The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. PUBLISHED DAILY AT FOUR P.M. FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 1890. THE GOVERNOR'S SPEECH.
The fourth session of the tenth Parliament of New Zealand was opened yesterday with the customary vague and indefinite speech from the Throne. The difference between the speech of yesterday and its many predecessors, lies in the fact that, in the introductory portion, it is stamped with the individuality of the new Governor, and expressess the opinions of His Excellency rather than those of Ms advisers. The Earl of Onslow, in travelling through New Zealand, has done so with his eyes well open, and he is therefore in a position to speak on the subject of the present condition of the Colony from the standpoint of an observant outsider. The Governor's impression of New Zealand and its people is highly favourable, and is eloquently expressed its the sentence : "I have been greatly pleased with the abundance of its resources, with the beauty of its scenery, and the enterprise and industry of its inhabitants." This opinion coming, as it does, direct from the Queen's representative himself, and not filtered, through" his advisers, is of much more value than the usual run of such official utterances, and its effect should be to further stimulate colonists to make our "resources and beautiful scenery" more attractive by wise Government and laws ; and, in addition, it should assist to stay the outflow of population, and bring about that voluntary stream of immigration so much needed. His Excellency paid a well-merited compliment to the inhabitants of Otago for their enterprise in carrying to a successful issue the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition; and the " Gentlemen of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives" can well afford to take a lesson from the Otago example set them, and discard once and for all the " stand-still" policy which it hasbecomefashionableamongst a large proportion of their number to preach. The " advised " portion of the Governor's speech is even more vague and indefinite—if that were possible— than those which have previously emanated from the Atkinson Cabinet. Passing mention is made of an increase in the volume of exports, a suppositious decrease in private indebtedness, and an increase in deposits in Savings Banks, and the satisfactory settlement (?) of the waste land of the Cro\vn,and also the good results (?) that have followed the " liberalising " of the land laws. Of the future Ministerial land policy there is little or no indication, save a hint that Government intend to open up roads to the lands recently disposed of, and, if possible, acquire more Native lands for similar disposal—we cannot say settlement, as, in the light of recent revelations, the word is inapplicable. As to where the money is to come from to purchase roads and buy. more Native land for disposal by lottery, nothing is stated, but it would appear that, after all, the Hon. Mr Fergus' repudiated scheme for borrowing, sub rosa, for this purpose is not far off the mark ; although he was, no doubt, guilty of letting the cat out of the bag sooner than was intended. In regard to education it is openly stated that, for two years at least (it may be for ever), extra schoolhouses and other public buildings will be a charge upon revenue. This would appear to mean that the cost of future schoolhouses, etc,, are to be shouldered as directly as possible on fclje people, and any large increase will therefore mean extra taxation. The
remainder of tl-e policy •of the Government, as sjiadowed forth in th& Gubernatorial deliverance, lies injfche direction of Civil service j?eform ; amending the \&yr relating to the qualification and registration of electors, and providing for the issue of electoral rights ; amending the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Acts; amending the Counties Act; and altering and consolidating the law of Bankruptcy. The whole programme is not a very elaborate one, and we suspect no one will be very much disappointed. The Atkinson Ministry was placed on the Benches to give effect to the purely departmental work of cutting down salaries and effecting other simple retrenchments. Having accomplished this fairly well, the Cabinet has proved itself unequal to any other task, and Ministers have retained thoir portfolios on the xuiicrance of all parlie3 in the House, principally because no other Parly was sulHcieutly consolidated to take up the reins. Creative faculty the Atkinson Combination never had, and, having saved a few poundsjtheir work was done, and their services could veil have been dispensed with long :igo, and a more progressive) party put in power—particularly as regards the- ftdnjinistration of the public estate, iu»d tJja re-inspiriug of public confidence in the vitally of the Colony.