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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7948, 2 July 1889
[Feom Our Parliamentary Reporter]
WELLINGTON, Joxy 1.
A Sultry Week Prognosticated
There is every prospect of there being a busy time in Parliament this week. Ministers intend to persevere with the Estimates this evening, and when those of the Defence Department come under review the Te Kooti campaign is bonnd to give rise to a deal of discussion. The Premier has already intimated his intention of moving for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the position of the various harbor boards of the colony, and the fact that an advance has been made to the New Plymouth Board in the face of the emphatically adverse vote of last session is still the subject of warm comment in the lobbies, which will find vent in the House whenever the subject is opened. Then there will come a debate on the San Francisco service subsidy, and at the end of the week a financial debate on the motion for the second reading of the Property Tax Act Amendment Bill. Though the subject of general finance is intimately associated with any amendment of the taxation system, members are disposed to discuss the two matters separately, and it will probably be found thdrt the Treasury transactions will be Bearchingly revised on their own merits, quite apart from the proposed alteration in the modes of levying the tax, and from the expected amendments in favor of a land and income tax. Jul* 2. Letting the Cat Out. On Thursday Mr Goldie will ask the Minister of Works "If he will inform the House the terms upon which some seventythree men were, through the influence of Mr Ormond, employed upon the Wood-ville-Napier Railway, thus relieving that district of a very serious unemployed difficulty ; and (2) whether provision made in the case referred to can and will be made in other districts, if so desired." The question is brought about by the fact that the Napier Charitable Aid Board, in their annual report, thanked Mr Ormond for having obtained the district this concession. The Serirennt-at-Arms.
A deputation of members waited on the Speaker yesterday and urged the claims of Lieutenant-colonel M'Donnell to the office of Sergeant atrarms. A Very Pertinent Inquiry.
Mr Goldie intends asking whether, taking into account the fact that a number of friendly sociotieß have been declared by the Government Registrar of auch societieß to he financially unsound, so that there is no reasonable probability that a member, if he lives to be old, will receive the benefits which he is being led to expect, the Government will introduce a Bill this session compelling every benefit society to put itself into such a financial position that the Inducements held out to working men to join may be assured to them in their time of necessity ? The Property Tax Safe this Session. It was rumored last evening that there had been a serious split in the Opposition camp, and that Sir G. Grey and Mr Lance had formally intimated their secession from the party. On inquiry I learned that this report was exaggerated. It seems that Sir G. Grey has withdrawn from the Opposition, but Mr Ballance denies that he ever was with them, or that they counted on his support, and in corroboration of this he points to the fact that the member for Auckland East retired from Friday's meeting before the Leader of the Opposition was nominated.
As to Mr Lance, he is still heart and soul with his old political associates, but, being a strong believer in the Property Tax, he could not vote with Mr Ballance in any amendment to abolish it, and would, therefore, probably walk out of the Chamber if a division on the question were forced. Mr Kerr, too, would hkely adopt a similar course of action. The Opposition now recognise that they wquid be badly defeated on any anti-Property Tax move; and aB this would mean weakening' their position, are hesitating whether to propose any resolution on the subject. They say that they have no desire to" harass or worry Sir H. Atkinson, buf merely wish to discharge the functions' of a legitimate Opposition. This Is clearly " backing down'.' from the stand which was contemplated at the end of last week.
It may be further stated that on a careful pricking of the cards the Ministerial whips reckon on a majority of five in favor of the Property Tax, ft the vote were taken purely on that issue'; bat if the question becomes one of want of confidence—as it almost inevitably must be—then they reckon on a majority of thirteen in favor of the Govern : thent. tabor Settlements. About a dozen members of the House, headed by Ejr Hodgkinson, waited on the Premier this morning and asked that a vote (mould be placed upon the Supplementary Estimates this year for the establishment of labor settlements. The objeot is to place small parties of agriculturists upon the land, where they will be able to maintain themselves with the produoe of their industry. Sir H. Atkinson promised to consider the matter and submit it to the Cabinet, and give the deputation an answer in due time, ■ ■-> The Representation.
Another meeting of the country members in reference to the representation question was held this morning, Mr Seymour in the chair. It was decided to give the Committee appointed last week power to increase their number to eight, making their own selections, and that the meeting should back them up in whatever aotion they should take. As a reason why something should be done at onoo'it was urged that unless the Government come to some conclusion at once, it was possible that a noconfidence motion would block all other business, and prevent any concession being gained, while in the event of a dissolution the elections Would have to take place upon the present batfaot. representation. ' Coastal Hates' Certificates.
