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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[From Or a Faruamentaiiy Repobtsr.] WELLINGTON, July 17. Criminal Procedure. An important alteration in criminal procedure will bo effected by Mr Hutchison's Criminal Evidence Bill, which was passed through all its stages in the House to-night, if it should be accepted by the Lords. Its effect is to enable an accused person, and tho wife or husband of an accused person, to give evidence in cases; but only with his or her consent, while a refusal to testify is not to prejudice an accused. Petition.". A largely-signed petition from the residents of Christchurch was presented to-day bySir John Hall, prayingthat theage of consent may beraiscd from thirteen years to sixteen years. Another petition from the same district asked that the Industrial Schools Act may be so extended ai to relate to young persons of sixteen or seventeen y:ars, providing that any child up to that age found living with persons without visible or lawful means of support, or with common prostitutes, whether or not such persons are parents or guardians, may be brought before the Court with a view of committal to an industrial school until of the age of twenty one. At present it appears that the Act does not apply to children beyond fifteen years. A Big Effort.

An elaborate speech, redolent of the midnight oil, was delivered by Mr Joyce to-night in moving tho sooond reading of his Shop Hours Bill, which fixc3 the hours of shop labor as from 6 a.m. to7p.ir. The hon. member earnestly appealed to tho House to securo for the young people of this colony freedom and not bondage, and quoted at length from newspaper reports to bliow a widespread desire for legislation on the Bubject.—Mr Fish, who followed, said that the Bill would_ not accomplish Mr Joyce's bonevolent intentions, because it would not prevent employes being kept in shops for fourteen hours a day, boeause empl yes were to be allowed to remain on the premises for an hour after closing time, if tho Bill simply provided that the employe) should not be kept at work after six o'clock he would have supported it, but it would bo unfair to compel all tmall traders to close at seven, eeeing that many of them only did business after the larger establishments closed.—Messrs Goldie, W. J. Steward, Duwnie Stewart, O'Conor, Bruce, R. Thompson, Moss, Allen, Feldwick, and Dr Fitchott gavo a mora or less modified support to the Bill. Messrs Turnbull, Izsru", Moat, Duncan, Mcnteath, and Blake opposed the Bill.—Mr Joyce, in replying, agreed to introduce a clause making the operation of the Bill optional with borough councils. —Tho second readirg was then agreed to on the voices. The Gasparlnl incident The correspondence relating to the escape of the convict Gasparini was reviewed in the House by Sir G. Groy this afternoon, when asking if Ministers we'e responsible for the letter which was written on the 4th init. by tho Governor to the Vice-Consul for Franco* at Wellington, and which is published in the Parliamentary papers relating to Gaspariai's escape. Ho said such a proceeding astbeGovorncrwritirg to a Vice-CoDsul on a public mutter was utterly opposed to the dignity and rank of His Excellency. Tho writer had done an unparalleled wrong to the whole Cabinet, for the Governor had expressed hia deep regret that csitain correspondence should have been printed, and spoke of the unjustifiable conduct of a gentleman who had b„'en acting as his confidential adviser. Tiie Premier replied that he had not yet had time to bring tho matter before the Cabinct.acdat hisrequest SirG. Giej agreed to adjourn the question till Tuesday next. Local Rorties' Audit. The great inconvenienco to which local governing bodies arc often put by tho d?!ay of the Audit Department in dealing with thtir accounts is admitted by tho Premier, who says that if a measure which is to be introduced by the GtVirrment coiling with the question is not pasjid this session then some temporary pro vision wiil have to be made for getting over the d flicu'ty. The department has been censiderably delayed during the past year by gross irregularities discovered in the accounts of some of the local bodies. Mr Walker is giving tho rsattei some ottention and wants returns made showing the cost to tho colony of these audits. Property Tax Valuers A return of names of all persons who tendered the last time for the office of property tax valuers and the amounts of their tenders was this afternocn]moved for by Mr Verrall. Tho return was objected to by the Premier as being an expensive one; but he offend to furnish the hon. gentleman with any information be required to enablo Irm to ventilate a 100 l grievance. Tho motion was negatived ly 41 to 21. Consti'uctliifr Hallways out of Revenue. Tho proposal to construct the Otago Central Railway out of land revenue is being made a precedent by members from all parts of the colony for requests that their pet lines may be formed on a similar system. Mr Ward brought forward such a plea yesterday on beh'lf of tho Seaward Bush Railway (Southland). Tho Premier, replying, amid.-t a general ripple of laughter, said that, profiting by h's experience when answering Dr Newman on Tuesday, he proposed to stat i that, not having personally ir - apected the country through which tholine would pass, he coull not express an opinion.—(An hon member, sotln voce: "Another ministerial tour). : ' 11,I 1 , however, the principle of tho Otago Contral Bill f urd acceptance with the House, as he had no doubt it would, there could bo no doubt that it would be the duty of the Government to tee if other lines wero in a position suitable for being carried out on tho same system. The Representation Commission. The Premier states that the Government have no intention at present of filling up tho vacancy in tho Representation Commission this session. Nominated Immigrants. Tho immigration returns for the year fhow that 255 persons landed in the colony under the nominated system. From the time of tho commencement of this Bchome 74,00f) persons have been nominated, and 31,373 have arrived in tho colony. Of these Otago has absorbed 8,980 ; Canterbury, 8,549; Auclclaud, 5,057 ; Wellington, 4,761; Hawkc'rt Bay, 1,643. The remainder has been distributed amongst other districts. Gold Duty Abolition. Mr Seddon's Gold Duty Abolition Bill, which provides for the gradual abolition of the duty by 6d per year, and effects its final extinction in four 1 years' time, was before the House to-night. Tho goldfieldb' members, Mr Allen, and tho Minister of Defence supported the measure, which was opposed by Mr Fish, Mr Mos", and the Minister of Mine.". The second reading was oariiad by 47 to 21. The Kepresentation mil. The city member* %-e organising to oppose the Kepresentation Bill, and threaten a stonewall that will eclipse that in which tho Maori members figured so prominently last session. On a suggestion being made to the Piemier chat such stonewalling might drag on for a month, he intimated with a grim smile that he would be quite prepared to "crush that sort of thing," and that the debate would not be likely to be prolonged over a few days. Sir Harry

