THE MINISTER FOR LANDS AT WYNDHAM.
AVk confkss that after reading the telegraphic precis of the remarks of the lion G. F. Richardson, at Wyndham, the other day—we have not as yet read an cxienso report of the speech—we are somewhat at a loss to comprehend the reason for the haste with which the lion gentleman rushed down to Southland for the purpose of delivering it. Jlis own particular constituents, and the colony generally, had been given to understand only a few days before that the press of departmental business and the necessary work of preparing for the session would render it impossible fpr the Minister of Lands to leave Wellington —this of course before tho delivery of Mr Fergus' remarkable address at Queeustown, and us imme-
diately after that event Mr Richardson completely changed his mind, that circumstance, coupled with the announcement in various quarters of the repudiation by his colleagues of the policy indicated by the Minister for Mines, inevitably led to the conclusion that the Minister of Lands intended to issue a sort of counter-manifesto with a view of-allaying the fears and dispelling the dissatisfaction which Mr Fergus had aroused among Ministerial supporters. Indeed it was stated on authority, in so many words, that the member for Mataura was charged with the duty of making known the real policy of the Government—the bona fide genuine article—as opposed to the spurious thing supposed to have been palmed off upon an unsuspecting public by naughty and imprudent Mr Fergus. Yet, upon reading the Richardsonian counterblast,' i.e., the .telegraphed summary thereof, all we find in this latter direction is a statement that " it would be out of place—as the Government policy will be shortly disclosed in all ■ its details in Parliament —to do otherwise than deal with it generally." And thereupon Mr Richardson went on to say that " speaking broadly, the policy of the Government is a policy of settlement and progress, of common sense and prudence; a policy of paying its way, of pausing in respect of railways, and of pushing on roads; a policy that can be pursued without further borrowing." All this is doubtless very reassuring, but as that simple sentence could have quite easily been flashed all over the country by wire as a Ministerial communique) we are still at a loss to know why the Minister for Lands rushed down to the far South to take the platform. Possibly it was in order that he might, give some details of the administration of his particular department. If so, it is a pity that ninetenths of his speech should have been devoted, as it seems to have been, tp a running down of the administration of the previous Government, instead of giving in elaborate detail the proof of the super-excellence of that claimed by the speaker for self and colleagues. Mr Richardson declares that his Government is promoting settlement at a rapid rate, and points to the figures of land sales and selections in proof. But what is the real test of the whole matter? Why surely the visible settlement which is actually going on ; and what we want to know is where it is to be seen. We are very much afraid that the figures are fallacious— rather we should say that the deductions made from the figures are so. It is assumed, apparently, that all: the recent land sales and leases represent so many new settlers—therefore so much additional settlement—whereas we verily believe, that a very largely preponderant proportion of these represent additions to the acrerge held by persons who were already landholdei-s, the balance only, and that a very small one, being the true measure Of the amount of new settlement. If we are Avrong, we shall be very glad to be corrected, but if we arc right then Mr Richardson's entire' argument falls to the ground. ; .
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THE MINISTER FOR LANDS AT WYNDHAM., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2443, 17 June 1890
THE MINISTER FOR LANDS AT WYNDHAM. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2443, 17 June 1890
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