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CURRENT TOPICS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2403, 17 April 1890
In view of the radical changes which have been effected in the electoral districts the work of compiling the new rolls will be one involving an enormous amount of- labor and trouble, so much indeed that owing £o v the exceedingly small pay. allowed to 'Registration officers it is exceedingly doubtful whether it will be satisfactorily accomplished. An old registration,.officer writing to the Press points out^that batches of electors must be transfe^recl from our roU to another and wldsjhftt he feels certain that many errors ynU. take place in spite of all care and. supervision. He urges that one course only is open to get "sf clear,' fresh start and that is to destroyl all existing rolls and to call for fresh claims to vote from all the electors of the./colony* in their respective new, districts. - t"SSfe quite concur as to the expediency of this proposal, and hope that in. the new Registration Act which ~is"*,to be introduced next session, provision: Mil be made accordingly. But. not*only would we make a ocleani: sweep ;rthis time and start with- new rollsi but it, should also be provided ,thatt immediately after every election' the'/paines' of all persons who did not record their. votes thereat, should be struck, off,'', leaving it to them,' if they so r desire, to re-register. This would constitute a complete and effectual means of purging the rolls, and would do away with the possibility of the retention of dead men's names for x years an(J years, has has hitherto often, been the case,' withthe result of affording, abundant facilities for personation.
Another useful suggestion as to a desirable amendment of the law is made by the ".Auckland Star," in connection with the liability of auctioneers^: :?AOn the face of it (says our contemporary), there seems to be something unequal, if not iniquitous, in a law = which protects an auctioneer in; such' circumstances as the following ;—A., wisKing the realise his property and leave the colony on short notice; commissions 8., an auctioneer, to sell his real and personal possessions, worth perhaps £500. The sale takes place in due course; "terms, cash on the'fall of the hammer;" but when- Ay;asks Bl to''settle up, the latter puts him off, with some excuse—in fact, - humbugs - and .delays him so that he cannot leave at the time fixed. A. perhaps take legal proceedings to compel a settlement, but in the meantime B. files his schedule in bankruptcy, and though A. may find that his £500 have gone;to pay the debts of 8., who has no assets, he has no redress at law. Or, let us state the case in another way. J A poor woman's husband dies, and the widow, being without the means to defray the'funeral < expenses, sends some of her household goods to an auction mart to raise a little money. They realise a few pounds. Before she receives the proceeds, however^ the auctioneer's estate. has passed into bankruptcy, and the widow finds herself literally with a desolated home) and with a debt hanging over her.- - Again, a woman sells up her furniture to raise funds to take her to Australia; ' She is unable to get the money from the auctioneer, and is ultimately left homeless, and perhaps penniless.:- In- none of these cases is there any remedy. If an auctioneer becomes bankrupt, persons whose goods have been sold simply rank as ordinary creditors, and when the estate is without assets, they lose all. Such is the state, of the :law in New Zealand at. the present time, and there is much reason in;the contention that • ah. alteration w. required in the interests of justice and commercial morality. "Why should not the proceeds of such sales as we hare instanced, minus commission, when instructions have been given to sell for cash only, be viewed as trust moneys, payable to the principal on demand, or within some reasonable time, fixed by the law or trade usage 1 We fail to see that this would be any hardship upon an auctioneer. -' These men ought to have sufficient capital to carry on/business without intermeddling with the moneys of their principals. Unless when it is specifically provided that the goods may be sold on credit, at the risk of the owner, the actioneer who sells produce or other goods should be prepared to render account sales immediately; failing. to render such account, after demand and make settlement .within seven days, he should be liable to prosecution for embezzlement, and the onus placed upon him of proving that the failure to settle' is not due to | criminality on his part. The fact, that some -'auctioneers and commission. agents do business on such a footing is proof positive" that to treat proceeds of sales as. trust moneys would in no. way qripple trade or hinder the free exchange of commodities. On. the contrary, it might be expected to stimulate trade by the greater sense of security it would give, and it would assuredly place business upon a much more satisfactory basis by doing, away with, the lunhealthyj competition <?f men who enter upon auctioneering business with -insufficient capital, ( or, with ncfc capital at all, trusting toTkieep things moving by using the' money? of "their principals."
The : niggardliness with which the Government - doles , out .land .for settlement is a source of complaint all over the colony, and we are glad to see that among other journals which have taken them, sharply to task on this account is the Wellington "Post/ with whose remarks: on the subject we entirely concur. Our - contemporary says:—" It is to the shame, of the Government that they refuse or neglect to offer sufficient land to enable all to settle who wish to,do so. There is an ample supply of the. raw material. There is no difficulty in finding. vast areas of admirable land on which .men would gladly settle, but they are not ' allowed to do so. The -Government will, not open it up for ,sale. Their policy is not to satisfy the demand or settle th,e country. They simply throw, down little bits of land to be scrambled for, and" then irry to take credit for . there being so'many people unable to ..'-: get what they want. The result of this policy is that men with "small, capital and less patience naturally, get tired after " having competed .unsuccessfully two ;or three timWjJin scrambles where the speculator Jws. just as much chance of winning, the prize ms the "6on c fide settler, and they seek a place- of settlement in some other colony the rulers of which are wiser than ours, After every land. ea]» it i|
usual to hearken declare that they ill give up'tife attempt to get land in New Zealand, Tand go elsewhere, and a very considerable number carry out the threat. Of the 262 disappointed applicants at the sale instanced by our contemporary—the recent Wellington land sale—only~ "a very few would probably persevere until they at last ob- . tamed 'land on which to settle. The policy of the Government is daily driving from the country men who, if given an 1 opportunity, would by their industry and capital, add greatly to its '' richness and,, productiveness. It is purenonsense to talk about not bind-1 ing purchasers down to one particular system, but giving them a choice of .tenures, when the Government will not give one in.ten an opportunity of getting land on any tenure whatever. It is Hoi a question of tenure but of area.' ° It is mere mockery to say, * Oh, you can select your own tenure—deferred payment, perpetual lease, or cash purchase'—when there is no land to be had on any one of these tenures." •
CURRENT TOPICS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2403, 17 April 1890
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