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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7981, 9 August 1889
[From Oca Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, August 8. The Property Tax. A publio meeting, having for its object the formation of an association to advocate the substitution of a land tax for the Proparty Tax, is about to be held in Wellington, and a promise has been obtained from Sir G. Grey and other members that they will attend and deliver addresses on the subject, and in other ways will do their best to support the movement. Worth Island Trunk Railway. The 'Evening Press' speaks in strong terms condemnatory of the proposed new route for this line, concluding a marked Wellingtonian article thus:—"Wo do not for a moment suppose that the House will consent to go back on its deliberate determination that railway communication between the north and south of this island B'iould be a direct one and shall be by the central route. There is ono other point which the House should consider, and it is: How far a Ministry is justified in applying money—even part of the railway survey fund —in surveys of a lino of railway which not only have not been sanctioned by the Louse but are in direct antagonism to a Hue which has been expressly sanctioned by the House. That seems to us a fitting subject for consideration." The Otago Central. The Otago Central Railway Kill will be further considered to-morrow. An active canvass has been going on for some days on both sides, and I learn this evening tint heads having been counted a majority of six or seven votes in favor of the Kill is confidently anticipated bv its supporters. On the other hand, an Auckland member assures me that the Bill will meet with vigorous opposition. I gather from him that the caul has been pricked, and forty-four members are pledged to resist it to the utmost, while some three or four are doubtful. In any case the Bill is sure to be severely stonewalled, and its opponents boast that they will succeed in killing it. In a Dilemma. Members are rather surprised at the Puhipuhi Forest tramway proposals being brought down in the manner they have, and it is felt that the scheme is likewise in great jeopardy. It places Mr Marsden Thompson in rather a peculiar position, for last year he was one of the band of stonewallera who killed the Otago Central Bill, and now if he repeats these tactics the Otagt membeas will slaughter his pet plan. Trust Funds. There seems to be a growing feeling iu the House against using trust funds in the manner proposed in connection with the Otago Central, and a motion which Mr W. C. Smith has given notice of for the committee stage, to shelve the Bill till the Government can introduce similar measures for all railways that have been commenced in the colony, will receive considerable support.
The Beginning of tUe Enrt. I understand that this was the last private members' day of the session, as, owing to the way in vhich the work has been delayed, and numerous important Government measures yet to be dealt with, the Government now require every sitting day, and will commence next week. The Oamaru Harbor Board Bill, and a batch ai other local Bills were down for consideration this afternoon, but the long discussion over the Chemia case that cropped up effectually prevented these measures being dealt with, and for all practical interests and purposes they are now seemingly shelved for the .session. From what I can learn, the discussion was promoted with the very object of blocking the Oamaru Bill. I hear that the Government intend meeting on Monday afternoon for local Bills only, but comparatively littlo progress can be made in a couple of hours. Ministerial Holidays. It will be recollected that throe of the Ministers (Messrs Fisher, Fergus, and Mitchelson) visited Melbourne shortly after the close of last session of Parliament, and it is doubtless in connection with those visits that Mr Monk has been induced to give notice that a return bo prepared and laid before this House showing the amounts ia detail expended on account of travelliug allowances and expenses of Ministers between Ist of October and 3rd of December last.
No Progress. At to-night's sitting private Bills were taken for a couple of hours, but the House rose early, and really no substantial progress was made with the two measures under discussion—the Municipal Corporations Act Amendment Bill (which dealt with the Christchurch Gasworks) and the Auctioneers Bill. A Worrying: Busine^. Members keep badgering Ministers on every possible occabion in connection with the Hislop-Ward correspondence. To day quite a batch of questions were given notice of in connection with the matter. Air Larnach will ask whether any member of the Government sent instructions to the Crown Prosecutor at Dnnedin indicating that he was not to oppose the rule being made absolute in Regina v. M'Donald (gaoler at Oamaru) re Christie, argued at Dunedin on April 24 last; and if so, what was the nature of the instructions. Mr Guinness is inquiring whether the Minister of Justice caused to be forwarded to Judge Ward a copy of a long and important memorandum of May 28 last, written by the Hon. Mr Hislop to the Minister of Justice, and in which grave charges were made against Judge Ward. Then Mr Joyce is anxious to know whether the Premier will give the House an assurance that the Government will take no action against District Judge Ward in his official relations with the Government between now and until the House has had an opportunity of considering the sime either this session or at next session of Parliament. Mr Larnach has given mtice to ask the Government (1) Whether, in Christie's case, Judge Ward ordered the clerk of the Court to amend the warrant of committal by the alteration of the mistaken date ; (2) whether tho Minister of Justice cammunicated by letter or telegram with Judge Ward demanding to know on what authority he had so ordered the clerk ; (3) it it true that the Colonial Secretary threatened the said clerk with punishment if he attended to the order of the Judge, and, if true, is it usual for Ministers to interfere in this way with a judge in the exercise of his authority or with any officer of his Court? In addition to the above queries, Mr Seddon is moving for a return showing the amount paid by the Government to counsel for appearing on behalf of the Oamaru gaoler in the proceedings for Christie's release after his conviction for fraudulent bankruptcy at Oamaru. The Premier having refused to agree to appoint a select committee to inquire into the whole matter, the Hon. J. N. Wilson has tabled a motion to the same effect in the Legislative Council.
