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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, August 29. Public Works Amendment Bill. The first portion of the Public Works Acts Amendment Bill was under review in committee to-night. Mr Duncan moved to strike out clause 3, providing that particulars are to he inserted in the claims lor compensation, but this was lost on the voices. Clause 5 (claimant not to recover formatters not particularised in his claim) was struck out, as was clause 7 (liability of local authority over road to continue, notwithstanding alteration to road, etc.). Progress was then reported, and the House adjourned, A Political Novel. Mr W. L. Rees, who has been in Wellington for the past six or seven weeks on business connected with some of his schemes, leaves for Napier to-morrow. He informs me that when in England he commenced a novel, entitled ‘ The Sack of England,’ dealing with the labor v. capital struggle and other political questions of the present day. The date of the incidents are fixed for 1894 or 1895. Mr Rees has made good progress with the work. Brewers’ Grievances. The difficulties of brewers and publicans in working under the Beer Duties Act were urged upon the attention of the Government to-day by Mr Seddon, who was of opinion that the system could be made much smoother than it is. Amongst the defects of the Act he pointed out that a brewer could be made to suffer serious loss and hardships through the errors of his clerk as to the stamps. He suggested that instead of reauiring a publican to push his taps through them, the brewer should be compelled to punch a small piece out of each before it left his brewery, so as to completely destroy them.—The Premier said there was really less friction in collecting the beer tax than almost any other. The difficulty was that so many people professed to know nothing about the law when it was to their advantage not to know it. It was unfortunate that these people would not learn the law, but the way to deal with them was to make them pay when they were found out. (Cheeis.) There were brewers in the colony who had a regular tariff for buying destroyed stamps. However, be would consider the suggestion, as he wanted to get in the money with as little friction as possible. As to the idea of abolishing the duties, he thought that there was not much likelihood of its being carried out. The tax was more likely to be increased than abolished. Bible-readlng In Schools. A meeting of the Bible-in-Sohools party was held this afternoon, and was attended by Messrs J. Fulton (presiding), Downie Stewart, Harkness, Cowan, Anderson, Ross, Joyce, Tanner, Hodgkinson, T. Mackenzie, Buxton, and Steward. Messrs Rhodes and Bruce were also accounted for. Mr Tanner submitted a draft Bill which he had prepared. It was approved of, and the member for Waipawa was requested to introduce it early next session. Petitions. Mr Allen this afternoon presented a petition from the lecturers and students of the Otago School of Mines, asking for a reduction of railway fares when travelling to and from mining centres. Reporting on the petition of G. A. Chapman and seventy other settlers in the Eweburn district, who asked that Eweburn East and south of Eweburn Creek may be opened up for settlement, the Waste Lands Committee state that as the leases of Eweburn Creek do not expire till 1893 they have no recommendation to make. JOttlllßS. Mr Anderson is moving for a return setting forth the total cost of the expedition to the West Coast under the charge of the Chief Surveyor of Otago, in September, 1888 : the return to set forth explicitly in detail the total salaries and wages paid; also the travelling allowance to each person, and the number of persons employed; also the cost of camp equipage, including all the sums paid for tents, tools, provisions, etc., the steamboat fares paid, and a return of the amount of work performed. Mr Valentine intends asking whether in view of the reported recent action of France in New Hebrides, the Government will at once communicate with the Governments of Victoria and New South Wales, so as to ascertain what steps they intend to solicit the Imperial Government to take in reference thereto. At present railway employes are allowed three holidays every year, viz., New Year’s Day, Good Friday, and Christmas Day, and Mr T. Mackenzie is asking the Government to recommend the Railway Commissioners to allow them to be taken together on some other days as each may desire and as may be found convenient. The matter of the reduction of West Coast Native re:erves is engaging the at tention of Taipua, who is asking by whose direction it was made.

