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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[From Our Parliamentary Reporter. I . WELLINGTON, August 20. The Incidence of Taxation. Seeing that Auckland members are almost to a man opposed to the continuance of the Property Tax and favor reversion to a land tax, I have been at tome painstoasccrtaiu how the two taxes affect the various provincial districts, and find that if the incidence of taxation were changed in the direction proposed tho Northern part cf the colony would bo vastly benefited at the expense of Hawke’s Bay and the South. Prior to June 30, 1880, a land tax of a halfpenny in the £ was levied, and 1 append tho totals raised from each provincial district in that year, tho amounts raised daring the year 1882-83 (when the Property Tax was a halfpenny), and the amour.'a raised in 1885 85 (when it was seveneighths of a penny). The figures, which are instructive, are placed in parallel columns ;

It will thus be seeu that while under a land tax of id Auckland orly contributed L 12,123, under the Property Tax for the same amount L 20,031 was raised. Otago’s contributions under the same conditions respectively were L01,i)32 and L 47.719; tho il Property Tax in the case of Auckland realising 1.8,500 mote than the land tax, and in the case of Otago L 4,200 leas. The total Property Tax for the past three rears has been : 1888-87 (13-I6th of Id). L 310.897; 1887-83 (Id), L 376,676; 1888-89, L 373.830. Public Libraries. The Minister of Education regrets that the Government are unable to grant any subsidy to public libraries this session. Ho informed Mr Moat to-dry, however, that they will probably make some provision in that direction nest year. Protection of Females. It is the intention of the Government to introduce at once n Bill giving effect to trie recommendation cf tho Public Petitions Committee to raise the age of protection for young females. The Cabinet. Mr Taylor asked his chaffing question to-day as to whether it u true that the vacancy in the Cabinet created by Mr Fisher’s resignation is about to be filled up. The Premier blandly informed the hon. gentleman that as soon as the Government have made up their minds and selected their colleague' they will announce the fact to the House. Good News fur Teachers. School teachers will learn with satisfaction that the Government are of opinion that they should be brought under the provisions of the Civil Servants Reform Act, 188(5, with regard to retiring allowances. The Minister of Education promised to-day to work out a scheme for the purpose in the recess. Inspection of Hotels. If more suitable inspectors of licensed houses than pslice officers can be found without increased expense tho Minister of Justice has promised Mr Fulton that he will employ them. Local Bodies’ Audits. A Bill has been prepared by the Government which they believe will p;event a repetition of tho grave irregularities which exist in relation to local bodies’ audits, but whether or not it will bo pressed on this session is not stated. Judge Ward. The Premier declined to-day to give Mr Joyce any pledge to refrain from action against Judge Ward in his official relations with the Government until the House has had an opportunity of considering the matter. Whatever action the Government may consider necessary to t.tke against any person will, said Sir Harry, bs taken, Native Meetings. To day’s sitting of tho Legi-Jative Council was almost entirely takea up with the consideration in committee of tho Native Meetings Bill, Tho Attorney-General remarked that the Native Affairs Committee had made the measure apply noi-JJ-mly to Native meetings, but also to Europeans, and therefore with a view to test tho feeling of the Council he moved that the word “ Native,” in clause 1, be struck out. The measure was adversely criticised by the Hons Wilson, Taiaroa, and Shrimski, tho last-named moving that progress be reported, This was lost by 23 to 7. The Attorney-General desired to withdraw his amendment to strike out the word “Native,” bat the Council declined to grant him leave, and the question went to a division, the result being that the amendment was rejected b/ 21 to 8, the Attorney-General voting against his own amendment. The clause as printed, without the amendments of the Native Affairs Committee, was then agreed to, and two trifling alterations having been made, the Bill as amended was reported, and the third reading fixed for the following day. A Criminal Appeal Court. The Minister of Justice a sored Mr Feldwick to-day that a proposal for the establishment of a Criminal Court of Appeal is receiving the serious consideration of Government, and they hope to be able to take some steps in the matter next session. Prison Correspondence. Tirose who are unfortunate enough to have relations or friends in durance vile will be glad to learn that tho Minister of Justice recogt iaes the reasonableness of Mr Feldwlck’s suggestion that letters from within the prison walls should notin future best any mark distinguishing their source, Tho Minister stated that he saw no reason why the idea should not be acted on. The Education Vote. It was suggested by Mr Cowan this afternoon that in computing tho capitation allowance to weak c.uoty schools the Government should revert to the working average instead of the strict average. The Minister of Education said he was aware that tho distribution}of moneys in various educational districts would not work out quite fairly, but the matter would receive consideration during the recsss, and probably some measure would be brought forward next session. Postal Notes. Now that the Bill authorising the issue of postal notes at small poet offices has pa-sed both branches of the Legislature, the Post-master-General has promised to extend the system as far as is practicable. mechanics’ Lien. The Mechanics’ Lien Bill advocated by Dr Fitohett has been prepared, ard would already have been introduced but fwr the deadlock that has prevailed for the last month. The Government hope, however, that it will yet be passed into law this session. Exhibition Votes. Some local bodies on the West Coast fearing that they might be surcharged by the AuditorGeneral if they voted part of their funds in providing for representation at tho Dunedin Exhibition, an additional clause empowering local bodies to expend moneys for the purpose of transmitting their exhibits to the Dunedin Exhibition was inserted in the Bid recently passed in reference to the licensing cf the Dunedin Exhibition, which was received from His Excellency by Message to-night, The new clause was agreed to, and ordered to be sent to the Legislative Council for its concurrence. Our Game Laws. A long debate ensued to - night on tho second reading of the Animals’ Protection Act Amendment Bill, which was introduced by the Colonial Secretary for the purpose of imposing further restrictions upon tho shooting and sale of game. Sir G. Grey was one of the strongest opponents of the Bill, and characterised it as hypocritical, inasmuch as side by side with it we were importing stoats and weasels and ferrets, the last named of which would even kill children. An amendment by Mr John M'Kenzie, “That the Bill be read a second time that day three months,” was negatived by 42 to 27, and tho second reading agreed to. The Paris Exhibition. Mr R. Reeves has been infoimed that more Commissioners to the Paris Exhibition were appointed by New Zealand than by the United States. The Government promise more information in a day or two. New Bills. Even at this late stage of the session new Bills are coming forward. Mr Fisher will this week introduce bis Public Schools Bill. The Government will bring up the Bankruptcy Bill, but it will merely be circulated for consideration daring the recess. Jottings. Of the ninety-four questions on the Order Paper seventy-three were answered this afternoon, the rest being postponed, because the hon. gentlemen in whose names they were had gone to have a look at tho football match. Mr Lowry is urging on the Minister of J ustioe tho necessity of introducing early next session a Bill to legalise marriage with a deceased husband’s hiother. In the event of further appointments being made to the Legislative Council, Mr R. Reeves wishes provision made for the representation of the goldfields, Mr Seddon is inquiring whether tho Government will take up his Miffing Act Amendment Bill as a Government measure, in accordance with the recommendation of the Goldfields Committee,