doubtless had in view the amended rules of procedure, of which we heard so much before the session opened. The deputation which was appointed by the city members to-day waited upon the Premier late in the afternoon, and urged him to hold over the Representation Bill till next week, so as to allow time for its furthi r consideration. The Premier d«clined to make any definite promiso until be had consulted hi 3 colleagues and some of the country members. The Government bill comes in f->r unmeasured condemnation from the ' >'o<t,' whioh tays:—"Minister- are flumdering terribly with their Re/iiesentotion sSinco they abandoned the proportional system they Bf-om to have no settled policy, and to be guided by no fixed or certain principle. The Bill they have substituted for their original measure is a wretched abortion. It is a crude, ill-conceived attempt to satisfy the country numbers by saciiQeiug the city constituencies. So illconsidered is the proposal—bo little consideration have Ministers given to tho subject—that the Colonial Secretary, in proposing the second nading, showed himself entirely ignorant of the ixtent of tho concession to the country districts which is embodied in tho Bill." After going through the provisions of the Bill, it proceed! to say:—"Such towns as Napier, Nelson, Wanganui, Invercargill, and Timaru are to have proportionately one-third more representation than Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, or Dunedin. Wo are utterly at a loss to understand on what grounds buch a proposal can possibly be defended. _ It is a most unjust one, and utterly inconsistent with the true principles of representation; in | fact the whole Bill is an exceedingly bad one, and even the proposed amalgamation of the city electorates in the manner suggested cannot be regarded as a redeeming poinr." The amalgarr ation of the city electorates is warlmy approved (f, but otherwise the Bill is condemned.

