MR BALLANCE'S SPEECH.
» " ; — In Thursday's issue we had occasion to refer to a Ministerial deliverance- from the lips of the' Hon Mr Fergus, and .to-day we tarn to the opposite side of the Hotise,.and v< tak' tent " of what Mr Ballance has been saying' from an Opposition. point of view. We say "an (instead of the) Opposition point of view ■" advisedly; for m the present peculiar position: of parties, the Opposition has no leader' specially acknowledged as Bucb, and therefore, as a party, does not stand committed to the utterances of the member for Wanganni, or those of any other member m particular. This is a highly inoqnvenient state of things no doubt for those who wish to arrive at i some idea 61 the line Of polioy of those who are opposed to Ministers, but it is the fact, for all that. Mr Ballance's j views,' may, however, be safely accepted as those of at least a Bection of honorable members occupying s«ata on th^ Left j of the Speaker's chair, and* m respect to some ,of those views, as those of the large majority,if riot of all the members who together, epjrfßtituted the supporters of the !3 tout- Vogel combination. Not only they bat the country generally . will agree, with Mr BslUuce thai the absence *6f Sir Robert Stout is a, loss to the House, and public opinion also is with him m condemning the Land polioy of tho.prcisejit Government upon one -point, via., , m their" Entire "neglect of the Village Settlement scheme, which, has unquestionably been proved to be one of the best, if not the very best, schemes for the settlement of the lands of the cofeny which has ever been devised. It is more than a pity— -it is an administrative blunder of the worst sort— to hang up this scheme as Mr Richardson persistently does, and while some other parts of the Land Policy of the present Government may be cordially approved of, m this very important particular their shortcomings: are glaringly manifest. Mr Ballance is, we fear, right m regard* ing the reduction of the number of members at> a mistake from a Liberal point of view, but for all that we do not see how the present House can avoid carrying out what was unmistakably the direction of theoonstituencies at thelastgeneral election. He is also quite right m condemning the proposal of Mr Fisher's .Bill to centralise the administration of Educational affairs m Wellington, but to admit this is not necessarily to admit that the present Education Boards ought to be retained, For ourselves we believe that they might be abolished, and their powers transferred to the County Gouncils with the result of a considerable saving of expenditure, and without m the least impairing the efficiency, or interfering with the smooth working of our Educational system. As to his views on the Native Land question we have not the temerity to express an opinion, as political doctors of equal repute differ so diametrically upon what : is, or ib not, best m the interests of the : Natives and of the colony at large, ' that we have come (Dundreary-like) to regard the Native problem as one which "no fellah can understand." His desire i to see the Property-Tax practically i transformed into a land -tax, under which J the absentee owner would have to pay a ' higher rate than the resident owner, j we entirely sympathise with, and we t also concur with his views as to the G desirableness of encouraging the Volun- I teers, and of d iscouraging Chinese Immi- i gration. We are not surprised that he € thinks the action of the Government with respect to the" appointment of Mr Peuniston to a Supreme Court Judgeship, over the bead of Judge Ward, requires „ explanation, but we certainly are surprised to fiod him so cordially concurring: m the appointments made to the si Railway Board. Mr Ballance rightly C and justly defends the Opposition from f] the charge of obstructing business last ° Session, and he is equally right m assert- t| ing that there was more of that sort of t] thing 6n the Qovermnent gide than from tl bhe Opposition camp. Altogether^ b be steers very clear of anything li^e ac- n ousatory language or even unkindly J» Qritioism as towards his opponents, and ' his speeoh generally is a maply out- * 3poken declaration of his own views on a political questions couched m language tl which can by no possibility give offence oi to thosf who differ from him with respect *i thereto. l 5
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