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THE ELECTIONS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2552, 24 October 1890
MR JAMES 35110W1* AT 'ME OBDI FEiiLows 1 Hall.
Last night Mr James Brown, of Netherby, Wakanui, one of ths candidatoa for the Ashburton seat m the House of Representatives, addressed'the electors'in fcho Oddfellows' Hall. Quito 300 ptrojilo were m the hall, and beyond a runri'ihg ■ commentary on. the speech, kept up by an enthusiastic Irishman, Mr Brown tint an excellent heaving. The Irish gentleman, at the reqaost of the Mayor, became leys and le.vs irnqtient m his verbal annotations, and finally ce«v.ed altogether. Mt Brown »poke for an houfc and ten. minutes, arid vrax frequently applauded. The Mayor, m «. few words, introduced fcho candidate, and bespoke for him a fain hearing. INTKODTJCTqET. Mr Brown began by explaining his coming before the electors of, Ashburton ws a candidate. H» wished them to understand that he did so entirely on his own responsibility. Some time ago,; "the man m the street" told him he] might expect to receive a requisition ask-' ing him to stand as a candidate., quently he Srivr m the public prinbsthat a j requisition was m course of signature.; He knew that those signing such: a .requisition must be somewhat iii the dark as to his political opinions, aud it struck him that the best thing for him to do was to'announce himself at once—to stand 1 erect on a platform of his own construction, and leave his friends at perfect liberty to vote for him or not. For at that ;ime lie had seen several political platforms m the papers, bub he had to say that he could 1 not endorse every -plank, and therefore felt quite unfit -p> .defend them. THK OTHER CANDIDATES. Now, with regard to his opponents. He wished to say that they were gentlemen for whom he had the very highest respect; gentlemen whom, m all his dealings with them, he had always found courteous and obliging; but their political views were not "his views and Mr Brown belwved they were not the views of the majority of those then hearing him. • . 1 TIIE PUBLIC ACCOUXT3, He did not intend to trouble them; much with figures, and he would leavo m abeyance the question as to whether there j had been a surplus as claimed by the Colonial Treasurer ; or that the expenditure was £450,000 more than the revenue, as stated by the member for, Lincoln (Mr Saunders.) The financial debate showed a great diversiiy of opinion; as to the public accounts, and plainly "in-; dicated the need for the accounts being, presented m a simpler form, so that any one might understand them. ■ PABTY GOVERNMENT. Ono of the first questions that should' receive the attention of the new P)irli;iment should be that, of party government, for never before hud the evils of that fbttn ofj|governmerifc been I» night so prominently before the public as during the existence of the Parliament that had just ceased. Dr Hodgkinson moved last session for a Committee to enquire into the matter, and report m a fortnight. The motion was lo.st by a majority of two, but the debate was a very instructive one and well worth careful perusal. The Dr. traced the history of Government from the early days, and showed that party government, such as we knew it, Wis little more than 100 years old, and that m America and other countries^, party government did not exist. Major Steward followed with a very able speech m favor of the motion, and gave theHoiwj this extract, which pretty well sum ■sup the evils of party government:—"Lifelong allegiance and subordination to a party, or'to a chief, mean, to the thinkivi" man, lifelong intellectual enslavement, for the thoughts of man are diverse. ■ It is impossible to conceive of a man, not being a drone or a half wittcd nonentity^ who can find himself m itecorfl with tli<j views of any narty or chief whosoever on all points. "There must be some different planks m his platform. Political principle under the party system comes to mean political dishonesty. Smothered insubordination and half-hearted political action are the inevitable produce* of this accur-e'l legacy of party Government. Our present system of Government is eating into the very marrow of pur national life ; it is making all men think with the cynic that the very words patriotism, honour, truth, earnestness and the like, should be relegated to a glossary of obsolete phrases." These were the charges against party government, aivl he was afraid they were too true. He thought it wai a pity that the House did not see its way; to appoint the Committee. It appeared to him the present state of party warfare could not be permitted to continue, and that fchs Standing Orders would have to be amended, limiting the time that a member should be allowed to occupy-the attention of the Hou.se. , LAND SETTLEMENT, The settlement of the land had occupied a great deal of attention during the; past fewyears, and had been the subjectiqf mqny., attacks on the present Minister of Lands, by that section of the press which gave its support to the Opposition. He was of opinion that the existing land laws were the best the colony had ever had, and that m their administration Mb Richardson had shown very considerable energy and ability. He had been the best abused man m the Ministry, and the least diaerving of it. When Mr Ballanee addressed the electors at Wanganui he m [ ( \ ;__" With regard to Crown lands, the people have now no opportunity of getting land suitable for farms. They can got ifc in''blocks of 3QQQ aqrea, but not m sections of 200 or 300 acres." Mr