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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 8006, 7 September 1889
[From Oub Pabliamentabt Reporter. | "WELLINGTON, September 6. The Rating Act. The Rating Act Amendmont Bill had a very narrow shave in the Council to night. The school rating clause was eventually passed, but the clause exempting friendly societies' lands and buildings was rejected by 12 votc3 to 6. There was an animated discuttsion when the Bill was reported as amended, and the debate on the third reading was finally adjourned till Tuesday. The Railway Commissioners. In the discussion of the Railway Commissioners'appointment to-night, Mr Fisher stated that the Hon Mr Mttcuelson and he had strongly stuck out in the Cabinet for the appointment of an English expert as Chief Commissioner. He left the other Ministers to explain their position if they chose to do so. The hon. gentleman also warmly protested against the disparagement by the Government of the qualification of Mr Bee, the English expert, who was recommended by the Agent-General and two experts at Home. Public Health. The scope of the Public Health Amendment Bill, which to-day passed its second reading in the Council, is to regulate the inspection of slaughter-houses and dairies. It has been brought in by the Government mainly with a view to allaying the scare occasioned by the recent outbreak of typhoid fever in Wellington. An Abortive IYo-confldcnce Motion. The discussion on Mr Grimmond's amendment ''That this House regrets that the Minister of Justice should not have recognised that in fairness to his late colleague an explanation by himself of his own oonduot in connection with the Christie oase was due to the House and the country " only lasted a couple of hours, and was confined entirely to members of the Opposition, in accordance with the deoision arrived at at the caucus of Government supporters in the forenoon, The Premier, on the House assembling, made it plain that his party intended to treat the amendment with silent contempt. The hon. gentleman, however, laid himself open to a severe rebuke from the Speaker by speaking of Mr Grimmond as "a member belonßingto the lower ranks of tho Opposition," Sir Maurice O'Rorke remarking with dignity that all members of the House were on the same level. In the oourse of the discussion, Mr Fisher said that although he had not lately been very friendly with Mr Hislop, he was grieved at the" shameful way in which that gentleman had been deserted by his late colleagues in his hour of trial. They had fully endorsed Mr Hislcp's action in the correspondence, and if they had had an atom of manliness, honor, or honesty in their competition they would havo left the benches along with him. Mr Hislop's action in resigning was exceedingly creditable to him, but refleoted disgrace upon every member of the Government. The amendment was negatived on the voices, Kicked Out. Another Government measure has rec.eitod the " hippy despatch " in the Legislative Coun-. cil. This was tho Local Bodies' Local Loan Act Bill, which passed all its stages without opposition in the House. The motion for its second reading was met by an amendment by Sir G. Whitmore that it he read a second time that day six months, which, was carried by 16 to 11, and thus Bill, was lost. It mado slight amendments in the procedure under the original Act, and also provided for the punishment of forgery of debentures. A Compromise. The Council, by 15 to 8, adopted ihpconv nromiso effeoted with the Lower Hou.so on the Fire and Marine Insurance Bill, which will now become law. The No-confidence Debate. Ministcis say that their supporteis consistently maintained this afternoon the attitude which they had taken up of contempt for Mr Grimmond's amendment of oensura upon the Minis lor of Jn&tico. As soon as Mr Seddon ro;o to follow the Leader of the Opposition, almost every member of the Government party walked out of the House, leaving a "beggarly array of empty benches" to the right of the Chair. The Ministers were of course obliged to remain in their places, but the Premier showed hjs contempt by turning half away from the Speaker and engrossing himself in a Parliamentary paper. Mr Forgus buried himself in the pages of a novel, and Mr Mitchelson was the only Minister who displayed the slightest interest. When the question was put the few merrbers of the Government party present gave their voices in stentorian tones against the amendment, but not one of the Opposition, spoke-the whole matter fizzling ou,V wisefably, Hiffii Time, Too. The wholesale privilego which has hitherto been enjoyed by the " upper ton " of Wellington with regard to