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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The House met ac 10 a.m. . THE UNION COMPANY AND THE XA^IOKAD 1■ ■■ ' : .., ' PARK. , , .• ■ ', Replying to questions- Mr, Mifcchelson said the Government could not take into consideration the question of purchasing the Union Oompanys fleet. I'he completion of the purchase of the Ruftpehu National Park, had be-in delayed by some of fche native owners asking prohibitive prices; Is 6d an acre was enough to give for it. The Govern menfc would continue their efforts to complete the purchase. , THfl APPROPRIATION BILLS. The Appropriation Bill for £2,076,709 and Public Works Appropriation Bills were introduced, read a second time and committed. - Speaking on the motion for the third reading of the Appropriation Bill, Mr Ballance referred to the memorandum sent down to the House yesterday by the Auditor-General respecting the reduction lately made m the Audit Department, He could only say that the AuditorGeneral had not been correctly informed as to the proceedings of the House, or he would not have forwardeid such an alarming document as' that..' If the AuditorGeneral made the reductions which he indicated, he would not be following the instructions of the House. He (Mr Ballance) was of opinion that an assistant Auditor-General was not required at all, and if the Auditor-General reduced the efficiency of the Department, he would not be following put the wishes of the House*, Referring to the oonduct of business m the House, he wished to acknowledge the, invariable fcpurtesy exhibited during the.session- by the ActingPremier, but he could not compliment the Government oh the manner m which they had carried on the business. This he attributed chiefly to the absence of the Premiep from the House* >He (Mr Ballance) sympathised deeply with the Premier m his present illness, but he felt at the same time that any honorable gentleman who was entrusted with the leadership of the House should have full responsibility m doing so, otherwise the business could not be transacted satisfactorily. He went on to refer to the failure of the Government to pasa several Bills which had been promised by the Government last session, especially; the Civil Service Bill, the Bankruptcy Bill, and the Charitable Aid Bill. Th» Jfact of those Bills not having been through the House, showed that the Government had not a true appreciation of the necessities of the country. Then as to ? the Labor Bills. The House had shown every desire to pass those measures, but as the Government possessed a large majority m the other House (no) those Bills were defeated m that Chamber. He believed, however, that much of the evils of the present session might have been avoided if the Government had dissolved Parliament during the session. Referring to the proposed defence scheme, he hoped that the Government intended to avail themselves of the services of country volunteer corps, as, if they did so, there would be no necessity for a partially paid force, which would be the nucleus of a standing army; As to the question of land administration, they were promised a Bill to prevent dummyism, but he asked where that Bill was. It was proved that the law had been evaded m many instances, which, m his opinion, amounted to dummyism ; and nothing else. Yet nothing had been done to check it. There was nothing to his mind which was more likely to settle the cquntry than by enabling people to get land for bonaf.de purposes, but his opinion was that the administration of the land foi;«the last three years had been a miserable failure. He spoke strongly- against the aggregation of large estates which had been allowed to take place, and contended that nothing but population and putting people on to the land would settle the colony satisfactorily. He defended the action of the Opposition with regard to the reduction m the Estimates, and said that they were actuated by right motives m making those reductions, and that the retrenchment party were entitled to the whole credit for combining with the Opposition m effectingjthe reductions. They had saved about £50,000, and they had also exercised a careful control of the Estimates by their action, as well as promoted! economy m the public service. As, to the Property Tax, if the Auckland members had been as earnest m their opposition to that tax as they professed to be, they would have supported; every proposal to repeal it. He was one of those who believed that property should bear some taxation, and if theProperfcy Tax were removedsome other impost should be-.{substituted, fpr it. His own opinion was that a graduated land tax was the preferable one, afld he considered that such a tax as that could be defended on sound economic principles. Referring to the charges against the Government by the member for Waitotara, he was not prepared to say whether those charges were true or false, but he contended that Mr Hutchinson showed every possible inclination to establish his charges, but he was prevented from doing so by the action of the Government themselves. He regretted as much as anybody that the Select Committee was not allowed to pursue its investigation , into this question, but he was riot disposed to condemn oho Government unless he had the clearest possible proof for doing so. Regarding the question of | the reduction of members which was now about to be tested, he said that the reduction was one of the most serious blows ever inflicted on Parliament, and was a retrograde movement m every respect. There was no doubt it was intended to cripple the Liberal party m the country, but he hoped that it would not have any such effect. The £3000 to £4000 saved to the country by the reduction of members would be a very small consideration compared with the enormous injuries inflicted on the colony. He contended that when the Government found that they c0u.14

