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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[FeOM Ouß PAEUAMENTABY B'EFOBIEB.J

WELLINGTON, to 2. Registration of Births.

A Bill entitled the Registration of Births Extension BUI, introduced by the Hon. Mr Ballance, has for its object the enabling of the registration of the birth of any child within the colony within the last twelve months, on satisfactory proof of the main facts being given to the Registrar-General. A Legislative Blfle Match. The idea of firing an intercolonial Parliamentary rifle match originated with the Hon, Captain Custine, a member of the South Australian Legislature, and his proposal is to fire seven shots at 400,500, and 600 yards, seven or ten men a-side, with Martini rifles. Each team will of course fire on its own range, and the conditions are tojtathe same as govern the Home associations. It is hoped that all the colonies will accept the challenge, in which case an interesting match may he anticipated. The matter is now in the hands of the Defence Minister, who purposes calling a meeting of volunteer officers in the House and other members interested in shooting to discuss the proposals. In Major Hamlin, member for Wainku, and ex-champion of the colony, and Mr Crawford Anderson, representative of Bruce, and erstwhile one of the crack shots of Otago, two capable coaches will be provided. The Estimates were again under consideration to-night, the defence vote being taken. Attention was called by Mr Hutchison to the increase of the Under-Secretary’s salary from L 376 to L4OO, and he sarcastically remarked that Lieutenant • colonel Hnuurey had been made a field-marshal at once, and moved a reduction of the item by L 75. Mr W. P. Reeves inquired what were Lieutenantcolonel Humfrey’s special qualifications for his recent “startling and rapid promotion’'! while Mr Monk characterised our defences, apart from the Torpedo Corps, as a huge farce, and said that in one of our harbors the disappearing guns had been disabled in ordinary practice, so that if the existence of the Empire had depended on them they could not have been fired again. The Defence Minister explained that the Undersecretary was performing increased duties; and another reason for his promotion was that in his former rank be had no statusin the force when, for example, an inquiry came to be held into the conduct of any officers. He also stated that every commanding officer in the colony had written to Colonel Humfrey congratulating him on his well-merited promotion. The amendment for the reduction of the item was lost by 3S to 34. Mr Reeves then moved to reduce the vote by L 25, as a protest against the audacity of the colonel in promoting himself over the beads of all other experienced and efficient officers of the service. This was lost by 35 to 32, and the vote agreed to. A Precious Go.

Somewhat of a sensation was caused in the House to night by Mr Hutchison reading the copy of a memorandum from Major-general Stewart to the Government, which he had obtained from the AgentGeneral s office. The effect of it was that, in consequence of the advance of military science, all the chief ports of the colony were at this moment practically undefended against the high-angle fire adopted by the European navies. He also ‘stated that 'General Stewart recommended the mounting of 7in guns at each fort, and that our forts were constructed on a system which assisted in extending the destructiveness of artillery fire, and which had been abandoned by experts elsewhere The Defence Minister said he did not know that a tingle statement made by Mr Hutchison was accurate, Mr Hutchison replied that in that case. he should move for the papers. The Defence Minister (continuing) said that if the hon. gentleman had obtained any ouch information, it had been

given Very wrongly j indeed, It Wat exceedingly unwise to give information as to our fortifications to the world. He had the assurance of one of the first engineers of our time, Major-general Schaw, that the forts of New Zealand were in a more advanced condition than any others in the world.— (Loud laughter.) We had better mounted guns than those in England. Mr Hutchison retorted that any person could have obtained from the Agent-General’s office the information that was vouchsafed to him. He quoted the date and number of the memorandum. The Defence Minister undertook to look np the information in the Defence Office.

Corrupt Practices Bill. The Colonial Secretary, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said its object was to assimilate the law here to that in fotce in the United Kingdom, One new feature was to make payment to an elector on account of any land or building being used for the exhibition of an address, bill, or notice an illegal practice. Another clause prohibited the leasing or hiring of hackney carriages ordinarily kept for hire in conveying voters to the poll. Every bill or placard in reference to an election must bear an imprint, and wagers on the result of an election were prohibited under a penalty of L2O. Within twenty-eight days of an election the agent of a candidate must make a return to the candidate of all expenses incurred in the arrangement of the election, failing which he should be liable to a penalty not exceeding LSO. Various other points in the Bill could ■ be dealt with in committee. —Mr Hutchison criticised the measure, while Mr Samuel thought the Bill too cumbersome, and that it aimed at ultra - purity. He saw no reasons why persons should be allowed to bo conveyed to and from the poll.— The Hon. Mr Ballance pointed out that the employment of election agents meant engaging lawyers, who would have to be paid heavily. There was nothing in tbe Bill to prevent wealtby people from lending their carriages at elections to favorite candidates; nor did he see any barm in the display of ribbons and colors at elections. He objected to the power of directing prosecutions being left in the hands of the Minister of Justice. Some provisions he would support as being an improvement upon the existing law.—Mr Fish opposed the Bill.—After the evening adjournment the second reading of the Bill was adjourned for a month.

