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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, August 21. An Irregular Proceeding. Mr Seddon thought he had caught tho clmirm >n of the n.-lilfielila Committee (Mr Cadman) napping to-day. The member lor Kumara eompUmcil t> Mr Speaker that the chairman had neglected to bring up a resolution which the Committee had directed him to brini: bt-fore the IL' I,C( \ , 1:1 ° Speaker, however, said t'ac Mi Cadman hid told him that the resolntirn contained a reflection upon somebody, and as>ked whether it was within his power to_ hold it over till tho next day. Ho (iir U. M. ORorke) agreed tlwt he had, and therefore "sat upon" Mr SedJon, refusing to allow him to proceed. I understand that t!ie fact is that the report was not drawn up by the Clerk and put before Mr Cadman till after tho House met, and it contained some reflection upon the Minister of Mines in regard to the Kumara sludge channel. Mr Richardson asked Mr Cadman whether he could defer its presentation till to-morrow, to give him time to look into the matter, which Mr Cadman, finding that it was within bis discretion, agreed to do, as a matter of courtesy. Old Soldiers' Claims. The report of the Naval and Military Settlers' and Volunteers' Land Claims Committee does not deal with individual claims, but recommends that these should be relegated to the Waste Lands Commissioners of the districts where the claims accrued, with power to grant, without further reference to the House, land to those who make good their cases. The general principle laid down by tho Committee for the guidance of the Commissioners are as follows : That all persona, late of Her Majesty s mval and military forces, who were entitled t) scrip under the Auckland Naval and Military Scrip Act, 1856, are still entitled t) certificates for the remission of L.O in purchase of lands within the Auckland provincial district. (2) That all officers, non-commissioned officers, privates, seamen, and marines, who retired from the service with good character for the purpose of settling in the colony, and who have remained therein, are equitably entitled to the grants of land according to their respective ranks which they would have been entitled to had they put in their claims (as the provincial statutes provided they should) within twelve months. (3) That all men who ■were enrolled under the conditions set out m Mr Thomas Russell's memorandum of August 6,1863, should be granted such land as they were entitled to according to rank. (4) That those men of the original Forest Rangers, who enlisted under the conditions of Mr Thomas Russell's memorandum of November 9, 1863, are not thereby debarred from the land they earned by their previous services in the Forest Rangers, as that was a district enrolment, and that all volunteers who were enrolled prior to tie passing of the Waste Lands Administration Act, 1876, should have all rights respected which had been acquired previous to the passing of that Act. (6) That all members of the Defence Force who completed the conditions of their enrolment are entitled to the same grants of land as officers and men of the volunteers and militia settlers. The Exodus. The exodus of population from the colony was brought under the notice of the Government this afternoon by Mr Moss, who asked that a Belect committee should be appointed to inquire into the causes of the prevalent depression, and to devise some means of staying the efflux. The Hod. Mr Fergus, replying on behalf of the Premier, said that it was not the fact that the exodus was increasing. The net loss for the year ended 31st July last was 4 157, and for the last three months of that year it was 583. The number of arrivals in the colony must be taken into account. In the South Island the exodus was counterbalanced by these. He deprecated Mr Moss's pessimist view of the matter, and predicted that ere long there will be a large accession to our population. (An hon. Member: "For the Exhibition. ) The Government had no intention of appointing a select committee. Mr Moss subsequently moved the adjournment of the House in order to discuss the matter, and argued that there was really an alarming exodus, skilled mechanics being by fir the larger proportion of those who were going away. He and other Auckland members argued that there was an "utrlow to Australia from all parts of the polony. Mr Fisher also insisted upon the seriousness of tho situation. The Hon. Mr Fergus pointed out that, as Auckland was the last port of call for the cheap steamers which were chiefly alluded to, the figures sent from that city as their local efflux really repreeented the passengers collected from all parts in the colony. He repeated his assurance that in Wellington and the South there was a balance in favor of arrivals. He deprecated the tone of the remarks of several members as being calculated to prevent those who have gone to Australia from returning, and other intending persons from settling on our abundant waste lands. Mr R. Thompson protested against the decrying of the colony by the other Auckland members, and denied that there was any serious depression in that provincial district. The fact waa that there were very many people in the city who would not work for an honest living, and the present cry was only got up by the city members to gain popularity. The debate was carried on for an hour, and at 5.30 was adjourned sine die. The Union S.S. Company. Mr Taylor wanted to " know you know " tvday whether it was true that the Union Steam Ship Company was largely subsidised by the Government, and had virtually established a monopoly in the West Coast coal trade. The Minister of Mines said rather flippantly that he was not cognisant of the Union Company's affair?, and must refer the hon. gentleman to the member for Port Chalmers (Mr Mills), who is general manager of the company. The Ruapeliu Pailt.

