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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[Prom Ocr Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, August 30. Defence. The annual report on the defences of the colony was presented to the House last night. Colonel Humffrey says the work done by the Permanent Artillery in mounting the guns reflects the highest credit on those employed, but this pare of their duties has materially interfered with their work and instruction as artillerymen. The services of two quarter-master sergeants from the Royal Artillery as instructors were obtained in June, 1888, and the batieries of the South Island have had the benefit of their services, with most satisfactory results. It is proposed shortly to transfer these instructors to the North Island, in order that the men of the batteries at Wellington and Auckland may derive similar advantage. By the regulations published in March of last year vacancies in the Police and Prisons Departments are now only filled up from the permanent forces. Concerning the volunteer force, Colonel Humffrey says that judging from the few objections that had been raised to the amended regulations which came into force on Ist January last, they have been accepted by the force »s an improvement on those which preceded them. One of the most important changes has been made in connection with the naval and garrison artillery corps. Ithasbeenfrequently urged on their behalf that they had no legitimate duties to perform. This reproach has now been removed, and the special training and instruction as at present established for those corps will eventually convert them into a valuable auxiliary force to the artillery and torpedo branches of the Permanent Militia. It is satisfactory to know (the Colonel says) that in one or two districts the new duties have been taken up with a zeal and enthusiasm by the officers and men which merit the highest commendation. The frequent amendment of the regulations has a tendency to unsettle the volunteers, but it is believed that those now in force will be found sufficient for some time to come, and to answer all purposes while the present organisation and system exist. As a practical proof that the] revised regulations have not had a detrimental effect on the force it may stated that the strength on March 31, ISBB, was 147 corps and 8,064 men, and on March 31 last 134 corps and 7,776 men, a difference of thirteen corps and 22S men. When it is considered that the minimum strength of the thirteen ccrps who have been disbanded amounts to 559 men it will be seen that practically a numerical increase has taken place in the strength of the corps. The periodical inspections ot the volunteers have proved beyond their more immediate and direct results to the foroe that carelessness and maladministration arc likely throngh their agency to be more readily detected and more easily rectified. Reporting on the volunteer force, Lieut. - colonel Hume says that many of the corps were under-officered, and he also feels it his duty to state that there were in many cases officers quite unfitted to command, the remark applying equally to captains and subalterns. He considers that the system of allowing volunteers to elect their own officers has a pernicious effect. He expresses his strong approval of the rank and file, especially in the country districts, but says that he found a number of good noncommissioned officers and a number of bad ones, and various shades between the two olasses. He is of opinion that if the present mode of paying by capitation is continued, the amount per man must be increased. The corps which from their drill, physique, oleanliness, and general smartness deserve special mention are the South Franklyn Mounted Rifles, Wellington and Wanganui Naval Artillery, the A B D and E Batteries of Artillery, the Auckland Guards, JHaw era, Hastings, Kumara, Rangitikei, Royal Waimate, and Wellington City Rifles. Of the cadet corps the Wanganui Navals, Nelson College, and Kaiapoi Cadets are specially mentioned. The |mounted sword drill the Canterbury Yeomanry |Cavalry and Otago Hussars was very indifferent, and had evidently been neglected, and the Heretaunga Light Horse arein all respects very far behind any other oavalry corps he inspected. The new accoutrements and appointments were dirty, their horses ill-cared for and anything but fit for a hard day's work. Jottings. The Joint Literary Committee, at a meeting held to-day, resolved " That the offer made by an amateur artist (Captain Barclay) to present an oil painting said to be a portrait of the late Governor Sir William •Tervois be declined with thanks." Intimation has already been received that the Australasian fleet wilt visit this colony during the Dunedin Exhibition period in connection therewith. Mr Hutchison asks the Minister of Defence whether he will consider, with a view to the adoption of the suggestion, that arrangements be made (if possible) with the Admiral of the Australasian fleet so that at the next Easter a-sham attack from the sea on some fortified port in tho colony may be made and met under- conditions approximating a real engagement, so that some test may be afforded of the adequaoy or otherwise of our defence. Mr Marchant is inquiring from the Premier when a Bill will be introduced to enable local bodies to devote their land revenue to the payment of interest on loanß for road improvements, as promised by the Government. •• ' The House will meet at 2.30 on Monday j afternoon to consider the unopposed local j Bills, and then proceed with Government j business. Land Settlement Conditions. A Jong discussion upon the conditions of land settlement was raised by a questipn asked by Mir Joyce this afternoon as to the eyils of the ballot system. The Minister of Lands in his reply pointed to the provision for a deposit by every applicant as a check against duplication of applications by members of one family or party, Under the old tender system, on the contrary, peoplo could on one deposit apply for as much land as they liked, The statement that people had had to go away because they could not get land was absolutely untrue. In Wellington provincial district ,alone there were 16,000 acres of settlement land in the market, and abqut 70,008 acres under the small gra aing run system. Tjie present system was being fairly testeq in tnisj district, where there was an almost unhealthy demand fprland. The keen competition was almost limited to specially valuable sections easily accessible. The reason why Mr Anderson, the Victorian farmer whose case had been mentioned, did no\ get euited wasbecaut e hejccnld not secura one of these sections.—Mr Marchant (who mqved the adjournment of the Hpusc in order \o discus 3 the matter) claimed that the very making of the deposit to which the Minister alluded gave an, immense advantage to wealthy men. To illustrate the speculative spirit abroad, he pointed out that at the last meeting of the Wellington Land Board a member of the House had applied for leave to transfer a section which fell to him by ballot, from all parts of the colony having criticised the existing syetem, pro and con, the Minister of Lands said it was only in Wellingson that there was any unusual demand for land at present. A good deal had been said about dummyism, but there was legitimate as well as speculative dummyism. For instance, the case where a man was anxlpus to obtain a section and got his wife or aome other member of his family to apply for it was not much to be depreoated. No trouble existed under the ballot system with average land ; it was only with choice blocks that any difficulty occurred, and if these were dealt with by auction for cash the trouble would be removed. The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment, and so, under the Standing Orders, was indefinitely postponed. Restricting: Chinese Immigration. Despite the vigorous opposition of Dr Pollen the Chinese Immigrants Act Amendment Bill waß safely engineered through committee in the Council this afternoon, and was subsequently repotted with a verbal amendment, read a third time, and passed. The hon. gentleman objected to the Bill being made a permanent one, and wished its duration extended only to the end of next session. The Property Tax. Reporting upon the petition of James Histop and others, of Dunedin, for the abolition of the Property T"ax, the £ublio £eti-

