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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7950, 4 July 1889
[Fkom Oca Parliamentary Reporter.]
WELLINGTON, July 3. Jottings.
The Hon. Mr Fergus says that the Nelson encampment was the best conducted and its officers the most efficient in the colony. The Premier, having given notice of motion to appoint a committee to inquire into the working of our harbor boards, Bt the suggestion of Mr Ross dock trusts will also be included within the scope of their inquiries.
The Government do not intend to propose any amendment of the Gaming and Lotteries Act this session. Richard Reeves is, however, taking action in the matter. Mr Richard Thompson wants to know whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce this session a measure dealing with the payment of rates due under the District Railways Purchasing Act. Whilo recognising that in some cases great hardship may be entailed in being summoned to attend coroners' juries, the Government do not propose providing for the payment of fees. The salary of Mr Blackett, as consulting engineer hi London, is LBOO per annum. Tho Minister of Works says that the duties he perforins previously cost the colony from LI,OOO to L 1,200.
Mr Hutchison says that a " corner " in coal has been formed on the West Coaßt, to tho detriment of the colony. Sydney Taiwhanga is moving that the Omahu titlo dispute bo referred to a Maori Court of Arbitration.
The Government have not yet determined whether to appoint an Eagiuccr-iu-Chief in succession to Mr Blackett; in the meantime tho work is being done by the Assistant Engineer-in Chief. A Bill will shortly be introduced by the Government to authorise the extension of the main line of railway north of Auckland. 1 here is a strong opposition in the Legislative Council to the Medical Practitioners Bill, and it will probably be thrown out there. The New Representation BUI, which has just been circulated, repeals all existing statutes on the subject, and reenacts the provision in tho Act of 1887, that the next Parliament shall comprise seventy members, besides the four Native legislators, representing four electorates, as follows :—The northern district, comprising the Auckland provincial district, and returning 16 members; the central district (Wellington, Hawke's Bay, and Taranaki), 15 members; the midland (Nelson, Marlborough, Westland, and Canterbury), 21 members; and the southern (Otago and Southland), IS members. New districts are to be cast after the census is taken. Each candidate must be nominated in writing by not less than ten electors. There is to be an election officer for each electorate, and a returning officer for each subdivision, besides which two persons are to be appointed in each electoral district to act with the returning officer as an election committee to ascertain the result of the poll. Ballot papers are to have a number on the back corresponding with the number on the counterfoil, and the voter is to place opposite the candidates' names the numbers 1,2,3, etc., in the order of his preference. Any person claiming to vote must produce his elector's right before he can receive a ballot paper; and if it is defaced the paper may b9 withheld. The scrutineers may require the voter to sign his name in a book kept for the purpose for comparison with the signature on the elector's right. Each voter will have only one vote, which will be deemed given for the candidate opposite whose name the figure appears ; but it shall be deemed transferable to the other candidates in the order of priority indicated by tho figures. The ballot papers are to be opened in the presence of the Election Committee or of one or more Justices of the Peace. Having been all mixed together they are to be drawn out of the box in succession, and unfolded, numbered in arithmetical a ries, and placed face downwards. A I those present are to sign a document stating that the entire number of ballot papers have been received. The election officer thereupon takes charge of the operation of counting, fie is to reject all informal papers and place them in a separate parcel. The aggregate number of all papers is then to be divided by the number of members to be elected plus one, and to the quotient one is to bo added, this result being the " quota." The papers on the next heap are to be sorted according to the names showing priority in thorn, and every candidate who has a number of first votes equal to the "quota" is to be declared elected. The names of the elected candidates are then to be cancelled and the papers to be transferred to the candidates whose names stood uext in the voters' preference. Tlub process must bo ropeated until no candidate has more than a quota of first votes, or votes deemed first. If u sufficient number do not roceivc tho i|uota. in this way, the candidate who receivos tho smallest number of first votes is to be declared not elected, and the votes indicated on his papers to bo given to those named next in order. Each member is to be allocated to a particular division of the district in which he is returned. Most of the other provisions in the Bill are similar to the system now in force.
