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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 8004, 5 September 1889
[From Oitb Parliamentary Reporter.]
WELLINGTON, September 4. Alleged Favoritism.
While the Stock Estimates were under consideration to-night Mr Bruce asked whether it was true that the Minuter of Lands had brought from his own constituency a Mr Clifton, of four years' service, and placed him in Wellington over Mr Simpson, of the West Coast, who had twenty-four years' service, and a creditable record both for his efficiency and otherwise ? —The Minister of Lands replied that it was so, but Mr Clifton had been brought from one of the largest sheep districts in the colony. It often happened that when a man had been a long time in the service he ceased to be of the same value as when he had only been there a short time. —Mr Bruce said that Mr Simpson felt the slight so keenly that he contemplated resigning.— The Minister said he thought Mr Clifton had been more that four years in the department—six or seven years, he thought. He deprecated the use of political pressure in reference to the Stock Department, pointing out that by this means it had been seriously damaged in the past. The Government were now engaged in carrying out a system desired by the House.—At a later stage of the proceedings Mr Bruce, who showed an unusual amount of warmth, said that the action of the government in this matter had done more to lessen their influence in the West Coast district than any of their previous acts, not even excepting their Protectionist policy, which he had strongly opposed. Mr HMop's Retirement. Only the barest reference to Mr Hislop's retirement from the Ministry has been made in the House so far. It consisted of a question by Mr Ballance as to whether the Government intended to lay the evidence and report of the Select Committee of the Council on the table of the House. The Premier replied that it waß not. Contrary to expectation, no action ivas taken by the Opposition on the motion for going into committee of supply.
Jottings. The Wi Peri Land Bill and the Pontntu Jurisdiction Bill have passed their final stages in the Council. ' The second reading of the Local Bodies' Loans Act Amendment Bill was assented to in the House this afternoon, and the
measure subsequently passed its final stages. It makes slight amendments in the procedure under the original Act, and provides a punishment for the forgery of debentures. The Counoil has agreed not to insist on its amendments in the Criminal Evidence Bill, so that the measure will now pas? into law.
The Bill to amend the Native Land Frauds Prevention Act was committed this afternoon, and a new clause added providing that a Trust Commissioner may use the evidence taken before another Tru9t Commissioner, and that all lands which had passed the Native Land Court before 1888 shall be free from the restriction limiting the number of owners in a deed to twenty-five if the land is sold in areas not larger than 5,000 acres, or leased in areas of not more than 10,000 acres. Another clause recommended by the Native Affairs Committee providing that the Trust Commissioner shall inquire into the nature of the consideration paid for any alienation, and shall refus* his certificate if he thinks the consideration is not reasonably sufficient, was supported by the Native Minister. This clause, after being discussed at length in the House, was ultimately lost by 37 to 31, and progress was reported at the Minister's instance, in order to allow of a new clause being drafted. The latest lobby rumor is that if Mr Hislop resigns his seat Judge Ward will resign his Judgeship, retire on his pension (which is about L6OO a year), and contest Oamaru with the ex-Colonial Secretary. Mr Guinness intends moving for the production of all correspondence, reports, and papers relating to the breaches of the Customs Duties Act by Bing, Harris, and Co. The Slaughter-houses Act Amendment Bill has been discharged from the Order Paper, as the Government do not intend proceeding with it during the present session. An old and well-known way of dealing with Native lands in the North is mentioned in a recommendation of the Public Petitions (M to Z) Committee which was presented to the House today. Mrs Robertson complained that in February, 1880, she was forcibly ejected from Lake House, Rotorua (which she was occupying on lease at the time), by the order of Mr Robert Graham, who had obtained another lease from his landlord, and that the latter lease was protected by the Thermal Springs Districts Act, 1881, because Mr Graham was in occupation of the property at the time. The Committee report that in their opinion the petitioner was illegally and forcibly ejected from fur property at Rotorua, and that the passing of the Thermal Springs Districts Act validating the titles of all persons in occupation precluded all possibility of recovery on her ?art, thus inflicting upon her an injustice, he petitioner has therefore in equity a claim against the colony. The clause of the Public Works Act Amendment Bill which enables local bodies to compel property-owners to clear gorse from roads passing along frontages was amended this afternoon by the attachment of a proviso that the local body shall first have reasonable grounds for believing that such plants have spread from such adjoining land or fence thereof. The Massacred Innocents. Among the slaughtered innocents of the session are the Land Transfer Act Amendment Bill and the Native Meetings Bill. The Native members are quite delighted at the latter measure being abandoned, and they made the Chamber ring with their cheers when it was struck off the Order Paper. The Fire Insurance Bill. At the free conference on the Fire and Marine Insurance Companies Bill it was agreed to abandon Mr Downie Stewart's clause for the nniformity of the conditions of policies. Sir John Hall's clause providing for co-operative insurance companies was agreed to, subject to a proviso that the qualification of shareholders should be the holding of shares to the value of LlO, of which L 5 is paid up. The Estimates. The evening sitting has been occupied with the further consideration of the Estimates, the Minister of Lands' Department being the first reviewed. On the item Geological and Meteorological Department, L 3-,250, Mr Goldie found fault with, the increases of salaries over L2OO to the extent of L 95, and the addition of L3OO to contingencies. He moved to reduce the vote by L 95, which was lost by 45 to 20, and the vote was passed.— There was considerable discussion over the vote Stock Branch, L 29.289. Mr John M'Kenzie wished information as to why the Government had made such extensive removals of sheep inspectors during the year ; while Mr Kerr attributed the present outbreak of scab on his land to the action of the late chief inspector in causing a clean certificate to be given to a particular block in Marlborough, from which his sheep had been contaminated. The Minister of Lands explained that, on the recommendation of the Stock Committee, he had done away with the office of chief inspector, and put one inspector in each district, making him responsible for his subordinates, As to the cause of complaint, that gentleman must admit that his district was now in charge of a practical man.—On the representation of several Auckland members that expenditure on rabbit inspection in that provincial district was excessive, seeing that there were practically no rabbits north of Auckland city, and not many in the Waikato, Mr Ward moved a reduction of the item of L6OO for the destruction of rabbits on Crown lands in Auckland to L3OO, but this was lost on the voices. The vote tor the whole department was passed. Among the miscellaneous services were the following:— Nelson Creek, Ll.,000; Waimea-Kumara, L 2.100; Thames and Reef ton Schools of Mines, L 1.400; School of Mines, Otagb University, LSOO. The vote for Crown Lands and Survey DepirtmentP, amounting to L 85.602, was discussed at great length in its various branches, but ultimately passed almost intact, the only reduction being one of L 5 qn a vote of Ll2O for expenses in connection With the investigation of grasses and other agricultural subjects at Lincoln College, as an indication that it should not be continued.