Ballance's statment was not correct, for within the county of Ashburton any sized section from 22 acres up to 640 acres could be obtained, and on any of the three systems of purchase. MiBrown went on to say he had himself been land hunting m the North Island, and bad (jarred his swiig over the Tararua Range'; he had also been over some of the rough country on the Waitotara river. He could certify that every one he had come m contact with was most obliging. There were guides to show the land, tents erected for the selectors to sleep m, and provisions at cost pitice. ■ That)'wan m the August of last year.' He was an eyewitness to the drawing m Wellington, where, he. was an unsuccessful applicant, and he could testify that every thing apneared to be dxme with the greatest fairness and quite >boveboard. As fox . f pUSfMYISM," he believed there was a good deal of that sort of thing. A man wanted a section for himself iand family, and instead of putting'in his own name singly, he put m the name of- each member of the family, for ifc was a matter of no consequence which one of them got After a)! the ravjng of a certain class of men about the mal-admiriistmti'on of t'h\e. land laws, what did the Committee on Dummyism report I Why, after a most searching enquiry, going as far back as 1884, " that it is the duty of the Government to take steps to enforce the law, and refcommend that offenders against whom a charge. will lie, be 4>j!^3«uted,c...with a view, to putting a stop to the iik<* nrqefcices m the future. 1' They did not rcoominoud 4ny alteration m the law. The great obstacle to thjj settlement of the lands was the want of road.s. He was m favor of the Government opening up the Crown lands byi i'lie formation 1' oi roaju roads:, settlement could ntJt ' progress otherwise. They ought to encourage the industries that pay the nations debt. There was now no loan money coming m, and wo had to find , frojn op exported produce. £3,250,000 to
pay •Mr London interest—that was the millstone that hung around the necks of the New Zealand people. He was. most decidedly against borrowing any more money. But how were they to got' the money to open up the Crown Lands ? Were they to allow their people to leave the colony for want of employment ? Hfc hoped not, He thought a lesson might: be taken from the people of the island of Guernsey, when a, Market .Hall Avas wanted." £4000 were required—men and material wore available, but the cash th<\y had not. The Governor signed and stamped £.l notes to the amount of £4000, and made those notes a legal tender throughout the island. The Hall' was built, and brought... them m £400 a yonr, with which they took up their notes to that amount yearly. In New Zetland Government might issue notes the same I way. The notes would be backed by the lands opened up. By this means every man might have work who was -willing-to work, bat it would have to be piece-work at fair value. The growing of grain, wool, and mutton must bo encouraged, and the output increased. Theso were the industries that wanted fostering, as all others m the colony depended upon them. LAND AND INCOME TAX. A great many people desired that a land and income tax should immediately take the place of the property tax. He could not support the proposition. In theory, nothing could be fairer than an income tax. Practically, nothing would be more outrageous m a country like New/Zealand. He would like to know what were the incomes that were to be taxed. Was a farmer's land to be taxed as Avell as the income derived from it ? Was the mortgagee who owned three-fourths of a farm to be taxed on his income ? If so, then the .farmer would have to pay it, for the mortgagee would raise the interest. But-how was the amount Of a person's income to he got at 1 Mark Twain's little story called "A Mysterious Visit" was instructive on this question, and he would adVise them to read it. A land tax would have a great many advantages over an income tax for this reason- it was a fixed quantity and could not be hid. It could not be sent over to Australia about; the Ist of October overy third year. The rogue w«juld be cornered : he would have to pay liia fait, share with the honest man. But it would be a class tax, and would fall entirely on the owners of the land. It would be equal to the state aaying to every hndlord, •■liamtmfl over part of yonr rents every year," Considering row the most of the people of New Zealand had acquired their land, such a tax could not be defended on principle. He thought it was aCpity that the Crown lands had ; not been sold subject to a land tax, say, on the selling value; exempting the farmer's improvements, but including the value diven by railways, and the increase of population. Still, they had to make the best of things .as they found them. A land tax Avould allow about one-third of country property to escape taxation which was at present taxed, and about ono-half of town property, so that such a change would be greatly to the interest of the towns.. He was not m favor of that change at the present time, because it would increase taxation on the farming community. There was a law standing on our statute book called the " Deceased Estates Duties Act" which operated on a graduated scale, very nicely, and went upward ;by reasonable steps of £5030. It started 'at 2 nor cent, and rum up the whole of the figures to 10 per cent. It seemed to him t3 be a barbarous law, and one that ought to'be'repealed. Just fancy.a nun on "'his deathbed, surrounded by those dearest, to him, when m stops stealthily the " King