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THE PREMIER ON THE OTAGO CENTRAL.

THE GOVERNMENT DETERMINED TO SEE THE LINE THROUGH. "ST. ALBANS" SAT UPON. [From Our Parliamentary Reforter.J WELLINGTON, Atjcust 14. A considerable portion of Sir H. Atkinson's speech last night was devoted to a defence of the Public Works proposals of the Government. In dealing with the Otago Central, lie showed un-nistakcubly that he was in earnest in his desire to push on the construction of the raihray to Eiveburn at the earliest possible moment. Oa this head ho said : I was misled about the Otago Central duiiDg our first session. If I had known what I now know, I should have in 18S7 asked the House to put a sum of L 200.000 in the schedule of the loan for the completion of that railway to Evvebum. But I was misled by information I had given to me. The Government were misled. We were led to believe that if the line terminated at Middlemarch it would give something like a return. Ido not mean much interest on the money expended, but what would rather more than pay workingexpenses. I havegone jarefully into the matter since then, and find it is not so. I find that the L 500.000 wc have expended would be practically lost if the work were not continued. We had these facts before us. lam only just touchiug on this to show that the policy of the Government is not one of shreds and patches. The Otago Central, the Puhipuhi Tramway, and the North Island Central line are all connected in our proposals. It is a connected scheme with the object of

Mr W. P. Reeves" 1 : Hear, hear. The Premier: Yes; I know there are some persons who cannot understand it, but it is a connected scheme with the view of preventing the country from going into a system of further borrowing. Now, I say that if our policy is agreed to by tho House we can fiuish the works to such points as will render further borrowing, or a desire for it amongst the large communities of both islands, unnecessary. But it is my duty to warn tho House that i: they are determined, from whatever motives—whether their idea is that we are mistaken or not, or from ptirty or other motives (which I will not suppose)—not to accept cur scheme, further borrowing will be inevitablo. There are certain parts of the colony, judging from tho way in which the proposals of the Lsader of the Opposition were received the other night, which desire to see further borrowing, and believe in it and will accept it. They conscientiously believe in it, and that it is better for tho State ; buta vast majority of the colonists do not belitve.in it. I say that if you leave such a large community as Otago under the impression that they have been neglected in an important work, and that the colony through shortsighted motives is stopping short at a place where the railway on which half a million of money has been spent i 3 of no use to settlers—l say if we stop short in a line of this sort tho community will distrust the proposals of this House—and rightly so—and you will have a rising feeling that this line is not to be finished. If the House determines that it is not to be finished by the Government (as I will explain on another occasion)—that it is not to be dealt with as the Government proposes—there id no other way thin by a further loan, One hon. gentleman has EaM : Why toi put it in the schedule ? Why not take tho Greymouth-Hokitika, tho WoodvilkNorth Main Trunk, aud the Otago Central, and put them into a schedule aud go and borrow the amount on the Home market at 4 per cent, instead of here. It i 3 a very specious argument, but I warn the House that it is'one that will have great weight if the provi'neo of Otago takc3 it up, as it will assuredly do if they have a sense of injustice left upon them. Mr W. P. Reeves : More shame to the in.

The Premier : We arc not all such patriots that when we have gained all we \vant we can cry "shame" ou those who ask for so small a consideration. Sir, the ignorance of somo people is astounding. Look what has been done for the Midland Railway. Millions of acres of land belonging to the colony were set apart for that line, as I think rightly, but it was the land of the colony, and now, when it is proposed not to set apart land, as the House agreed to do twice—not to do that, and to part with the freehold of thaland ; but for a few years to set apart 25 per cent, of the rent it ia yielding—then we are told " more shame to the community so to act in the interests of the colonists. Mr Reeves : I did nob say more shame to them for that. I said more shame if they insisted on further borrowing. The Premier: I must ask the hon, gentleman nob to interrupt me. I am weary of such nonsense, and am astonished at it comiug from anyone who aspirei to a position in this House.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890814.2.27

Bibliographic details

THE PREMIER ON THE OTAGO CENTRAL., Issue 7985, 14 August 1889

Word Count
886

THE PREMIER ON THE OTAGO CENTRAL. Issue 7985, 14 August 1889

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