The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1890.
Our Parliamentary correspondent wires that a rumor is current m Wellington that provision will be made m the Supplementary Estimates for the reinstatement of salaries of heads of department lately reduced m Committee of Supply. We are not at all surprised to hear this. The Ministry have all along been the special champions of the Civil Service, and the reductions effected by the House were wrung from an unwilling Cabinet. It is little wonder, then, that the Cabinet should make a final effort on behalf of their portege\s, and seek to reinstate their salaries. The Civil Service Association, formed to protect its own interests, has the ear of the Ministry, and the ratepayers' pockets have become a secondary consideration. Weeks have been passed by the House, and all-night sittings have been held, while the Estimates were being carefully and thoughtfully considered. The result of all this deliberation has been the cutting clown of the public expenditure, with the object of reducing taxation. Now, m a moment, and by a side-wind, the Ministry, who went into office on the Retrenchment ticket, propose to undo all this valuable work for no other earthly object that we can conceive than to curry favor with overpaid and under-worked heads of department m the Civil Service. Of course it is only a rumor that the Government will thus endeavor to stultify the action of the majority of members of the House; but we are afraid the rumor is only too well-founded. During the discussions m Committee of Supply mysterious hints fell from the Minister m charge that the members " were only wasting their time," and " supplementary estimates" were darkly hinted at. These shadows now begin to assume definite form; and when members are thoroughly weary and th'ed after a long session's work, Government propose to bring down the Estimates again m their original form. It is notlikely that members, at this late hour of the day, will again contest the items one by one, and by a mild form of " stone-wall" compel the Ministry either to resign or give effect to the wishes of the House. Therefore, should the Government, as rumored, bring down m the supplementary estimates a proposal to undo all the useful work m cutting down the estimates, the chances are greatly .m favor of the Cabinet carrying the day. It is too late m the session to debate a no-con-fidence motion. Already members arc leaving Wellington for their homes, and the Supplementary Estimate;-; will be presented to a thin and half-hearted House. Under such circumstances it will be little wonder if they are adopted without debate. But the country's attention has been thoroughly aroused on this matter, and should the Government carry out their rumored intention, the coming elections, we have no doubt, will teach a lesson not likely to be soon forgotten.