The Native Minister informed Dr Newman this afternoon that 6,400 acres of the proposed national park at Ruapehu and Tongariro were owned by the Crown, and the Government were negotiating for the remainder, but it was part of a very large block, the title to which was disputed before the Native Land Court. Till the exact title was defined the Government could not do anything further. Cutting Down the Free List. The pruning knife has been applied during the last year to the free list of ' Gazettes 'and Parliamentary Papers, with the result that 443 former recipients of ' Gazettes' have been etruok off, besides seventy-six names from the Parliamentary Paper list, and forty-one from the 'Hansard' list, and twenty-four from the list of different kinds of bound volumes. Tha value represented by the cancelled addressees is about L2OO. There are now 2,300 copies of the ' Gazette' published. The Prison Regulations,

Tho mysteries of the treatment of William Christie, the now famous Oamaru bankrupt, •while in gaol, were penetrated by Dr Fitchett this afternoon. The Minister of Justice assured the hoD, gentleman that the only way in which the prison rules were relaxed with regard to Christie was that he was allowed to wear his own clothes, because there was not a suit in tho gaol big enough to hold him.—(Laughter.) This was, however, arranged by the gaoler without reference to any higher authority. The Printing Office. The report of the Government printer shows that sixteen million telegraph forms were printed during the past year. The Railway Department's printing has been undertaken at prices considerably below those formerly paid td contractors, and a considerable portion of that of the Government Insurance Department is being done at prices which that department regards as satisfactory. Fourteen printing machines are now kept almost constantly running. Printer Didsbury recommends the purchase of sufficient type and material to set up the whole of the electoral rolls of the colony at the Government Office, and the keeping of the type standing, to make the necessary alterations after each periodical reviswn, The total value of work done at the office J»Bt year was L 24,043, and the profit and

losb account shows a profit to the credit of the colony of L 7,539. The average number of employes waa 135 per month. Lively Dialogues. Some rather bitter passages occurred tonight between the Colonial Secretary and the member for Dunedin Central. The lotter waa sitting with R, Reeves, who was stonewalling the Animals' Protection Bill, and both tho Chairman of Committees and the Colonial Secretary accused him of triflint; with the Committee; but Mr Hamlin, cm receiving a satisfactory explanation, withdrew his remarks. Mr liislop, hawever, did not follow his example, and, as matters were approaching wnito heat, a short adjournment was taken. On resuming, Dr Fitchett challenged Mr Hislop, now that he had had true to cool down, to withdraw his remarks. Mr Hislop in return asked whether tho doctor had not been a party to obstruction. Thereupon Dr Fitchett warmly declined to be cross-examined, but denied that he had in any way protracted the debate. This was confirmed by Mr Reeves, who said that Dr Fitchett had not prompted him in any way ; and, after commenting on Mr Hislop's bad taste, he went on to twit him with wearing the " historical big b00t3." Dr Fitchett afterwards said that the chairman had shown his good nature by withdrawing his remark, but he did not look for anything of the kind from the Colonial .Secretary. After one or two sotlo voce allusions by members to " What a gentleman would do," the unpleasant little incident closed. The Bankruptcy Law.

