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ITS SUPPORTERS IN CAUCUS. [Prom Odb Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, August 26. A meeting of the supporters of the Otago Central Railway Bill convened by Mr Pyke, and held at four this afternoon, was attended by Messrs Pyke, Ross, Downie Stewart, Fish, Allen, Barron, Scobie Mackenzie, John M’Kenzie, and Valentine (Otago), R. Thompson (Auckland), Tanner (Hawke’s Bay), M‘Gregor and Humphreys (Canterbury), and Marchant (Taranaki), Mr Pyke, who presided, said he had been asked to convene the meeting in order to see what could be done to push this colonial work ahead. Some Government supporters had voted against the Bill, and this had been unfavorably commented on. He might mention that Messrs Fulton and Izard agreed with the resolution which he understood Mr Barron would propose. Mr Barron moved—“ That the Government be requested to proceed with the Bill as a policy measure.” He thought that the Government should take up the Bill as a measure on which they were prepared to stand or fall. Members had been led to believe that Ministers would proceed with it as a policy measure, and he did not acquit the Government of blame for the decision that the House had arrived at on the question last week. Mr M'Gregob (Government whip) assured hon. gentlemen that his instructions had been to use every endeavor to get the Bill carried as a policy measure. The Chairman remarked that suspicion had been created by one of the Government whips (Major Jackson) refraining from voting and several Government supporters voting against the Bill. Mr Fish doubted if it was wise to have the Bill reintroduced as a Government measure. The Chairman said that L 465.000 of the last loan was unexpended, and could be reallocated. He mentioned that the money had been borrowed for this line and not spent on it. It was pointed out by Messrs Scobie Mackenzie, Allen, and others that the moneys borrowed by the last Loan Bill were allocated for special purposes, and could not fairly be re-allocated. Mr R. Thompson had supported this measure as one of the Public Works policy Bills of the Government, and indicated that if it were separated from the Puhipuhi Tramway proposal, and intended to transfer the L 23.000 from the present line to the north of Auckland line, his support would cease, Mr Fish moved as an amendment—“ That the Government be requested to proceed with the Otago Central Bill during this session, with such additions or amendments as may be deemed desirable.” Seconded by Mr Ross. Exception was taken to the words " additions or ” by Messrs Marchant, Humphreys, and Allen, who wished the Otago Central to be treated independently of other lines. They also objected to any proposal which might savor of buying support from other parts of the colony, Mr Marchant announced his intention of retiring from the meeting if Mr Barron’s motion were passed. If the Government chose to make the matter a Government measure of their own motion, that would be another affair. Mr Valentine thought it wrong to drag in other lines as a sop, and Mr Barron objected to log-rolling. Mr Scobie Mackenzie pointed out that no other lines could be introduced into the Otago Central Railway Bill, and that to make any additions to it would involve the bringing in of a new Bill. The Bill, having merely been postponed, could be reintroduced, the Government undertaking to strike out certain objectionable clauses in committee. He was, however, of opinion that this would he a futile course to adopt, and that their energies should be directed towards getting an increased vote on the Estimates. It was now too late to ask the Government to deal with the Bill as a Ministerial question. Mr John M’Kenzie wished it to be understood that if the Government came down with an Amendment Bill in the form of Mr Pyke’s Bill of last year, providing for a land grant system, he would again oppose it. Mr Allen did not think the amendment moved by Mr Fish of much use, and Mr Barron’s motion would now be unfair, he holding that the Government should be pressed to put a sum on this year's Estimates. He would move “That the Government be requested to place a sum on this year’s Estimates to make provision for proceeding with contracts beyond Middlemarch.” This was negatived, as was Mr Barron’s motion. Mr Fish’s amendment was adopted with the excision of the words “additions or.” It was further resolved, on Mr Scobie Mackenzie’s motion—“ That as the Otago Central Bill was, in the opinion of this meeting, a decided step in the direction of closing the Public Works policy, the Bill should not now be abandoned. That, failing procedure with the Bill, the Government should in any other way proceed with the line.” August 27. Messrs Fish and Pyke waited on the Premier last night and presented the resolutions passed by the supporters of the Otago Central Railway. Sir H. A. Atkinson promised that the matter should have the attention of the Cabinet.

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Bibliographic details

THE OTAGO CENTRAL RAILWAY., Evening Star, Issue 7996, 27 August 1889

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THE OTAGO CENTRAL RAILWAY. Evening Star, Issue 7996, 27 August 1889