| tions Committee (A to L) recommend that should be referred to the Government for consideration. Pensioners. Pensions are proposed by Government to be paid as follows:—Mr W. C. W. Wrigg (Public Works Department), Ll9O a year from 15th of August, 1889; and W. P. Cheeeeman (Lands and Deeds Registry), L 154 from Ist of October, 1889. Nearly a Scene. What very nearly approached a tcene occurred to-night during the discussion on the Public Works Acts Amendment Bill. Mr Seddon had chaffingly reminded Mr Hobbs that " the prayeis of the righteous availeth much." Now, the member for the Bay of Islands is noted for bis pious inclinations, when up jumped Mr Fish with the remark that, like His Satanic Majesty, the member for Kumara could quote Scripture for his own purpose. Mr Seymour (Acting Chairman of Committees) called on the hoc. gentleman to withdraw this remark, but Mr Fish persisted that he had said nothing improper, and complained that when Mr Taylor had requested him (the speaker) not t;o "make a jackass of himself a few evenings ago he was not reproved. Mr Seymour replied that when Mr Taylor used that expression he had deemed it offensive, and ordered its withdrawal. —Mr Fish said that he had not heard the withdrawal demanded, and, amid cries of " chair," repeated that, like His Satanic Majesty, Mr Seddon could quote Scripture for his own purpose.—The Chairman of Committees, with some dignity, remarked that the ruling of the chair was being defied, and asked Mr Fish : " Do you intend to withdraw the words or not ?"—To the general surprise the member for Dunedin South replied: " No, Ido not'." and relapsed into his seat.—Mr Seddon said that if the words were not withdrawn the Committee would undoubtedly maintain the authority of the chairman, and if time was given to the hon. gentleman for reflection he would doubtless withdraw the words objected to.—Mr Fish again got on his feet and stated that if he had said anything unparliamentary to the member for Kumara he would withdraw it, but it was most difficult in that House to know where to draw the line. He had known members to interject most offensive remarks to him without being pulled up at all. What he had said, when he was asked to withdraw, was not that the hon. gentleman was like Bis Satanic Majesty—(laughter)—but that he was as capable of quoting Scripturo for bj» own purpose as His Satanic Majesty.—The ''threatened scene" then blew over, but Mr Seddon shortly afterwards again poured oil on the troubled waters by Baying that he would not answer Mr Fish's reference to. him ; he preferred the hon. member's abuse to his praise.—Mr Fish retorted that he reciprocated that feeling. He would sooner be dispraised than praised by the elect of Kumara. All he wished that hon. gentleman to do was to leave his private actions alone in the future, and if he attacked him to attack him publicly. Speaking with some warmth, he then charged Mr Seddon with having privately attacked him in an "unfair, gross, and ungentlemanly manner." Fortunately at this crisis the usual supper adjournment had arrived, and the wordy conflict was thuß brought to an end. Principal Rainy. No doubt a large number of your readers will be interested in Principal Rainy'a doings in Wellington. He arrived by the Roto mahana to-day, and is the guest of the Rev. Mr Paterson, of St. John's. He took part in a conversazione to-night, goes to a garden party at Mr W. N. Blah's tomorrow afternoon, and dines (together with a number of friends) at Bellamy's! w Mr Downie Stewart's gueßt, in the evening. On Sunday morning he preaches in St. Andrew's, and in the evening at St. John's. On Monday Principal Rainy is to be entertained at a luncheon party at Wellington College, and addresses a public meeting in the evening in the Theatre Royal, and leaves for Auckland on Tuesday morning. Land Wanted for Settlement. Complaint was made this afternoon by Mr T. Mackenzie that land in Otago was not being opened for settlement in proportion to the demand, and in consequence people are leaving that provincial district and taking up land in Wellington. The member for Clutha protested strongly against this, and called upon the Minister of Lands to explain why no less than twenty blocks comprising 800,000 acres had been opened in Wellington this year, whereas practically no land had been opened in Otago. Upon the question of roads, he Baid that the Minister placed sums on the Estimates which he dW not expend, and he for one did nbt Intend 'to submit to votes' being placed there for' affording an" outlet fdr the settlers without insisting that the votes be expended within the time specified. More land should be surveyed and opened for application, and stringent conditions insisted oh as a check' to dummyism, so that if dummyism did obtain