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[per peess association.]

Oamaru, April 23,

The Hon T. W. Hislop, Minister of Education, addressed a public meeting here to-night. There was a large attendance, and the chair was occupied by the Mayor, Mr David Dunn, who was Mr Hislop's opponent at the recent byelecfcion for Oamaru. The address was in the main a reply to the views recently expressed here by Sir Robert Stout concerning Mr Hislop's own political conduct, and concerning the policy of Sir Harry Atkinson's Government. Sir R:, Stout had taunted Mr Hislop with being in effect opposed to liberal land laws, and had adduced as evidence in support of his taunt the circumstance that of twenty-eight divisions in Committee on the Land Bill in 1885 Mr Hislop had voted with him (Sir Robert) only in five. But, in his address to-night Mr Hislop showed that many of the divisions took place, not on matters of principle, but matters of detail, and on the point to which Sir Robert Stout now attached so much importance, the point that there should be no right of purchase under the perpetual lease system, Mr Hislop then voted with the ex-Premier. As to the policy of Sir H. Atkinson's Government being undemocratic, specially in regard to the Midland Railway land concessions and the management of the railways by Commissionei's, that assuredly was a strange charge to come from Sir R. Sfcouc, Ifc was the Stout-Vogel Government that had tried to commit the country to the notorious Meiggs contract, under which £67,00} a year was to have been paid in cash and 2,300,000 acres of land given to the contractors, And a.s to the Railway Commissioners, why, their- appointment was explicitly suggested in the speeches put in the mouth of the Governor at the opening of the sessions of 1884 and 1885 ; but, of course, what was undemocratic in the Atkinson Government was of quite another nature when done, as proposed to be done by the Stout-Yogel Ministry. It might be mentioned, too, that it was that Ministry who had tried to place another Public Department under the control of an undemocratic Board, namely, the Government Insurance Department, but their measure proved to be unworkable. As to the ex-Premier's charge that the present Government's land policy was undemocratic, because ib ■was left open to selectors to acquire the fee simple, when Sir R. Stout himself was Minister of Lands for one year in Sir G. Grey's Government, the freehold of 357,000 acres in the South Island was parted with, and in eighteen months the Grey Government parted with the freehold of 812,000 acres. , Then in Mr. Macandrew's Public Works Statement of 1878, Mr Stout being a member of the Government, pleasure was taken in the prospect or expectation of being able to sell nearly 4,000,000 acres in five years, or nearly half the area which it had take*n other Governments nearly fifty years to part with. Besides, the deferred' payment system had been brought in under an Atkinson Government. Mr Rolleston had introduced the perpetual leasing and had initiated the small grazing run system, while Sir R. Stout had deliberately allied himself with a gentleman, Sir J. Vogel, who had sneered

at these methods of settlement as idiotic fads. It was surely then, har,dly consistent in Sir R. Stout to taunt the present Government with being undemocratic in its policy—a policy which to bo sure, rendered possible purchase under perpetual lease, but only in deference to the senti-' ments of the people themselves, and which limited the area which a man could hold bo 640 acres of first-class and 20QO acres of second-class land, and under which, since March, 1888, 2594 persons had selected 541,000 acres, and in connection with which only ninety-eight transfers, affecting merely 24,000 acres, in the hands of small; holders, had taken place, showing that; dummy ism, another thing obliquely in; 1 sinuated against the policy of the present Government, was practically a thing un- j known. The other charges made against the present Government were similarly disposed of by Mr Hislop, -who was applauded frequently throughout his address,' and warmly cheered when he resumed his seat. A vote of thanks for the address and of confidence in Mr Hislop as member for Oamaru was carried by acclamation.

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Bibliographic details

POLITICAL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2409, 24 April 1890

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POLITICAL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2409, 24 April 1890

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