Friendly Societies. Mr Allen, asked the Government this afternoon whether they will provide for the competent valuation of friendly societies’ securities. The Premier said that none of the apparent over valuations mentioned in the Registrar-General’s report contiibute to any of tbosurpluses shown. It would, bethought, be far better if the valuations of societies’ funds were made by an official, but the societies were very jealous of any interference on the part of Government. The Government, however, would bo very glad to institute such a system if the societies desired it; but he doubted whether we had arrived at the stage when the House would dictate that valuations must be made officially. The Representation.

From a desultory discussion which tpok place this afternoon, it is evident that a long and bitter fight is pending over the “quota” question. Mr Fish, in calling the attention of the House to the fact that the country members claimed to have a majority which would enable them to carry their views, said their doing so would inflict gross injustice on the towns. The country members had determined to stick together till the “quota” is increased to 33 per cent,, and intend to adopt a no-compromise attitude.

The Premier at a later stage said he understood it to be the general desire that the Representation Rill should be taken before the debate on the Property Tax Bill. If that were so, he would be glad to make such an arrangement. The Hon. Mr Ballance, who was received with cheers, thanked the Premier for his kindly compliments, and assured him that so far as it lay in hia power he would always meet the Government in friendly criticism in order to facilitate business. Speaking for himself aud for his party he could say that the Opposition would pursue a regular course, recognising that their chief function was to promote the despatch of public business. Any courtesy shown by the Government would be reciprocated from the Opposition side of the House. He approved of the Premier’s intention to take the Bills with the representation before those dealing with financial questions, because the former must occupy the principal attention of members until they were disposed of. Congratulatory. In speaking to the motion for the second reading of the Property Assessment Act Amendment Bill to be taken on Friday, the Premier this afternoon took the opportunity of congratulating the Hon. Mr Ballance and his followers upon the election of that gentleman as Leader of the Opposition, He assured Mr Ballance that he would be very glad at all times to meet him in reference to the conduct of business, feeling confident that the hon. gentleman would give the Government all the assistance that was consistent with his own duties and with the proper criticism of the Government proposals.—(Cheers.)

The Te Kootl Campaign. The memorable expedition against Te Kooti came up for consideration in Committee of Supply, and caused a very interesting and animated debate. When the defence votes were being dealt with, members continually referred to the campaign, but the Minister in charge (Mr Fergus) promised all information when the vote for volunteers was arrived at. When this item (L 28.912) came on, the Defence Minister said that the total cost of the Te Kooti campaign was L 2,610, and it was all defrayed out of last year’s volunteer vote, against which it was charged in the authorised expenditure account. Dr Newman warmly pressed for more information on the subject, and characterised the whole Te Kooti episode as being scarcely creditable to the colony and those concerned in it. He asked for details of the expenditure of L 2,610 in stopping one old Maori from going to Gisborne. The Premier said that the colony was undoubtedly near to bloodshed at the time. This was the deliberate opinion of men who knew the Maoris thoroughly. In his last interview with Te Kooti in Auckland he informed him that, as a British subject, and a pardoned one, he must keep the peace. He did not forbid Te Kooti to go to Gisborne, because he had authority to do so; bat told him that if he went alone, without parade or followers, be would not be interfered with, but if he threatened the peace he would be arrested, Te Kooti remained in Auckland for a few days to consider the matter. When the Premier went to Gisborne, he found that the Europeans were banding themselves together to resist Te Knoti, and that the Friendlies were thoroughly afraid of his advent, some of them even threatening to shoot him. Ropata said the friendly Maoris were in earnest, and advised that Te Kooti should not be allowed to come. The Hanhaus had fanatical faith in Te Kooti, and believed that the Government could not stop him from coming ; and if he had come, and had had any success, his old influence would have been restored. But he (the Premier) forbade them to arm, and undertook to do whatever was necessary to maintain the peace. He insisted upon the dispersion of the Vigilance Committee ; and, after consulting with his colleagues, he decided to take measures to stop Te Kooti, who had by this time come on to Opotiki. On these steps being taken, Te Kooti chose to get drunk, and retired several miles towards the Waikato, but it was to a place where he commanded the two roads to Gisborne instead of one; in fact it was an attempt to out-general him (the Premier). Te Kooti promised to go back to the VV aikato, but he was evidently trifling ; and as Wi Peri reported that he was a man whose word could not be depended on, and as the responsible officers stated that the package that his (Te Kooti’s) followers earned might contain arms, an information was sworn for unlawful assembly, upon which Te Kooti was arrested and imprisoned. If Te Kooti had been allowed to go to Gisborne the result would undoubtedly have been disaistrous.— (Cheers.) Colonel Fraser thought that the Premier’s action at Gisborne was correct, bat beyond

