THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION.
Public Mbeting. A public meeting, convened by the Miyor in compliance with a requisition, in order to enable the various candidates for municipal honors to address the ratepayers, was held last night in the Oddfellows' Hall. There was a crowded attendance, the hall being filled' to overflowing. His Worship the Mayor occupied the chair, and called upon the town clerk to read the requisi'ion which had been sent to him asking that the meeting might be called. Mr Haskins read the requisition as follows: —"To his Worship the Mayor of Christchurch.—Sir — We, the undersigned ratepayers, respectfully request that you will convene a public meeting as soon as convenient, in order that we may become acquainted with the various opinions held by those gentlemen who are anxious to represent ns at the next civic election. Signed by fifty - nine ratepayers." His Worship said as this was an annual meeting, he need not say much about the reason for calling it, as they were all aware of that. He would read the programme of the business of the' evening. There were eight candidates to address them, and he had fixed the time for each at a quarter of an hour. There was no need for the. candidates to take all that time, but no doubt many of them would require to have a longer time than that to make their case good. He, would ask that any questions might ba put concisely, so as to have the answers given shortly. The order in which he proposed the candidates should speak was, that the three retiring councillors who were candidates for re-elec-tion—viz., Crs. Bird, Briggs, and Toomer, should speak first in the order he had named, and that then the other candidates should come in the order in which their; nomination papers Were handed in. [Cheers.] Mr W. Wilson—Mr Mayor and gentlemen, I protest against the ruling of the Mayor in this matter as unfair. I consider that candidates, who have served as Mayors of Christchurch have a prior claim to be heard. [Cheers and uproar.] I speak on behalf of Mr Grapes as well as myself, and I say once more wist the two Mayors are entitled to take precedence. [OrieS; of "No, no," and cheers.] I Bhall be quite content to take your vote on! it. [Cheers, and cries of "sit down."3 I will now ask the Mayor to put a resolution to you that" the proceedings of the meeting be as I have said. [Uproar.] Mr Mayor—l beg to move—" That the two ex-Mayors address the meeting prior to the the other candidates." [No, no, and npoar.] The Mayor—Gentlemen—l don't think Mr .Wilson has any right to interfere with any arrangements which.have been made by mc for the conduct of this meeting. [Cheers.] It is precisely the same course that was followed last year on a Similar occasion, wben Mr Gapes was Mayor, and I don't think that gentleman will wish to havo it different from ; what it was then, and therefore I say that Mr Wilson should allow the meeting to go on in the way I have stated. [Cheers.] ";jMr.Wilson—l say that the Mayor has no right to influence this meeting. [Uproar,] X have placed a motion in his hands, and 1 should like to have it put to the meeting. [Uproar.] Mr Mayor and gentlemen • My name having been brought into this matter, I beg-to say that I entirely agree with the order in which the Mayor proposes to conduct ■ the meeting. [Cheers ] The. same course was pursued last year, and I have only mentioned this now because my name has been connected with the matter, [Cheers,] His Worship said he would jnow call upon Councillor Bird as the first one to address them, and he trusted that the candidates Would each receive a fair hearing.
Or. Bird said, as senior councillor, it was hk duty to address them first, said be would dT so shortly, as Mr Wilson was in such a hurry to turn on the tap at full pressure. [Laughter.] Theydiad been asked there that; evening to give their opinions. His opinions could he found in the minutes of the Council, which were open to the ratepayers, and he said this, that he would, if elected, do _ his duty, in the future fearlessly and conscientiously, as he had done in the past. [Cheers.] He had no private interest to serve. Their interests were his, and he should always endeavour to do the best he could to advance theirs. fCheers.]