In Canada letters are sent free, and Mr Valentine wants our postal regulations to be altered in the same direction. It seems that some Civil servants augment their incomes by practising the art of photography for gain, and Mr Joyce is asking the Premier to issue a circular forbidding the young gentlemen from competing with professional photographers. Mr Seddon wants to know whether the Government will this session introduce a Bill having for its object the amendment of the Greymouth and Westport Harbor Acts, in the direction of putting an end to the dummy boards now existing. Mr Pyke is inquiring whether the Government will make pnvision in the Supplementary Estimates for the assisted immigration of young people, the brothers and eisters o! persons resident in the colony. A new nilvay vote is being asked for by Mr Pyk-*, who wishes a sum pheed cn the Supplementary Public Works Estimates sufficient for the construction of the Waipahi-Tapanui Bailway from Heriofc to Culvert Creek. The Government are not at all likely to give the bon. gentleman a favorable reply. Dr fitohett leaves for Dunedin on Friday in order to take put in the capping proceedings in omcectien with the Otago University on W( dnesday next. Mr Boss has given not’erto ask the Treasurer to-morrow whether it ii the intention of the Government to give effect to the report of the Public Petitions Committee on tho pet.tion of Janet Macdonald and another, by compensating tho petitioners for loss sustained by them through the illegal sale of land by Mr Strong (a Government officer) as administrator of the estate of B. Craig, deceased. The Colony’s Banking Arrangements. The Hon. Mr Larnach, who has had consider able experience in financial circles, has given notice of his intention to ask whether, looking at the financial difficulties that have recently occurred in certain monetary concerns in the colony, the Cabinet will during the recess seriously consider the important question of future banking arrangements for tire colony, with a view of enlisting the co-operation of each of tho several incorporated banks doing business in New Zealand, so that a fair share of every cla<-a of Government financial business may bo given to each bank on a similar system to that which has for many years been practised, and still obtains, in Victoria, and by which plan greater facilities and safety will be given to the Government account, from the fact that the deposits and advances for short periods to the colony may be equally divided among the several banks, Telephone Charges. The {reduction of subscription to telephone exchanges cannot be entertained by the Government at present, as the system is already as cheap or cheaper than any ether in the world, and could not be worked much cheaper. The Premier has, however, undertaken to carry out Mr Ward’s suggestion that all important public offices in towns where telephone exchanges exist shall be connected with the telephone. Village Settlements. A return laid on the table of tbe House in reference to the three principal village settlements in tho North shows that 1.6,051 has beenexpended on the Tim e Kings settlers, who originally took up 125 sections, of which only seventy-nine were still occupied on Ist of May last; that the Motukarakara settlement has cost the colony L 2,225, and out of sixty-three orgical settlers on'-y forty-three remain; and that the expenditure in locating seventy-two settlers at Pumakatere was L 2,399, and only forty selectors still occupy th*. ir sections. A Fire-proof Library. The urgent neoes:ity of constructing fire-proof buildings to accommodate the Parliamentary library ir recognised by the Government, and they are now considering the question of wajs and means—whether it would not be possible to place a sum of money on the Supplementary Estimates for the purpose, Reciprocal TarlflV. Questions relating to the proposed reciprocal tar ff treaty were asked to-day by Messrs Joyce and Brown. Tire Premier informed them tha he would move in the matter whenever ther was a possibility of doirg any good, but a present he was afraid that any action would have the effect of retarding tho object in view. Tha matter could be talked over at the proposed conference between the colonies and Canada; but as matters now stood, seeing that we had adopted a protective tariff in this colony, he did not see how we could object to our neighbors doing the same. Tire Midland Railway. Allusion was made by Mr Feldwtok to-day to a letter which is alleged to have been written to England by a Minister to the effect that the land to be banded to tbe Midland Earl way was worthless, which statement had delayed the raising of the