Maintaining Street* on Harbor Reclamation. The dispute that has arisen between the Dunedin City Council and the Otago Harbor Board in connection with the construction and maintenance of certain roads on the reclaimed lands in Dunedin cropped up in the House to-night in connection with the Public Works Amendment Bill. Mr Fish said that the road in question would be mostly used in connection with the railway wharves and the Harbor Board’s property, and yet the Board contended that either the Corporation or the Government should do the work, as they had no power to do it, thus really thrusting on the local body the construction of this or any other road that might hereafter be made. If the road was really required and generally used by the citizens as a whole, he could understand the local Board being asked to maintain the street after it was constructed ; but seeing that it was made for railway purposes in the first instance, he thought it was the duty of the Government to form the road.—-Mr Ross said that the hon. gentleman should have gone further, and dealt with the making of streets after the land had been reclaimed from the sea. The Otago Harbor Board had been advised that they had no power to spend money on the formation of streets. Messrs Sargood, Son, and Ewen had put up premises intended to employ from 300 to 500 hands, and found that they had no access to their property. The Harbor Board contend that they had no power or right to construct or maintain the street. The City Council had refused to do so; and if the Minister for Works could see his way clear to define the authority and liability of the different bodies, and would allow it to be discussed in the House in an equitable manner, it would set the matter at rest.—The Hon. Mr Mitohelson was understood to say that there was nothing in the clauses of the Bill calling on the local bodies to expend money on roads. It wqs only reasonable that the local body should construct and maintain roads after they were handed over, and he would not object to introduce any reasonable provision in this direction for insertion in the Bill. A Curious Anomaly in the law relating to volunteer land scrip was brought to light by Mr Cadman to-day. That gentleman stated that ope of his con-, stituents, in buying from the Government land to the value of LSO, had deposited L6O worth of land scrip, but had been unable to obtain a refund of the difference, the officials informing him that there was no provision for doing so. He asked if such really were the case the Government should legislate so that people should not lose simply because they did not care to exercise the total value of their scrip at one time.—The Minister of Lands said that scripholders should take care to select _ only land where the full amount of their scrip should be used.—Mr Cadman asked whether he was to understand that, in the event of a man with LoO of scrip purchasing land worth only LlO, he would lose the other L4o.—The Minister of Lands said it was so. Local Bills have been more than usually a serious bone of contention this session, and one afternoon in every week has been wasted through the stonewalling of one or two membersat the head of localßills on the Order Paper, which eventually blocked the way for the useful Bills further down. By way of getting over the difficulty, the Premier moved this afternoon—“ That the local

Bills on the Order Paper be referred to the Local Bills Committee to report (I) which of the Bills in the interests of the locality it is desirable to pass this session ; (2) which of the Bills are practically unopposed (a Bill is to be considered unopposed, if no notice of opposition be given to the Committee); (3) which of the Bills may, without serious inconvenience, stand over for another session. Sir Barry Atkinson undertook that if this were agreed to he would propose to take on Monday such local Bills as were considered unopposed, and to continue the discussion of them in the evening. After some discussion, the resolution was carried on the voices. There are no less than twenty-three local Bills on the Order Paper. Investment of Trust Funds. | The resolution of the Public Accounts Committee in favor of placing the investment of Post Office Savings Bank moneys in a board came up for discussion in the House this afternoon. Mr Allen thought the Government of the day were more competent to deal with the funds than an irresponsible board.—The Premier said he had agreed to the report because it would relieve him as Treasurer of some responsibility; still, he did not think the reform would accomplish the objects aimed at. If, however, the House carried the resolution, he would support it.—Sir John Hall denied that the Board would be irresponsible. Many of the present investments were unsatisfactory, and the Board would provide a remedy in that respect. The appointment would also be a protection to the Government, and relieve them from considerable pressure.—Mr Seymour pointed out that the appointment of a board to manage the Government Insurance Department had proved eminently unsatisfactory.—The Hon. Mr Ballance answered that the Insurance Board was a political combination, and that accounted for its want of success. Ho approved of the appointment of a board in the present case, and pointed out that the House would not relinquish all control, as the Premier would probably be a member of the Board, After further discussion the resolution was carried by 34 to 24. A recommendation made by the Public Accounts Committee in connection with the trust fund investments provides “that no loan shall be made out of the trust funds, the Post Office Savings Bank funds, or the Public Debt Sinking funds, upon any other securities of the colony of New Zealand, or other Government securities, or by way of loan under the Loan to Local Bodies Act, or upon bank deposit securities, and that there shall always be at least one-third the amount to the credit of the Post Office Savings Bank account invested in the New Zealand Government securities, the interest on which is payable in Loudon, and that such securities be deposited in London to be used in case of any possible financial emergency in the colony.” After a discussion extending over some hours, the Committee’s recommendation was carried by 38 to 31, all the Ministers voting against the provision. Light Dues. Stone Bros., of Auckland, and other shipowners, master mariners, shipping agents, etc., petitioned the House this session complaining that the rates levied by the Government for light dues and port charges are excessive. The Public Petitions (M to Z) Committee recommend that the petition be referred to the Government for consideration of the best method of equalising the charges paid by vessels in the coasting trade. Responsible Government for Western Australia. On the motion of the Premier, a committee of the House was appointed this afternoon to consider what steps {if any) it is desirable to take to assist in the establishment of responsible government in Western Australia. The members of the committee are—Sir H. Atkinson, Sir G. Grey, Sir J. Hall, Hon. Messrs Ballance and Larnach, Messrs Seddon, Downie Stewart, Scobie Mackenzie, and Mills. The only serious objection to the resolution came from Messrs Samuel and Bruce, the latter urging that it was an unwarrantable interference in the affairs of Great Britain, which had spent hundreds of years and millions of money in planting colonies, each of which, as soon as it felt its feet, insisted on responsible government, and showed an inclination to “ cut the painter,” Restricting Chinese Immigration. In moving the second reading of the Chinese Immigration Acts Continuation Bill in the Legislative Council this afternoon, the Attorney-General explained that the present measure was necessitated owing to an Act of last session only being in force for one year. It had been ascertained that the present Act had worked very well, and therefore it was that the Government proposed to make it a permanent Bill, and restrict the Chinese immigrants to one for every 100 tons of a vessel which might btiug Chinese to the shores of this oolony. A large amount of correspondence bad passed between the Imperial Government and the Government of China, from which it appeared that the present Act had worked without friction.—The Hon. Dr Pollen had hoped that the Chinese scare of last year had passed away. Although he was averse to a continuance of the present Act he should not move a substantive adverse motion, but would content himself when the Bill was in committee with moving that it be passed into law for an additional term only, and not that it should become a permanent Act of Parliament, The motion for the second reading was agreed to by 16 to 10.