The Late Mr Macandrew. The family of tho late Mr James Macandrew are understood to be in straitened circumstances, and a caul is being pricked by Mr Mills with the view of ascertaining how many members are favorable to the granting of a parcel of land to the deceased gentleman's daughters in recognition of their father's services to the colony. Should a majority favor tho idea a motion will be made iu the House on the subject. A precedent for this exists in the case of tho late Dr Peattierston, whose family obtained a similar grant. The Codlin Moth Nuisance. Mr Jones, member for Heathcote, has for son.e time past taken an active interest in the codlin moth question, and to-day he succeeded in getting together an influential deputation to wait on the Premier in order to represent to him tho feelings of fruit growers in various parts of the colony on this important matter. The deputation comprised Messrs Blako, Jone<, Monk, Hobbs, Humphrejs, Lawry, Taylor, Kho:les, Perceval, and W. P. Reeves. In introducing the question Mr Reeves showed the great utricles made in tho industry in Canterbury, and tho large sums of money in vested in it. Ho further indicated how strong the feeling was in favor of tome legislation calculated to prevent the spread of the codiin moth in Canterbury, and suggested that copies of the Bill of year should be sent to i\v> various centres where fruit is grown asking for suggestions, and amendments whero necessary, iu order to make the measure suitablo to their wishes and to the requirements of the country. Sir H. Atk'nson expressed great pleasure in meeting tho deputation, and eaid tho case under notice was one requiring Immediate action. He suggested that a sub committee should be appointed to deal with tho question, and when they had fully decided on what was tho best course to tako ho would bo happy to meet them again and to givo effect to what they and the Government considered right and effective. A committee—consisting of Mcasrs Jones, Rhodes, Reoves, Hobb?, and Blako-was accordingly appointed. It was understord that the Committee will make an interim report to the members comprising the deputation before submitting any proposals to tho Government. Justices' Justice. Having recoived a report from tho presiding Justice who recently convicted two young girls of diwrdcrly behaviour and sentenced them to three months' imprisonment-, the Minist r of Justice has decided to let the law take its course. He is very loth to interfere in cases of summary jurisdiction, unless very exceptional circumstances exist.

The case of Medder, wrongly convicted of stealing a watch and subsequently released, has been under tho consideration of the Government, who will propose in tho Supplementary Vstimatcß a compassionate allowance to his family. Tlic Manawatu Railway.

The petition of the Wellington ami Manawatu Railway Company was before tin; Petitions Committee to-day. The company prayed to be relieved from taxation on their railway for various reasons. In the fust place it is pointed out that at tho time of incorporation, in 1831, the company were by law agents fjr the holders of thoir debentures, and therefore entitled to deduct the amount of tho Property Tax from payments of iutorest on debentures. In 1883, however, a new Property Assessment Act was passed, oontainiog a clause which deprived them of I the liaht to be deemed agents of the debenI ture holders. Again, tho company maintain ! that as they undertook a work that the I Government of tho diy were unable or I unwiliiug to do, it was only natural 11 suppose that they, in taking tho work from the Government, would operate under the tame conditions as if tha Government themselves had constructed the line. '"' heyalsomaiataiuthat tho construction of the lino has of itself conferred great benefits on the country by the settlement of land belonging to the Government and themselves, and by enhancing tho valuo of the lands that wero previously occupied; thereby increasing the rateable value of property to a considerable extent. It is urged as an cbj':t-t : on that loial bodies have i raised loan?, giving the rites on tho railway i lino as a security for their repayment; but, in acswer to this, it is statod that local bodies have no power to guarantee the rates from tho railway line as repayment of their loans, because they aro fully aw*re that after November next the Government have the power to take the line over, in which case the r.ite* would cease. In addition to this the railway, by enhancing the value of lands belong ng to ihemselvos, tho Government and private holders, has already conferred a great benefit on local bodies in the increase of , the rateable value of such properties, the proof of which is that under tho la-it property assessment, the rateable value of property is now more than sufficient a3 a security for the repayment of their loauc, evert without any extra rating. The compa iy have no objection to be rated for their endowed lands, because they share in the advantages of the expenditure of the rates, but they object to the local rating of the railway construction on the ground that they have to maintain their own highway, and on the principle that local bodies should maintain tho line if they rate it. The company also stato that as the local bodies have only power to rate land and improvements I upon land it is unfair that railway construction should be deemed to be an improvement beyond tho enhanced value it has already given to adjacent property, because the lino is constructed for tho fide purpose of conveying passengers and goods thereon, and not for the improvement of the chain width of land upon which it is constructed. 1 A nuiteillu Petition.