company’s capital. The Premier said no such letter as the hon gentleman represented had been sent. The only letter that might have been sent by a Minister was one that was perfectly justified so far as he could ascertain. No letter was written by any Minister that was in any way improper. Advanced a Stage. Another Bill parsed through its final stage to-night—viz., the Fire and Marine Insurance Companies Bill. A new clause of an important nature (which is referred to elsewhere) was added on Mr Downie Stewart’s motion. Tbe Shipping and Seamen’s Amendment Bill was reported with immaterial amendments, and the third reading deferred till the following day. Emigration from Norway. A promise was given by the Premier to Dr Hodgkinsou this afternoon that inquiries will be made through the Agent-General as to the emigration from Norway of a few women skilled in spinning and weaving flax and wool; and if the idea is found to be practicable, a sum of money will be pla-ed on next year’s Estimates for the purpoie of giving effect to it. Our Mines. Voluminous reports upon the mining industries of the colony by Mr Gordon (inspecting engineer) were laid on the table to-day. The statistics show that tho total value of minerals procured in the colony during the year 1888 (including kauri gum) was L 1,531,614, as against L 1.487,888 in the previous year. Of this L 801.137 represented gold and silver, L284,f51 coal exported, L 880,933 kauri gum. Tho yeld of gold for 1883 showed a decrease of L 15,146, but, comparing the financial years, there was an increase of L 16,941, there being increases in all districts save the Thames, where there was a decrease of L 1.803. The average number of men employed in gold mining was 12,609, being an increase of 858 over that of the previous year, and the average earnings were L 65 19s 6d per man. The average number employed in coal mining was 15,940, or an increase of 1,552, Their earnirgs averaged LlO9 per man. There are 128 coal mines of more or less importance in tbe colony. Mr Gordon says that the mining industry is slowly but surely progressing, and looks now in a more hopeful condition than it has done for some years past. Insurance Law. An exceedingly important alteration in the law relating to fire insurance was made in lire House to-night on the motion of Mr Downie Stewart, subject, of course, to endorsement by tho Legislative Council. As matters now stand, every company fixes its own conditions, which ore printed in very small type on tbe policies, and probably few insurers are aware of their stringency until, after having incurred a loss, they find themselves in difficulties in settling up. Under Mr Stewart’s amendment, these conditions of insurance are to be made uniform throughout the colony, and are to be only such as are approved of by the Governor-in-Oouncil and notified in the 1 Gazette.’ Any other conditions are to be null and void. Though strong opposition was offered by the Colonial Secretary, the new clause was inserted without a division. Acgust 21. A deputation of underwriters interviewed Mr Stewart this morning in connection with Lis clause in tho Fire and Marine Insurance Companies Bill. They approve of his proposal to have uniformity of conditions ou the policy forms, but are apparently afra d that tbe foreign companies may object that some onesided condition may be inserted by the Governor-in-Council. Government Business. The Premier will make a statement this afternoon as to the course of business for the remainder of the session. Among the slaughtered innocents will be the Property Assessment Bill, the Civil Service Classification Bill, and Corrupt Practices Bill. Efforts will be made to put through the Registration of Electors Bill. Ministers hope to close tire session within three weeks. General Edwards’s Visit Abandoned. Intimation has been received from Majurgeceral fc dwards that he will be unable to visit New Zealand, bis inspection of the Australian defences having occupied too much time. The Otago Central to be Stuck Up. Consideration of the Public Works proposals and of the Otago Central Railway will be the business for to-morrow. Tbe latter measure is in great jeopardy, and if it passes its second reading the majority will be small. The feeling against the proposal for borrowing trust funds for railway construction is increasing, while some of tbe Opposition members will oppose the Bill out of sheer revenge for Mr Fish’s vote on the no-confidence motion last week. A Libel Action. Mr Ballance contemplates taking legal pro ceedings against the ‘Waikato Times’ on account of certain reflections recently made upon him in that journal in connection with Native land matters, '

