Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[" [Feom Our Fabliamextasy, Repobteb.] Octoheb 20. Broken .Pairs. • A whole afternoon was wasted yesterday, over the question ai out of the * New, Zealand .Times'*' comments on the alleged breaking of pairs on Friday, night by the members for Wakatipu and Rangitikei—wasted beoanße.it "was quite evident from the outset that nothing would come of tie three hours' discussion which the motion of the member for .■ Wakatipu,opened up. Mr Eraser based his motion on the utter dieregard of the facta shown, as the writer of the article, shutting his ears to the explanations made on the floor of the House in the early hours of Friday, made an ;uncalled-for attack on the character's, of two members of the House. 'He was emphatically of opinion that the article in question Constituted a gross breach of privilege, and askedthe House, irrespective of party feeling, to fearlessly guard the personal characters of the members of the House.—Explanations came from the members for 'Butler; Napier, and Rangitikei, which made it quite clear that while Messrs O'Regan and M'Kenzie left the House under the impression thaG they, had been paired, in accordance with- arrangements with both whips, one of the contracting parties' did not consider, himself a party thereto. —The Premier threw, considerable vigor into the debate by declaring that if the House was to inquire into a case of privilege arising out of Press comments there would be no time for attending to the business of the country. In a sentence, he took the word of his chief whip and the entry of names by Mr Mills in .his own book as constituting unimpeachable evidence that the members of the Opposition named had paired. He could not account for what actually happened, unless there had been an unfortunate loss of memory on the part of someone on the other side of the House. This brought an emphatic "No" from. Mr Massey. On the general question' of pairs the Premier said it was not their side who paired their own side. It was the duty of the Opposition to do so.—Mr Fraser: jVery like a, whale.—Mr Seddon replied that there wero .ptenty of members of -their side who "got" pairs without ever asking the whips, {t was -a matter of almost every-day occurrence. As. to the. article complained of, it was a, fair statement of facts. He repeated that if such things were to constitute breach of.the privileges of the House they would have plenty to do, because a section of-the Press, suppo'rted by djrect money contributions -from the Opposition, were daily attacking .Ministers, and their party paid:writers were not above discussing members' private and even family affairs. Does.it constitute privilege, ho asked, if the Press keep out soroetnint; which should have been published? If that were the case,' Parliament would have to go back to the high old time when editors and publishers were adjudged--guilty of con. .tempt, committed to the Tower, and fed on chicken and champagne.—The occupants of the gallery who dwell on the recollection bj Buoh things, whioh aro only known to a few old parliamentary hands, sighed for the possi« bility of the Premier's-wish being realised.— Then cvne Mr Holland, who added his quota to the version of the members for Buller and Inangahua. To him both whips acknowledged that they had forgotten to make it "all right" for bimsecuring a pair; but'it was not all right,—Mr Massey went on to blame the Government House ball for all the trouble. The Opposition side evidently contribute the largest share of danc ing-men to auch functions, as nine pairs had been recorded on that account by the Opposition, and he therefore flatly refused to give any more pairs till after the critical division was over. He candidly admitted that the whole thing lay in a nutshell. It was a case of credibility as between himself and Mr Mills, and he took his share of the responsibility which arose from.the senior Government whip having misunderstood him.—This brought to his feet Mr Mills, who declared that he never, heard Mr Massey make any reservation, and if ho had he would certainly have been no party to such reservation.—Mataura's contribution to the debate was tho peremptory intima. tion that, having paired with one hon. member from 10.30 on all, Government questions during tho session, he would not allow himself to be paired with anyone else without his consent—not ■ for all the whips, nor for the Premier himself; and as an old hand at the game he counselled both whips in future to Bee that their books were compared close up to time, and so avoid these regrettable'misunderstandings.—Still on tho subject of pairs and disregarding the question of privilege, the Leader of the Opposition counselled the Government to Bee that pairs were more. strictly observed, because they had the most to. lose if the general practice of Parliament on such matters were departed from.—The Minister of Lands twitted members of the Opposition with being very thinskinned in taking the ' TimesV comments so seriously to heart. The member for Wakatipu would never be likely to become a Minister if he could not brook" criticism of ihat sort. Why, ho (Mr M'Kenzie) had had to put up with a great deal more for the past six months over Bushy Park, but he assured the House that-while the member for Wakatipu held the card up his sleeve all the time he had sat by quite contentedly, his equanimity undisturbed, and his peace of mind unbroken.—Mr Scobie Mackenzie brought the House back to the main question by reminding . members, amidst a chorus of approval, that it was not a question of misunderstanding between the chief whips, but one affecting the personal honor of swo members. He characterised the article as despicable, and unworthy of respectable journalism. He went on to say that the Minister of Lands was treating the matter with levity only because the offending journal was Ministerial. From theGovernmett benches came the taunt that if the offender had been an Opposition organ there.would not have been such a bother made" " Whac about the editor of the 'Daily Times'?'' queried some member, and the reply came : " Too vfar to Blend ' for him " ; and from the Premier: "The editor ofthe ' Daily Times' happens to be inside, and not outside,thiß House." Dunedin's senior member repelled the insinuation, saying it was quite uncalled for, because the Premier, knew it quite to fact. Scobie wound up by saying it seemed to have come to this pass: .that a man.could nob be a reliable whip unless he first ceased to