not pass the policy measures which wer required by the country, it was their duty to appeal to the country at once, instead of pursuing the course which they had done all through the session. Mr Beetham, Mr Taylor, and Mr Verrall also spoke. Mr Mitchelson said that he differed from Mr Ballance as to the reduction of the Audit vote. The reduction made m that vote would certainly cause injury to the system of auditing the accounts of the colony. As to Mr Balance's reflection on the management of the business of the House during the session, he resented that assertion, and said that the Governm«nt had conducted the business as efficiently as it was possible to do. It any mismanagement had occurred the Opposition wore wholly responsible font, as their action for the tii-st. eig: i ".■ iiino weeks of the session was discredit,le "> the highest de K rec, scarcely any Lu.iiaess beingdone at nil between Mr Biyce and Mr Ba lance, fhe member for Wangamu had also U vittec the Government with not passing then policy Bills, but he again asserted that the Opposition by their systematic obstruction were wholly responnbio for that. With respect to Mr Ballance« statement that the Labor Bills, after passing'in the House were rejected m the Oounefl,- he (Mr Mitchelson) desired to point out that the Government had shown every desire to get those Bills passed into law, but the fact was that, whilst those gentlemen m the Legislative Council who usually supported the Government were found voting for the Labor Bills, the members m that Chamber who actually caused the Bills to be rejected and who strongly opposed them, were those who were appointed to seats m the Council by Mr Ballance and his friends. Respecting / the reductions made m the Estimates, he said that they amounted to £44,481, leaving £5619 to make up tho £50,000 which the Government had promised to reduce. The Government intended to make that reduction out of the public buildings vote, and they still intended to make other reductions during the recess. With respect to Mr Ballance's assertion that the Opposition had forced the Government to abandon "the primage duty, he warned the House that, owing to the labor troubles, there would be a deficiency next year of at at least £50,000. He contended, therefore, that if the Opposition had done its duty this deficiency would not occur. He agreed with Mr Ballance when he hoped that the next election would return a Government who were able to cvrry on the business of the country satisfactorily, but he felt sure that the result of the elections would be to give the Government side of the House such a large majority as to provide for a strong Government being formed. The Appropriation Bill was read a third time and passed. The House rose at 2 p.m. The House resumed at 2.30 p.m. NATIVE LAND LAWS AMENDMENT BILL. Mr Hislop moved that the House does not insist on its disagreement with the amendments made by the Legislative Council m the Native Land Laws Amendment Bill. After some discussion this was agreed to. A message was received from the Legislative Council, returning the Native Land Laws Amendment Bill, which was finally passed. Mr Mitchelson moved that the House at its rising adjourn till that day week. The motion was agreed to by 30 to 8. THE ADJOUKNMENT. On the Speaker resuming the chair at 5 p.m., the Governor's assent to the Appropriation Bill was received, and the House adjourned. THE WOKK OF THE SESSION. The schedule of the business of the cession is as follows : — Select Committees set up 13 Public Bills originated m the House 132 Public Bills brought from the Council 16 Private Bills 2 Petitions prenented 308 Divisions ... ... ••• •■• 288 Days of meeting ••• 57 Hours of sitting ... ... ••• 505 Daily average... ... B|hrs Questions asked Ministers ... ••• 465 fin tries m the Journals 976 Orders for papers ... ... •• • 90 Papers laid on the table ... ••• 232 Reports from Select Committees ... 389

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900918.2.18.2

Bibliographic details

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2521, 18 September 1890

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2521, 18 September 1890

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