[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.) WELLINGTON, August 13. Collection of Customs Revenue. The average cost of collecting the Customs revenue last year was LI 19s 2d per cent, as against L2los 6d the previous year. Tne cost at the principal ports was as follows:—Wellington, LI 14s 8d -per cent.; Christchurch and Lyttelton, Ll l7s 8d; Auckland, 11 17s 4d ; Dunedin, Ll 10s Bd. The moat expensive places were—Russell, Lls 2j lid ptr cent. ; Picton, LH Is 6d ; and New Plymouth, L 7 10s 31. The Xo-Confidence Debate. To-day’s speeches) on the no-coufiderce question have been fir and away the best yet de livered. At the evening sitting Mr Harkness (as I advised you the last thing this afternoon) sprang a surprise on the House by intimating that “on the mot on f->r the committalof the Bill he will move that the Committee bo instructed to insert a clause repealing the Properly Assessment Acts, as from March 31 next, and directing the Government to bring in a Bill next session to impose a land and income tax ” This, he said, would bring matters to a direct issue, and he appealed to Mr Moss to withdraw hia amendment condemning the Property Tax. The Representation BUI Passed. In spite of all the threats made by the Legislative Council that they would strike out the clause of the Representation Bill providing for the abolition of plural votes, that august body passed the measure in its entirety, as I predicted, and it now on'y awaits the approval of the Governor to become law, Exception to the ‘‘one man one vote”.c'anse was taken by the Hons. Hart; Reynolds, M'Lean, Ol.ver, Dr Pollen, and others, who argued that the clause should have formed part of the Qualification of Electors Bill, and objected to property being deprived of its representation. The clause was eventually retained by 17 to 11. Mr Oliver afterwards moved to recommit the Bill to insert a provision that no person shall be entitled t>o exercise the franchise if six irontbs be ore any election be shall have received charitable aid. This, however, was lest by 17 to 12, and the Bill passed through its final stager. When the bell was rung for the crucial division members trooped in from the o.her Chamber, and many wore apparently “sold” on ascertaining that the Bill had passed without amendment, for it was an open secret that if it had again got on to the floor of the Lower House an attempt would be made to kill the Bill. The following is the division list; Ayes : Hons. Acland, Barnteoat Campbell, Digoau, Fraser, Kenny, Lehmann, Martin, Morris, gcoilatd, Shephard, Shrimski, Stevens, Wigley, Wilson, Whitmore, Whitaker. Noes : Hons. Hart, Uantell, M'Lean, Miller, Oliver, Pharazyn, Pollen, Reeves, Reynolds, Swanson, Walker. AcdCST 16. Probabilities of the Division. The division on the Property Assessment Bill will probably be taken late to-night, and every nerve is being strained to secure any doubtful totes. Promises have been freely made on both sides, and, if lobby gossip can be credited, more than one bargain has been struck as the price of individual support. Mr Downie Stewart is likely to follow the Premier into tfch lobby, and the Hon. 6. M'Lean, whose persistent whipping, along with that cf the Hon. B. Campbell, has given much offence to the Opposition, is credited with having influenced the member for Dunedin West in bis decision. Mr Buxton will now support Mr Moss’s amendment. Mr Ballance having pledged to him his word of honor that if the present Opposition move be successful his party wid not substitute a land and income tax, but will merely propose modifications in the Property Tax. Then Dr Newman, who declared in favor of the Government a couple of nights ago, is said to be uncertain, a strong reminder in last night’s ‘ Post ’ that the present Government were acting iuimically towards the interests of Wellington, and that his now supporting them would lose him hia seat in the event of a dissolution, causing him to stand by the views be bas already given expression to in the coarse of the debate. The division will be close, and both sides are evidencing the greatest anxiety. A Prospecting Vote Recommended. The following resolution was carried at a meeting of the Goldfields Committee held this forenoon“ That in the opinion cf this Committee it is desirable that a subsidy of £ per £ be given by the Government in aid of prospeoting f.r gold upon moneys expended by county councils, pro-pecting associations, or private patties ; provided that such prospecting associations or private parties shall first be appointed by the local authorities.” The Minister is to be asked to make provision for the same on the Supplementary Estimates.!) Tire Ministerial Counterplot. It is said that Mr Harksess was induced to throw in his vote on the Government side in consequence of an amendment having been drafted by the Premier for submission by him at a later stage of the Bill, which he deems will deal a more effective blow at the Property Tax than Mr Moss’s amendment. Counting Heads. Estimates as to the state of parties still vary. On the part of the Government a majority cf three is claimed, placing the votes at fortyseven and forty-four respectively, leaving Mr O’Oonor’s