: In reply to a question, Mr Bird said that the Council did not consider that they were justified in spending the ratepayers' money on private, streets. They Would give the owners of property the benefit •of. the services of their surveyor, but they did not think that they should pay for it out of the ratepayers'money.. As regarded asphalting and Side channelling, he thought it was only right that the owners of property should contribute a fair quota towards it. The Act gave them power to do this, and they had put the Act in foroe. A Voice—Do you consider it just to do so ? Or. Bird—l do. The Mayor then called on Cr. Briggs to address the meeting. - Cr. Briggs said that if they would have a little patience he would not detain them very long. He would just refer to the promises made by him on that platform a year ago. Then he had told them that beyond promising to attend the meetings of the Council regularly, and to endeavour to obtain tho division of the city into wards, he would not make any promises whatever. [Cheers and uproar.] The first of these promises he had redeemed as well as anyone could bare done. There had been forty-eight meetings of the Council, of which he had attended forty, ■even. [Cheers and uproar.] He had, therefore, only been absent from one meeting during his term of office. As regarded the next promise, made by him, viz., the division of. the city into wards, they all knew from what had taken place that he had fulfilled that by moving in the matter. [Cheers and uproar. | Whether he was re-elected or not, he should do everything in his power to carry that out, and a meeting would be held on the subject on Monday next, at which he should be present to do all he could to help the movement forward* whether he was jn the City Council or not. [Oheew and uproar.] On the last occasion when he was before them he was called upon to reply to a letter from Mr E. B. Bishop, who asked therein a question regard- : ing the formation of Barbadoes street north. | H*b#d replied to Mr Bishop, to the effect ti__ be «oijiidered it wm a disgrace to the city that any portion of the streets in Christchurch should remain informed. Since then, as they were no doubt aware, Jhat street had been formed. [Cheers and uproar.] And he mightsay, for the information of those »hp werepresent a year ago, that he had seconded the i_otioU for putting the street vi order. rChwrs and uproar.] He bad been blamed, 5. common w_h other for the introduction of what was tended the n&culous pscef .treat cor_en_ He contended that j £*T should wv« h*« fe u by-law at .__J.-. TUproar and chegaj J* should never W* b« n !*4 jjfaafc by-law was made wm i? pomP^ a riler to a verdict of a coroner nf3V*™J had been s_nt to the Council on the of a man being killed jn the street. fC_.eert.| reason why S. "0$ was returned tothe CffSR-A*? B * ll * ™ SSOjr
certainly adTocat. that action should be taken so to regulate the traffic as to protect the lives and limbs of the. people. [Cheers and uproar.] He had also been blamed for opoosing a grant of the. money of the r&topsyei- to rnrsil sports. [Uproar.] He said iistinctly that the City Council had no right to waste the ratepayers* money in supporting rural sports. [Uproar.] Let each one subscribe towards them individually if they pleased. [Uproar.] It was contrary to law tnd if the Council in the future jjissed such a vote he would sue them individually for a breach of the law. [Uproar.] As a member of the finance committee, he had also been blamed for what had been called undue severity in the collection of the rates for this year. [Uproar.] Well, he would tell them Why they found it necessary to enforce the collection of these rates. Last year the amount—[Uproar.] The Mayor—The time is not up yet by four minntes, and I think yon ought to hear what Or. Brigg has to say whether you agree with him or not. [Cheers.] ,
Or. Briggs resumed—The reason why the Council had felt it necessary to take the action they had this year with respect to the rates was that £820 was lost to the city last year by the rates net being collected in time. Now under the arrangement of the subsidy of £1 for £1 given by the Government the city lost the subsidy on £820. [Cheers and uproar.] With regard to the question of Hagley Park, the Council, he might say, wag in a measure asked to endorse Mr Brown's Bill for cutting up Hagley Park for villa residences. He said this, that so long as he was in the Council he would not have anything to do with or be a party to the alienation of any portion of the park. [Cheers.] It was for the people, and must remain so. [Cheers and uproar.] He would conclude by saying this, that though it had been said that he had been too fast, and had taken a more active part in the business of the Council than he should do being a young member, there were plenty of members there —[uproar]—there were gentlemen of experience in the Council, quite able to curb any one who might wish to go too fast. [Cheers and uproar.] He would now conclude by telling them that if they elected him he would give as much attention to their interests in the future as ho had done in the past. [Cheers and uproar.] Mr Atkinson asked if Mr Briggs would be in favor of giving a discount of 5 per cent, to persons who paid their rates within three months ?
