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YOUNG NEW ZEALAND., Issue 7987, 16 August 1889
YOUNG NEW ZEALAND.
The cry for new blood in the Parliament was very successfully raised at the last general election, but the country has not benefited thereby. The young New Zealand party have not won any laurels, hut have been an important factor in the obstruction of the business of the country, and have only been successful in aiding to impose heavy Customs duties on the people. This development of their active political life is observant mostly in the direction of injurious obstruction. Never has this been more clearly displayed than in the debate on the Property Tax Amendment Bill. This is a measure designed to relieve the industrial portion of the community from taxation. Machinery of all kinds in use is to be exempted from taxation, and yet the Protectionists and Young New Zealanders object to it. Why 1 Not because they can consistently oppose the proposed Bill itself, but because they desire to harass the Government. They talk much, but they say infinitely little. Not a single attempt at argument as against the Bill has been advanced ; but the occasion has been seized to hang upon so slender a peg a discussion on the whole financial policy of the Government. Now, if there is one thing more than another that has done more to elevate New Zealand in the estimation of the world, it is that the Government have resolutely—it might almost be written cruelly—cut down the public expenses, lopped off excrescences, reduced the current expenditure to within the limits of the current revenue, and by these means raised the credit of the Colony to an unparalleled extent in the London money market. This Colony now occupies a respectable position, such as it has not had for many past years. The present debate will probably end with a small majority for Ministers, but it says little for the Parliament that such should be the case. Nothing could possibly be more injurious than the defeat of Ministers at the present time, especially on a question of taxation. This is not the time to review the incidence of taxation. Let us set our house in order ; let us show our capability to meet our engagements without more borrowing, and we shall win the confidence of the British public. That the majority in favor of Ministers should be small is almost disheartening, but that they should be placed in a minority would be infinitely detrimental to the best interests of the Colony. Nothing new has been added to our stock of knowledge by the diffuse and fruitless speeches of the Opposition; in point of fact it is impossible to say where the boundaries of opposition are. There are members who declare that they are opposed to the Property Tax on principle, and they must vote for its repeal. Some of these are supporters of the Ministry. They know very well that if they vote with Mr Moss and his supporters —if he has any —they will put into office men whom they would not, and will not, trust with power for one single clay. They may lay the flattering unction to their souls that they can put them out again; and then what next 1 There is no question but that some of Sir Harry Atkinson’s colleagues are intensely disliked in the House. What security is there that a new collection of Ministers would not be yet more disliked 1 Some of those who argue for a reconstruction of the Government would probably find that the new Ministry contained men who would be more disliked than any of the present Ministers. To this must be added the difficulty and trouble of a general election, which would certainly ensue, because on such an important thing as the general finance of the Colony the Governor could not, and would not, refuse to grant a dissolution. How this would affect our financial position at Home requires no explanation. A turbulent Parliament, everlastingly changing the financial policy of the country over which it presides, can never command confidence. Prom all we can gather there is not any fear of this catastrophe—the ejection of the Ministry—taking place. But the debate of itself has done harm, and will do more harm, unless the Government majority is a full and assured one. Mr Ballance, it must be admitted, has behaved well. He has tried, unfortunately without success, to steady his nominal followers, but the result shows that he is a leader without power and without a following. To place him in the position of Leader of the Opposition, and thereafter to refuse to follow his lead, is an injustice, is injurious to himself, and derogatory to those who put him in that position. Then, on the other side, we find the supporters of the Government walking into the Opposition lobby with slight provocation, or no provocation at all. Party ! —there appears to be none. Respect for, or allegiance to leaders! —there is an absolute lack of. Never was there such an absolute politicalchaos as the present Parliament of New Zealand appears to be in at the present time. We have been told, on the authority of Macaulay, that it is well when “None are for a party, but all are for the State”; but if the present state of affairs in New Zealand is a fair sample of what is to happen when none are for a party, we shall very sincerely pray for the restoration of party lines, for the benefit of the State. . River Murray navigable for 1,500 [mile?, Darling 1,130, and Murrumbidgee 500.
YOUNG NEW ZEALAND., Issue 7987, 16 August 1889
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