition Parliament for the passing of legislation forbidding tho disgraceful exhibitions which have lately become only too common under the name of glove-fights. We have ourselves condemned thorn m no hesitating terms, and we are pleased to sco that from one end of the colony to the other, and almost, if not quite, without exception, our contemporaries have m like manner denounced these exhibitions as being of demoralising and brutalising tendency, and have called for their suppression. Under these circumstances there is every reason to expect that Parliament will again be asked next session to deal with the matter. The question, as we menI tioned the other day, will not, however, be brought up for the first j time, and it is to be hoped I that on the next occasion the Government frill be convinced of the necessity of something "being done, i The Minister for Justice, Mr Fergus, was not so convinced when the matter came up the session before last, and we were surprised to read the other day m an account of what is described as a " knocking-out match" at Island Bay that the Minister of Education, Mr Fisher, occupied a chair " m a convenient position " and " remained apparently a much interested spectator throughout the contest" Referring to this incident a Ohristchurch contemporary (the " Telegraph ") suggests that the hon gentleman " must have been present at this 1 exhibition ' for the purpose of placing himself m a position to fully describe its brutality to the House next session when proposing an amendment of the law to prevent such brutal scenes m future," and remarks that "it is thoroughly within tho scope of Mr Fisher's duty to take soch action m order to prevent the mind* of young people, on whose education so much money is being expended, from becoming debased by the larrikinibm and disorder which naturally arise from the scenes which takes place at prize-fights." Let us hope that this was really the case, but there is a ring of what Artemus Ward called " sarkazzum " about the suggested explanation for all that. While our legislators are doing their annual Bpell at mending the meshes of the law it will also be as well for them to turn their attention to the Fisheries Conservation Aot which is obviously defective m its provisions. The other day at Oamaru several prosecutions for the illegal capture of trout with the gaff fell through because it was shown that the fish were speared below high water mark m the sea and not m the waters Df any river. This point was fatal to the prosecution and therefore the offenders got off scot-free, the Magistrate ( Mr Stratford, 8.M.) expressing it as "his, opinion after looking into the matter, 1 that when a fish left the river it was outside the scope of the regulations to ieal with, and was not protected." Doubtless ho was right m the interpretation of the law, and if so then the sooner the law is amended the better, for it would be a simple absurdity to allow Df the wholesale destruction of imported fish m the manner indicated. As is pointed out by tho "North Otago Times " if this sort of thing is to go on anchecked, Acclimatisation Societies might as well cease to exist for all their efforts would be ineffectual m the accomplishment of the beneficial task they have to perform. It is well known that the fish go down to the sea, and on returning to the river swim close to the Bhore. There is therefore no difficulty m killing them with gaffs. What Acclimatisation Societies require to do is to at once proceed to have the law so amended that it will be illegal to take protected fish anywhere within a certain distance of the coast." Our Rangitikei contemporary, the '* Advocate" which is usually wellinformed upon matters political baa ap article m its issue of the 13th instant on the political situation which is worthy of notice. It takes Sir Harry Atkinson to task for declaring at Auckland "m favor of tho vicious doctrine of Mr Henry George, of which Sir Robert Stout has long been the foremost apostle m New Zealand " and goes on to describe the two knights as having many ideas m commoa and being everything by turns and nothing long. It looks upon them as " absolute theorists," speaks of a possible combination between them H m support of Henry George's revolutionary doctrines " as disastrous, and declares that " should this nefarious alliance be formed, then assuredly the two knights should be promptly sent to Coventry by the genuine colonists— the true friends of New Zealand." The article concludes as follows : — lt is pretty generally whispered m well-informed quarters that there will bo a vigorous onslaught made on the Ministry at the opening of Parliament, for their conduct m regard to the Ball way Board and the Judgeship. It is said that the Government had before them nearly a month the offer of Mr Bee, a high class English expert, for the position of Chief Commissioner, and that that gentleman only withdrew when he found that ho was] being trifled with, It is alleged that Mr McKerrow owes his place to the overwhelming influence brought to bear by Otago. As to the Judgeship, we have frequently expressed our belief that Mr Dudley Ward had an unassailable claim to that position, and this, too, we fancy, is the opinion which will be held by a goodly number of members oi the House when Parliament reassembles. Tho Government should have give the place to Mr Ward as soon as ever they received official information of the death of Mr Justice Johnstone. As if there were not enough of troubles m store for the Ministry, the Premier foolishly went to Auckland to convince the malcontents of tho Northern capital that the Pro-perty-tax was the beßt kind of impost. Resolutions against the tax were carried at the conclusion of the address. Instead of winning oyer the dissatisfied, he aroused them to organised opposition. He will find this to his cost when he meets the Auckland members on the floor of the House. We have no doubt that the options expressed by Sir Harry Atkinson were correct;. Sue at the same time, his Auckland trip was a grievous tactical blunder to be tnadp by such an old general. This, combined with his declaration m favor of Henry George, will arouße bitter opposition •gainst him and his Government. Had MWPtW acted wifo ordinary prudent
daring the recess, their position next session would have been impregnable. As it is, they have played right into the hands of their _ opponents ; they have [converted a strong position into a position which must bo regarded as i decidedly weak."
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CURRENT TOPICS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2067, 19 February 1889
CURRENT TOPICS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2067, 19 February 1889
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