' Br Fitchett this afternoon presented a petition signed by Sir Robert Stout and 214 others, setting forth (1) that many of the citizens of Duncdin are desirous of forming a Co operative Land Sett'cmcut Company, and obtaining Crown lands either in lease or by purchase for that purpose ; (2) that they desire such lands to bo set apart uodor the special settlement provisions of the Land Act, 1885, and to como u r .d r the regulations issued by the Government when Mr Ballance was Minister of Linds; (3) the present Minister of Lands declines to carry out the said provisions and . regulations; (4) if facilities are given, settle- ' rnent will be promoted and many menenabledto obtain homes who are now denied the opportunity. The petitioners, there'oro, pray that the House will take such Measures as will lead to effect being given to the special settlement conditions of the Land A c". of 1885, Mr Larnach is moving that the petition be printed and circulated. Local Option Extension.

A significant vote, as showing the hold local option is gaining on the colony, was given this afternoon, when Mr Withy (on behalf of Mr Fulton) moved—"That in the opinion of this House it is imperative that the Government should without delay intrcduce a Bill giving power to the people, by direct vote at the ballotbox, periodically taken, to prohibit the sale of liquors within the district in which they reside." The mover pointed out that he did not propose any new principle, but simply anted for an extension cf the existing system, which enabled the public to rote whether or net there should be any increase of licensed premises, but gave them no right to declare for reduction of the number, or the sale or prohibition of the sale of intoxicants. The motion, wh'ch was supported by Mr Goldie, was carried by 36 to 2C. Incidence of Taxation. Mr Barron's motion for a gradual reduotion of the Property Tax by one farthing each year was negatived this afternoon by 60 to 11. Mr Mo3s's amendment condemning the tax, and a further amendment by Mr Seddon in favor of the substitution of a land and income tax, from 30th September, 1890, and the exemption of agricultural and mining machinery in the meantime, were talked out by the 5.30 adjournment,

but whether they will again come on for consideration this session is doubtful. The Sweating Commission. The suggestion to include a member of the Wellington Trades and Labor Union on the Royal Commission to inquire into the sweating system has the concurrence of the I'remior, who has promised Mr Joyce that when appointing the Commission it will have consideration. Council Ileform. Most of this afiernoou in the Upper Chamber was occupied with the adjourned debate on the Legi.-httive Ooui.cil Reform Bill. The diecushiou was resumed by Mr Oliver, who denied that the necessity for any reform of the Chamber existed, inasmuch as members in the paat had performed their work satisfactorily. It was all nonsense to suppose that any Government would flood their number for the purpose of furthering their own ends. He maintained that an independent Upper Chamber was absolutely necessary for the good government of the country, atd said tint if it could be proved that in the past the Council were not in sympatny with the people probably some change such as was indicated by the AttorneyGeneral might be advantageous. But he emphatically denied that this was so. He hoped that the Bill would be rejected. Mr Reynolds thought the time had mtf arrived to reform the Council, and expressed his opinion that many of tho appointments made were in no way creditable to ike I Ministry of the day. A change in its constitution was called for both by the people and tho Press tf the colony. Mr Pharazyn admitted that there were many objectionable clauses in the Bill, but, as he cousiderul tho proposals of this Government demanded respectful thought, he supported its second reading. Mr Scotland, in supporting the second reading, raised a laugh by declarir.g that if an angel came from Heaven and framed a Bill it would be kicked out by a majority of the Council, who considered themselves the acme of perfection in tho direction ot intelligence. Mr Barnicoat would vote for the motion, in expectation of the measure being severely critici.ed in committee,

Dr Pollen saw no reason for an alteration of the Council, and moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. The measure was also opposed by tho Hons. Wilson, Walker, and I'eacoci. The adj ,urnment of the debate till the following day was then agreed to.

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Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Evening Star, Issue 7962, 18 July 1889

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POLITICAL GOSSIP. Evening Star, Issue 7962, 18 July 1889

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