In to-night's discussion upon the affairs of the Stock Department, Mr Lawry expressed the opinion that for ways that are dark and tricks that are vain the Maori can beat the heathen Chinee into fits. He went on to explain that the Natives in Waikato had been paid 3d for the skin of every full-grown rabbit they killed, and 2d for that of each small one. But he said that the Natives were not such Bimpletons as to kill the little fellows. "We prefer to keep them for another year, and then we can get 3d for them." Another way they had of making money was that Europeans (who will receive nothing for rabbitskins) killed rabbits on their own land and took them across the river to sell them to the Maoris at 2d each, the wily aborigines selling them again to the Government at 3d. A Direct Challenge. During the discussion on the Stock Estimates Mr John M'Kenzie challenged the Government to appoint an independent Commission to inquire into the administration of the Babbit Department in Otago, and predicted that it would be shown that the whole management was a sham and a delusion ; that "favoritism was rampant; and that all the rabbit agents had to report exactly as the departments directed them. If this statement was not sustained he undertook to bear all the costs of the Commission. The Otago Central. A deputation of Otago members, consisting of Messrs Fyke, Fish, Anderson, Allen, J. M'Kenzie, Valentine, Barron, and Or Fitchett, waited on the Premier this evening re the Qtago Central Railway. The several aspects of the question were discussed, the final result being that the Premier said it was useless to introduce the 811 this session, even if it were modified. When pressed to put a sum on the Supplementary Estimates to provide for letting a contract beyond Middlemarch, the premier said he had found that it would be impossible to carry the vote. He then said that he was in earnest about the Qtago Central, and would Dot go on with any fresh work unless the Qtago Central were inoluded. He will bring down a Bill next session, including the Qtago Central and some other works, and make it part of the Public Works scheme of the Government. Meanwhile the whole of the vote available from the last loan will be spent as fast as possible, in order to complete the line to Middlemarch at the earliest possible date.
District Court Sitting*. A deputation of Canterbury members, consisting of Messrs Turnbull, M'Gregor, Jones, Joyce, Longhrey, Rhodeß, and Walker, waited on the Premier and Minister of Justice to-day to a9k that more frequent sittings of the District Court should be held in places where they are now held, and also that sittings be held in Christchurch. Petitions in support of the objects of the deputation had also been forwarded during the recess. Mr Fergus promised to see if effect could be given to the wishes of the deputation, but pointed out that if sittings of the District Court were allowed to be held in Christchurch other towns would want the same concession, and the expense would thus be increased by the number of District Court Judges having to be augmented. Some of the deputation were in favor of any resident magistrates appointed in future being trained lawyers, as in that case they would bo able to undertake tho work of District Court Judges. September 5. The Estimates. The Committee of Supply sat till 2,15 a.m. dealing with the Estimates, and passed all the Native Department votes, amounting to L 17.397, leaving only those of the Railway Department and the Public Works Estimates, besides the Supplementary Estimates (yet to come down), to be disposed of. Natl re Land Court Judges. Mrßallance asked the Native Minister this morning to give an assurance that no more Native Land Court Judges would bo appointed, as there were already nine, which he considered sufficient. The Minister thought, on the contrary, that it would be necessary to appoint three or four more Judges, as the Chief Judgo had informed him that the accumulation of re-hearing cases alone would take two years to dispose of. Assisting; the London Strikers. Mr O'Conor, member for the Buller, haß initiated a subscription list among members in aid of the families of those affected by the London dock strikes, and is meeting with considerable encouragement. Ministerial Statement.
On the House meeting the Premier will make a statement concerning Mr Hislop's resignation. Probable Ministers.
Though the vacancies in the Cabinet are not likely to be filled up before the session closes, there is a strong feeling among the Ministerial supporters that the Cabinet would be greatly strengthened if Mr Fulton and Captain Russell can be prevailed on to accept office during the recess. Both are popular members in the House, and are consistent politicians, while their inclusion in the Ministry would harden the Freotrade section of the House, whose support has been of a lukewarm nature since the Tariff was brought in two sessions ago. Mr Fergus Wanted to Resign.
It is an open secret that Mr Fergus was willing to resign abng with Mr His lop in consequence of the Legislative Council Comidttee's report, but neither the Premier nor the ex-Colonial Secretary would hear of it.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 8004, 5 September 1889
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