free access to the Parliamentary library during the recess is to be considerably curtailed in future. Among those who are henceforward to be denied cheap literature at the publio expense are persons serving His Excellency and other favored individuals to the number of sixty persons. Only the Governor andmembeis of Parliament are now allowed to take books out of the library. " Innngahua's " Little Joke. Referring to the Hon. Mr Fergus's remark, that when in Victoria he was told that what was required for this colony was not a railway expert bat a diplomatist, Mr R. J. Reeves said that the person who gave utterance to that observation must have had in his mind's eye the Ward-Hislop case. The Goldflelds Committee, Mr Cadman, as chairman of the Goldflelds Committee, has requested the other members of the Opmmittee to tuggest subjects for consideration prior to tho drafting of the final report before the close of the session. The result is that the following list of topics has been drawn up for disoussion at next week's meeting:— Rents and licensed holdings; reduction of the gold export duty; reduction of registration fees; revision of survey fees; smelting, assaying, and purchasing of gold by the Government; aid to prospecting; representatives from mining districts to visit the Dunedin Exhibition to explain and show to visitors the mining exhibits ; y/atcr racps j cheap railway fares for t.tudents of schools of mines to visit mines; a mtnual for the use of publio schools in mining districts; the present system of letting tributes; classification of mine managers for certificates; special facilities for foreign companies; scholarships for pupils attending the schools of mines; Agent-General's report ontheFiebargsyitim. The Hallway Board. As was to be expected, there was considerable discussion over the Railway Estimates, in connection with the appointment of the Railway Commissioners. The ball was set rolling by Mr W, 0. Walker, who expressed the opinion that had it been known who were to be the Commissioners the House would never have consented to the control of the railways being banded over to three Civil servants for five years. The Minister of Works assured the House that tho Government had not sought to appoint any local men until every chance of obtaining ex* perts in England bad been exhausted. After negotiating for fourteen months through two of the leading railway officials of the United Kingdom, they were reduced to the only one suitable man (Mr Rae), who withdrew from the candidature of his own motion. Before the Ministry could come to any decision to obtain a first-olaBS expert, it would have been necessary to give a salary of L 5.000 a year, whioh he knew the House would not sanction. Be'iovin? that the appointment of tha present Commisbionsrs was the best that could have been made, and that before the end of the twelve months it would bo justified by results, the Minister appealed to the House to give the Commissioner a fair ohanoe.—Several hon. members spoke in more or less disapproval of the oppointments made, and finally with a view to showing the colony's disapproval of Mr Max. well's appointment Mr M'Kenzie moved the reduction of the vote by LIOO. This was lost by 49 to 10, and the total vote for Working Railways Department, L 660,000, was passed as printed. An Opposition Joke. The foljowipg; is'alleged, by an Oppositionist of course, to bo a oopy of the resolution arrived at by the Ministeiial oauout held this morning in the Cabinet room s — " That at this late period ef the session, coupled with the fact that on pricking a card the Government whips have ascertained that the Government are In a minority, it is not desirable to make the question raised by the member for Hokitika a vote of want of confidence, and that the business of thg segsipn should be brought to a close as Boon as'the Opposition would permit." Retired from Polities, Sir R Btout, who was in the House to-night, emphatically declared that he had absolutely determined not to re-enter the politloal arena. He says that no persuasion would induce him to contest any scat at the next general ekotioo. Railway Hands' Pay. While, the railway vote was under discussion, Mr Baljlihoe asked whether it was true that the Railway Oommisoioners intended to reduce the rate of railway hands' wages. The Hpu Mr : Mitchelson' eaia be was not awwe that such «as their intention. Jottings. In speaking in the Legislative Council n the manner in which books from the Parliamentary library go astray, the Hon. Mr Reynolds said that from his own personal knowledge he knew that books could bo found in every hotel and house of ill repute in Wellington during the recess.