Claiming: Exemption from the Property Tax. A deputation from tho PresbjWun churches of the colony was introduced to the Premier by Mr Downie Stewart yesterday, and urged him to give exemption from the Property Tax to the aged and infirm ministers’ and widows and orphans’ funds. The Premier promised to consider the matter carefully. The Control of Trust Funds. The Public Accounts Osmmittec have carried a motion to the effect that in tuture investments of trust funds and savings banks depo its shall be controlled by a bond instead of by the Government. The Premier, though he was at firet opposed to the resolution of the Public Accounts Committee as to the handing of the Post Office Savings Bank funds over to a board for investment, has now agreed to it, and will embody it in a Bill for introduction this session. Mr Larnach intends to move at the meeting of the C'ommitt e that no trust funds shall for the future be invested in Harbor Board securities, Local Option Extension. Tlje Premier has informed Mr Fulton that the Government will probably bring in a Bid next session giving the people the right of veto in connection with licensing matters.

Land Tax Property Tax Property Tax manthf(4d), 1832-3 (ia). 1835 6 (Jcl). Auckland £12,123 £20,634 £12,666 Hawke's Bay 9,13!) 8,932 18,470 Taranaki 2,350 9,529 5,231 Wellington 21,743 24,001 49,814 Nelson 8 940 6,315 10,980 Marlborough 2,058 3,114 6,440 Westland 138 52G 1,0S8 Canterbury 48,228 44,930 92,905 Otago 51,932 47,719 98,672 Totals £150,262 £157,703 £120,276

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Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Evening Star, Issue 7991, 21 August 1889

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3,237

POLITICAL GOSSIP. Evening Star, Issue 7991, 21 August 1889

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