the land at any rate would be brought into public utility. An Unsatisfactory Measure. Considerable opposition was' 7 shown by large numbers to the Public Works Acts Amendment Bill. Mr Fish said that the measure was wholly unnecessary; that there was a covert and hidden meaning in almost every clause of it, and it Deemed to him that the Bdl sought to give power to the Crown or local bodies to oppress individuals. The Member for Dunedin West. Some comment : of unfavorable nature having been made in connection with the vote of the member for Dunedin West in the late no - confidence resolution, I have ascertained on what appears to mo t6 be undoubted authority that the Opposition had no reason to expect that Mr Downie Stewart would vote with the'm: infa<H, th'ej knew that ho would not dp m. l£r Stewart; your readers may remember, was returned as an independent member, and he has acted throughout accordingly, About the middle of last session Mr Walker brought forward an amendment, the effect of which was to prevent a reduction in the number of members until after the next census. Mr Stewart, I understand, was asked to support this, but absolutely refused to do so, chiefly on the ground that he had given a pledge to his constituents to vote for the reduction of members, and that he would do nothing which would have the effect of breaking this pledge. The Opposition did not invite Mr Stewart to any of their meetings* and he has never associated with them, although asked to do so. It is reported, also, that he has never approved of Mr Ballance, and this session he has from the beginning voted with the Government. In the late crisis he determined that, in the, interests of Otago, as well as of the colony, a change of Government would not be in any way an advantage. The Opposition knew that they had no claim on him, He still assumes his old rftle of considering and voting on each question on its merits, Rifle Clubs. Mr Thomas Mackenzie, is asking If the Minister of Defence w,ill state, what the intention of the Government is with refe? rence to accepting the services of a rifle club at Clutha, and, further, if he. will explain the reason why the Defence Office refused .to recognise and gazette the club formed there some time ago, of which Mr Thomas Johnston was elected captain. Public Works Amendment Bill. The committal of the Public Works Acts Amendment Bill oocupied the House from the time of meeting in the evening until long after midnight. The clause to.which the greatest amount of opposition was offered was the one compelling the land owner or occupier to clear gorse off the roads fronting their properties at the bidding of the local bodies. The Government had, however, a substantial majority in support of the Bill on every division. The reduction of the penalty for noncompliance with the order from L 5 per day to LI was agreed to. Obstruction was then offered by Mr R. Thompson, Mr Fish, and a few others; but it was discontinued on the Minister of Works agreeing to recommit the clause if the House desired it. Clause 17, providing that if a local authority wishes to construct a bridge, or establish a ferry or ford, that will benefit an adjoining district, the Governor may in certain cases compel that district to contribute to the cost, was also discussed at length, but ultimately agreed to after slight amendment. ! The remainder of the Bill was traversed and slightly altered in matters pf detajl,' anyone or two new machinery clauses were added, after which the Bill was reported, and Die House rose at I.3o'a.ui,'

The Lyttelton Harbor Board's Claim. The olaim of the Lyttelton Harbor Board against the Government for LSO.OCO odd, in connection with the Gladstone and other sheds, has been before the Public Accounts Committee for several days past. Mr C. FI. Williams, Mr F. Graham, the Hon?. J. T. Peacock and Edward Richardson gave evidence in support of the Board's claim, and Mr J. P. Maxwell was heard on behalf of the Railway Department. The Committee will finally consider the matter on Tues day. Tbe North Island Trunk Line. With a view to having the North Island Trunk Railway pushed on, the following resolution was forwarded to the Premier yesterday, viz. ;—" We hope that you and the Ministers for Lands and Native Affairs will during the coming recess visit with us the country through which the North Island Main Trunk Railway will run." Sigi ed by Mtssrs Menteath, Fitzherbert, Ballance, Fisher, Taipua, Izard, Hutchison, Russell, Macarthur, Bruce, Newman, Wilson, and Buchanan.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890831.2.16

Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 8000, 31 August 1889

Word Count
2,996

POLITICAL GOSSIP. Issue 8000, 31 August 1889

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