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THE BUSHY PARK PURCHASE.

WAIHEMO'S REPLY TO BRUCE,

SOME HARD SPARRING.

[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.]

WELLINGTON, October 11. In his Address-inßeply speech the Minister cf Liuds devoted considerable attention to tie member f<r Bruce and to the much-r'ismssed Busby Park Estate. This is what the horn geutlemau Baid on these two points, I will now come to the hon. member for Bruce, and I am going to speak very plainly to thi t hon. gentleman. He referred to the Government as impostors and charlatans. I am going to reter to him as a political hypocrite. Mr Speaker: Is the hon. gentleman applying that term to a member of this House ?

Mr J. M'Keszie: I said " political," sir. Mr Speakek : I cannot allow Euch a term to be applied to a member of this House. ( Mr J. M'Keszie : I did not think that t'le term was unparliamentary. If you look in the dictionary you will see the word "charlatan"

Mr Speaker : The Speaker is not to be argued with.

Mr M'Kenzie : Well, sir, I will not argue With you, and if necessary I will apologise. I will use the hon. gentleman's own words and say "a political impostor." He used that term of the Government, so I can use 15 of him. He pretends to be a Liberal, but hj) is a Tory of the first water. He was the fi-st to refer to the affairs of my family and to the Bushy Park Estate. I say that he is the last man in this House and in the colony who should have anything to say with regard to my family in this House. Ho, sir, owes a deep debt of gratitude to me—a debt of gratitude he can never repay, and I say that he is the last manin t he House whe siould reft r ti the affairs of my family. Then he made a gross insinuation that the Premier was a party to handing over Bushy Park Estate to my sons. I am not here for the purpose of defending the Bushy Park sale. All I say in regard to it is this: that I had nothing whatever to do with either purchasing or selling it. If my sons have done anything wrong they are liable to the lo,ws of the land. They were born New Zealand colonists, and they had all the rights of New Zealand coloniats. Will the hou. gentleman drive them out of the colony ? This is what he would do if he had his way. I venture to say that he will be sorry yet for having dragged thß affairs of my family before this House. Now, with regard to this Bushy Park Estate, while I am tipon the subject let me say this: that the hon. member is afraid himself of doing or saying what he would like to say upon this subject. He gave the distorted facts to the member for Patea ; in fact, he acknowledged to me himself that he had posted up the member for Patea. Mr Allen : Not with distorted facts. Mr J. M'Kexzie : You acknowledged to me that you had posted up the member for Patea, and the very fact that they wero distorted showed that you had something to do with it. As I said before, lam not here for the purpose of defending the Bushy Park purchase. It is entirely a question of the Board that had to do with it. But, 6ir, I am here to defend myself when I am accused of not having cut up this property so as to dispose of it in small areas. Now, reference ha 3 been made to the petition that came from Palmerston South in connection with the Bushy Park Estate. The Bmk of Naw Zealand or the Assets Board at that time placed the whole of their properties under offer to the Governmeut under the Lind for Settlements Act. And what did the Government do ? We immediately authorised the Board to go and take stock of Bushy Park and report as to its suitability for settlement purposes. Now, I will read to the House—l think I have a right to do so, 30 as to put the matter beyond doubt—what that report says. This is what the members of the Land Purchase Biard said : The Hon. the Minister of Lands.—Sir,—We. the members of the Board of Land Purchase Commission, appointed under the Land for Settlements Act, 1594, for the Otago lands district, in compliance with the directions contained in your memorandum of sth November, 1594, have the honor to report, as regards the land mentioned in the schedule below (the Bushy Park Estate), that sifter the members of the Board, accompanied by their valuer, had visited the Bushy J\irk Estate and considered its suitability for the purposes of the Act, they are of opinion that, owing to want of water, a large homestead, etc., the property is not suitable for subdivision into small farms, and, therefore, cannot recommend it 3 purchase.