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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7982, 10 August 1889
[From Oua Parliamentary Feporter.]
WELLINGTON, August 9, The Property Tax.
The motion for the second reading of the Property Tax Assessment Bill, on which it had been arranged that the financial policy of the Government should be debated, came on this evening, but members were so much demoraliaedby the earlier proceedings that they were disinclined to carry on the debate. The Premier merely moved the second reading of the Bill, on which it had previously been arranged to take the Financial Debate. The question was almost being put when Mr Moss rose to move, as an amendment—“ That in the opinion of this House the Property Tax is unfair in its incidence, harrassing in its effects, and an obstacle to the progress and settlement of the country.” Mr Seddon moved the adjournment of the debate on the ground that after the tax on their powers by the debate just concluded, members were not prepared to discuss further, The Premier said ho had promised the Leader of the Opposition to take the Financial Debate on this motion, and as faith was not kept, he could not be blamed if he made his arrangements as best suited the Government for the future. On this understanding he would agree to the amendment. The Hon. Mr Ballance said he had received no intimation that the Bill was coming on that night. He had received the Bill a few minutes before the House met, and had nothing to do with Mr Moss’s amendment. He bad never in all his experience known a Colonial Treasurer to introduce an important policy measure about which he bad previously addressed the public without making a speech upon it. The discourtesy was all on the part of the Government, and in the excited state of the House he (Mr Ballance) would acquiesce in the adjournment of the debate. An adjournment till Monday was agreed to. Otago Marriages Bill. This Bill, to remove doubts as to the validity of certain marriages performed by the Rev. Dr M'Gregor, of Oamaru, was read a second time. A Flash In the Pan. This forenoon 1 advised you that a noconfidence debate was simmering, and mentioned that if it were brought to a head Mr Larnach (and not Mr Ballance, who is the Leader of the Opposition), would take the initiative. The attack was unexpectedly made to-night, and after one of the shortest want-of-confidence debates on record, Mr Larnach’s amendment for the appointment of a select committee to deal with the Ward-Hislop business, was negatived by 40 to 36. The result was received with cheers from the Opposition side of the House, who were highly elated at the narrow majority recorded against them, Sat Upon. An effort was made by Taylor when the House met to-night to raise a discussion on what he termed “ the insanitary state of Wellington, and the sensational articles in the newspapers.” Dr Newman rose to interrupt the hon. gentleman on a point of order, and reminded Mr Speaker that when tha city members were “ barricading ” a certain Bill he had ruled that nothing could intercept the Orders of the Day. On this Mr Taylor subsided, beaming with satisfaction at having been able to get his oar in. Gaol Management. Mr Feldwick is asking the Minister of Justice (1) if he will give instructions that letters forwarded by gaolers (after inspection) to relatives and friends 8f prisoners confined in the gaols shall be enclosed in unofficial envelopes, so that no persons other than the addressees shall be able to know that such letters have proceeded from penal establishments; and (2) if he will direct that such letters shall bear ordinary postage stamps, in place of being franked by gaolers? An Important Provision was added to-night to the Patents, etc.. Bill to the effect that no trade mark for artificial manure is to be registered, unless it be accompanied by a proper certificate of the component parts of the mixture, a copy of which shall also be attached to every box or package sold. The object is, of course, to prevent the adulteration of bone dust and other manures, of which much complaint has been lately made. Advanced a Stngo. In the House to-night the second readings of the following measures were assented to without discussion Otago Marriage, Marriage Act Amendment, Canterbury Society of Arts Reserve, and Public Reserves Amendment Bills (which was referred to the Waste Lands Committee).
