MR W. O. WALItfiJR AT JRAKAIA, ( Mr W. 0. Walker, MH.R. for Asbbur- \t ton, addressed a meeting of hla cou- < otitaenU at South R*k«la last evening. | There was a good attendance, and Me ( 0. A. 0, H»rdy was votod to tha obair. I Mr Walker, after a few prjlimtnary remarks, proceeded to refer to tbe salient feat area In tho speech delivered the other day by one of the Ministry, the Hon T. Fergui, as this speaoh migh\ be taken to foreahadovr the polioy of Government during ' the comIng session. Mr Fergus to begin with claimed credit for the Gove.nment, because of there helm? a surplus of £22,000 after £46,000 of defiolt had been paid off. That thore waa a aarplm wmb vary saiisftotory, bat he failed to Be* how the Ministry oould tuko aredit for the I whole of it lo it3olf, beoauao no ministry oould bring abont a good harvest, t&lvb the price of oac prodaoo In London, oaua« a droaght m Australia or a wet harvest 1b England— oil of wbloli had operated to the benefit of the oolony. Mr Fergus attributed the reaalfc to two things, via, retrenchment and reinstated finance; As reg*rded the former Government claimed to havj saved £240,000, bat they had failed to provide details, though it was their daty to do so, and though Parliament and the country bad every right to expect them Reinstated fioanae, as explained by Mr Fergus mainly referred to the Tariff resolutions of last sesston, whloh the Minister characterised as the "only finance possible for the ooantry." This was a very zemarkable.oonfess for Me Fergus to m*ko, as it was a finance refased to the preceding Government, and denounoed at the laal general election. As a oonsiquenoe of the Japse of time thao entailed, tno iraoaut of caxa';toa rendered nooemry was inoreumd by about one third. This " reinatatment of finance" hvi not, however, been brought about by thesapporters of Govetament, who deserted when the tariff proposals were brought forward, bat had been due to the assistance of the Opposition, who, finding tbe proposals were similar to those advocated by them the previous session were morally bonnd to support them, and loyally did so. He thought, therefore, that Mr Fergus should have given the Opposition equal credit with the Government In this matter. Credit was further claimed for Government for the Land and Native Lands legislation of la*t eessian, but as these were both subjects felt to oo outside the pale of party politics he failed to see why Government should take all the honor toieolf. Ab to the appointment of the Railway Commissioners the people of the oolony had hope! that the result would be that our railways would be placed on a sound o mmoneenße badness footing. Govern ment had de'ayed the appointment o£ Ohiaf Commissioner ostensibly on ihe ground that • they oould not obtain the aervioos of a ruilway expert Buitasjie f.»r the poet, and itoamoasa bit prise when v was unnuunoed that Mr McKarrow had received the appointment. Mr MoKorrow had ably adimastered the Survey Uepartinenfc, and doubtless the public generally would give him a fair opportuniy ol atiaining success m bis presant sphere. '■ Tbe first work of ihe Oomraißsionare, m the shape of the new t mo-tabio, wus not promising, but he hoped thu good eenee of the members of the Board would assert itaeif and lead to an alteration. Reference was ihea made to the legislation proposed to be introduced aext session by Government, and although Mr Fergus expressed his horror of fanoy legislation, several of the measures intended to be brought forward did not come within the dumain of praotloal polltloa. It was contemplated to reform the constitution of the Upper House by limiting the tenure of members, and vesting their appointment m the hands of tbe Lower House. Ho agroed that a limitation of the term of offioa was most desirable, but as the measure had to receive the aanotion of the Uppar House It would very irkely be thrown out. In regard to the Lower H>use, aud the proposals to reduoe tha number of members to fQ, and to In trod 000 a modification of the Hare system of election, he was of opinion that a reduotlon of members was not desirable, as I would tend to throw Parliamentary representation into the hands of tbe wealthy clauses and would also result In tha large towns gaining an exoess of piwor over the cannery. As to the Hare system of election it was a pure experiment, and it was contrary to the spirit of demooratlo representation. It woold, be thought, operate tv the dlreoHog of rendering members loss