The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 1890. THE HONORARIUM.
On Friday Mr Downie Stewart, the member for Dunedtin West, and a \ staunch Government supporter, intercepted supply by Jiioving that, as a guarantee of members' sincerity m the matter of retrenchment, the House should reduce the honorarium by £50. This motion was a direct party move, and the mover knew that there was not the remotest chance that the resolntion would be carried. The object of the resolution was not to reduce the country's expenditure, but to bring the i Retrenchment party into contempt, and to prevent further efforts being made to cut down the Estimates. The motion was rejected by 49 to 20, and there is no doubt that the majority will carry with them the sympathies of the people. When drastic retrenchment was first introduced into the House on the accession of the present Government to power, Ministers and members showed, their willingness to bow to the decision of the country by docking their own salaries. The honorarium of private members was reduced to a pepper-corn amount; and the result, we fear, will be that few business men or professional men will now care to take part m the deliberations of the colony. The amount now voted, if the session is a long one, will barely cover expenses. When the session is a short one, which is rarely the case, there is very little surplus from the honorarium, and this surplus, during the recess, is gradually dwindled away by payment of subscriptions to a variety of "worthy objects," to which a member of the House is expected to At present, therefore, it is only well-to-do business men, who can afford to pay someone to look after their business for a few months m the year, who are able to devote a little leisure to the affairs of the colony. If, however, such as these are called upon to make further sacrifices, there is a danger that the colony will not be able to elect a representative Chamber, for the simple reason that no one, except those who have a special axe to grind, will care to take a part m the Government of the country. The colony is too young yet to boast a leisured class who can afford to spend time and money m the effort to serve their adopted country, and a suspicion is abroad that, even if this class did exist, wealthy members, m New Zealand at least, are not the class to whom it ii> desirable to hand over the reins of Government. The honorarium at present, small as it is, will permit of anyone entering Parliament without a serious loss to himself, but if it were further reduced many of the present members of the House, who have done the colony good service m the past, and who are capable of doing niuc'i good m the future, would be shut out. This is not at all desirable. In a young country, m order to secure satisfactory government, it is desirable—nay, it is imperative—that nil classes should be represented, iiud m order to secure this, the honorarium must not be reduced below its present limit. The electoral districts have been increased m size, the number of members reduced, and the honorarium cut down to a figure which precludes the entrance to the House of political adventurers. The country requires no more than this, and certainly has not asked for it, and therefore Mr Stewart's resolution was not called for, and can only be considered, as we hare already said, as a party move to prevent certain favored .'md over-paid Civil servants from bearing their fair share of the country's retrenchment policy