The experience of the past twelve months has tended to show that the Bankruptcy Act is practically unworkable in so far as regards the penal clauses, and the various Chambers of Commerce took the matter up, and urged the Government to bring in an amending Bill. Ministers, however, decided to prepare a Consolidation Bill dealing with the bankruptcy laws, and the measure, having been finally approved by the Cabinet, was introduced by the Minister of Justice to-day, and its second reading formally fixed for Tuesday next. It is not proposed to proceed with the Bill this session, the intention being to have it circulated and considered during the recess, and to pass it into law catly next session. I append a ■prim of it. The Bankruptcy Bill is mainly a Consolidation Bill. Though a great many changes in matters of detail have been introduced, no important change in the system of administration of bankrupt estates is proposed. The Bill, as it stands, is very similar to tho English Act of 1883. The English Act provides for an intermediate stage before actual adjudication in bankruptcy—the making of a receiving orderbut as in most cases this would only entail delay without any corresponding advantage, the procedure in our present Act by which adjudication ensues immediately on the filing of a debtor's petition or on the hearing of a creditor's petition, if the requisite conditions have been complied with, has been retained. Whenever necessary, a receiving order, pending the hearing of a petition, can be obtained. A number of suggestions for the amendment of tho bankruptcy law have been made during tho past year or two by the various chambers of commerce in the colony, nearly all of them identical. The greater part of these suggestions have been dealt with in this Bill, and generally in the way desired. A special provision has been made by part 15 of the Bill, enabling resident magistrates to act as Judges in small binkruptcy cases when so empowered by the Governor. This will no doubt prove useful in districts where the sittings of the District Court are infrequent. In connection with the present Act, the chief cause for dissatisfaction has arisen in connection with the penal clause?. A number of offences are punishable on summary conviction before the Bankruptcy Judge. The disadvantage of this system as regards bankrupts is that the bankrupt has no proper notice of the offence for which he is to bo tried, and therefore has not the same facilities for preparing his defence which an ordinary criminal has. A3 regards the creditors, the disadvantages are that the Judges are reluctant to take upon themselves the duty of instituting the charge and trying it without a jury, as it docs not seem to be regarded as the duty of the Assignee to take the responsibility of formulating a, charge. Moreover, no procedure for the summary jurisdiction is provided by the Act. What is provided by this Bill in regard to offences is this: In tho first place, it is made the duty of the Assignee to institute proceedings if he thinks an ofl'.-nce has been committed. He is to lay the facts as he thinks they can be proved before the Crown Prosecutor, who may certify that there ia a good prima facie case. If he is of_ that opinion, the Assignee will then lay an information, and the whole proceedings will be conducted by the Crown officers, as in an ordinary criminal case, all offences being treated as misdemeanors—that is to say, being indictable and having to be tried before a Judge and jury after a preliminary hearing before Justices. The whole expense of the prosecution, including the preliminary proceedings before the Justices, will have to be borne by the Crown, unless the Judge directj them to be paid outof the estate. To protect the Assignee, it is provided that no action for malicious prosecution shall lie against an Assignee who aots upon a certificate from the Crown Prosecutor. This plan will relieve creditors from the expense and responsibility, while tt will give a fraudulent bankrupt the samo trial as a man tried for any other kind of crime. It will, of courss, still be open to any creditor to lay the information himself. It should be added that provision is made for enabling the Justices to deal summarily with any charge if they think fit to do so, and if the person charged consents. In such a cise no greater term of imprisonment than six months can be imposed. Married women are included in the Bill as well as aliens. The inclusion of married women introduces a change of some importance. Under the Married Women's Property Act, ISB4, the only married women who can bo made bankrupt are married women carrying on a trade or business separately from their husbands. It seems probable that any married woman I can herself place heiself under the Bankruptcy Act; but as all married •women, who have property, can incur debts, all married women shonld be capable of being made bankrupt by their creditors so that their separate property (if any) can be equally divided among their creditors. The Volunteer Scandal. The grievance of the Waitemata and Onehunga Naval corps was brought under the notice of the House to-day by Mr Fisher, who urged that a public inquiry should be held into tho alleged conduct of the two companies at the Mercer encampment, as it appeared that justice had not been clone. The Defence Minister said ho had received letters congratulating him upon the disbandonment of the corps, which had been unanimously recommended to him by a board of officers who had inquired into the affair. In answer to Mr Ward the Minister said that he did not think it was usual to lay before the House papers relating to such subjects, but if there was any such precedent he would do bo. The Governor's Family.