Towards ttie blose of' last session Mr Mills and Mr Bruce .brought before the jkouse thequestion of allowing a second and thkd! mates! service in the coasting, trade to;
count as officers' certificates for foreigngoing service. The Government brought the matter under the notice of the Home authorities, and the following reply from the Marine Department has been forwarded to Mr Mills:—" Adverting to your request in reference to second and third mates' service in the coasting trade being allowed to count as officers' service for the purpose of enabling such persons to be examined for certificates as first mates and master ordinary, I have the honor, by direction of the Minister having charge of this department, to inform you that the department has been in correspondence with the Board of Trade on the subject, and that the Board state they are unable to sanction the recognition of snch service as officers' service for the purpose of qualifying for examination for foreign-going certificates." The Exhibition Rifle Gathering. I am officially informed that the Government will shortly receive 500 Martini-Henry rifles from England, and that this will be the weapon used for the Exhibition rifle meeting. Thero will probably be a vote of LIOO asked for on tho Supplementary Estimates for the Rifle Association's prize firing gathering. Jottings.
Mr Valentine is moving in the direction of getting relief to the settlers holding lands leased from the School Commissioners.
Mr Reeves (St. Albans) has sufficiently recovered to take his seat to-day. Mr Fish intends inquiring whether the Government will grant compensation to Thomas Wedder, who was convicted of stealing a watch, and, after serving eight months, found to be innocent of the charge. Mr Richard Reeves wants to know whether the Government will this session move for the repeal of the Gaming and Lotteries Act.
Sir G. Grey is reintroducing his Limita tion of Voters Bill. justices' Justice.
Mr Fish to-morrow asks whether the attention of the Minister of Justice has been called to the unduly severe sentence passed on two girls named Norris and Conway by Justices of the Peace at Dunedin on June 21, and if he will take steps for a remission of a portion of the same.
The Fisher Correspondence will be laid on the table to-morrow evening. The Premier informs me that he is waiting for a reply by Mr Jackman, an officer of the Customs Department, to the serious charges made against him by Mr Fisher.
Anything But Sure of Their Ground. The proposed no-confidence resolution would appear to have resulted in a fizzle. The anti-Property Tax party now talk of moving in that direction at a later stage of the session, Tbe Otago Central.
In a lengthy memo, on the Otago Central the Premier says: In order to obtain any substantial advantages from the large expenditure already incurred, the line must be extended to Eweburn. This will give the command of a large and valuable district for tne most part the property of the Crown and now rented by pastoral tenants, most |of which ib suitable for the settlement of an industrious population. There is also in some parts of the districts to which the railway would give convenient access a considerable mining population that would be benefited by the railway, which would also give encouragement to further enterprise in extending that industry. If the railway is not to be extended beyond Middlemarch its abandonment would probably be the most prudent course. On the other hand, by an extension of thirty-eight miles to Eweburn it would command, there is every reason to believe, a traffic sufficient to pay, beyond working expenses, interest on the cost of construction, not on the half-million already spent, but on an additional L 200.000, the estimated cost of extension to iiiweburn, with a reasonable expectation at no distant day of a substantial surplus. That extension will open the country up to a very large extent, embracing land suitable for agricultural, pastoral, <ind mining purposes sufficient for the occupation by and maintenance of a large industrial population. If either of the Kail-ray Bills of the two lußt sessions had become law a considerable area of the best of the lands referred to would have become private property, the Crown trusting for compensation to the additional value given by the railway to the adjacent Crown lands. To me it is obvious that the proposal I now make is far more advantageous to the public, as all the land to which additional value will be given will remain the property of the Crown and be available for the promotion of settlement. Upon the whole, having in view the facts and opinions upon which the Bill is founded, I submit it with confidence as deserving of favorable consideration, and as the beßt solution I am able to suggest of a question which has long agitated the Legislature, and which must be dealt with in some manner without delay. If this Bill passes it is the intention of the Government to let at onoe the contracts, for which plans and specifications are now ready, for a portion of the line between Middlemarch and Hyde, the cost of which will be about L 90.000." The Railway Commissioners say that some little time must elapse before an extension of the line can be expected to promote much increase in the traffic which already exists betweon the interior and Dunedin, while it is probable that if the line is opened to Eweburn it will pay working expenses, On the whole it must not at first be expected to pay much interest on the cost of the extension, but apart from the direct paying resultß of the line, the extension of it to Eweburn will enhance the valae of the largest and most valuable estate of Crown lands in the colony.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7948, 2 July 1889
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