of Terrors " and tikes th<s J maYs life, which is no sootier done than m comes the Colonial Treasurer and takes the deceased's purse. Yes, and he carefully counts the money, and puts every tenth sovereign m his pocket. But tha rich don't die every day, uni the poor do ; and some are glad to got away from this cold world. He would reneal that law, and put the duties on some' hing like the same scale on the same class of people while they are living. It would work nicely, and would bo better if put on landed property oily. A wealthy man by this msans might have the pleasure of seeing his rates from this source elucating the people, and cultivating the minds of those who would some day guide the destinies of this young country to .something higher than any of our legislators have yet pointed to. Some people may say that such would be a bursting-up tax. Perhaps it might, but he did not invent the graduated scale. It misrht be a bombshell m the heart of a big estate, but it ..could only scatter it m fragments of about £5000 m value. It wouid kill nobody, and would make some of tht waste places of the earth more habitable. EDUCATION.. Above all other questions, that of education deserved the careful attention if every person m the colony, When it was" considered that they all stood on the same footing—rich and poor, learned and ignorant, —as regarded political power, it would be seen that it was the imperative duty of the State to see that every child was well educated. If this were nob attended to f the State coach of Bellamy's "Looking Backward" might come to grief, and those now on the top might have more need of salves and plasters than those below^ Education, it had been well said, was an insurance against anarchy. There were some people always loud m their praise of our national school system, who seemed to think, and had got many to believe, that the system was nearly perfect; but those people carefully avoided sending their own children to the primary public schools. They would have noticed that the State tried to turn th.c children out of the schools as a brickmaker did his bricks out of a mould. It was a socialistic system, and did not recognise the natural differences m individuals —how a boy may be clever m one thing, and a dolt m another. He would do nothing that would render the system less efficient ; but he would not be satisfied with that, he wanted to improve it. The law was badly administered by thfi Education Board ; the Board was partial to the large towns. It was extravagant m the way of salaries, but not to country teachers. It gave its Secretary £550 a year, and the two Inspectors £500 a year each, with an additional £100 a year each for travelling expenses. Those inspectors seemed to do what they liked, and were allowed to construe the Education Act to suit themselves. In his (Mr Brown'-s) opinion they had reduced the standard of examination. A. boy now passing the sixth standard was not so well taught as one who passe 1 the fifth a few years- ago. This kept up the per centage and made their work appear more favourable when compared with \ others. The results were not at all satisfactory. It could not well be otherwise,'for there Nya's a whole, army interested m bolstering up the system—each class for it own interest. He wanted the examinations conducted on some uniform principle throughout the colony, and not left.tq the. capr}qe of an individual inspector. The standards qught to ht> more elastic, so that a child should not be kept back because it happened to fail m one or two subjects of minor importance. Country schools wight to be empowered to impWt higher instruction than that given under ttie sixth standard, on payment of fees, and the limit of instruction to be given should be bounded only by the masters ability to teach, The Inspector ought to see to ail these. _ Further, the examination papers of the higher standards ought to be returned to £he Committees anil the masters should they wish to see them —the sun ought to shine on everything- When Mr Walker .last addressed theni m !th» j hajl he expressed a sincere j hope th| '* the present admirable system
of education would not be interfered with; that if the people of'th^ colony got noththing else for fcljiei/laviih expenditure of borrowed monaj^sjthey had gofc their education system m full wbrkim; order, with the oorLainity iof Riving their children a good education." Ho might have added "by pnyinginducctly for it." He might als« havo to* d them that m Committee of Supply the Government proposed Unit £4 1>,000 be devoted to school buildings. The Minister pointed out how they had been neglecting -pchool buildings during the last two yeara, and, that it • would be the Worst 'economy to cufc.down the vote. Tho Minister al.