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The Evening Star SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1897.

The result of the City municipal selections in the two wards which were , T, ,IC „ contested has been eminently Liti Council, satisfactory, and the majori- , ties in both instances were so conclusive as to the set of public opinion tisat there is room for speculation ; 'whether Leith and South Wards might not have been earned by Progressive candidates. The indications are now clear, as was the handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar’s Feast, that the kingdom of the cotoric which has ruled the City affairs so long is departing, and that the dawn of a new era is approaching. Even now the Progressives will, we should conceive, be strong enough to insist that the existing financial situation of the Corporation shall be fully and truthfully exposed. The citizens will then see that in our recent articles, which have been denounced in and out of the Council as recklessly alarmist and extravagant in language, we have been well within the mark, and, instead of 41 setting down aught in malice,” have rather extenuated circumstances and facts,

which demonstrate the momentous gravity of the financial position. Every statement we made in our endeavor to rouse up the burgesses of the City to the realisation of radical reform in the municipal administration was confirmed and even intensified by the Mayor at the last meeting of the Council, and only the weakest of protests, based simply upon ignorance, could be raised on the other side. We venture to predict that even those who are prepared for the worst will be somewhat startled when the actual conditions of the City finance are made public, and light is thrown on the results of the hand-to-mouth, make-shift, and staving-oft policy which has been" pursued since the last mayoralty of Mr Fish. It is not to the point just now to discuss the details of the scheme by which that honorable gentleman hoped to redintegrate the finances of the Corporation. It certainly promised well, and was worth the trial, but presumably did not suit the book of the dominant party in the Council, who jumped at the feeble alternative proposed by Mr Fish’s successor—a staving-off measure quite after their own heart, which, as we predicted at the time, was doomed to

failure, and has ignominiously failed. In a couple of months it will become the duty of the citizens who arc on the burgess roll 1.0 elect the Mayor for the ensuing year —a duty which is of more than usual importance, in that the celebration of the Jubilee of the foundation of the Province of Otago will take place within the period, when it is essential that Dunedin should be efficiently represented. In the Exhibition year the citizens very wisely went outside of the ordinary run of municipal politicians and elected Mr John' Roberts, who in every respect justified their choice, and by his administrative tact, and high sense of the responsibilities of his position conduced greatly to the conspicuous success of the Exhibition, whilst bringing credit generally upon the City. Mr Roberts unfortunately, through ill-health, is absent, but there is reason to hope that a good man of much the same calibre will be forthcoming ; and we would urge ratepayers not to compromise themselves prematurely by promising support to the candidates already in the fieldrespectable citizens, no doubt, but not exactly either of them the “ man ' for Galway,” as the Irish would say, at the present juncture. There is not only the great desirability of a thoroughly representative Otago colonist holding the office

of mayor during the Jubilee year, but the financial and other affairs of the Corporation require a “ real live man ” in the Chair, having ability and power to grapple with the situation and to direct and aid the new forces in the Council. The election of any old stagers to the mayoralty would simply risk prolonging the agony and putting off for an indeterminate period anything in the shape of crucial reform. The City has had sufficient experience of “ how not to do it.”

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18970911.2.18

Bibliographic details

The Evening Star SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1897., Issue 10417, 11 September 1897

Word Count
678

The Evening Star SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1897. Issue 10417, 11 September 1897

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