Mr Briggs—The law will not allow of this being done. Cr. Toomer was the next speaker, and was received with applause. He said that he had not come before them that night to make a speech, nor bad he been to the minute books of *the Council to show what he had done. He had gone there as an independent citizen, and had watched the course of events and given his . vote to those things which he thought best. This was what he thought all should do. He had not canvassed any one, but came to them on the merits of what he had done, though some had said that he got in by a fluke. He might have got in by a fluke, but he had done so because he had protected their rights as citizens. He had no personal animosity to the gentleman he had succeeded. [Cheers.] Some of them thought he should go into that Council as a firebrand^but though he might be a little larkish outside—[laughter]—he went into the Council as a place of business, and to do the best he could for their interests. [Cheers.] As regarded thequestion of the Park, he had told them that he would be one of the first to go into the Park and cut down the first house erected there. They had 600 acres laying there for no good at all, except sheep. They must remember that they had lost all their endowments, and Christchurch had not as much as some of the little towns. Now he thought that they could spare a little of the Park; "No, no;" He thought they did not understand what he meant. [Laughter.] If the citizens were willing to give way and lease a part of it, he would also give way- [Cheers.] If he was returned, he would do his best to further their interests, and to serve them to the best of his ability. [Cheers.] Some one in the body of the. hall here asked a question as to the park,: but he Was drowned by hisses and cries of " Turn him, out." Ultimately he ascended the platform, and was received with mingled cheers and hisses. For some minutes he attempted to obtain a hearing, posing himself in : the most' extraordinary attitudes, the audience cheering, laughing, and hissing the whole time. At last he retired amidst a storm of cheers.
Mr Ayers was the next candidate to address the meeting, amidst some uproar. He regretted that he had no past career to refer to. This was not bis fault, and next year if he again came before them it would not be his fault if he had not a long list of services to refer to. He had taken the precaution to forward them a circular, showing what ques-; tions were likely to oome before the Council during the year, and his action thereon if. elected. He had come there because he Was: • hot afraid, and to answer any question if he were able. It hid been said that fools might ask questions which a -wise man or a philosopher could not i answer. . Now some of them might ask questions of him. [Laughter, cheers, and hisses.] He might say that he desired to explain that his" idea of making; the roads would not entail 'greater, expense, because they would get good roads, and would! thus obviate the expense of repair. As to: the footpaths, he iaid that their formation: had not been carried out equally in all parts of the city. He did not mean to mention/any particnlar place,"as they knew, for themselves. - It was with this view that! he favored the ward system." If this were carried out they would send, a man from! each ward who would look after the proper asphalting of the footpaths, and would see that one locality was not favored above another. [Cheers.] In reply to questions, X . Mr Ayers said that he had taken the first, step towards obtaining an eastern park, and he thought that they should get this by means of a company, and not at the expense of the' ratepayers. [Cheers.] •. ( - Mr Gapes, who was received with cheers, said that he had thought he had retired from; the City Council business, but he had been, asked to stand for re-election, and had consented. In doing bo he proffered them his services, as he had done in the pist. He had served themln the City Council for five or six years, and had attended every meeting of the Council, ordinary .or special, except one, when he was absent selecting 2000 acres for the endowment of the city. On that score, as far as attendance was concerned, he thought they would give him credit. [Cheers.] So far as his services were concerned he had rendered them to'the best of; his ability, and he would do the same if returned. [A Voice—Ton-will .go in at the top of the poll.] If he did so he would serve them as faithfully as he had in the past. When he delivered up his seat to the present Mayor he had said that he _ hail left I him a. legacy, viz., tho dealing with private streets and alleysX He said'this, that this ought to have *■'■• been dealt with long ago- The Council had full power to recover the cost of putting these streets and alleys in good repair from the owners of properties abutting thereon. Tbe Council then should keep!