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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 8002, 3 September 1889
The Colonial Secretary Censured.
[Prom Our Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, September 2. In the Humor far Work. Remarkable progress was made this afternoon with the local Bills on the Order Paper, and the temper of the House in this respect bore a marked contrast to what had been witnessed for the last few weeks. In drawing attention to the fact that fifteen Bills had passed their second reading in as many minutes, Mr Barron said that such extraordinary celerity ought not to be allowed to pass without comment, and that it was a singular circumstance that no objection had been offered to any of them from either the Ministerial or the Opposition benches, Mr T. Mackenzie replied that the member for Caversham had been in the House while the whole of the Bills had passed their second reading, and it was his duty to have found fault with them if any cause for complaint existed. It was not a question as between the hon. gentlemen occupying the Treasury or the Opposition benches. The measures had been before the House for some time, and had been carefully investigated by the Local Bills Committee, and hon. members were consequently in a position to deal with them without the criticism of the member for Caversham. Forming Streets on Reclaimed Land. In consequence of the difficulty that has arisen in Dunedin over the formation and maintenance of some reclaimed lands, Mr Ross, when the Public Works Act Amendmet Bill is recommitted, will move the following clause: —“ Whereas some doubt exists as to the power of harbor boards to expend any part of their revenue in the construction of streets, it is thereby enacted that whenever it shall have been agreed between any harbor board and the local body having jurisdiction over any land which may have been reclaimed from the sea by the said harbor board to construct any street or streets over such reclaimed land, it shall be lawful for the harbor board to contribute out of their revenue such proportion of the cost of the construction of any such street or streets as may be agreed on by the said public bodies.” The North Island Trunk Line. One of the amendments made last night limits the deductions allowable from the railway endowment fund to be created from land purchased to the amounts payable under the Land Act to county councils and road boards. A new clause was added securing to the Grown alone the right to purchase Native lands in the district to be traversed by the railway for two years from January next. Ministers originally proposed five years, but reduced the period of restriction in deference to the objections of the Native members. On the motion that the amendments in the Bill be agreed to. Sir John Hall recorded his strong protest against the amendments, contending that they took away from the New Plymouth Harbor Board the 25 per cent, of land revenue to which the existing law entitled that body. This, he argued, amounted to repudiation, and would entitle the Board’s bondholders to come down on the colony for compensation. Some debate ensued, but ultimately it was adjourned till to-morrow to enable members to consider the effect of the amendments.
Bills Passed. The Timaru Harbor Board Loan, Hawera Borough Endowment, and Land Transfer Act Amendments Bills were read a third time and passed. Volng on tbe Stump, Hr Ballance has’ determined to address public meetings in Napier and Wellington shortly on political questions ; so it would appear that the Opposition leader, in so early stamping the North Island, anticipates a dissolution during the recess.
The North Island Main Trunk Hallway Cqau Appropriation Act, 1880, Amendment Dill.
a measure with an unusually long title, all oca* ting an additional sqm of L 120,283 for land purchases, was dealt with in committee tonight. A long discussion took place as to whether any land in the Taranaki district should be purchased, seeing that the New Plymouth Harbor Board would be entitled to 25 per cent, of the revenue from it. Members were afraid that if it were withheld as being part of a special fund, the Board’s bondholders would have a claim against the colony. The Minister of Public Works said that under the second clause, which he would later on move to insert, the Crown law officers held that the bondholders could make no claim. After very long discussion this part of the subject was dropped, but amendments were made in the subsequent clause limiting deductions from railway endowment funds to amounts payable to road boards and county councils, and debarring any other person or body from a claim upon the funds.
I have the best authority for stating that the Ward-Hislop Committee of the Legislative Council will to-morrow report that the conduct of the Colonial Secretary in forwarding the letter he did to Judge Ward is deserving of the gravest censure. This decision was come to at a meeting of Committee to-day by 4 votes to 2. I understand that the Hons. Dr Pollen, Swanson, Shephard, and Reynolds voted for the motion, and that the Hons, E. C. Stevens and R, Oliver constituted the minority. The Hou. J. N. Wilson, being chairman, did not vote. The Kumara Sludge Channel. The Minister of Mines has introduced a Bill to validate the agreement entered into with the miners of Kumara over the sludge channel there. It was in connection with this matter that the Goldfields Committee last week reported adversely on the Ministers action, “ Dunedin West.” When the recent no-confidence motion was under consideration it was stated that Mr Downie Stewart had been induced to vote for the Government hy a promise of his elevation to the Legislative Council. The rumpr as to his intended promotion was again revived to-day, and is seriously discussed in the lobbies. The proposal is resented, especially by the Opposition, and Ministers will be given to understand that the appointment would cause very considerable dissatisfaction. On the other hand, it is conceded that Mr James Fulton would make a very desirable member of the Upper Chamber. Local Bills. This afternoon was set apart for the consideration of local Bills on the Order Paper, all of which were read a second time, committed, reported, read a third time, and passed. They are : Waimate Public Library, Timj.ru High School Act Further Amendment, Queenstown Athenasnm (converting the athenreum into a free public library in consequence of the large number of tourists visiting the Lako district), Gisborne Harbor Act Amendment, Napier Harbor Board Amendment and Further Empowering, Waitohi River Bed, yyaimate Public Works Reserves Sale,’ Geraldine Racecourse Reserve Act Amendment, Geraldine Public School Site, Riverton Corporation Empowering, VVellingtop pity 1 Empowering, Now Plymouth High Qoho'ol,' Masterton Trust Lands, ijelson Foreshore Reserve, and the Borough of Brunner Enabljng Bills. Progress was also made before the dinner adjournment with a number of the Orders of the Day.
Criminal Law Reform.
The free conference oh the Criminal Evidence Bill took place this morning, when it was agreed that the 1 amendment by 'the Legislative Council should not be insisted On. The meaning of this is that the clause introduced into the Bill by Mr Samuel, providing that the fact of the accused person, his wife, or her husband declining to give evidence should not be a matter for comment to his prejudice, is retained. The Auckland Island Sealers. The Petitions Committee (A to L branch! this morning considered the petition of Captain Davidson and the crew of the Janet Ramsay, and decided that the sealskins should be returned to the petitioners in addition to a remission of the fine already granted. Subsequently Mr fish, who presented the petition, saw the’ Premier, and the latter promised that effect should be given to the Committee’s recommendation.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 8002, 3 September 1889
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