question mischief had been done in meeting Te Kooti at Auckland. The Premier said that his difficulty then was that the man had committed no offence. The Hon. Mr Ballance held that a mistake arose in the Government not putting down their foot at the outset, for Te Kooti had always shown himself to be very tractable. The Premier, when in Auckland, as he had said that war would follow the going of Te Kooti to Gisborne, would have been justified in taking any action to preserve the peace. The telegram of the Minister of Justice to the Gisborne settlers, warning them not to interfere with Te Kooti’s liberty, had doubtless encouraged that worthy to go to the district. The Premier said if he had known when in Auckland that Te Kooti intended to take a large number of his followers he would have stopped him, but he thought that after what he said to him Te Kooti would not attempt to go. Mr Ballance blamed the Native Minister for npt knowing the temper of the Natives. Mr Carroll supported the action of the Government.

, Progress was reported, and the House rose at 10.35 p.m. The debate will be resumed when the Estimates again come up for consideration.

Registration of Electoral Rolls Bill. In moving the second reading of this Bill, 1 the Colonial Secretary said it was framed in order to give effect tc a promise which he had made to provide means for keeping the rolls clear, and to improve the method of registration. The present rolls often represented 50 per cent, more than the real number of qualified electors. The principle of the Bill was that persons should be required to apply for enrolment to the registrar or deputy-registrar or postmaster of his district. No person was to be entitled to be enrolled until he had taken out an elector’s right, which would have three years’ currency, for which he would have to pay Is. Provision was also made for taking out this right and using it so as to prevent it being used twice at the same election. This system had worked effectually in Victoria far a long time.—On the motion of Mr Taylor, the debate was adjourned for a week.

Tbe Fire Brigades’ Review. Until of late yeara an annual grant of L 250 was made to the United Fire Brigades Association for their annual competitions, A petition was presented to-day from the representatives of the Brigades’ Association praying for the renewal of this vote.

The Cape Foulwlnd Outrage. The vVest Coast members, led by Mr R. Reeves, were strong in urging this after noon that an inquiry should be held into the recent alleged dynamite outrage at Cape Foul wind, in order to prove that the Miners’ Union were innocent in the matter. The Defence Minister said that an inquiry could only have been satisfactorily conducted by a Royal Commission, and investigations of the detective who was employed did not disclose anything to justify such a step. Mr O’Conor, who moved the adjournment of the House, charged the Government with having practically shielded the real culprits, and argued that a detective was a most unsuitable person to inquire into such a matter. After some discussion, the Minister of Justice said that if any reasonable grounds could be. shown he would anpoint a Commission,

Coastal Lighting. Thh Premier stated to-day that he was proud to think that our coast was probably one of the beat lighted in the world. While approving of the Hon. Mr Larnach’s proposal that lighthouses should be placed on East Cape and Cape Palliser, he could not see his way to making provisions this year for more works of the kind than those in hand. He thought that Stephen Island was the place where a light was most needed; that Cape Pallisor and the East Cape came next in order of importance.

The Omaha Dispute. The subject of the Broughton-Donncliy vendetta was brought up in the House today by Mr Carroll, who asked for an explanation of the delay which had occurred in ascertaining the title to the block (Omahu), the applications for_ hearing having been gazetted many years since. He said that it was alleged that the Native Department was largely responsible for what had occurred.—The Colonial Secretary said there had been no delay on the part of the Government, it having all been caused by the late completion of plans. However, matters must probably now be pressed forward with due despatch. Inquiries would be made to ascertain whether there had been any irregularity on the part of the Native Department. July 3. Personal. The following extract from the army list may be of some public interest in connection with last night’s debate on the defence estimates Charles Alexander Humfrey joined the 53rd Regiment in 1853, volunteered for the Crimea; was appointed to the 92nd (Gordon Highlanders); served through the Central Indian Campaign in 1858, including the action at Raj pore; was wounded severely; was mentioned in despatches; retired from Her Majesty’s service in 1868 as captain.” Promotion.

The many friends in Dunedin of Mr George Leslie, who formerly occupied a seat on the City Schools Committee, will be glad to learn that ho has been promoted from the position of public valuer in the Friendly Societies Department to that of one of the assistant actuaries in the Government Insurance Department.

