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The resolutions brought forward by Mr Ballance, and which challenged the position of the Government, were exceedingly well framed, containing, as they did, a series of propositions which it is difficult to see how any unprejudiced person could refuse to affirm. That the proposal to continue the primage duty is a departure from the understanding arrived at two years ago is undeniable^ and as it is equally true that the amount it l'epresents can be saved by retrenchment, the continuance of the impost is logically and economically indefensible. It is hard to see, however, how Government supporters can defend the abandonment this year of the proposals for the reform of the Property . Tax, which were last year declared by the Government itself to be necessary ; and that the present land administration is not such as to promote the best interests of the Colony is, to residents yi this Island at any rate, a. self-evident proposition, The debate on the resolutions came to an absupt and wholly unexpected conclusion last night. The story of the collapse is told by our special correspondent m another column, but, so far as the debate went, it is admitted that the Op-

position speakers had a long way the best of the argument; indeed, anything weaker than the reply of Ministers to the well-reasoned conclusive indictment of Mr Ballance and Mr W. P. Reeves it would be impossible to imagine. That the verdict of the country may be expected to go with the latter there is no doubt; but as to the verdict of the House, at the present moment, that is a totally different matter. .Government have won by a majority of six m a "snap" division, and although it can hardly be looked upon as a fair expression of the opinion of the House from either side's point of view, still it is a victory for the Government. The present Government have a following which will vote that black is white if need be to keep Ministers m, though they are equally ready to keep their measures out. The Ministerial majority was not expected to be as large as at one time was confidently anticipated, and the result, even of the "snap " division, shows that Ministers' anticipations have not been fulfilled* The division has come off earlier than was expected. Had it been a fair and square everyday division, with all the forces mustered for a trial of strength, the decision would have had the effect 6£ allowing the ordinary business of the session to proceed m earnest, and then there should have been no difficulty m bringing the session to an end by, say, the last week m August or the first week m September. But after the uasatisfactory division of last night, doubtless the Opposition leader will yet again set out his forces m battle array, and so prolong the struggle.

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Bibliographic details

THE WANT-OF-CONFIDENCE DEBATE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2457, 3 July 1890

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THE WANT-OF-CONFIDENCE DEBATE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2457, 3 July 1890

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