A Personal Explanation was made by the Defence Minister this afternoon in regard to a statement made by Mr Hutchison on Tuesday night that Majorgoneral Stewart had written a report condemning the defence of our chief ports. He found that no such report existed; but there was a memorandum from General Stewart, which he proposed should be read to the
House. This was objected to by the Hon. Mr Ballance on the ground that it was a confidential matter, which Bhould not be generally known. This was denied by the Hon. Mr Fergus, who said that the whole tenor of the report was that General Stewart showed that the colony should expend money in larger guns to supplement our present arrangements, which, however, he did not condemn. It was then proposed that the reading of the paper should not bo proceeded with, as it would be unwise to proolaim to the world the incomplete state of our defences. This proposition waa subsequently withdrawn, as the Minister of Defence assured the House that there was nothing of confidential nature in the despatch, be mentioned that Major-general Stewart had never been in the colony, but he had acted for many years in the selection of military material. In this way he had rendered great service, for which he had been thanked through Sir William Jervois. The despatch in question said nothing at all about the four parts of the colony. General Stewart recommended the purchase of guns of high velocity, bored out from others which had been returned to the arsenal, so that they would take Bin projectiles, and the placing of two at Dunedin, two atLyttelton, and two at Wellington. Auckland was not mentioned at all. The report was wholly in praise of our fortifications, and not at all condemnatory; but General Stewart recommended some improvements which would cost about L 12.000, a sum which he (Mr Fergus) was sure that the House would not vote.
Friendly Societies' Finance. Some Btopa are to be taken |by Parliament to remedy the unsound state of those friendly societies whose condition was adversely criticised by Registrar Mason last week in a report which has caused a good deal of consternation amongst those concerned, Mr Goldie broached the subject in the House today, and was informed by the Premior that the Government are having a Bill prepared dealing with the subject. The question was, however, one of such difficulty that he intended to move for a Select Committee to advise the Government in reference to it.
The Divorce Law. Mr Samuel's Divorce Extension Bill passed its second reading to-night without much opposition. There was a bare quorum during the discussion, and little interest was seemingly paid to the question.
The Fisher Correspondence. Quite a warm quarter of an hour was passed after the laying on the table of the Fisher correspondence. The Premier, in bringing it forward, said there were some matters in it which he thought should not form part of the permanent records of the. colony, until,
at any rate, it had gone before the Printing Committee. He therefore moved simply that the correspondence should be laid on the table.—At this stage Mr Fisher entered the Chamber from the lobbies, and asked whether it was permissible for the Premier to send him a letter two hours ago and now lay the whole correspondence on the table. It would be more decorous for the hon. gentleman to withdraw the correspondence till 2.30 next day, by which time he would undertake to reply to the last letter. —MrTurnbullthoughtthetimeofthecountry should not be taken up with a squabble between the Premier and one of his late colleagues, If every communication called for a further reply, the correspondence promised to be interminable, and he would strongly object to its publication.—Mr Fisher promised that his reply should be an exceedingly short one. There was a proper constitutional course in such cases: that the Premier should simply announce on Parliament meeting that one of the Ministry had resigned or been dismissed; but instead of that lie began a correspondence in which he made charges of a most serious nature, especially when it was recollected that they were directed against an exMinister. It was shameful that the Premier should be permitted to slander him in letters, and that these slanders should be merely given out for private circulation. — The Speaker (Sir G. M. O'Rorke) said he could not allow slander to be impnted.