The Kalwarra Murder Case was the subject of a long discussion in the House this afternoon apropos of tho question aßked by Mr Hutchison aa to whether the affidavits and other documents in the case of Louis Chemis will be in ..de public ; whether there is any precedent for an ex parte argument addressed on behalf of Chemis to the Governor, reviewing tho whole case; and whether such course is to be followed in similar cases in future ? The Premier said that it was not usual to publish such information, and the Government would not depart from the ordinary rule, unless required to do so by tho House. As to the other part of the question, tho Governor had simply exercised his right of hearing everyone who could throw light on the case before exercising the prerogative. Mr Hutchison moved the adjournment of the House, and argued at length that there was no precedent for what had been done; and he reviewed the steps which had led to Mr Jellicoe gaining an interview with tho condemned man, and subsequently addressing His Excellency the Governor for three hours on his behalf, which, he said, was a clearly irregular proceeding. Hereupon the Premier submitted as a point of order that Mr Hutchison had no right to reflect upon the Governor's action, and denied that Mr Jellicoe was heard as counsel. The Speaker held that the acts of the Governor in exercising the prerogative of mercy should not be called in question. The Premier, in the coarse of the debate, said that the Governor had care-
fully avoided allowing himself to be treated as a Court in any way ; that he had simply received information from Mr Jellicoe and others. The Government had, however, felt great auxiety iu dealing with the ease for want of precodents, and he would suggest that a committee should bo appointed to search for precedents and report whether some kind of criminal Court of Appeal ought not to be set up to deal with such cases and relieve the Executive from a terrible responsibility. Mr Hutchison urged that the proper course to have taken would havo been to defer the execution pending further inquiry, as the case was undoubtedly one for either pardon or execution. After further discussion the subject dropped, tiie Premier promising to consider whether he would lay the papers before the House. Civil Service Reform.
The Colonial Secretary informed Mr Rhodes to-day that tho Government hope to pass this session the Civil Service Bill which they have prepared. Local Ojition Extension.
Ministers arc by no means unanimous as to whether they r.hould legislate to give effect to the local option resolution lately passed by the House iu favor of giving tho power of direct veto to the inhabitants of the district. At any rate they say that they are afraid they will not bring in a Bill on the subject this year.
Mineral Exhibits. The Goldfields and Mines Committee have recommended Government to send suitable mineral exhibits to the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, and that some oflicial be placed in charge of them for the purpose of giving information to visitors. They also expre?s the opinion that a suitablo handbook of New Zealand mines and minerals should be piepared and placed before the public at the Exhibition.
'2 he Representation Hill. In the Council this afternoon the Representation Bill was read a first time and the second reading fixed for Tuesday. Public Libraries.
Mr Seddou wishes to know whether the Government will make provision in _ the Supplementary Estimates for subsidising the public libraries in the colony, or, failing that, will they afford the House an opportunity of discussing a motion on the subject?
ISclief of Ci'oivsi Tenants. The object of the Selectors' Laud devaluation Bill, which is now before the Legislative Council, i 3 to provide for a revaluation of certain lands held on deferred payment and perpetual lease respectively. It alleges that as certain persons purchased or otherwise acquired lands on deferred payments and on perpetual lease by public auction or tender, prior to the passage of the Land Act, 1887, it is expedient that all such persons should be placed as nearly as may be in the same position as persons who have purchased or acquired lands of a like tenure subsequent to the passing of the said Act, and for that purpose to empower the Land Boards to make a revaluation of the lands of persona, who purchased or acquired lands as aforesaid prior to the passing of the taid Act. Selectors prior to January 1 of last year are entitled to apply to the Land Board of their district before January 1, IS9I, for a revaluation, and the Boardareempowered tohearaud hold inquiry into the case. The baa's of revaluation shall bo the value of the allotment exclusive of improvements at the time of revaluation ; the revaluation to relate back to the date of license or lease. The decision of the Board is in all to be approved by the Minister, and if approved by him shall have the force of!;w. The second reading of the measure was to day moved by the Attorney-General, and wan met by an amendment by the Hon. Mr Mantell, to the effect that the second reading of the 15111 he taken that day six months. .Sir G. Whitmore considered that the provisions of the Bill were unexceptionable ; but what he objected to was that it did not go far cuoiigli, as it sought to relievo only two classes of leaseholders. The Hon. Mr Buckley considered that it was evident, from what had fallen from the hou. gentleman who hid just spoken, that members were not fully acquainted with the provisions of the Bill, and he therefore moved the adjournment of tho debate till next day, which was agreed to. It is understood that when the Bill is in committee a clauso will be introduced providing for the exemption of runs in the possession of fquattcra, who are largely represented in the Upper Chamber.
