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The House met at 2.30 p.m. GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. Mr Mitchelson moved that for the remainder of the session Government business take precedence of all other business on Wednesdays. He said that the House would agree that after the experience of the last few"weeks it was time the Government took one of the private members days for Ministerial business. Sir George Grey moved as an amendment that the motion should not take effect till after to-morrow. Mr Ballance thought that the Standing Orders should be amended so as to prevent the lamentable waste of time that occurred on private members' nights. At the same time he agreed with Sir George Grey that it was too soon m the session to deprive private members of their rights m this respect. The amendment was lost by 47 to 28. QUESTIONS. Replying to questions, it was stated that Government could not see their way to reduce the postage on newspapers to Australia from Id to ; that an amendment of the Life Assurance Policies Act, 1884, so as to render all money payable under a policy of insurance on the life of a person dying intestate liable to be distributed for payment of his debts, would be brought m this session ; that as soon as Government received some information from America and England they would state their intentions with respect to the San Francisco mail service ; that a great many claims had been sent to the Commissioners of Crown Lands under the NavalandMilitary Settlers and Volunteers Land Act, 1880, and reports on them had been forwarded to the Defence Department ; that it was not intended to bring m a Bill this session making banknotes a firgt charge on bank assets. INTERCEPTING SUPPLY. On the motion for going into Committee of Supply Mr Smith moved as an amendment that the reduction of £50,000 proposed by the Government shall not apply to the Post and Telegraph Department, or to any saUries or wages below £200. He thought it only right to bind the Government m respect of not reducing small salaries, and it was notorious also that the Post and Telegraph officialf were the worst paid of any m the service. Captain Russell hoped that the House would not pass this resolution. It seemed to be about the fifth attempt to propose a vote of "no confidence " m the Government. Government had no desire whatever to reduce small salaries, and therefore Mr Smith's attempt was only a bogus effort. There was no object whatever to be gained by this amendment, which was only moved to obtain a little cheap popularity. His opinion was that the Opposition were doing their utmost to destroy the efficiency of the Civil Service by their tactics, and he hoped that the House would reject the amendment. Dr Fitchett said that m the event of the amendment being carried he would move a further amendment that no reduction be made m the education vote.

The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 < adjournment. i Mr Fisher moved an amendment that ] no reduction be made m the salaries of , Post and Telegraph servants or m salaries below £300. He did this because he •wished to allow the House freedom to ' vote for reduction m the Postal and ' Telegraph services, but not m the salaries which they would be prevented from doing by the wording of Mr Smith's amendment. Mr Smith asked leave to withdraw his motion m favor of Mr Fiaher's, an amendment which he thought was much clearer. Leave was refused. After a discussion lasting for two hours Mr Smith's amendment was lost on the voices, and the House went into Committee of Supply for consideration of the Estimates. IN COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY. Audit office—£s26s.—Passed. Registrar-Gen eral's Department-£6610. Mr Goldie moved to reduce the salary of the Registrar-General and Government Statist (£500) by £100. Captain Russell defended the vote, pointing out that if the House reduced the larger salaries of the Civil Servants the inevitable result would be a loss to the colony, as those gentlemen would olaim their retiring allowances and fresh officers would have to be appointed m their places. Mr Ballance contended that if this reduction were made the Deputy-Re<>,niarar could perform the work even if the Registrar-General retired on his allowance, and that the work could be carried m at a reduction. The reduction was lost by 44 to 33. Mr Thomson (Mavsden) moved to re- ! iuce the vote by £50. The motion was carried on the voices. The total vote as reduced by £50, was «arried. Agent-General's Department—£s23o. Mr Ballance moved ihat the salary of a secretary (£700) be reduced to £400. Sir George Grey thought that the Agent-General's Department should be abolished altogether, and ho firmly believed that they would be far better off without it, as the necessity for that Department had now disappeared. He moved that the Agent-Gen oral's salary (£1250) be struck out. Mr Walker regretted that the ftice of igent-General had been so long eld by

a gentleman who had been absent from the colony for such a lengthened j)eriod. His opinion was that he should be compelled to visit the colony occasion;illy to ker pin touch with the people. All other colonies of any standing possessed Agents- < General, and this colony should not allow itself to occupy a second-rate position m a matter of that kind. Mr Ballance could not agree with Sir George that an Agent-General was not required, as long as there was work for him to do. He held, however, that the present Agent-General had been too long m office, and that he had done his duty to the colony, He should not support a i reduction of the vote, but he thought that the Agent-General should be at once recalled and a younger and more vigorous man sent Home m his place. Sir John Hall agreed that the present Agent-General had been too long m office, but the Government of which Mr Ballance was a member had renewed his appointment. Speaking with some knowledge of the subject he (Sir John Hall) ventured to say that no Agent-General of any of the colonies was held m such esteem as Sir Francis Dillon Bell, Sir George Grey withdrew his amendment. Mr Seddon wished to know why the Government accepted service of a writ for £13,000 for a claim incurred through having an Agent General for the colony. Mr Hislop replied that the Government had no option but to accept service of the writ m question. Sir George Grey moved to reduce the salary oj the Agent-General by £100, as a protest against the continuance of the office. Captain Russell said that better times were m store for the colony, when there would be much more for the AgentGeneral to do than there had been of late. Besides, the work of conversion of loans was still going on, on which the Agent- | General was constantly consulted. Mr Balance's amendment to reduce the Secretary's salary from £700 to £400 was lost by 33 to 26, Mr Goldie moved to reduce it by £250. The motion was lost by 33 to 26. Mr Kerr moved that the Chairman leave the chair. The motion was lost on the voices. Captain Russell said that the Government would accept a total reduction of £500 m the vote for the Agent-General's department.

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2478, 30 July 1890

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2478, 30 July 1890

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