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Serious Charge Against the Bank of New Zealand.

The following is a verbatim report of a passage m Mr Saunders' speech containing his charges against the Bank of New Zealand, and which have excited much interest and talk m the lobbies:—" I say that no man ought to have any right to sit on those benches, or to administer the government of this country, and undertake to deal on our behalf with the Bank of New Zealand, unless he was entirely free from all restraint and all obligation to that bank. I know ifc has been said toi night, and I regret to hear it said, that the Bank of New Ze viand would use its influence improperly with any member of the Government. I think that when once a man is placed m such a position as some of the members of this Government are admitted to be placed m with regard to the bank, and become under a deep obligation m their transactions with the bank, we can really hardly know how far they are influenced by feelings of dependence or gratitude. Nor can they even be sure themselves that such feelings have no influence on their Ministerial duties. However, it is a very painful position, and I may illustrate what I mean by a circumstance that, I think, bears very strongly upon this case and which, I think, will show you, sir, and this House that I have the best reasons i for saying that the Bank of New Zealand is not above using its influence when it is m a position to do so. Ib is about eleven years ago that I thought myself a wealthy, affluent man one day, and the next day I had not a farthing left m the world. Fortunately I was m no one's debt, and I owed nothing to the Bank. But unfortunately one of my sons was m some degree connected with the Bank, and m some degree under its thumb. I think it was on some occasion m this House when a question came before it m connection with the purchase of some of our district railways. Mr Driver was m the House at • the time, and was supposed to represent the Bank of New Zealand. He came to me, knowing my circumstances—how deep my sympathies were for my sou, and how much that son was just then at the mercy of the Bank—and told me that the Bank wished me to vote m a certain direction, tsaid that if I -had to vote m the direction the Bank wished I would resign my seat to-morrow, as I would never betray a constituency by my pretending to represent it when really I only represented the Bank of New Zealand. The next day I saw about 20 notes come int« this chamber. One was handed to me, and the rest were handed around the House. I opened mine, and found it was a message to the same effect—that the Bank wished me to vote m a certain direction, and ] never felt so much humiliated. I sat down to consider whether I ought to resign my seat or not; but I never considered for a moment whether I ought to obey that note or not. This shows m the most practical manner that the Bank is not above using its influence. If it was worth their while to stoop so low for my insignificant vote, is it likely that they would bring no influence to bear on Ministers which •hould put hundreds of thousands of our money into their hands 1 How unlikely then is it that the Government^ the majority of whom seem to have been under some obligation to the Bank, were the members to act on the part of the country m the same independent manner as they should have done. I want to knownothing more. I believe that three members of the Government either are or have been m the hands of the Bank, and if they are not m its hands now, they are out of its hand simply through obligation to the bank, and they are not m a position to sit on those benches."

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2488, 11 August 1890

Word Count

Serious Charge Against the Bank of New Zealand. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2488, 11 August 1890