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MR SEDDON ON HIS DEFENCE

MINISTERIAL EXPENDITURE.

[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.] j Replying on Friday"night to the charges against the Government, !.; : ; The Premier said: I find that we are charged, first, with having unHuly increased the departmental expenditure; Take the education expenditure in 1891-92 and take; the expenditure in 1896 97—you " willJStfd an increase of £56,672 in education aloho. -:. I make no explanation to ehow the" necessity for that increase, because we mention in the Speech from the Throne that an attempt has been made to create create a prejudice as against a section of this community. And you are. told that the paragraph in respect to education was occasioned by my recent, visit to Naples. Sir, wherever I have been Bince I-left the colony I have paid respeot'j.to those who were entitled to it, and they have respected you by paying respect to me. The next item is lunatic asylums, which: shows an increase of £13,252. In railways" there is an increase of £72,562; in post and telegraphs, £85,659, or a total increase of £228,145. In land revenue, for 1886 87 it was £3,728,972, for 1896 97 it was £4,725,798, or ah increase of £996,826. Then in 1891V92 the departmental expenditure was £2,096,873, in 1896-97 it was £2,411,553, or/ an increase between the two periods of £314,680. Now, to apply the only safe commercial "test that can be applied, what is the -percentage as between revenue and expenditure for" the respsotive periods and under the respective Governments? If you take 1896 it 18 equal to 19.6 per cent. ..;.:',. ;--...■ Hon. Members: Wha^?

Mr Seddok : That is the percentage. Do hon. members want to go to sehool again *- Then, in 1891-92, the first year we were in office, it was 19.9 per cent. Then, in 189697, it was only 16 6 per cent. So" that comparing our administration and the cost of it with the revenue, as compared with 1886-87, any fair critic must admit that it is in our i?r Vo [' And whafc do we have t0 d ° besides ? We had to meet increases under the permanent Acts by no less than £61,967. We are not responsible for that. Those are Acts passed which, of course, we cannot control. Take charitable aid: there are very large increases there, and under education also a very large increase.

An Hon. Member : Why ? Mr Seddon : Because it is the legislation of the country, and because neither party dare touch it. That is the question and the answer. Then I am told that we have increased the taxation. What is the position ? I shall be told : " You did that under the new tariff." I will tell you what the increases have been under the new tariff last year as compared with the previous one. They were £327,000, or, as: compared with 1890, an increase of £644,621 Hod. Membebs : No, no ! Mr Seddon : I am giving you the different periods as to revenue. Now, when I tell you about the £327,000 of increase last yrar, there is only £82,100 of that increase owing to the new tariff.

An Hon. Member : You are all wrong. Mr Seddon : Are they all wrong ? I have been told that before. I knowhon. members who have made such assertions, and have afterwards had to withdraw them. I say that the increase is only £82,100, but tho decrease, owing to the remissions we granted under the new tariff, amounts to £67,057. There is only a difference, therefore, between the increased revenua under the new tariff and the former tariff of £15,340.. When 1 tell you that under the head of spirits alone there is an increase of £15,125 what can those say who assert that-our new tariff unduly presses upon the wot king classes and increases, our revenue ? I say there i 3 the complete answer. Because under a different Administration wo have prosperity, we have an increase of population, confidence restored, capital flowing into the country, the spending power of the people, improved, which further increases the- revenue, you say: "Oh ! it is on account of| your new tariff.'' Bah ! We have heard that story before. We are bound to have revenue to meet our expenditure, and not unduly take from the taxpayers of the country more than is required. But look at what has happened around us? la New South Wales, compared with last quarter, there is a huge deficit for the first time for years. Viotoria is showing a small surplus. Two other colonies in Australia also show a deficit. Then, sir, when we find in our beautiful, our good, and prosperous New Zealand there is a little extra revenue coming in and prosperity is dawning upon us; people finding fault and adversely -criticising it, I ask the question: Is io patriotic ? Do they not do us injury ? And this is one thing I wißh to warn the House upon. Ijet us have our fights here and oriticise, but riot rush to the Press outsida the' oolony, and allow us to be judged upon statements made whioharo ontireß fallaaioua and unsupported by facts; - Then, sir, we oorao to the oharge a3 against the police force of this colony, and in this respeot I must say that the policeman who Bald " I have no heart in my work" was simply speaking the mind of the police force of thia colony. Tho cause of that is this: If the police are to do their duty they must have the moral support of the people of the colony, and if they become the objects of party attacks in this House, or if they are attacked as they have been attacked recently, and time after time by the Prohibitionists, spied upon, watched, and reported, I say that no man can feel safe under those circumstances. If he uses harshness in one respect then he becomes the object of attack; he is injured thereby. And, on the other side, if he is too easy it is the Bame. I a3k this question: Who is responsible for this ? As a true democrat I hesitate to say it, but I believe we injured the force when we gave the police the vote, for we have, without their consent and against their wishes, brought them indirectly into the vortex of politics. An Hon. Member: No.

Mr Seddon : I say we ought to-keep them clear of all politics and all political parties, and that we should give them our moral support. It is impossible for them to do their duty satisfactorily unless we do so. I would say now to those hon. gentlemen who have been, in my opinion, extreme in their denunciations that they ought not, for the sake of a few black aheep—and there must be a few in a foree of 500 odd men—to say that the whole force wink at the breaches of the law, and that to all intents and purposes they are working in the cause of drink.

An Hod. Mem bee : Who said that. Mr Seddon : I say that that was said in this House ; that the whole police force of the colony has been attacked, and as one who has had charge of that department I know the difficulties in connection with it. I say let us give the police force our moral support, as I have always said let there be a fair and impartial carrying out of the law —no harshness, no extremes in supporting the police, and you will find the cause for complaints will disappear. Then, sir, what have not I been charged with myself? Worse than the police; that I went through the King Country on a visit to the Uriweras, and we were told that we took liquor With us; that there was debauchery with the Natives, and all round a most terrible and horrible condition of affairs as the resuit of my visit. Why, sir, I think my hon. friends on the other side will not accuse me of being a hypocrite. Whatever my faults may be that is not one, and I say that if you take this book of my travels you will find, on pages 4, 6, and 21, instances of where I told the Natives of the curse that would fall upon them unless they refrained from this vice. At Moawhanga I told-them: "If you want to know how you will best please me, take the grog and throw itin the river." Then you will find other instances where I spoke to them and counselled - them to do the same thing if you go on through this book. Therefore, is it to be said that 1 have been a hypocrite, advising the Natives tojbrow. the grog away, at the same time taking it with me, and being a party to drunkenness and debauchery? It has been said "You never denied it." No, the charge was so false and so absurd, and I thought people knew me so well, that there was no necessity for me to deny it. Then, what did the Native chiefs do when they came down here? The Native chiefs fronv Uriwera came here and they emphatically denied this. They Baid it was a elur upon them, and that if they had the opportunitythey would j bring their traducers before the Courts. That appeared in the Press of Wellington. •.-■-'

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18971011.2.34

Bibliographic details

MR SEDDON ON HIS DEFENCE, Issue 10442, 11 October 1897

Word Count
1,554

MR SEDDON ON HIS DEFENCE Issue 10442, 11 October 1897

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