The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 1889. NOTES.
At last we have something m the nature of a Ministerial explanation of the blunder which occurred m respect to the Otekaike runs at the recent Otago run sale. It comes m the shape of a letter from the Hon Mr Hislop, published m our Oamaru contemporaries, m which the Colonial Secretary explains
that the inaccuracy was the result oi hurry and overwork. It seems that tho memorial on the subject addressed to the Government was only received a few days before the sale, and that Ministers were only able to take it into consideration on the evening before the sale at a Cabinet meeting which began at 4 p.m. The decision on this particular matter was not arrived at till an hour and a-half later, and as the Cabinet had been considering the matter of two pairs of runs, viz , 28 and 28a, and 228 and 228a, a mistaken direction was given anent the telegram sent by giving the wrong numbers, just the sort of mistake the Minister pleads which might be expected to occur m the case of hurried and worried or overwrought men. Be it so. But surely that is not all. The Minister really meant to direct the withdrawal of the Otekaike runs, then most certainly the sale was a sale by misadventure, and the first duty of the Government was to annul or repudiate the transaction if possible, and certainly no formal lease should be executed or possession given until the whole question has been referred to Parliament.
A very desirable suggestion has been made to the Government by the Committee of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association. It is " that a sum not exceeding £500 be placed on the Estimates for the purpose of establishing a travelling model dairy, to be presided over by an expert/ The suggestion has not as yet been adopted by the Government, but we hope that the matter will be taken up at the forthcoming session, and that the proposal of the Society will be carried out. For there is no department of jcolonial industry that is fraught with greater promise or more splendid possibilities than that of the manufacture of butter and cheese for expert. There is an almcat illimitable market, and remunerative prices are a certainty if only the quality of the articles produced is up to the required mark, and due care is taken m connection with the arrangements for packing, shipment and transport. But the initial requirements are excellence and evenness of quality, which can only be secured by the adoption of the most approved methods of manufacture. And it is precisely m this direction that the services of an expert travelling with a model dairy would be of immense benefit. For not all our butter and cheese makers by any means are possessed of the requisite knowledge to ensure the production of a first-class article. Not a few^of them are neither to the manner born nor since they have taken to dairying pursuits hare had opportunities of learning other, than rough q.nd ready and imperfect methods, and even pf those who have been engaged m the industry for years, there are numbers who couid pick up many a useful " wrinkle " from an expert proficient m the newest and most improved system of manufacture. The Government of Victoria have we are told such an establishment, and the work done by its travelling model dairy has proved of great value to Victorian dairy farmers. Such being the oase, so small a sum as £500 for the assistance of a great and growing industry ought to be readily obtainable, and we should imagine would be granted by Parliament without a dissentient voice.
. Evidence is constantly cropping up that the Education Act of 1877 is by no means the perfect piece of legislation which some enthusiasts for our national school system fondly imagine. It waß usefully amended m some minor particulars m 1885 and is capable of, nay greatly needs amending m not a few others. It is satisfactory, therefore, to learn that the present Minister for Education, Mr Fisher, intends to introduce a Ministerial measure qext session, and while lie is abput it wp hope that he will direct his attention towards a better definition and limitation of the respective functions of Boards and Committees. At present there is considerable friction especially in* relation to the concurrent powers and privileges of the two bodies m connection with the appointment and dismissal of teachers, an example of the latter having occurred — the difficulty, indeed, not being as yet adjusted — m relation to the headmastership of the Borough School, and we now see by the Dunedin papers "that the j Otago Board and the Tokorahi School Committee are at issue regarding the appointment of a master. It seems that a vacancy occurring the Board advertised for applications m the usual way aud sent a certain number of tho applications on to the Committee for th~ir seloction, witholding others. The 0 imittee ro fused to select either of tL )se whose applications had'been sent on and instead recommended an applicant whoso name bad no( beerj forwarded to them,
I hereupon the Board made the appointment itself, the teacher sent being unable to teach singiug, while tho one chosen by the Committee was ablo to do bo. This the latter regard as an important point, and the householders, taking the I side of the Committee refuse to send their children to school, only 6 attending out of 30 on the roll. A deputation from the Committee waited upon the Board at the last meeting, but the Board declined to remove tho master appointed, though we notice that tho opinion was expressed at the meeting that it would be a satisfactory way out of the difficulty if the master would take tho hint and resign. All this sort of thing, and there are many instances of it, shows plainly that tho present ambiguous definition of the respective functions and authorities of Boards and Committees needs to be revised with a view to more precise limitation and we hope that the matter will not be lost Bight of when the Education question comes under the review of the Legislature.