In the anticipation of the passage of the Bill, tho Commissioner cf Crown Lands at Dunedin has made a revaluation in the ease of 210aelectoro, and recommends a reduction of rent in all cases. The districts in which selectors reside are Blackstone, Bcnger, Budle, Crookston, Catling, Dart, Earnalaw, Glcnkenich, Greenvale, Cimmerburn, Highlay, Kawarau, Kurow, Lauder, Lower Wamika, Lower Hawea, Maniototo, Maerewenua, Mount Hyde, Moeraki, Poolburn, Rankleburn, Rock and Pillar, Shotover, Strath Taieri, Sutton, Swinburn, Table Hill, Tarras, Tiger Hill, Tu'ipeka West, Upper Wakatipu, Wavepa, Waipahi, Waihomo, Waitahuna West, and Greenvale. The cases nearest Dunedin r.re the following, the upset price realised per acre being stated : MOERAKI. William Murcott Scct'on 14, block 13 (deferred payment); area, 158 acres ; original upset prion, LI 10s per acre; realised L2 Is; present official valuation, LI 10s. Alexander Frew Section 19, block 13 (deferred payment); area, 105 acres ; original upset piice, LI 10s; realised L2 03; official valuation, LI os BTRATU TAIBKI. John Connelly—Section 18, block 10 (perpetual lea e); area, 24 acres; original upset, L 5; realised L 5 ; amount in arrears, L 0 ; official valuation, L2 10s. Hugh O'Donnell—Section 22, block 10 (perpstuil lease); area, 201 acres; realised (original upset) L 5; amount in arrear, L 125; official valuation, Lo. Charles Kwanson—Sections 1G to 20, block 10 (perpetual leaEe); area, 590 acres; original upset, LI; rcalisod LI 13i 4d ; amount in arrear, L 24 ; cfhVal valuation, LI sj. TUAI'KKA WEST. John Stewart—Settion 20, block 9 (perpetual lea*c) area, 518 acres; realised (original upset of) L2los; amount in arrears, L 32 ; official valuation, LI 10s. W4IHBMO, ThomasFraser—Section 1(5, block 8 (deferred payment); area, 273 acres; realised (original upi>eb of) L 3; amount in arrears, L 5 3; official valuation, L 210?. William H. Bailey Section 15, block 8 (deferred payment); area, 251 acres; realised (original npsnt of) L 3; amount in arrears, LSO; official valuation, L2 10s. James M'Biide—Section 11, block 8 (deferred payment); area, 251 acres; realised (original upset cf) L 3; amount in arrears, LSO; official valuation, L2 10.'. Mary Bayly—Section 10, block 8 (deferred payment); aiea, 203 acres; realised (original upset of) LI 10s; official valuation, LI.
WAIT-AHUNA WEST. John Martin Smith—Section 17, block 5 (deferred payment); area, 319 acrei; original upset, LI 10a; realised L 4ls3d ; official valuation, L 3. James Smith, jun.—Section 18, block 5 (deferred payment); area, 208 r.cres; original upset, LI lCs; realised L 3 Is 3d; official valualijn. L 2103. Alexander A. Wymar—Section 19, block 5; area, 117 acres ; original upset, LI 10s; realised Ij3 10s ; official valuation, L2 10s. John Hughes—Section 20, block 5 (deferred payment); area, 319 acres ; original upset, LI 10a ; realised L2los; official valuation, L2 10a. Thomas Kinghnn—Section 8, block 9 (deferred payment); area, 252 acres; original upset, LI 10s; realised, L2 ss; amount iu arrearß, L 2 9; < ffioial valuation, LI 17s 6d. William Smith—Section 14, block 9 (deferred payment); area, 297 acres ; original upset, LI 10s; realised, 1.3 Mis 3d; official valuation, L!i.