Reference to Lord Cranley's recovery was made in the Council this afternoon by Mr Shrimslti, who remarked that he had hoped that the Government would have tabled an address for presentation to His Excellency expressive of the Council's gratification at hearing of the convalescence of Lord Cranley. The Attormy-General replied that the matter had not been lost sight of by tho Government, and but for the absence of the Premier, who had been summoned to the Police Court as a witness that day, an address of congratulation would have been brought down for presentation to tho Governor. It was intended that such an address should be brought down by the Government on the following day. The Course of Business. The Leader of the Opposition, having inr quired this evening as to tho course of busij| ness for the rest of the session, the Premier said that he proposed to make a full state ment in the course of a day or two. Next day he proposed to go on with the Otago Central Railway Bill and the general scheme of public works, and, probably on Monday, he would indicate what Bills the Government proposed to carry through this session, In the meantime he was not prepared to state what was to be done wJth tho Property Assessment Bill, Sir Harry also undertook

to state on the same occasion when an opportunity would be afforded for discussing the question of oceau mail services, ami ;.j conbider whether an opportunity shci;l<l he given to discuss the question of takiDg ;t special census in connection with the allotment of the representation. Fire Insurance. In the Council this afternoon the Fire and Marine Insurance Companies Bill was received as amended by the Lowrr House, and ir. was set down for ciwiileration on Tuesday next. The Hon. Mr Buckley expressed the opinion that tho amendments were of a most objectionable character. Rills Passed. The Native Meetings Bill was read a third time and passed, as was the Queenstown Athenreum Bill. The amendments made by the House in tlm Public Reserves Amendment Bill were agreed to on a division by 14 to 10. l he manic Laws. The increased stringency of tho game laws, as proposed in the Animals' Protection Act Amendment Bill, was strongly resisted to-night by several country members, headed by Mr John M'Kenzte. On the motion for the committal of the Bill they were in a minority, but they made such a show of strength that the Government and the supporters of tho Bill, forquietness' sake, agreed to strike out the clause (1) preventing settlers from shooting on their own lands, except during the period when, licenses arc issued in their own districts; (2) preventing game and native fowl from being killed between sunset and sunrise; and (3) empowering the Governor to make regulations for the protection of native game. As the measure now stands its principal provision is one which prevents the use of swivel guns, or other weapons of bore beyond No. 10. Jottings. The Government are unable to adopt Mr Valentine's suggestion that readdressed letters should bo sent without extra cost to whatever part of the colony the addressee may be living. If an arrangement can be made with the Wellington Corporation as to the cost of the reclaimed land, Government will make provision for the extension of tho railway from the present Wellington terminus to Tc Aro. Mr Marsden Thompson declares that there is employment in Auckland province for every man not too lazy to work. The cry about depression he declares to be pure moonshine, and was got up by the town members for popularity. Mr Goldie wants to know whether the Premier intends to give effect to the promise made in the early part of this session for the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the whole subject of friendly societies. The proposal of Dr Newman, that the right of advertising on stamps and post cards shall be let by tender, is under the consideration of the Government, and the Colonial Secretary hopes that something will result from it.

The Hon. Mr Hislop informed the House to-day, in answer to a question by Mr Fisher, that it was at his direction that copies of the Ward-Hislop correspondence were circulated amongst the legal profession, and also at his own cost, Tho Government propose to make the present Chinese Immigration Act permanent, though it was intended to be only of limited application. Mr Goldie is inquiring whether the Ministerial residence in the Tinakori road has been sold, as directed by the House in 1887. The idea is that the building is being kept as a site for a university for Wellington.

The amendments made by the Council in Major Steward's Triennial Licensing Committee Bill were agreed to by the House to-night, so that the measure is now finally disposed of.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890822.2.29

Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7992, 22 August 1889

Word Count
3,423

POLITICAL GOSSIP. Issue 7992, 22 August 1889

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