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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7955, 10 July 1889
[From Our Parliamentary Reporter,] WELLINGTON, July 9, Customs Returns. It has hitherto been the practice in compiling the Customs returns to credit the exports by each direct outgoing steamer to the final port of departure. Three Auckland members to-day made representations on the subject to the Commissioner of Customs, who promised that in future all exports should be placed against the name of the port where they are actually shipped. Legislation Viewed with Disfavor. The tide of opposition to the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Bill continues to rise, and it is believed that the measure will be drowned in the advancing flood. Some of the other Government measures are also being received with growing disfavor, and several of them promise to vanish—to become massacred innocents, in fact—ere the session itself closes. The Harbors Crusade. The Gisborne folk want to squander another LIOO,OOO in supplementing their efforts to make an artificial harbor, and Oamaru wishes to spend another L 30,000 or L 40,000 for a similar purpose. A member of the Young New Zealand party, probably Mr Perceval, will move the rejection of the former, and another member of the party (Dr Newman) will try to peform the happy despatch for the Oamaru lean. Petitions. The following petitions of interest to your readers were presented to-day : Peter Murray, of Hooper Inlet, claiming compensation for lands taken owing to faulty boundary lines (Hon, Mr Larnacb) ; James and Henry M'Cormick, of Waitahuna, for relief to pastoral deferred-payment settlers (Mr Fish); Sergeant Crawfurd, of the North Dunedin Rifles, for the land certificate which, he alleges, was previously rejected through an informality in the capitation roll (Mr Allen), Tax on Absentees. The Government do not propose asking the House to set apart a special day for discussing the question of putting a special tax on the property of absentees, but hope that when the Property Assessment Amendment Bill is under consideiation the question will be raised. Volunteer Cadetships. The proposal of Mr Feldwick that a cadet officer should be attached to each volunteer oorps, and be eligible for appointment to vacant lieutenancies, will be fully considered by the Government, and the Defence Minister has promised that he will introduce the system if it appears advisable. Mr Feld wick’s object is to obviate the difficulty experienced in many districts to obtain competent officers for corps, Escaped Prisoners. There are probably many people in tho colony who have an impression like Mr W. P. Reeves, who mildly chaffed the Government on the subject to-day, that the number of escapes from our gaols last year was uaSrecedentedly large. The Minister of ustice, in his reply to Mr Reeves’s question as to what was “ the usual number,” said that in 1881 there was one escape; in 1882 there were six ; in 1883, one; in 1884, two; in 1885, nine ; in 1886, four; in 1887, three ; and in 1888, seven. In only one instance last year bad the prisoner altogether effected an escape. The Law of Libel. There is now every reason to anticipate the safe passage through both Houses of the measure introduced by the Government dealing with the law of libel. When the Bill again came before the Council to-day its second reading was carried on tho voices, and the members of the Lower House generally approve of it cordially. On the resumption of the debate, The Hon, Mr Buckley said he bad compared the Bill with the English Act, and found that they were somewhat similar, and would therefore withdraw his objections. The Hon, Mr Wilson considered that the Bill would require considerable attention when in committee. The measure, in his opinion, did not provide sufficient redress for libelled persons. The Hon. Mr Shepherd strongly supported the second reading, and expressed his opinion that it was time that plaintiffs in libel actions should be prevented from being enabled to set the law in motion for merely revengeful purposes. In his opinion the conductors of newspapers were at present placed in an exceedingly cruel position on account of the manner in which they were held liable for publishing reports which were in no degree actuated by malice. The Hon. Mr Pharazyn also supported the Bill, saying that the law as it at present stood debarred many business men of means from entering the ranks of journalism.
Government Insurance Management. Some days ago Dr Fitchett obtained an order of the House that papers showing the relations to each other of the principal officers of the Government Insurance Department should be laid on the table. Certain documents have been produced, which, however, do not give the information the hon, gentleman requires, Yesterday afternoon he asked whether the Premier would bring forward the regulations to which he had alluded. The Premier said that there were no such regulations in existence, so far as he was aware. The present system was inaugurated by the late Treasurer (Sir Julius Vogel), The hon. gentleman evidently knew something about the matter, but if he said that the papers did exist, he (the Premier) would like to learn his authority.—Dr Fitchett: “From my own personal knowledge I can say that the regulation does exist,"—The Premier: “ Then I can say that to my personal knowledge it does not exist.—Later on, in answer to Mr Fitzherbert, the Premier sarcastically observed that bon, members on the opposite side evidently knew more about the affairs of the Government than he did, and suggested that they should lay the papers they alluded to on the table.—Mr Fitzherbert readily retorted that he would do so, if the Premier would allow him. Tlie Medical Practitioners Bill. A petition was presented to both Houses yesterday on behalf of the Christchurch medical men, protesting against the Medical Practitioners Bill now before the Legislative Council. The petitioners assert that the existing Acts meet all the present requirements of the profession more amply than the system proposed in the Bill; that the Bill would prove oppressive to practitioners ; that it is premature and opposed to the interests of the community ; and that the establishment of a medical council in the form contemplated is inadvisable. In resuming the debate on the second reading of the Medical Practitioners Bill, the Hon. Mr Swanson said he would support the amendment that it be read this day six months, he having received several communications from the medical men of Auckland opposing the measure. The Hon. Mr Wilson also intimated his intention of voting for the amendment. He thought the Bill uncalled for, and that it gave too much power to the proposed Medical Council. The Hon. Mr Walker thought it would be well if the Bill were circulated more freely amongst the medical profession, and moved the adjournment of the debate for a fortnight, which was agreed to, Jottings. Petitions numerously signed were to-day presented to both Houses, praying for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act. It is probable that an attempt to legislate in the direction of taxing absentee landowners will be made this session.