personally responsible to their oonetitnents, and would have the rffdot of praaliaally. preventing poor, young or unknown men entering Parliament. Brief reference was made to the Government proposals with regard to Hospitals and Charitable Aid, Ltbor settlements, and other matters. Government said they bad no intention of farther borrowing at present, but why the trouble of uiylng this was Ukon he did not know, as the oolony by the last Loan Aot was pledged to abstain from going on the money market for a period of years, and there was ample money m the Treasury for the reduoed Publio Works expenditure. He deprecated the large expenditure m the past on unfinished works, expenditure whfoh was unproductive, and he thought a prlnolple ahould be laid down that no work ahould be oommenoed unless the way could be seen to finish it, A. great source of satisfaction m connection with the successful floating of the Midland Railway was that the expenditure on the work would be taken off tbe shoulders of the colony, wbloh would not thus bo dragged Into tbe necessity for further borrowing for tbe completion of this, particular work. A perusal of Mr Vtrgu* 1 speech mjght lead the uninitiated to suppose that matters were pro grossing very smoothly on the Govern me at aide, and that a quiet session wan anticipated, but no reference was made to several moaauroß that must cotno up, and tlio Minister had failed to explain how he Govornmont proposed to hold iheir party together, Ri-fornng to the matters that would probably coma up next seaaiou, ho entirely agro> d w.th Iho principle of the Fair Kont Bill. He did not think the suWpirJy should bo con Jnued to the San Francisco mail aervi.o, which wnsj of no commercial bencijt to tho colony, and wbiah had during tho last few woeks operated againnt the interests of New Zoaland farrapra. The subsidy to this servipo should be paid Hy the Government of the United States, and that thja would be deme If New Zealand declined to longer bear the bnrden he bad no doubt. If the Premier were reasonable m all likelihood thoto of the prcgodare rules really requisite would bo pneand by the Homo. The Bill amending the District Kail way b Purchasing Aot wou\d probably oumo np again, m which oaao he would endeavor tha*. tho interests of his constituents should not suffer. The position of the oolony was maoh irnprovod s'nee lust year, nnd it now ulood in*4io proud position of exporting more thon It Imported by two million pounds worth. Ho tupad that this oatlsfaotory state of things would continue, and that the lesson of economy and Industry learned during tho hard times that had passod away would not be forgotten now that better had oorao Tbe settlement of the land, and the the rough tlhgo of the soil bore nn important relation to the future proßperlty of tbe country, and m rogard to thl», he thought that, as In most other oountrlos of the world, a department of agriculture should be lostltnted| tho beneficial tflaqts of wblqb. would
aoou bo apparent, He tmsitd thui Parliament would loalot on what had bain done In the way of economy not being * mere effort of the moment, bat a persistent polloy of oarrfal expenditure, ami that outlay on publio works should bp part of a carefully considered plan. They did not want to leave any more legacies of fatare borrowing to those who came after them. He felt very sorry that there were many colonists who spok? evil of the land of their adoption, and he thought it was ahamoful that this shoal d be so. In spite of the statement of Mr Ormond it was not true that the Opposition last session intrigued for office. They legally endeavored to do their duty towards the colony, and m no way tbxevr difficulties m tho way of Government m doing whut was required to get t^e country out of the difficulties it was then m. And m the forthcoming sosslon if Government did thoir dafcy tho Opposition would do thairs. As a liumole member of the Opposition he hid always acted m what ho considered were the best interests of the colony, and be trusted that m what he did he had earned their approbation. Applause was frcqqen dating the speech A.t Its olose a number of questions ware put and answered Batißfeotor'ly. Mr Lyttelton proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Walker for his address and of confid onoe m him as a representative. The motion was eeoonded by Mr D. G Homes and duly oarried. A vote of thanks to the ohair olosed the meetiog.
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