John Jones—Suction Ifi, block 9 (deferred payment); area, 'l7 aercn; original upset, LI 10j ; realised, V.\ K!:i .'S'l ; official valuation, L 3. John Robertson—Section 9, block 9 (deferred payment); area, 252 acren; realised (original upßet of) LI 10s; amount in arrcar, L 32; official valuation. LI sd.
J. VVebster-Section 10, block 9 (deferred payment); area, 208 acres; realised (original upstt of) LI 10s; official valuation, LI ss. Robert Murdook Section 21, block 10 (deferred payment); area, 204 acreß; realised (original upset of) LI 10s; amount in arrears, L 20 0; official valuation, LI 5?. J. payment); area, 189 acres; realised (original upset of) LI 103; amount in arrears, Lll; official valuation, Ll ss. Duncan Robinson Section 23, block 10, area, 97 acrep; realised (original upset of) Ll 10s; amount in arrears, L 3 3; official valuation, Ll 53,
Daniel Keenan—Section 11, block ll s are*, 316 acrea ; original upset, LI lOd ; realised, L2 12a 6d ; amount in arrears, Lll; official valuation, LI 17s Oil. Henry Keenan—Section 12, block 11 (deferred payment); area, 217 acres j original upset, LI lOd; itaiisod L 4 ; amoiuit in arrears, L 45; official valuation, L 3. John M'Auley-Section IG, block, 11 (deferred payment); area, 319 acres ; original upnet, LI Wi; iealiscdL2 2a Cd; official valuation, LI 17a (id.
Tlic Works statement The reception given to the Public Works Statement is favorable. The 'Post' says that " the Statement is not a sensational one, but it is a very plain, bu3iness-like document, and, so far as it goes, will give general satisfaction. Of course, there will be much disappointment at the omission of some works, and the very slight provision made for others, but with the limited means at his command Mr Mitchelson has divided what he has to spend as fairly as possible." Taken a3 a whole, the Statement, I think, probably strengthens the favorable opinion created abroad by the Financial Statement as to the present position and futuro prospects of the colony.
The Lawrence Hallway. Mr Brown is moving for a return of all traflic on the Lawrence Railway, showing the receipts and expenditure for the year ended March 31 last. Robbing the l.oroushs.
While spoaking to the Auctioneers Bill tr-night, Mr Fish said he was in receipt of a communication from the Town Clerk at Dunodin stating that the loss to that Corporation through tho passing of the Bill would be LSGO a year. By the Financial Arrangements Act, IS7G, auctioneers' lioeufee3 were made municipal revenue of the corporations in which the business places of the auctioneers were situated, and, on the streugth of those arrangements, various municipal corporations throughout the colony based ther finances. It was a most pernicious thing for the House from time to time to pass legislation having for its object the unsettling of such finances. It was with the utmost difficulty that the Dunedin Corporation could now make both ends meet, and with the revenue they would lose, if this Kill became law, it would be a case of the last straw breaking the camel's back, and there would be entailed on the ratepayers an extra rate of 3d in the £, While the large boroughs would suffer to a very appreciable extent by tho passago of this Kill no advantage of a corresponding value would be entailed on small boroughs.
Spalding'* Case. Some time ago Stephen Spalding pleaded guilty to an indictment for arson in the Auckland Supreme Court, but a plea of insanity was sustained, and he was consigned to the Avoudale Asylum. After being kept in durance for sorno time he effected hia escape, and was at large in various parts of the colony for eight months, when he returned to Auckland ; and on announcing that ho would lecture on the mismanagement of the asylum he wa? arrested and again consigned to the institution, afterwards being transferred to the Wellington Asylum, where he now is, Dining his period of liberty he obtained certificates of sanity from two medical gentlemen, and his friends petitioned Parliament this session for his release. The report of tho Committee to whom that petion was referred recommended that hi-> prayer should be considered by the Government, and the man be examined by two independent gentlemen. This gave rise to fcome discussion, several members of the Committee speaking. It was stated that Or Macgregor, when giving evidence before the Committee, had declared that if Spalding had not gone to Auckland the probability was that the Department would not have iaken the trouble to have looked after him. The Colonial Secretary said that Dr Mageregor and the medical men of both the Auckland and Wellington Asylums considered the man a dangerous lunatic ; and, after a personal interview with him, he (Mr Jlislop) ha/1 formed tho opinion that, while mentally ho be able to control himself, the ir.au wan morally as insane as could be. However, he promised that he would at once give instructions to have Spalding examined, in compliance with the recommendation of the Committee, though that rrcommendation was at variance with his own judgment.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7981, 9 August 1889
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