— S Perct Smith (chairman), Jonx M'Gowan, J. P Maitland. Ist December, 1894. If you will look up the Act of 1894 you will eee that under the sth section of that Act the Government cannot buy any property under tho Land for Settlements Act until it is recommended by the Board, and not only must tho Board recommend it, but almost must fix tho prices. What, sir, would tho members of thia House have ?akl If I had of my own motion, independent of tho Board, purchased the Bushy Park Estate under the Land for Settlements Act ? I should find myself impeaohed for violating the law, and rightly so. But this House provided that the Minister could do nothing of the sort until the Board had so recommended and had fixed the price of the land. Some members may think thatloughtto have done this in the interests of my constituents. Well, if I were going to truckle to my constituents by doing an illegal act, so that they might -benefit or that I might benefit, as the case might be, then hon. members would have some reason to complain of my action. I tell hon. members that before the petition asking that this ««t.ate might be acquired came to me at all this matter was put in hand, and this was the report of the Commissioner. The hon. member for Patea and his prompter, the number fcr Bruce, should have told the whole truth. He should have told U3 that there was a large area of land belonging to the hon. member for Bruce included in that petition, and that he refused to sell the land. Then what could Ido ? I could get no land for settlement. Yet, after this, the hon. member for Bruce palms himself off on the electors as a Liberal and as desirous of the settlement of the land. I will tell you how he did it. That hon. member ha 3 got as miny_ skeletons in his cupboard as any member of this Honse, and let me tell him that when the Government offered to purchase a roa'd from him in order to give access to another piece of country purchased under th 3 Land for Settlements Act there, what did that hon. gentleman do? He said : "I will not let you have the road unless you buy fourteen acres." We offered him the full piica for the fourteen acre 3, but "in addition he wanted work done to the value of £IOO. Tais is the man who is pure, who would not be guilty of bribery or corruption, but who would take £IOO of the colonists' money if he could have got it in that way. And that b not all. The hon. gentleman occupies a large area of land which was purchased years at £1 per acre. He is now receiving 37A per cent, interest on that money. What has earned that money, and by whom was the value of that land raised? By the settlers of that district, and by the Public Works Daiartment making roads and railways to make the hon. gentleman's land valuable. Yet when the Government ask for a small piece of that land to give access to a property for settlement he asks not only the value of the land but £IOO more before he will agree. There is another matter I must refer to which the hon. member for Bruce is continually dabbling at, and this will show you how he will distort figures. This is with regard to the challenge thrown out to me by the hon. member for Bruce to show how we had got so much revenue from cash salep. I have the exact figures before me. The hon. gentleman will find that there was only £21,278 recfived from actual cash sales for the year. Thero is the sum of £53,807 which has come in from perpetual leases made freehold during the year. The hon. gentleman must have sufficient intelligence to understand that we had nothing to do with that.

Mr Allen : You got the revenue; Mr J. M'Kenzie : But how ? What you want to do is to distort the facts, so that the people of the colony will think that this is all land sold during the year. Then he goes on to show the number of surrenders, but he does not give us any credit for the number of those surrenders which are immediately ~ afterwards taken up. In fact, the hon. $ gentleman sets himself out to distorb the facts in connection with the land. I take

thia opportunity of telling the hon. gentleman that if he goes to the backblocks of Bruce and preaches these distortions to the people there I shall take the opportunity during next recess of going into the hon. gentleman's district and enlightening them. The hon. member for Btuce wanted to know what we did with the laud revenue. I challenge him to ask for a return giving the names of the pastoral tenants who received relief under the Pastoral Tenants' Relief Act. If he moves for that return and the House agrees it will be laid on the table. I am not going to give the names of those people or to allow this House to be made the medium of giving private communications to hon. members, but I challenge the hon. member for Bruce to rriove for that return.

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Bibliographic details

THE BUSHY PARK PURCHASE., Evening Star, Issue 10442, 11 October 1897

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1,738

THE BUSHY PARK PURCHASE. Evening Star, Issue 10442, 11 October 1897

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