The member for Timaru, in his remarks on the resignation of Mr Hislop, said the greatness of England depended upon the purity of the Judges. An Otago member inquires, if this be so, does thin fact not to some extent extenuate the indiscretion of the late Colonial Secretary, whose action in the Ward-Ohrißtie case was prompted solely by a desire that tho occupants of the judicial bench in New Zealand should be fit subjects for canonisation. Very strong testimony to the business capabilities of Mr M'Kerrow was given by Mr Ballance to-night. The Leader of the Opposition darned that that gentleman would be subordinate to any of the other Chief Commissioners of Railways in the Australasian colonies. Although Mr M'Kerrow might not be a railway expert, he was intimately acquainted with railway works; and the hon. gentleman said he anticipated excellent results from his administration. The policy of the Commissioners, Mr Ballance added, was an excellent one—viz., to develop the industries of the colony, believing that that polioy would produce the best financial results. Otago seems to be the Ute noire of the hon. member for Eumara, and no opportunity is lost by him to have a fling at that provincial district. While the Railway Estimates were under consideration to-night Mr Seddon asserted, with great gnsto, that Mr M'Kerrow's appointment as Chief Commissioner waß due to the fact that he lived for some time in Dunedin. The hon. gentleman is eternally sneering at the preponderance of Otago influence in the Cabinet.
September 7. When the House meets on Monday, Mr Ormond intends moving its adjournment with the view of affording the Premier an opportunity of explaining Mr Fergus's position in connection with the Ward-Hislop cbbb. The ocean mail setvice question is to ba debated on Monday. The Takapuna makes an excursion to Picton Sounds with the members of the House, leaving here at midnight. The Public Works Estimates were brought under review at 1 a.m. The various headings under which the votes were classed were discussed at great length, Ultimately, however, sums to the amount of L574.1G1 were passed without any reductions. Replying to a question, the Minister of Works said that the Government had not yet determined to hand over the railway construction works to the Railway Commissioners, and the Public Works Department could not be finally abolished till that was done. Laid Aside. Fr Fitchett was prostrated in the House last night by an attack of English cholera, and had to be accommodated for tho night in the Opposition whip's room, when medical advice wasprocured. This morning, however, his condition was perceptibly improved, and it iB expected that he will be fit for removal to his home later in the day, The Ocean Mall Services. In Committee of the Whole on Monday the Premier will move the following resolutions respecting the ocean mail services:—-"(1) That in view of the expiration of the ocean mail service co.ntra.cta in November and December next it is desirable to make further provision for the conveyance of mails fortnightly between the colony and Great Britain, at a total cost not exceeding L28.75Q, (2) That in order to give further tine for the development of the proposed VanoouverPaoiflo service the Government be authorised to arrange for the renewal of the present servioes vU San Francisco and by direct steamers for a period of twelve months. (3) That the Government therefore enter iato negotiations (a) for joining New South Wales in a renewal of the San Jranoisoo service for twelve months under the following conditions: That the payment to be made shall not exoeed Lll 250 (exolusive of the cost of interprovincial service, eta, and payment on account light dues); that the steamers cill at Auckland as at pre3fnt, and the time allowed between Auckland and San Francisco shall not exceed twenty days either way; that a bonuß shall not be payable for early arrival, and that penalties at the rate of L 4 per hour shall not he enforced except when the late delivery of mails exceeds forty-eight hours on any voyage; that New south Wales shall receive and retain all the sums recovered by way of penalties for late arrival, and pay all amounts in respect to demurrage, and also receive and retain all contributions from oontributingcolonies and the proportion of United States payment; the steamers to be exempt from payment of light, harbor, and other dues, as at present; and that w all other respects the provisions of the existing contract be given effect to. (b) To renew with the present contractors for twelve months, at a cost not to exceed L1Y.500 (exelusive of the cost of interpravinoial service and light dues), the baoU of payment to bo letteis 12s per lb, hooks }s per lb, and newspapers 6d per lb, and a bonus at tbo rate of L 5 per hour to be paid for the early delivery of the mails, but no bonus for any voyage to be paid for any period In excess of forty-eight hours saved; that a penalty of L 4 per hour be enforced for late arrivals; that tho time from Plymouth to New Zealand shall be forty-five days and from New Zealand to Plymouth forty-two days; that the Bteamers be exempt from payment of light and harbor dues at the first port of arrival in the colony, end that in all oth«r the provisions of the existing contract be carried into effVct," 1 he Premier says that the House must adopt these resolutions.
When the resolutions come up, Mr J. G. Ward will move an amendment for the abolition of the San Franoieco, service.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 8006, 7 September 1889
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