The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, AUGUST 4, 1890. THE HUTCHISON CHARGES.
Mr G. Hutchison, M.H.R. for Waitotara, has made certain charges against individual Ministers of. the Cabinet, which, if proved, should result in the immediate retirement of the persons affected from the Ministerial Benches. The charges, shortly stated, are that three members of the present Ministry, are, or have been until recently, bound hand and foot to the chariot of a powerful financial institution. Mr Hutchison avers that, in dealings between the State and this institution, Ministers have so acted with public funds as to benefit the institution at the cost of the State. It' is alleged that a large sum of State money has been alllowed to lie for months in the hands of the Bank of New Zealand (the institution referred to), and no interest derived therefrom. This money, Mr Hutchison also states, came to hand at a very critical period in the Bank's history, and bnt for its timely arrival and the purposes to which it was applied, serious consequences to the Bank would have arisen. Mr Hutchison implied, if he did not openly state, that certain Ministers of the Crown were so completely under the thumb of the powerful institution referred to that they had no option but to do as they were bidden, and permit State moneys to be used for a certain period for the Bank's sole benefit. These are particularly grave charges to make, even on the floor of the House, where so much latitude is allowed for the freedom of speech. The gravity of the charges was fully realised by the House, and a Committee, with a slight preponderance of Government supporters, was appointed to make a thorough investigation. This Committee has been engaged for nearly a month in arranging preliminaries for an exhaustive inquiry, but, judging by Friday's proceedings in the House, have been hampered by the Government and the Bank in regard to procuring essential evidence. The Bank refuses, upon technical grounds, to produce books and papers necessary to show the commercial relations of certainMinisterswiththeßank. In this action the Bank is supported by the Ministry, and it would now appear that there is a decided desire on the part of those most affected to burk the inquiry, lest the results should prove disastrous to themselves. A distinct endeavor has been made by the Government to make the inquiry superficial instead of searching, and this action, we have no doubt, will be estimated a,t its true, value the country. Whether the charges of the member for Waitotara are true or false cannot be ascertained unless by careful and keen scrutiny, and the Committee are powerless to bring up a report unless full permission is given to peruse all books and documents bearing upon the charges made. In addition to this, power is required to examine witnesses for and against the accuser These privileges have been denied to the Committee, and the consequence is that all the Opposition members appointed have now resigned in a body, believing that anything less than an exhaustive inquiry would be a farce. The position has therefore resolved itself into this, that Government must now either abandon the investigation altogether, or conduct the inquiry themselves. Sufficient evidence has, however, been forthcoming to cause a grave reflection to rest upon certain Ministers of the Crown, and the disposition shown by Ministers and the Rink to burk the enquiry has not in ;my way assisted to remove this reflection, but, on the other hand, has given a colour to the charges made which they did not previously possess. In the interest of the Government, of Mr. Hutchison, and of the country it has becorrfe imperative that the charges made should be sifted to the bottom, but Ministers and Ministeral supporters have effectually prevented this from taking place, and practically Mr. Hutchison's grave charges of coruption against the Government go forth unchallenged.