°3<> told how m one place, a school wks'kepfc 1 m an iron, shanty.sp, lpw that JiO; could touch the roof with his hand, and iv another where the children were taught m ft shed on fine days and on bad days, of course, there wan no schooling. Mr Buxton pointed out how children were being neglected m the ivoHh Island, and voted, like a true liberal, for the whole, amount. Mr .Ballancp and the member, for Ashburton trwcHto reduce the vote by^ £10,000 and when they failed m that they fou&ht the ground''inch by inch and succeeded ill reducing the vote by £5000.; He 'might also have told them that every! child at the High Schools cost the country; £12 a head. Why should these schools be so well provided for and the primary; schools neglected. At the Asnburtori High School he-noticed that there werfl six children under ten years of age. He knp.w that the £12 per head 'djid not come out of the taxes —it cariie 'but of the revenue derived from educational ref serves, which belong as much to the poor man as to the rich. The PRIVATE SCHOOLS 81LL..../. was a measure which he heartily approved of. The principle of it was that if any number of people built a school, furnished ifc properly, and gave supli education as was required by the Education Act, aiid to the satisfaction of the inspectors, the State should pay. them £2 a head on the average attendance ; but no school that had an average attendance of less than seventy -five -should be entitled to any grant from the State. Every child at tha present time cost the country £4 a head at the primary schools. Now, if the taxpayers could got the same edncatioij for £2, surely it -woujd' be foolish t6 refuse to take it. That was the position, and it was so fair that he could not conceive why any^ reasonable man should object to, it.. But there were higher grounds on which he would support this Bill. He respected ;lhe \ religious convictions of his follow-nisil,tuicLrthoro were some , amongst them whose religious convictions debarred,them from sending their children to the national schools. The schools that would bo recognised under this Bill could only exist m large towns, and could m no manner injuriously interfere with, the 'State system. Then it was said that it would be denominationalism, and lead to the breaking up of tho secular system. ;' In k^s 'opinion there was nothing to feai\ If lie thought I so, he would not support it. But he would ask what was there abou| denominational schools that made people so afraid? They, existed;/ int-he Old Country, and were doing "ijust. as good work for a gront deal loss money. A Royal Commission was appointed by the I HouseofCommonstoenquireintjjthewhole j system of education, and they, l-epprted most favourably on denominational schools I and said : " There is no reason '.why. the i principle of voluntary schools, receiving annual aid from the ratoa, should not be extended, and rate aid -frivsn." Ha looked upon this Bill, if p:ifned, as likely to hare I a beneficial effect on, the .present system. There was.'a'Government stroke m higher life than pick and shovel work, arid these schools that would come under the Private Sc o'ols Bill, would show to the public what we oug" t to expect as the result of a year's teaching. LOCAL OPTION. He was m favour of what was known as "Local Oution"—tba*, is, to amend the licensing law iv suoh a manner as will give the people thn power, by ballot, to reduce the number of licensed, houses m their districts. Ho believed m local go/ornnnn 1:, and thought tho people should have the ■management of their own affairs as much as possible. At present the ratepayer.-! had the right to say whether they would have the number rif such houses increased or riot,' but, they should also havo the right to say whether their number should V>6 reduced or nob. He would, (rive every woman m the district a voice m this matter, for on being near to a public house, or far from one, depended the happiness "of many a;-home, the weal or woe of many a family. It had been said that to take away a Irian's license would be unjust, and that the licensee should be entitled to compensation. He hud looked through the Act, but could find no grounds on which compensation could be' claimed. The engagement was ffom' year to year, and there would be no breach of agreement He might as well claim compensation from the public if they voted for another license being granted m the district. If public opinion should change, and come to the conclusion that a certain house was not wanted m the neighborhood, that was sufficient reason, as the law now stood, for refusing; to renew a license. But before he would close a house he,would give timely notice. He would give the people the power by ballot, and felt confident that it would make the publicans more careful how they conducted their business. He thought local option would be to the interest of the public, and more so if fewer publicans'licenses wore granted, and m their place New Zealand wine licences. . " Let us drink thejuioe of our own fruits, and keep the money m the country." Mr Fulton tried to have the licensing law amended last year, but failed. The member for Ashburton, the other night when m this hall, spoke on this matter and said that he could , not support Mr Fulton's motion on account of the assertions made m the preamble, the first of which was this— " Whei eas-sie enormous direct expenditure on intoxicating liquors m this colony contributes largelyto the existing depression, adds materially to crime und poverty and reduces the capital available for reproductive industries." Every thinking man knowing that the liquor Bill m 1888 was £2,000,000 would endorse that preamble without hesitation. The motion to amend the law was oarrried by 36 against 26. Among the political associations there was a great cry for what they called RADICAL REFORM IN THE MANACMENT OF OUR RAILWAYS. He did not know what that meant, and was afraid the Commissioners were not popular. Many attacks had been made upon |Sir Harry for not engaging a railway expert m the Old Country. He was : not m favour of bringing men from any I country to teach them how to attend to their own business. Our railways appeared to be very well conducted. Every one connected with them was civil and obliging, and their working had been remarkably free from accidents. That was what he called good management. He would like to see them tun ,more m the interest of the greit industries of the country. He .would have both freight and fares reduced considerably, and was of opinion chat such would be greatly to the benefit of all. More attention to farmers' wants during (.he grain season should be given that was given last year, arid every facility afforded for building grain sheds. Fares and freights should belimit4d by Parliament The Commissioners niade^ great mistake m connection with the dismissal of tho railway men ; those wfto, spoke at the public meeting. Men nrast be allowed to discuss their grievances, r'eaif or imaginary. To burke discussion isapra wajr|fco foster secret societies
