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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7981, 9 August 1889
[From Odr Parliamentary Reporter. | WELLINGTON, August 9. The Harbor Board's Claim. There seems a probability at last of the lorg standing claim by the Otago Uarbor Board against the Government for lands taken for railway purposes being adjusted. The matter has been repeatedly reported on by various committees from session to session, who have recommended that the Board have some claim against the coloLy. This year the matter was referred to A. to L. branch of the Petitions Committee, and they ucarimously decided on nuking a definite report. Tbey will recommend that in their opinion the petitioners are entitled to payment of L 4,500 for the land taVen by the Government.
lhe Minister of Works has premised to put L 4.500 on the Supplementary Estimates in accordance 'with the Petitions Committee's recommendation to meet the Haibor Board's claim. Mr Kosb and Dr Fitchett saw the Hon. Mr Mitchelson yesterday about the streets on the Hatbor Board's reserves, over which some conflict has arisen between the Board and the City Council. It seems that Council refuse to take over the streets tdl they are metalled and put in ordtr, although they derive rates from any premises erected thereon. The Board have no power to form streets, and the Council refuse to do so. The Minister promised to look into the matter and take steps, by legislation if necessary, to compel the Council to form the streets. A No-confidence Motion Threatened.
The session may not, after all, have so peaceful an enditg as was anticipated. Though no positive decision has been come to on the matter, the Opposition are seriously considering the idoa of proposing a no-confidence motion, and the Ward-Christie correspondence is tbo peg on which the motion will be based. Should action result, and, if the Government's conduct is challenged in the House, the attack will be led by Mr L&rnach, and cob by Mr Ballance. 1 he feeling among members is that Mr Hislop's inteifercnce was unwarranted, especially with regard to his inquiring from Mr Ward as to his private relations with tbe prosecuting company. I hear that the Colonial Secretary now admits that his action in that respect was injudicious. We shall know next week whether a hostile motion is to be proposed.
A Canard. Probably the supreme dullness of the session has given rise to a number of the rumors that have gair ed currency recently. The latest lobby report is that Mr Fitzgerald will not return to the colony, bo that Sir H. Atlinson is desirons of being appointed to the office of Auditor and Comptroller-General. Of course, Ministeis deny that there is any ground for the statement.
Volunteer Land Claims. I understand that the Naval and Military Settlers and Volunteers Land Claims Committee have decided that the promise to give land to the old Forest Ranger Corps was complete. They will therefore recommend their claims for recognition. They will a'so propose that all volunteers, who have complied with the terms of the Acf, shall be given thtir land scrip, and that no technicality shall be allowed to prevent land grants being made to old soldiers who are equitably entitled to them. Telephone Charges and Cable Rates.
Mr Ward intends asking whether the Government will favorably consider the advisability of reducing rates to telephone subscribers, and whether they will have all important public offices connected with the telephone exchanges; also whether Government will take steps to have the high intercolonial cable rates at present in operation reduced, and, failing the cable proprietary declining to adopt a reasonable tariff, will they make overtures to the Governments of the sister colonies with a view to laying a second cable, to be worked to the mutual interest of the subscribing colonies ?
The Volunteer Scandal. In accordance with the recommendation of the Court of Enquiry the Defence Minister has disbanded the Waitemata and Onehnnga Kavals, the corps which were prominent in the Mercer scandal at the Esster Review. Notice of the disbandments are gazetted this week.
Monday Sittings. The House will not sit on Monday aftemooD, but on Monday night there will be a sitting for the transaction of Government business only. The Ministerial Programme. The Civil Service Classification Bill will be pushed through all its stages this session. The Bankruptcy Bill and the Charitable Aid Bill will probably be included among the slaughtered innocents. Ell's Claims. The Petitions Committee recommend that Mr G. W. £ll be granted the necessary steps to placa him in a position to prosecute his celebrated claims, but without detriment to the claims of his creditors. Defying Ministers. By 21 to 13 the Council carried Mr Wilson's motion for a select comtnitte re the Ward-Hislop correspondence. Ihe Attorney-General strongly objected to the motion. The Financial Debate will be taken to-night.
The Colonial Secretary Explains. I hear that Mr Bislop intends making a long statement of his connection with the ChristieWard correspondence, and the probabilities are that, while denying that he has in any way acted improperly, he will admit that (with his experience of the present case bfore him) be wou'.d be unlikely to adopt a similar course on any future occasion, should similar circumstances arise. If that course be pursued, it is improbable that the Opposition will move a direct hostile vote regarding the Colonial Secretary's attitnde. Mr Bislop bas jußt moved the adjournment of the House, and is giving a complete history of the Ward-Christie matter. He olaimed that his first letter to Judge Ward was within the usual practice, and it could in no way be considered irregular or at all reflecting on the Judge, or doing anything in _ any way way detrimental to the further elucidation of the case afterwards. As to his asking Judge Ward with respect to his connection with the prosecuting company he was bowid to say that, since he had heard the opinions of various gentlemen, he was satisfied that he would have been more discreet had he not acted as he did, but Indiscretion was another thing to a wrong act. It was a matter of taste whether ho ovght to have inquired whether the Judge
was indebted to the company or allowed the Minister of Justice to write to Judge Ward asking for the truth of such a report. Prcceeding with hij address tho hon. gentleman ,«ud that he woull c!eal with questions on tho OrJer Paper. Ho said that when in Oamaru on April 18 he was as'oundul to hoar from the ckrk of the Uoir; that Ju.fee Ward had telegraphed to him to substitute eithor Dunedin or Timaru for Oamaru in the warrant. Ho (Mr Hblop) pointed out that no Judge after ho had once left the Bench had power to alter a warrant. He admitted that in his official capacity he had shown some warmth, but he was not one to receive blows with the equanimity of a philosopher. It was unfortunate that his firm had had anything to do with the case, but he did not make the connection. What the House had to consider was not whether such connection was an unfortunate thing, but whether ho bad so acted as to int« fere with the caurto of justice, In conclusion, ho admitted that if he had to write his flri-t letter to Judge Ward again lie would write it in a different form. But one could not con over every scntenco ho had to indite. It would be impossible fur him in tho circurmtances that had recently happened to sit in judgment on Judge Ward, and, if the necessity arose for Mr Ward's position being reviewed, he must absent himself from tho mectiugß of the Cabinet when that question was under consideration.
The Big Dredge. Mr Mills has given notice to ask tho Premier if the attention of tho Governraeut has been called to the fact that tho Otago Harbor Board have arraged to charter Bredge 222 to the Melbourne Haibor Trust, and that it is intended to despatch her to Melbourne at the ritk of the Board, not be'ng covered by insurance; if ro, do the Government consider thatthe Board are justified in removing from the colony any parti >n of their property which foims pait of tho eecu ity to thtir creditors, or if they are justified in incurring a iibk of eo much outside the ordinary course of business 1 A Legal Libel Case. The libel case of Bell v. JelHooe hai been ized to ba heard hero on the 22nd inst., before a fpecial jury of twelve. Sir R. Stout appears for the plaintiff.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7981, 9 August 1889
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