The Harbor Board’s Claim. The Harbor Board’s long standing claim for compensation of lands taken for railway purposes has been removed from the Petitions Committee M to Z to the A to L branch, as* Mr Barron, Mr Fish, and Mr Allen are members of this Committee. The Board’s position is not likely to be prejudiced by the change. Property Tax Exemptions.

As I mentioned before the delivery of the Financial Statement, provision is made in the Property Assessment Act Amendment Bill, not only for the exemption from taxation of machinery in actual use, but power is also given to the Commissioner to remit taxation on buildings which have not been occupied for six months. Re-valuations may bo made within the triennial period upon the application of the Commissioner or owner.

Caved In. As the Opposition are not united on the matter of the Property Tax, they have abandoned the idea of attacking the Government on the question. Naturally they concluded that defeat on any amendment proposed by Mr Ballance would weaken their position.

Ministers Quite Safe.

It now seems highly improbable that any move will be made this session with a view to ousting Ministers from their seats.

The Bank of New Zealand.

It seems that the Hon. L. Walker, Messrs Izard and Seymour, who are members of the Joint Committee of both Houses, to whom the Bank of New Zealand’s Amendment Bill was relegated, are shareholders in that institution, and the point was raised whether they had a right to vote on the question. The matter was referred to the Speakers of the two Chambers, who have decided that they had not. These gentlemen have consequently been removed the Joint Committee. The object of the Bill is to enable the Bank of New Zealand to extend their operations, and to remove the head office to outside the colony or any other place than Auckland. The Sandhills.

Mr Larnaoh is calling the attention of the Minister of Defence to the fact that the erection of the central battery has caused a breach by the sea in the sandhills between the battery and St, Clair, with a view to having the damage immediately rectified. South Dunedin Police Barracks.

Mr Larnaoh is also calling attention to the fact that the police quarters &t South Dunedin are in a wretched condition, and do not give the necessary accommodation required.

Jottings. The Premier is quite certain that there is no probability of a dissolution for some time. . . Mr Taylor says that in their agitation ftr increased representation the country members practically ask the extension of the franchise to cattle and sheep.

n the absence of the Hon. Mr Waterhouse, the Opposition to the Government in the Legislati ve Council is being led by Sir G. Whitmore.

The only members of the House now absent from Wellington are Messrs J, C. Brown, Beetham, and Peacock. The two last-named are absent from the colony.

Sir G. Grey is again introducing bis measure for limiting every man to one vote. The Hon. Mr Fergus says that the coat of the Te Kooti expedition was L 2.610. Accounts amounting to a few pounds only are still outstanding. Although the number of the volunteer corps in the colony is less by thirteen than last year, there are between 200 and 300 more men. The number of volunteers in the colony is now between 8,000 and 9,000. Mr Richard Reeves is moving in the direction of an import duty on coal. Mr Downie Stewart intends asking the Commissioner of Customs whether he is aware that after the last session the Collector of Customs, without previous notice, act aside the practice of allowing a discount of 4 per cent, on the amount of duty payable on bottled beer and porter in all instances in which the consignees did not apply to have the cases repacked. It is the intention of the Government to introduce an Authorisation Bill this session for the construction of the North of Auckland Railway. The Premier informs mo that the Government do not propose to interfere with the Gaming and Lotteries Act this session. Negotiations are being carried on between the Auckland and Wellington members with a view to coming to some satisfactory arrangement in reference to the North Island Trunk Railway difficulty. A joint meeting of members representing conflicting interests will be held in the course of a few days. Mr Mitchelaon expects to deliver his Works Statement on Tuesday evening. The Government having decided to introduce a. -measure with, the object o£ affording relief to Crown tenants, Mr Valentine is taking up the cause of tenants holding leases from the School Commissioners. He intends asking the Minister of Lands whether the Government will take any action during the present session with the view of compelling the School Commissioners to take steps towards affording relief to the tenants holding lands under their jurisdiction. As showing the great improvement which has taken place in the farming industry in Southland, it may be mentioned that a sale at auction was made yesterday for one crop of 3.000 acres of land belonging to the New Zealand Agricultural Company, near Gore, the average price per acre for the land being 13s, whilst only a year ago an average of about Ss per acre would have been probably obtained for the same land. In addition to the rent, the cropper has to properly stack the straw, which is a great consideration to the landlord, and also adds considerably to the actual rent paid for the land. In answer to Dr Newman, the Minister of Lands stated to-day that the same provisions for forest protection exist now as when there was a State Forest Department. The rangers have been placed under the direction of the Lands Department, and all valuable timber such as totara, etc., have been carefully reserved, while reservations have also been made for climatic purposes.

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Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Evening Star, Issue 7949, 3 July 1889

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3,941

POLITICAL GOSSIP. Evening Star, Issue 7949, 3 July 1889

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