The amendments made by the Legislative Council in the Dunedin Exhibition Licensing Bill (the clause relating to a local option poll had been struck out) were agreed to by 88 to 29. Several measures were advanced a stage in the Legislative Council this afternoon. In moving the second reading of the Mercantile Law Amendment Bill (which was assented to without debate), the Attorney General explained that It would benefit, not only the carriers of goods by sea but also shippers. The Bill simply placed the contracting parties in inland waters on the same footing as those who carry goods on the ocean. The second reading of the Shipping and Seamen’s Amendment Bill was also assented to. This measure refers to seamen and masters who merely trade in inland waters. Consideration of Government Native Lands Purchases Amendment Bill was deferred till Tuesday next. It is merely a validation measure, and provides that private individuals shall not interfere when the Government desire to make purchases of Native lands. Tlie Cold Duty. As private members’ legislation is practically at an end for this session, Mr Brown is inquiring whether the Minister of Mines will take charge of Mr Seddon’s Gold Duty Abolition Bill as a Government measure. A Criminal Court of Appeal. During discussion on Chemis’s case yesterday the Premier said that steps ought to be taken to relieve the Executive from the painful duty of deciding whether the law should take its course in cases of prisoners sentenced to death. This has prompted Mr Peldwick to give notice of his intention to ask whether the Government will next session introduce a Bill providing for the estab : lishment of a Criminal Court of Appeal. Relieving Crown Tenants. Some opposition was shown in the Council this afternoon to the Selectors’ Laud Revaluation Bill. Mr Oliver intimated that ho would give it his support, as it sought to give relief to a hard-working and highly-deserving class of persons. A point was raised by Mr Shrimski—that, as the measure contained a proposal for the reduction of Consolidated Revenue, it could not be introduced for the first time in the Legislative Council; but the Speaker replied that he failed to see that the Bill contained a clause affecting appropriation, and therefore he considered that there was nothing objectionable in the Bill being introduced. Mr Shrimski then characterised the Bill as an objectionable' one, although he admitted that it was a good electioneering Bill. The intimation of its second reading ’ having passed would prove the note for a serious diminution in the revenue, and would tend to prove disastrous to the interests of private landlords, who would be expected to follow in the footsteps of the State landholder and to re duce their rents. He failed to see why persons who had gone into the auction room and had bid against bona fide would-be selectors should now come and ask the State to give them relief. A similar stand was taken by Dr Pollen, who argued that the settlers had with their eyes open entered into obligations which they now desired to repudiate. These people knew nothing of the trials and privations which the early pioneers of the colony had to undergo. _ The motion was supported by Messrs Barnicoat, Shepherd. Fraser, Hart, and Sir G. Whitmore, after which the second reading was affirmed by 22 to 7, and the Bill referred to the Waste Lands Committee. August 10. Management of Trust Funds. Rumor says that the Public Accounts Committee are very much dissatisfied with the Treasurer’s handling of the trust funds in general, and 'with the advance made to the Oamaru Harbor Board in particular. It is not improbable that it will be proposed that an independent board may be appointed f
to deal with these moneys, In order to prevent them being employed for political purposes, Last Night’s Division. Concerning yesterday’s proceedings in the House, the * Post ’ to-night says“ The whole proceedings in relation to the case yesterday were of a peculiar character, and »y no means creditable to the Minister who figured most conspicuously in them. The Colonial Secretary, in the course of his personal explanation, made confessions and admissions which were alone enough to show that bis conduct, throughout had been of a most improper character, fully justifying all the hard things which have been said of it. Mr Hislop stands convicted out of his own mouth of having in a most unwarrantable manner interfered with the administration of justice, insulted a Judge, usurped the Ministerial function of a colleague, displayed a most reprehensible personal feeling, and at least laid himself open to thO' imputation of having in his action ns a Minister been influenced and biassed by his business connection with the case, in which one of the parties, on whose behalf he appeared, was a client of his firm’s. We do not say that he was so influenced, and we are loth to believe that he was so. But such is the inference which in many quarters has unmistakeably been drawn. His action appears at least to have been as fairly open to suspicion as was the conduct of Mr Fisher m the brewery cases, which Mr Hislop himself so strongly condemned, which he was by no means mealy-mouthed in characterising, and which the Cabinet deemed sufficient to justuy them in ejecting the assumed offender from Ministerial office.”
Messrs T. M'Kenzie, Valentine, and others, tell me that while desiring to see a committee appointed re the Ward-Christie case, they voted against Mr Larnach’s amendment, because they consider a change of Government at the present time would be a most disastrous thing for the colony. Pairs were refused to the Government whin for Mr J. C. Anderson and Mr Withy, who were absent from the House, and counting Messrs Peacock and Beetham, now out of New Zealand, the probabilities are that the Government would have a majority of eight votesif a direct issue were tabled by the Opposition, We have probably now heard the last of Judge Ward’s case, so far as the Lower House is concerned.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7982, 10 August 1889
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