THE FINANOIAL STATEMENT
Tub present Parliament is remarkable for the promptitude with which Government and the House have addressed themselves to tho work of the country, all the usual ; preliminaries having been abbreviated as much as possible and business being already m full swing. The address m reply disposed of on Friday the Financial Statement was forthwith delivered and the discussion thereon will probably commence on the next Government day. Whether the debate will be a long or a short ono and what will da its nntoomo it is too early to predict, but indications at present point to nothing more than a running fire of comparatively mild criticism, for while the state of the colony's finances as disclosed by the Treasurer is on the whole satisfactory, there are no new proposals for the future put forward, if we except those for the exemption of certain classes of machinery from the operation of the property tax for the increase of 1 per cent charged on loans to local bodies under the Government Loans to Local Bodies Act, and for the continuance of the construction of the Otago Central Railway. This last, it would appear, will resolve itself rather into a question of land administration than ot finance, and is really out of place m the Financial Statement, belonging rather to the department of land and works. As to the outcome of the year's operations there was no surprise m store for the House, the net surplus being shown to be £21,000 thus very nearly raising the estimate of last year, when m detailing the proposed finance the Treasurer calculated upon a surplus of £27,000. Ministers are doubtless entitled to credit for success m their efforts to keep the expenditure within the revenue, but have been greatly aided m their task by circumstances of a favorable character. The Budget shows very conclusively m a series of very remarkable and encouraging figures the improvement m the general condition of the colony through the operation of the circumstances referred to, chief among which are the large inoreases both m tho valqe and volume of our exports, and tho outlook for the futuro is undoubtedly brighter than it has been for years past. Yet the twice repeated oaution of the Treasurer as to the expediency of guarding against a too hopeful and sanguine view, leading to a renewal of the old recklessness of expenditure, is both wise and timely. The one salient feature of the proposals for the current" year is the adoption by Sir Harry of the proposal of Sir J. Yogel to amend the Property Assessment Act by exempting machinery (we presume agricultural and such as is used m local industries and manufactures), and completes the list of his " annexation." Last year and the year before, ho took up the previous Treasurer's policy of retrenchment and a protective tariff, and it remained only that he should adopt this proposalto amend the incidence of the Property-tax. tq complete hjs acceptance, or, as we have put it, his *i annexation " of the Wbole policy of his predecessor. If it he true that ''imitation is the sinoerest form of flattery " then Sir Harry has paid the highest tribute to his quondam leader and colleague that it was possible for him to pay. But how about the equity of a system of party Government which enables one man to climb to power by rejecting the polioy of his opponent, and then to keep m power by adopting the very Bame policy m judioious detail ?
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