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THE NO CONFIDENCE DEBATE., Issue 7986, 15 August 1889
THE NO CONFIDENCE DEBATE.
[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.]
WELLINGTON. August 14,
The no-confidence debate dragged on its weary course the whole of this afternoon and evening. The talking was resumed at 2.30 by . n Mr Brake, who gave the present Government credit for being the first that had bottomed our public debt. The Property Tax pressed heavily on the farmers in the Avon district, which he represented, and in voting for the amendment he repudiated any idea of going in for a land and income tax. Mr Sami'el followed, and said, notwithstanding that the vote he was about to give was against the party with which he had been associated and with whom ha hoped to act again, he should with some reluctance be compelled to support the Government on the present issue. When he entered Parliament he was determined to do all in his power to abolish the Property lax, but he was now convinced that to substitute a laud and income tax for it would have a much more disastrous effect, and he was compelled to admit that the Property Tax, for revenue purposes, was the fairest that could be imposed. Mr Kerr, while admitting that a land and income tax would be more oppressive than the Property Tax, felt that the latter should be altered so as to make its incidence less unjust. He also disapproved of the Government having given leave of absence to the Auditor-General, holding that that t Ulcer should be (putu independent of the Government. Mr Goldie supported Mr Moss’s amendment, having come to the House pledged to support the repeal of the Property Tax. He blamed the Government for delaying the promised reform of the Civil Service, aud attributed that delay to the influent of the Service. Dr Newman said it did not matter much whether we had a property tax or land tax, because L 400.000 had to bo raised, and whatever way it was done was found to be distasteful. When the Bill got into committee he hoped that an amendment would be made inflicting a tax on absentees. He ridiculed the Premier’s assertion that he had always been engaged in resisting borrowing, and said that he had calculated that in the past eleven years the hon. gentleman had borrowed no less than 22 millions sterling, or L 40,000 per week for the period that he had been in office. The proposal to divert part of the North Island Trunk Railway loan to the Stratford road was a gross violation of the terms on which the money had been raised, and was only designed to benefit the Premier’s constituent?. He criticised the details of the Financial Statement, and condemned the Treasurer’s general financial arrangements. As to the Otago Central and other schemes of the Government, they simply amounted to sneaking, underhand borrowing in a way that gulled the public. Bather than assent to that, he would prefer the honest 4 per cent, loan proposed by Mr Ballance.
Mr \V. P. Reeves defended the Opposition from the charges of levity and w 7 ant of sense of responsibility made by the Premier. He denied that the amendment was meaningless. Had the political career of the Premier shown a sense of responsibility when time after time he had brought down measures very dear to him which he afterwards withdrew at the bidding of the House ? He (the speaker) denied that the Opposition were anxious for further borrowing, or that Mr Ballance’s speech meant anything of the kind. The Premier had in the past been a most extravagant borrower, and be was now proposing more borrowing of a most objectionable kind. The chief difference between the money borrowed from the trust funds and a loan raised in the London money market was that higher interest would have to be paid for the former. The Premier now asked to be allowed to borrow from the trust funds, and threatened that if that were not allowed another big loan would be necessary. He twitted the Premier with having only made assertions _ and given no proofs in his remarks on the incidence of taxation. He pointed out that the proposed land tax was not after all a leap in the dark, but had been proved elsewhere to be practicable. In conclusion, he predicted that the Premier, in spite of his vigorous speech, would not carry the sense of the House with him in support of his dear, darling property tax. Mr T. Mackenzie spoke in favor of the present Administration, who had adopted a system of retrenchment, and declared themselves opposed to a further borrowing policy. He nrged that any change of Government at the present time would bo prejudicial to our rising credit at Home. He supported the Property Tax in preference to a land tax, and could not understand the opposition to it in centres of population, He condemned an income tax especially, and expressed himself opposed to the concessions proposed in the present Property Tax Amendment Bill, especially in regard to the exemption of machinery. The adjournment o£ the debate was moved by the Minister of Lands.
THE NO CONFIDENCE DEBATE., Issue 7986, 15 August 1889
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