The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas Et Prævalebit. THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 1890. THE HUTCHISON CHARGES.
In common with the majority of newspapers m "the colony, we have received from the Government Printer, under separate cover, the reply of the Minister of Education to charges against the Government. The particular charges referred to are those of the member for Waitotara, and deal with alleged improper relations between certain Ministers of the Crown and the Bank of New Zealand. The " Hansard" containing the reply of Mr Hislop to these charges reached us previousto what we may term the latest "special electioneering appeal of the Ministry," and the first thought suggested on receipt of the latter was, " who pays the expense ?" Surely " Hansard" affords sufficient publicity to the Ministry to set their views before the country, without running the taxpayers into additional expense by clipping therefrom one-sided Ministerial views and scattering them broadcast over the land. If, however, "Hansard" does not afford the requisite \ publicity, the cost of increased publicity should be borne from the private purses of Ministers, and not from the public funds. If the Government Printing Office is to be used for such purposes the sooner it is closed the better. With the reply of Ministers to the charges made we are not at liberty to deal, as the whole matter will shortly come before the Supreme Court, and the subject matter of the charges and reply thereto are practically sub jxtiice. We .ire, however, as a public journal, concerned with the manner and method m which Ministers have dealt with these charges, and we cannot compliment the Hon. Mr Hislop on the tone of the speeches made m reply. The charges made by Mr Hutchison, true or untrue, are the gravest which could be uttered m the House, find the reply thereto should have been dignified and firm, devoid of all personalties and unworthy insinuations. Instead of this, however, the speech of the Minister of Education is a long-winded jeremiad of unbecoming bitterness m which unparliamentary language is not absent, and m which the most unworthy motives are attributed to the member for Waitotara. Even, .idmiting. for the sake of argument, that the charges made by Mr Hutchison are not true —and which we trust, for the honour of the Ministers concerned, is the case—the grossly personal tone adopted by a Minister of the Crown m refuting them is not warranted. It does not redound to the credit of the Ministry, who should set the House an example m Parliamentary decorum, that the Minister put up to answer the charges sliould require to be called to order on more than one occasion by the Speaker of the Hou.sc for using unparliamentary language. The country has a right to expect and demand that, however badly the rank and file of the House may conduct themselves, the occupants of the Ministerial Benches shall at least conduct themselves with becoming dignity. The seriousness of any charges that may be made are no excuse for an ungentlem.inly or undignified reply. In this respect at least the Minister of Education has not fulfilled the trust reposed m him, and it may now be said, with good reason, that the rank and file cannot be expected to conduct themselves decorously when Ministers of the Crown do not do so.