The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 1890. THE HUTCHISON CHARGES.
The spirit shown by the Opposition members of the Hutchison Charges Committee will commend "itself to the electors of the colony. Appointed by the House, m conjunction with a preponderance : o£ Government supporters, to make an important investigation into the relations between the Government and the Bank of New Zealand, they entered upon their duties with every intention of doing so. Finding themselves hampered and impeded at every turn, however, and the scope of their investigations narrowed down to perfunctory limits, the Opposition member! very properly aiked to be released from a position which they could no longer hold with dignity. In this action they were upheld by the independent chairman of the Committee, who also tendered his resignation, as a protest against the course pursued by the Bank and the Govamment m screening themselves behind » technical objection to prevent the investigation taking place. Ministers, with much warmth, and just a shade of bombast, professed themselves most anxious to hold an enquiry'; appointed a Committee for the purpose; but the inquiry had scarcely commenced before every convenient impediment was placed m the way. No other result than the resignation of the Committee m a body could be looked for under such conditions, but the expected resignation did not take place. Only a section of the Committee resigned, the remainder, by their silence, signifying their willing- ; ness to proceed m any course the Government might direct. The majority of the Committee having resigned, it has been placed beyond the power of the minority to proceed, and the Government, of the three courses open to them, are not likely to take advantage of the one to pack the Committee with their own supporters, whose report, they well know, could not be worth the paper it would be written upon. The Ministry have tried one alternative course open to them, viz., to induce Mr Hutchison to reiterate his charges outside the House, and they would then proceed against him for libel m the Law Courts. This Mr Hutchison very properly declined to do. He has been appointed by his constituents to represent them m the House, and to use his beat efforts on behalf of the colony. Neither his constituents nor the colony Avill therefore expect him to lay himself open to personal loss or inconvenience when carrying out his functions as a member of the House. His charges may or may not be true. They may be untrue, yet based upon a misconception. But even allowing thfi latter to be the case, he was quito within his rights as ft member of the House m giving utterance to his convictions as the people's representative. Ho is not called upon to make the charges outside the House, and would !>(>- foolish to do so. What has occurred m the House would be simply repeated m the Law Courts, viz., technical objections would be taken to prevent evidence being admitted, and the decision of the Court would be given only upon the meagre evidence submitted, and which a Parliamentary Committee has already declared to be insufficient upon which to bring up a report. The " come outside and hare it out" challenge on the part of the Government is not dignified, and can serve no useful public purpose. The third course opm* to the Government is the only legitimate one, namely, to appoint a Royal Commission, and if this is done the Commission should be as independent as possible, and thoroughly free from relations with the financial institution concerned or with the Government.