Some Warm Words were exchanged in the House during the Savings Bank Fund debate this afternoon. Dr Newman, in the course of his remarks, had made severe reflections upon the investments in the bonds of local bodies, especially those at Oatnaru. This aroused the ire of the Colonial Secretary, who represents that constituency, and he launched out into accusations of “wilful misrepresentation” with somewhat characteristic bitterness of tone. Mr Turnbull (member for Timaru) then came forth as the champion of the interests of Parliamentary decency, and severely castigated Mr Hislop for his discourteous force, winding up by reminding that gentleman that unless he mended his ways he would find that the House would refuse to transact any public business in which he is concerned. The Tariff The Commissioner of Customs told Mr R. Reeves this afternoon that he could not see his way to instruct the Customs Department that “ plush ” or imitation sealskin used by miners for the purpose of gold saving should be admitted free, for frequently plush was used for other purposes. August 30. Opening up the King Country. A copy of the report of Mr S. Locke, exmember for the East Coast, on bis recent trip to the Uriwera district has been presented to Parliament. Mr Locke was requested by the Government early this year to proceed to the Uriwera Country and endeavor to make such arrangements as would lead to the opening up of that part of the North Island for prospecting for gold and other minerals, and for utilising the forests, which are said to contain a large quantity of totara. Accordingly, in April last, Mr Locke proceeded to Whakatane (Bay of Plenty), at the back of which the Uriwera country lies, The district is probably the least advanced in point of civilisation of any in New Zealand, and Mr Locke states that when he reached the village of Ruatoki (to which the chiefs invited him wheu he informed them from Whakatane of his mission) he was received in, accordance with old Maori custom. The result of some two or three days’ discussion was that the chiefs agreed to their country being prospected and otherwise partly thrown open to Europeans, The success of Mr Locke’s mission is somewhat important, having relation as it has to about the wildest country in the North Island. Importation of Stock. At a meeting of the Joint Stock Committee it was decided to reopmmond the Government to declare Motuhihi in Auckland Harbor as a quarantine ground for imported stock. Educational Reform. The Hon. Mr M'Lean, on behalf of Major Steward, will this afternoon reintroduce the Educational Franchise Bill, with the abolK tion of the cumulative vote clause excised. The new measure provides for prq-pomioa,- ‘ tion, defining the term householder, and gives better facilities for the conduct o| elections, especially in ceptrqs of populas9%