vote unaccounted for. On the other hand prominent Oppositionists claim that there will be a tie, or at the most the Government will only win by one vote. Koos. The Attitude of Dunedin West’s Member. I understand that Mr Downie Stewart, laving regard especially to the favorable attitude of the present Ministry towards the Otago Central Railway, and that the Opposition io the event of the Government being turned out would not make any real proposal for changing the incidence of taxation, will vote with the Prenr’er on the division tc-night. The member for Dunedin West, in coming to this determination, also recogni ea that Mr Moss’s amendment is proposed very much of his own motion, and not in concert with the Opposition. A Forecast of the Division. There seems to be little change in the political position, and the exact numbers cannot accurately be foretold till members have filed into thtir respective lobbies. As nearly as I can make out, the votes will be oast thus:— For the Government'. Allen, Anderson, Atkinson, Bruce, Buchanan, Carroll, Cowan, Dodson, Fergus, Fish, Fulton, Graham, Hal, Hamlin, Harkness. Hislop, Hobbs, Hodgkinson, Humphreys, Izard, Jackson, Maoarthur, Scobie Mackenzie, T. Mackenzie, Merchant, Macgregor, Mills, Mitobelson, Mcnteatb, Moat, Ormond, Pjke, Rhodes, G. F. Rich’rdson, Bob*, Russell, Samuel, Saunders, Seymour, Stewart, Taipua, Tanner, K. Thompson. Valentine, Whyte, Wilson Against*. Ballance, Barron, Blake, Brown, Cadman, Duncan, Feldwick, Fisher, Fitcbett, Filzherbert, Fraser, Goldie, Grey, Grirouond, Guinness, Hutchison, Jones, Joyce, Kelly, Kerr, Lance, Larnach, Lawry, Louehrey, John M'Eenzie, Monk, Newman, Moss, Farit l , Perceval, R Reeves, W. P. Reeves, E. Richardson, Seddon, Smith, Stewart, Taiwbanga, Taylor, T. Thompson, Turnbull, Venal), Walker, Ward, Withy. This gives forty-six for the Government and forty-four for the Opposition, leaving Mr O’Conor and Mr Buxton unaccounted for No one kuowa how the former will vote; while Mr Buxton may not improbably walk out of the House. A meeting of the Middle or Free trade party has been summoned fur four o’clock, and is convened by Mr Scobie Mackenzie. The Freetraders In Council. The following have been invited to attend the Freetrade meeting:—Messrs Allen, Anderson, Barron, Blake, Buchanan, Cowan, Fulton, Izard, Macorthur, Scobie Mackenzie, T. Mackenzie, Marchant, Fyke, Rhodes, Boss, Russell, Saunders, Menteath, Whyte, Wilson, and Withy. The position is a very exciting one, snd the decision come to by the Freetraders will certainly decide the fate of the Ministry, and it is qiite probable that a proposal will be made that they shall vote en bloc for the Government. Judicial. Mr Oonolly had a long interview with the Cabinet to-day, and has been ss-igned to Auck’and. There will consequently be no changes in the judicial districts. Off on Leave. Mr Ormond and Mr Fish leave for their homes to-day, the former being paired with Mr Kelly and the latter with Mr Withy. The Opposition whips refused a pair to Mr Fish, and one was only obtained through the personal friendship «( Mr Withy, Calling to the Council. One report freely circulated to-day is that the Government intend making some calls to the Legislative Council for votes given at the present erhis, This has doubtless prompted Mr M'Kenzie, member for the Clutha, to give no the on tbe_ House meeting of the following question: Whether, in view cf a report that the Government contemplate adding to the membership of the Legislative Council, they will, in making such appointments, take into their consideration the necessity of giving due representation to that large electoral and well-peopled area situated in the south-west o( the South Island, which comprises the whole of the south-west of Otago Central and Southland, with a population of 75,000 persons, equal to an eighth of the population of the entire colony, and at present unrepresented in the legislative Council Mr Moss’s Reply. Mr Moss has sent the following reply to Mr Harkness: “In your speech last night you asked me to withdraw my amendment in favor of yours. In mine I carefully avoided anything that might appear to be dictatorial as to the futon finance of the colony when not my-
self under responsibility. My desire was solely to obtain a clear expie sion of opinion on an obnoxious tax. As to what should follow opinions must vary. It appears to me that they can only tike shape and be submitted to Parliament for its consideration after adverse opinion has been expressed. StiP, if you have obtained orcan obtain an assurance from Ministers that they will adopt your amendment, I shall bo glad to give it the fullest consideration, and consult those friends who have been supporting me. Without such an assurance it seems to me that we should both become entangled, and lose all chance of doing good." Latest. The Freetraders have just (5 p.m.) decided to oppose Mr Moss’s amendment; Mr Barron neuting, ___
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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Evening Star, Issue 7987, 16 August 1889
POLITICAL GOSSIP. Evening Star, Issue 7987, 16 August 1889
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