/ them in good repair, and the money spent but of the general: rates in keeping these "clean would be well spent. There was another matter which had not been attended to, viz., building houses over holes in the ground. This had been done very much here, and he believed a great deal of the disease of tho city was due to this. [A Voice—" Time."] As to the division of the city into wards, he quite agreed with it.; It was not intended to apply the system to the question of finance, but only to the election of three representatives from each ward. Xow it was time all ..councillors went in to do their best for the whole of the city, and he •aid for .himself that he always looked after anything ibat wanted-doing in whatever part of the city it war necessary. As regarded the asphalting, he might explain that the Council had ordered the to be made first on the shady side of the street, as in winter the footpaths on thit side were in a bad state. As regarded a Town Hall, he advocated the erection of a Town Hall $n4 City Chambers, with rows of small snops, which pgnhi be let and bring in a rental to the Corporation.; A$ his time was now up he would retire, hoping that he would be put at tiptop of the pott. In reply to questions," Mr Gapes said that he did loot think it was right- far a cabman to be judged behind his back wjthonjt giyjng him an opportunity of defending himself. [Chej*f.] Mr Banks, who was received y&h loud uproar and hisses, lasting some time, said that did not intend te detain them long. It had been said by a lady some jears ago that nothing would draw in Christchurch but £pgt and monkeys." [Uproar.] JPi,e;U*ge
and influential-tuproar.] [Here Mr Banks made several attempts to speak, Out was totally inaudible to the reporters.J If they would give him five minutes—[upTo&rl The main question before the public at the present time was the division of the city into wards. [Uproar.] The time had not arrived—[uproar.] ■ The Mayor said he had to ask the meeting to give Mr Banks two minutes. f3To, no, and uproar.] He had promised not to detain them longer than two minutes. [No, no, and renewed uproar.] Mr Banks made anothar ineffectual attempt to obtain a hearing; but it was useless, only fragments of sentences being heard. He then retired amid uproar. _ • Mr Tremayne came next, and was received with uproar and hisses. He wonld not detain them long. [Uproar.] He would only call their attention to a few matters. [Renewed uproar.] He was entitled to a quarter-of-an-hour, and he would only say a few words in connection with the streets. They ought all to be well pleased at the streets they now had. There was only one thing he would like to see, and that was that they should be metalled with broken metal instead of shingle. [Uproar.] Ab to private streets, he thought the time had arrived when the private streets and alleys should be taken otbt by the City Councfl. In forming those streets—L-proar]—they ought to form them. [Uproar.] All the ratepayers should be put on the same footing. [Uproar.] If they returned him as one of their representatives, he would do his best on this matter. As to their reserves— [Uproar]. Well, he thought it was to their advantage to listen to him. [Uproar.] The Government of-the-country were very desirous of getting hold of the reserves in the various cities of the colony. There was a Bill before the House now empowering the Governor to sell two reserves in the city of Wellington. [Here the uproar increased so much that, though Mr Tremayne was evidently speaking at the top of his voice, he was totally inaudible, and the remainder of his speech, so far as the reporters were concerned, was simply dumb show. At last he retired amid cheers.] : j
" Mr W. Wilson was the next to address the meeting, and was received with cheers and uproar. He thought that a hearing would have been accorded to the first Mayor of Christchurch. [Uproar.] He thought, also, that he should have been accorded priority when he desired to address them. He also thought Mr Gapes should have been allowed to speak before the new candidates. He could give them this assurance, that he would do for them in the future as he had in the past. He had rendered great services to the city of Christchurch. [Uproar.] He had done more towards the improvement of the city by tho construction of channelling, asphalte pavement, and the sinking of 300 artesian wells during the period he held the Mayoralty. He had also, caused to be constructed the tank in front of the City Hotel. [Uproar.] Mr Wilson spoke in so low a tone and the interruptions were so numerous as to prevent his bUng heard at all. So far as could be gathered from the fragmentary sentences which were now and then audible at the reporters' table, Mr Wilson urged his former services to the city as a claim for his election.
A vote of thanks to the Mayor, proposed by Mr Ayers and seconded by Mr Tremayne, concluded one of the most uproarious meetings hold in Christchurch for some time.
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THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION., Press, Volume XXX, Issue 4096, 12 September 1878
THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION. Press, Volume XXX, Issue 4096, 12 September 1878
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