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THE ADDRESS IN-REPLY., Issue 7940, 22 June 1889
THE ADDRESS IN-REPLY.
IFIIUM OUK PARLIAMENTARY IIKI'OHTKU.]
WELLINGTON, Ji.ni; '2l. In moving the Address-iu-Rcply to the Speech, Mr llahknkss (Nelson) claimed the indulgence usually accorded to new members. Ho paid a tribute to the memory of his predeccasor (Mr LevcsUm), which was received with cheers, lie then ma do if clear that ho did nut f"ll.y identify himself with the principles and measures named in the Speech, liutsiiid that he would give the Government ii qualified support, approving, as he did in the main, of their policy iu tho past. The Governor's Speech was chiefly of a nou - committal character, and was largely taken up with the record of tho practical reforms carried out in the recess. Sir William Jervois had proved himself to be a capable Governor, and our present Governor promised to be not less so. It was plain that the Home Government were now studying to send out men whom the colony could respect and honor. Throughout the colony there was a revival of trade, which had enabled the Government to show a substantial surplus. Ministers were entitled to very great credit for the retrenchment which they had carried out throughout the colouy. They might not be brilliant in conception, or perfect in execution, but tbey had succeeded in maintaining an equilibrium between revenue and expenditure which was highly creditable to them, and the effects of which were to ho seen in our improved credit. With regard to their land policy, the Government had driven home the wedge—which was inserted by the Stout-Vogel Government—by liberalising the terms of tenure, and removing some of the restrictions which formerly surrounded the lease system. The country did not need much addition to its statute-books, but rather careful administration, the cautious pushing of our resources, and continued economy. Any legislation which did not throw the cost of charitable aid upon the colony, to the relief of local bodies, would not be worthy of support. It was proposed to amend the Property Assessment Acts, but he asked the Premier to face the question bravely, and repeal the whole property tax system—(cheers and laughter)—which was hampering capital throughout the colony. In its stead let us have a land and income txx.— (Cheers.) If these views were not in accord with those of the Ministry he could not help it. More patriotism was needed, and he appealed to members to throw aside local prejudices and strive for the benefit of the colony as a whole. In conclusion, he expressed the hope that members would seek to carry out the desires set forth in the prayer with which the House opened daily for "tho peace and tranquillity of the colony, and the welfare of its people." — (Applause.) Mr Lawry (Franklyn North), while deploring the death of Mr Levestam, welomed Mr Harkness to Parliament as a promising member of the Young New Zealand party. Like the previous speaker, he dissented from some of the matters set forth in the Speech, notably the property txx, which he strongly condemned, and would be prepared to assist in repealing. He also disapproved of the reference to the Railway Commissioners. As a candid friend of the Government, he assured them that had tho House been aware that Mr Maxwell was to be a member of the railway Board the Bill authorising the* appointment of a Board would never have been passed. Me would probably Bpeak more freely on that .subject on another occasion. He failed to sec that any practical results could arise from the proposed Electoral Bill, which seemed to be based on speculative and theoretical principles ; while he believed it would fail in it 3 purpose of getting the best possible men returned. Without egotism he could say fiat, as regards his own case, he was so well known throughout his constituency that if ha contested the scat with the I'rcmier ho could undertake to beat that lion. , gentleman into the proverbial cocked hat. These were all the faults he had to find with the Speech. He congratulated the Government on the way in which they had carried out their retrenchment policy, and upon their management of the finances. He also cangratulatcd them o:> the success of their administration of the land laws, but ex-1 pressed his admiration of Mr Ballance's village settlement system. He did not know whether the Government, in asking him to second the motion, reckoned on him as one of their supporters, but he could say that on his election he was opposed by all the forces which the Minister for Public Works could bring to bear against him, He did not know that the Government had ever asked him for a vote, but so long as they continued their present policy of economy and thrift they would receive his support.