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HANSARD PICKINGS, Issue 7986, 15 August 1889
A LIVELY DIALOGUE. The Premier : Let us go into committee, and there, in a friendly and reasonable way, nrguo out the amount of difference to be allowed. Mr W. P. Reeves: Your side say that they will not. Sir 11. Atkinson : No ; they have not said so. My side is in the middle. This is the lion, member for St. Albans, ono of the great Liberals, whess Liberalism means that you are to have everything your own way, and that your neighbor cannot think rightly, and who say that if you are not a Liberal you are a pest to the community. I can assure the hon. gentleman that there is no use in him getting cross. Mr Reeves : 1 am not cross.
Sir H. Atkinson: The lion, gentleman had far better take my advice—the advice of the Government—assent to the second reading of the Bill, which the hou. member for Dunedin East has admitted is no question of principle at all, and then in a friendly way Mr Reeves ; Be eaten up.
Sir H. Atkinson; No, it ia the country members who arc going to be eaten up when they have trodden on the lion’s tail. It must bo remembered that all the power ia with the great Liberals the tower. Directly you tread on their tail then cornea the catastrophe, and as soon as we are in committee we shall tread on their tail. Mr Reeves: We have no tail. . . . I thought the duty of a Government was to introduce measures which they could carry. Sir H. Atkinson: Then the hon. gentleman’s experience of political life is very small, either in regard to this country or to any other, or he would have known that there is nothing more common than for a Government to bring in measures—more particularly measures of importance—have them discussed, and then let them stand over again until the country learns to understand them and Parliament has to pass them. The Iron, gentleman appears to know very little about these matters. TOWN' AN I) COUNTRY. Sir G. Grey : The Hon. the Premier told us, with apparently great earnestness, that the country people had vast and strong claims. And then he said they tucked up their sleeves and went to work ; and immediately there were great cheers. He dcs cribsd how hard they worked in the country —these farming men—and therefore what great claims they had, and intimated thathe was determined to protect them and espouse their cause—as if there was any particular merit in tucking up sleeves. An Hon. Member: And wealing hobnailed boots.
Sir G. Grey : Yes, “ and wearing hobnailed boots.” Those members here who represent the country ought to sit hero with their sleeves tucked up, that they might he known, because as I look round I can hardly recogxiso whom I should lock at and particularly address. That is the qualification my hon. friend would have repiescnted by votes. Now, such were his arguments in favor of the country. And then he described, furthermore, some really excellent features that distinguished the country man and the inhabitants of the country districts, and raised sympathy in the minds of all who heard him in favor of the inhabitants of country districts. I felt it myself, as the words flowed from his lips. But suddenly the thought came across my mind : What about the people who inhabit the towns ? Have they no merits? Have they no trials ? Do not they tuck up their sleeves? Aye, more than that. Look at the joyaof the life of people in the country—the bright sunshine ; the green fields that surround them ; the power that they once had of fishing in the streams, until plural votes deprived them of it. Certainly all those joys exist in the country. But look at the dirty lanes of the towns ; the woiking in hot manufactories all day ; the learning to do some single act — perhaps of a trilling kind—e,nd spending one’s life in doing that, instead of in the varied labor of the country. Look at the fevers that prevail in the towns ; consider that the life of children there is one-third, at least, shorter than the lives of those in the country. Look at all the miseries suffered by the inhabitants of the towns, and then let ns ask ourselves if they do not, to save their wives and children from these wrongs, require an equal votingpower with the inhabitants of the country districts. THE RUNS. Mr Duncan : It was extremely difficult to get the hon. the Minister to come to any reasonable agreement as between the large owners and the public, as he always put every obstacle ho could in the way. In the part of the country from which ho came there was no land for settlement without touching these lands, which were all low lying, and not liable to snowstorms ; and if the Minister did not intend to settle people
there, they would not get any settlement at all. They were simply smothered with these large landowners. Campbell and Co. had about two or three hundred thousand sheep all over that country, besides runs in other parts of the country. What sort of consolation was it to tell those people to go to the auction sale and compete for those runs against the Hon. Robert Campbell? He was prepared to outbid anybody—they knew what he had done in previous times. He had known that gentleman to go to an auction sale and buy land at 5s lOd rental per acre, and then not sign the lease for two years, and eventually get the land for 3s. That gentleman always fell on his feet. It did not matter how you threw him up, ho always came down feet foremost. An Hon. Member: In what year ? Mr Duncan: Only four years ago, Mr Rhodes: Under what Ministry ?
Mr Duncan said it did pot matter what Ministry, as that gentleman always came out right. The reason he (Mr Duncan) had specially brought this matter up was that the land on the opposite side, in Canterbury, had not been dealt with at the last sale, and if it was to be allowed to go in the direction the Minister intended it would be all wasted, so far as settlement went. And not only thatland, but there were occasionally runs falling in all round. There was another of these Otekaike runs to fall in about two years, and the same thing would be Repeated if hon. members sat still in their places and allowed that sort of thing to go on. It would not lead to any good result to detain the House further on the subject, but he thought it was not right of hon. members not to speak out when things of this sort
happened. He wished the present Minister of Lands could bo held in hand better by some of his colleagues. If they could not control him they ought to get rid of him before any more of these games were perpetrated.
HANSARD PICKINGS, Issue 7986, 15 August 1889
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