Superfluous steam, rrusf; bo allowed to escape, or they might have.an,«xplpsion ■worse than that of Tarawera.'.- v ,:-, THE LABOR BILLS. The Sweating Commission h^d done good service to the couutry, and had exposed the .serious hardships inflicted' on poor people by/keen competition amoncr unscrupulous man. Long hours ;uk| small pay—not sufficient to feed and clothe the workers, is the tale told..by industrious women. Boy v,w\ airt labor m excess.v with little regard to their health, and they not being taught .their trades as they should be, are common complaints. Sergeant Gamble said— 4< I,know a factory whore seven or night full grown men and b >ys are workii.s; m a room of about tr>n feet square, with, an iron roof sloping over their heiids less than nine feet high, and where the atmosphere when I was, m ib was like the sweating room m a Turkish brtth." Mr Brown went en to say he wpuld do his hesfctolmfe tho law amended in 1' the direction indicated by the Conimis-: sion. Cut-throat competition must be restricted. The worker was worthy of his hire, and that hirp . must be sufficient to feed and clothe. him, and make provision for old ag^. .. ;. . .>■■■'} ■ ■■v<r/ ' " FEDERATION. ..., .' -: ! Federation with the Australian Colonies had occupied the attention of . our legislators during the past year.; The general opinion m this-, colony; appeared to be against it. In that he differed from them. They seemed to look forward to a time whentlris country would be the Britain of the South—a nation by itself. They lost sight of the fact that nations will progress like individuals, to a higher civilisation. Unions of'slates and nations had ( stopped,,the petty wars cf oWen times, and we may hope by further federation to abolish the horrors df war and all its calamoities for: ever. He would strengthen the bonds of friendship m every ; possible 1, way. , lie thought a free interchange of commodities among th» Colonies would be to ' the interest of all. Federation would depend entirely on the terms of agreements, and ib w.is perhaps well to be cautious. But it would come whether ourpresent legislutor.3 likedit or not. Labor had already federated, though with little benefit; but it would profit by the experience. Federated labor was the power that would yet federate nations; not for the purposes of war, but for the cultivation of the arts of peace. We had learned that warj prompted by ambitious rulera, had been the curse of the earth, and had hung a heavy hui'den of debt on succeeding i generations, whereby one man had go toil that his more fortunate brother might be kept m idleness. . There was room for reform. Let unionism and federatioii flourish, not on the narrow basis of selfishness, but on the broad basis that leads to the brotherhood of men- through-; out the civilised world. He-' 1 should] therefore, press onward m that direction and'hoped with the assistance of his fellowmen, to bring about a better sbjite; of things than those of to-day. (Applause.) '■" '- - , 9XJRSTIOSTS. . . '.■. In answer to questions, Mr Brown said he was not m favor of a State Bank, and his reference to the isaue of notes, with the lands sold as security for them, he only intended as an easy and ready means of supplying funds to make roads. He was not m favor of leaving the choice of a master wholly m the hands of the School Committee. The work done iv schools' that ..would be called into existence by the Private Schools Bill would be sure to ca.use a healthy smvit of emulation m the '•ther schools He..did not consider, the publican entitle:! to any kind of compensatjon—not even the two years' notice he had suggested. But he thought that notice should he given to allow the man to clear out his stock. Anything m the shape of a land tax would discourage going upon the land, and it was the State's duty to encourage the growing of produce. He thought the licnist should pay for. the thrashing of the grain he held, when the grower was not able to do so. Both parties m the House of Representatives' we're averse to altering the incidence of taxation, so that' a laud tax.:, would ba: substituted'for a. property tax. He was m favor of the Labor Bill*, but did not think the Eight. Hours' Bill. would work iv an'agricultural, and "pastoral districts Tho Upper House, as at present, constituted, was not satisfactory.: He would like to see its members elected by the; House of Representatives, and their tenure of, office to extend over six or eight years* A vote of thanks for his address was unanimously passed to Mr Bfcpwri, on the motion of Mr M'Rae, Secretary of the Working Men's Political Association ; and after a vote of .thanks, to the Chairman, moved by Mr Brown, had been accordedj the, proceedings closed. ' i
THE ELECTIONS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2552, 24 October 1890
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