—(Applause. ) Mr Walker (Ashburton), speaking with some emotion, expressed regret for the death of Mr Levestam, but congratulated Mr Harkness, as that gentleman's successor, on tho capable speech he had just made. The policy of the Government in regard to retrenchment and adjustment of the finances was the only policy possible for the colony. It had been proposed by the Stout-Vogel Government, and was merely taken up by the present Ministry, so that both sides of the House could unite in congratulating the colony on its effect—viz., our restored credit. Still, he thought that when the surplus came to bo examined it would dwindle down to a very Bmall matter. He applauded the enterprise of the people of Dunedin in undertaking the proposed Exhibition, which was deserving of all support that the Government could give it. He would state most unrsservedly that if the House had had any idea that tho Chief Railway Commissioner would not be an expert from England, it ■would never have passed the Bill creating the Board. In this respect the Government liad gone dead against tho wishes of Parlia Juent and the country. If they could not get an expert from England, how had the other colonies been able to get thoroughly tiualificd men ? It had been further stated, since the appointment was made, that a grievous wrong had been done to the one expert who did apply. A wrong had also licen done to the colony, and the worst of it was that our hands were tied for live years. He was sorry that the Government had not adopted Mr Ballance's village settlement scheme, and said that a little more liberality in that direction would have rendered a great part of the charitable aid legislation unnecessary. Tho proposed reform of the Legislature was uncalled for. He would rather trust the Government of the day to fill vacancies in the Council than resort to an elective system. He resented the concluding paragraph of the Speech as an insinuation that the present House did not represent the popular will, and was Borry, too, that it was proposed to alter the existing system of elections. As to the proposed alteration of the property tax, he charged the Government with having stolen the proposal from their predecessors. He would like to know what they proposed to do with regard to the Otago Central Railway, and how it could liossibly be carried on without anothor oan. He challenged the Premier to make some definite announcement about the allotment of portfolios, and also to state what had been the expenditure upon the Te Kooti campaign. If the latter matter were serious it ought to have been alluded to in the Speech, and if it were laughable it should not have been made so much of in the recess. Though he had no fault to find with Mr Justice Denniston, he thought that the Government had treated Judge Ward with reprehensible cruelty. In conclusion, he said that as these were undoubtedly matters of administration that required to be explained, and matters of policy that were of exceedingly doubtful utility, it was only right that something should have been said about them from the Opposition point of view. Mr Taylor (Sydenham) criticised the Government policy at some length, his strongest point being his marked disapproval of the Hare system of election. Mr Verrall (Ashley) thought that the surplus was inconsiderable when compared with the interest on our indebtedness. A great part of his speech was taken up with the advocacy of his pet State Bank scheme. Mr HuxcHiiioy (Waitolara) thought that in the absence of so many membeiH it was reasonable that tho debate should not be concluded befat Tuesday. Aa last yew's
1 Chineso Immigration Act will expire at the j end of this session, and not have the effect of thou abolishing tho poll tax altogether, lie urged tho Government to legislate on the ■ subject ininicdiately. All foreign labor I should be shut out, bo as, in _ the language of diplomacy, to conciliate the Chinese Government. Ho blamed the < .''ivcriuticiit for the celebrated blunder in the l.oait Ad of l;sK7, claiming ' that the total lorn to flu: colony :• ii-Lmj.; from ' il, amounted I." 1,f10,000, )i"l, 1" ••■peali of the expenditure in bolstering up Uie J>;miU of i New Zealand and deceiving the moneylending public as to solvency of that institution, making up the total to LIOO,OUU. , lie found fault with the anoinaly of_ placing ' a surveyor of high repute in the chair of the Hallway Hoard, which ought to be occupied ,by an expert; and invited, on behalf of Mr M'lverrow, who enjoyed the distinction of being named in a Governor's speech, the sympathy of members. He charged the Government with deliberately misleading the money market in the prospectus of the last loan by representing the Railway Board as . having then been appointed. Concluding a lengthy speech, he predicted that the Premier i might continue in office for a short time I longer; but he would sooner or later fall, , like Lucifer, never to rise again,—(Cheers ■ and laughter.) j Mr Taiwhanca complained of the absence , from the Speech of any reference to Native i matters.
Mr Harkness having no desire to reply, and the Prcmior evincing no anxiety to speak, the motion was put and carried on the voices.
THE ADDRESS IN-REPLY., Issue 7940, 22 June 1889
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