Mr Saunders says he is not prepared to spend a L 5 note on his election at any tifne. War is declared against the papers of the colony by Mr Saunders, who says that the biggest journals are the greatest blackmailers, and bitterly complains of the misrepresentation of his own speeches, Dr Belcher, rector of the Otago Boys’ High School, was examined before the Public Petitions Committee this morning in support of the petition for the establishment of a university college in Wellington. The Auditor-General has written a circular to county councils informing them that in consequence of the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Maniototo County the disallowance of travelling expenses contained in any previous certificates has been withdrawn.
Mr Joyce has arranged with the supporters of his Shop Honrs Bill to inako the hour of closing seven o’clock instead of six. In anticipation of some good speaking pn the Representation Bill, all the galleries were crowded to-night; and, as they say of a successful play, " hundreds were turned away at the doors,”
The Government do not see their way to adopt Mr T. Mackenzie’s suggestion that by way of reducing taxation the sheep tax should be abolished.
Mr Saunders made a telling speech in favor of the Hare system, saying that if this change in the form of representation were brought about no more trimmers would be returned, while the degrading habit of house-tc-house canvassing would be at an end. On the presentation of the report from the Joint Committee on Bills re the Christchurch City Council Empowering Bill, Mr Perceval moved that it be referred back to the Committee for a statement of the reasons which led them to decide it was a private Bill. This was negatived by 42 to 33, and the report ordered to lie on the table. In the Council thb afternoon the Bill to amend the Westland and Nelson Native Reserves Act was introduced by Taiaroa and read a first time. The Fire, Marine, and Insurance Companies Bill was read a third time and passed. On the motion of the Attorney-General, the second reading of the Legislative Council Reform Bill was adjourned till Tuesday next, in the hope of having a full attendance of the Lords when it is discussed. Earl Onslow censures Mr Fisher for prematurely publishing the Gasparini correspondence, and characterises it as an “ unjustifiable act.” July 10. School Books. Mr Perceval this afternoon asks the Minister of Education whether, in the event of reading books being printed in the colony for use in the public schools and approved by the department, he would specially recommend education boards to adopt them. This question has reference to the Southern Cross Readers (First, Second, and Third Standards), written to meet the requirements of the New Zealand education code, and published by Whitcombe and Tombs, of -Christchurch, The work is specially designed to bring the minds of the young into more direct contact with the facts of life and of Nature, as experienced in this colony, and the trees, animals, and birds of New Zealand are dealt with. Dairying: Instructors. Mr Anderson wants to know whether the Government will adopt Professor Long’s suggestion, and import one or two “ dairy experts ” for the purpose of instructing the colonial dairymen in the best methods of making butter and cheese for export. Municipal Gasworks. A Municipal Corporations Amendment Bill is being introduced by Mr Perceval with a view to repealing that part of the Act which prevents Corporations from erecting gasworks where gas companies already exist without first getting a special Act. The Flax Market. The Premier has cabled to the AgentGeneral for reasons to account for the fluctuating state of the New Zealand flax market, and asing the uses it is being put to. Not to be Hounded Down. In reply to Mr Allen, who asked whether there was at present doing warder’s duty in Dunedin Gaol and at Otago Heads one who was previously a prisoner in Dunedin Gaol, the Minister of Justice said it was not true. It was, however, true that from 1885 down to June last there was continuously employed by the Defence Department, as a chainman, one who had been in Dunedin Gaol. This man was taken on for a short time as an assistant warder, but was never under the control of the gaoler. He was an old soldier, and the crime for which be had
been convicted (assaulting a constable while drunk) was not a serious one, for be was only sentenced to forty-eight hours* imprisonment. Mr Fergus added, amid cheers, that he did not believe in hounding a man down. A Bonus Wanted* On Friday Mr W. D. Stewart will ask whether the Government will give a reasonable bonus for the discovery near Dunedin of ironsand yielding 25 to 40 per cent, of iron. Goldfields' Matters. The Goldfields Committee this morning passed a resolution asking the Government to bring in a Bill to enable local bodies on goldfields to spend some of their funds in sending exhibits to the Dunedin Exhibition, which they cannot do as the law now stands without coming into collision with the Audit Department. The Committee also decided to recommend that next session their powers should be extended so as to embrace all kinds of mining, instead of gold mining only as at present. Tbe Charitable Aid Dill. A meeting of members representing suburban boroughs was held this morning to consider the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Bill. There were present Messrs Allen, Barron, Jones, Joyce, Loughrey, Moss, and Taylor, Mr Barron being elected chairman, Several members sent apologies for their unavoidable absence, on account of being urgently required on other committees then sitting, and suggested the adjournment of the meeting. After some discussion of the provisions of the Bill, it was decided to adjourn the meeting until Tuesday night.
'VfIU Probably be Held Over. The Premier says that the chief opposition to the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Bill is because the local bodies misapprehend it. That was quite clear to his mind from the telegrams he had received. Though the Government recognised the Bill as one of great importance and wished to see it passed this session, they had no desire to hurry it on. The Sweating Commissioners’ Scope Enlarged. The Government have agreed to. extend the scope of the Sweating Commission so as to include the ease of shop girls.
Judge Ward’s Position.
1 hear that the Government propose asking for the appointment of a Special Committee to consider Mr Christie’s petition against the administration of justice by Judge Ward. The feeling among members is growing that if the allegations made can be substantiated, apart from the inferences sought to be drawn, Judge Ward’s removal from the Bench is desirable in the interests of parity of the administration of law.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7955, 10 July 1889
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