—Mr Fisher proceeded to say that he exceedingly regretted that the correspondence should have taken place, or that he had been a parly to it. He charged the Premier with having trifled with bra, feelings, and with not showing consideration for him cr his family. The hon. gentleman must understand once for all that bo was not a man to bo trifled with. In refusing to allow the matter to be put on record, the Premier was taking a serious step, and it would take him many years to obliterate his action. The Premier said he and Mr Fisher had written letter for letter, and any further one would be beginning again the correspondence. Mr Fisher had begun the series with a letter which misrepresented facts as he understood them, and that letter was scattered broadcast all over the colony. The full substance of it was printed in the ' Evening Post' on the same day as he (the Premier) seceived it. Though it waß represented to be a State document, it appeared in full in a West Coast paper. The correspondence had not been of his own seeking, for he had offered to withdraw his first letter, but Mr Fisher had refused. The correspondence should not be bound up with the public records on his own account, though it was a disgrace to New Zealand, but because grosß charges were made against public officers who had no opportunity of answering them, and because secrets of the Cabinet were dealt with and largely misrepresented. Nothing would ever have been known of the correspondence if the hon. gentleman had not spread it about the colony. Everything he (the Premier) had written could be sub-
stantiated, and it was written in a calm and judicial spirit, and with great pain.—The motion that the correspondence should lie on the table was carried on the voices. The Premier having refused to allow the correspondence to be referred to the Printing Committee, Mr Fisher moved in that direction, and the motion was carried by 39 to 36. WELLINGTON, Jpxy 4. Final Act of the Memoranaumlad. In Mb final letter the Premier denies having authorised or inspired any of the articles dealing with the Ministerial rupture which appeared in the Wellington newspapers. He absolutely denies that Mr Whyte was directly or indirectly offered Mr Fisher's portfolio, nor had anyone been authorised to make him such an offer. He charges Mr Fisher with having been guilty, from improper motives, of interfering, as Commissioner of Customs, with the ordinary course of the law in order to screen an offender against the Beer Duty Aet from prosecution. The rest of the Cabinet were of opinion that they wonld have justly been stigmatised as dishonorable themselves if they had sanctioned or retained Mr Fisher
as a colleague. Tn conclusion, Sir H. Atkinßon says: " The indictment which has thus been constructed oat of your own admission is one which needed no elaboration to heighten its effect. It proves beyond the possibility of doubt that you have been guilty, in your official capacity, of deliberate persistence, and, in part, of a successful attempt to interfere with the ordinary course of law on behalf of a particular offender, and that you did your utmost to be faithful to the promise which, as you told more than one Minister, you had made that he should be allowed a lenient settlement out of Court on payment of a small sum, instead of being subjected to the harassing procedings of law. I deeply regret having to write thus of one who was once trusted with my perfect confidence, and was deemed worthy of it. But your grave disloyalty to your colleagues, to the high trust reposed in you as a Minister of the Crown, and to that unwritten law without which Parliamentary government would be impossible, leaves me no alternative." The Mllile-In-Scliools Party are again on the war path, and have deputed Mr Tanner to introduce a Bill in favor of Bible-reading in the State schools. School Commissioners' Tenants. While acknowledging that there doubtless are many cases of hardship amongst the School Commissioners' tenants, the Government are not prepared to take any action this session in the direction of compelling the Commissioners to give relief. The Sweating; Commission. Mr Taylor wants the Sweating Commissioners' field of inquiry extended to the Government workshops of the colony, and is moving in that direction. A Drlllshed for South Dunedln.
Inquiries are being instituted from the Defence Department aa to the number of volunteers in South Dunedin and St. Kilda. Mr Larnaoh, who has the matter in hand, informs me that if the numbers are as represented to him he intends to try and get some assistance from the Government towards the erection of a drillshed in the vicinity of the batteries at Ocean Beach. Relief to Crown Tenants. The Minister of Lands has promised to bring in a clause to give effect to the proposal to enable deferred-payment settlers to borrow on the security of the •' deferred thirds." The Auckland Unemployed. In order to meet the unemployed difficulty at Auckland the Government have voted LSOO to be spent by the Waitemata County Council, A Short Sitting. The Legislative Council only sat for ten minutes, and passed the Patent Designs and Trade Marks Bill and the West Coast Settlements Reserves Bill. Gaol Administration. Mr Allen is asking the Minister of Justice whether it be true that there is at present doing warder's duties in Dunedin Gaol and at Otago Heads a man who was previously a prisoner in Dunedin Gaol.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7950, 4 July 1889
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