The Exhibition Entertainments. A majority of the House have promised to support the vote of LI,OOO on the Supplementary Estimates for the Governor’s residence in Dunedin during the Exhibition. The idea is that Lord Onslow shall invite the Australian Governors to pay a visit to the Exhibition and be his guests. If the vote is passed. Lady Onslow and family will accompany His Excellency sonth instead of going to Auckland this snmmer. The Local Bills Committee had the Bills at present before the House ' under consideration this morning. Their report recommends that the W&verly County, Wairoa Harbor, and County of Waipu Bills should stand over until next session, as no serious incouvenieuce would be caused by their postponement. The passing of the Borough of Brunner Enabling Bill, and the Oamaru Harbor, Onehnnga and Devonport Cemeteries, and Wellington School of Design Bills are opposed, but the Committee are of opinion that they should be proceeded with if there i& time, particularly in the case of the first-named. From the number of objections received by the Committee against the other Bills it is highly improbable that they will get through this session. The immediate passing of the Gisborne Harbor Board Bill is urgently recommended by the Committee, as it is stated that if the Bill is not passed the Harbor Board would not be able to meet its bondholders, and its passage enables them to rate the district in order to raise the funds to pay the interest on their loans. All the other local Bills are unopposed, and are to be placed at the head of the Order Paper, and will be proceeded with on Monday afternoon. The Native Affairs Committee have passed the Native Lands Frauds Prevention Acts Amendment Bill with three or four amendments, only one of which is of any importance, being a provision that the clause of last year’s Act limiting the number of grantees in a deed to twenty shall not apply to land operated upon previous to that Act coming into force, and not exceeding 5,000 acres in area. Progress was made in the Native Lands Court Acts Amendment Bill. The Native Ministeragreedtowithdraw the clauses providing for the appointment of an administrative officer and relating to surveyors’ liens. When clause 14 is reached, which deals with validating certain unlawful dealings with the Natiwl lands, Sir George Grey will propose a resolution which, if carried, will effectually hang np the Bill for this session at least. The resolution postpones consideration of the Bill until the Committee have been supplied with full information on all points connected with the dealings that are to be validated. The opinion of the Speaker has been taken as to whether the Committee is competent to deal with this resolution, and he has decided in the affirmative. Tbe West Coast Coal Measures. The Committee appointed to inquire into the state of the West Coast coalfields held a general meeting this morning, and decided upon the terms of their report. They state that the evidence shows that the mines now in operation at Greymouth are in the bands of the Grey Valley Company, half owned by the Westport Coal Company, the other half being divided between the former lessee of the Brunner mine and the Union Steam Ship Company; while at Westport the mines now in operation belong to the Westport Coal Company, The carrying of coal for these two companies between New Zealand ports is secured to the Union Company. The Committee report that the supervision of tbe mines has been conducted with great, laxity, and there is no proper check as to the output on which royalty is charged. Recommendations by the Inspector under the Coal Mines Act as to breaches threatening human life have been ignored by thedepartment. The Committee find that by a> series of assignments practically the whole of the present workings in the Westland district have been allowed to fall into the hands of two coal companies associated in business and working in accord with a steam shipping company. The consequences threatened, if not incurred, by this monopoly would appear likely to be mitigated by a strict enforcement of the output clauses by extending communication with other portions of thefield, and by continuing to improve the harbor accommodation at Greymonth and Westport, The Committee recommend (1) that tbe output clauses of tbe leases should in every instance be rigidly enforced; (2> that an efficient check on the amount of the output should be arranged with a view to royalties being paid on all coal specified, as subject to royalty under the several leases; (3) that any mining in the past outside of the lease areas should be made the subject of payment, and should be restrained in future; (4) that the clauses of the Coal Mines Act directed to the prevention of accidents shouldbestrictlyenforced; (5) thatnofurther leases should be granted until a form generally applicable has been settled by the lawofficers of the Crown after reference to tie officers of the Geological and Mines Detriment, and so as to reserve access to tho areas lying at the back; (6) that new harbor boards should be established in which the Government should have the right to nominate the majority of the members, the rest to be elected by the local bodies and persona interested in the locality; (7) that the administration of the land endowments of both the Westport and Greymouth Harbors be withdrawn from the Waste Lands Boards and transferred to their respective harbor boards, subject, as at present, to Ministerial control; (8) that the harbor works and shipping facilities at Greymonth and Westport should be carried on with much greater despatch than heretofore; (9) that the Government, while insisting upon the rigid observance of the terms and conditions of every lease, should give every encouragement for tho opening np of SOW coal mines, providing extra shipping facilities and railway accommodations (10) that the undoubted superiority of the West Coast coal must create a large foreign demand, which can be supplied only by making the harbors accessible to vessels of large carrying capacity and deep draught. The proposal that the Government should be recommended to impose a duty of 5s perton on all imported coal was negatived by/ 3 votes to 2.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890830.2.14

Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Evening Star, Issue 7999, 30 August 1889

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3,825

POLITICAL GOSSIP. Evening Star, Issue 7999, 30 August 1889

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