fqƒqwfwf

t>a a New Zealand Liberal. "You can always get a reliable ono on this side,!'.answered an hon. member near by.—Mr Pirani was optimistio enough to believe that the House would unanimously declare the artiole in question to be a. discreditable breach of privilege, and, Breaking aa a journalist on the active list, he characterised the sub-leader as gross in the extreme, and a most unjust attack' on the personal characters of two deserved members of the House y but when so important a personage as the Minister of Lands, instead of defending his character in the law oourts, set an example of asking the House to protect him, it was only right that the House should act .similarly towards private members.—Mr Frascr, "in reply, denied that he was actuated by anv hostility towards the Minister of Lands, and to the Premier's charge of wasting time, that Mr Pirani had offered, if he (Mr Fraser) was disinclined to move, to call attention to the article in question.—Mr Seddon: As a matter of personal explanation, of course ; and he was quite justified in doing so.—On the question being put it was decided affirmative'y, though a few nces were heard, but no division was demanded.—The Premier announced that he did not mean to propose any motion, so that it may be taken that nothing more will be heard of this gross nutter of privilege. . i The Otago Uculrnl. The Minister of Lands presented a petition from settlers of the western end of Maniototo County objecting to Eweburu being made the terminus of the Otago Central. They say that, by' carrying on tho. line to Wedderbnrn, settlers on the whole of the Maniototo Plain will be brought into communication with Duuedin. That distance is only eight miles further, and the line presents no engineering difficulties. In view of the fact that the miniug industry in the vicinity of Blacks, Alexandra, Ciyde, Cromwell, Manuherikia, St. Bathans, and Cambrians had advanced with such rapid strides during the list twelve months, aud that capital to the amount of £IOO,OOO had been spent in constructing dredges, they strongly urge on the Government the necessity of these mining centres. Peninsula Tolls. Mr E. G. Allen's Bill to amend the Public Works Act empowers the Peninsula Road Board to establish tolls within one mile radius of the City, and indemnifies that body in respect to tollages illegally collected during the past six years. Otago Ijilversfiy Leases. Mr Scobie Mackenzie's University Otago Leasing and Sales Bill empowers the Council to lea3e for terms not exceeding fifty years the reserve fronting Castle and Leith streets, with periodic revaluations of rental, and rentals of the University. Power is also given to sell outright the Barewood Estate and Museum Reserve, subject to the approval of the Governor-in-Council. lloroMliennii

forms the subject of a long memorandum, which i 3 footed by the signature of the Minister of Lands, and sultry reading it in ikes. It commences with this recital: "It was stated by counsel for the Publia Trustee in the course of his address to the Court on 11th August, 1897, that the Public Trustee was not in a positioo to adduce evidence to justify the Supreme Court in setting aside registration of the defendant's dealing with section 14. According to the ordinary rules of equity a man who, knowing another to be trustee, deals with him as absolute owner is not permitted to retain the benefit of his dealing, but I am told that if dealing is under the Land Transfer Act the judges have decided that much more than mere notice or knowledge of trust must be proved in order to invalidate the dealing —active fraud they term it. If this is the correct position of the matter, it is not for me to question the course adopted by counsel for the Public Trustee, but if that is the position then I am satisfied that Parliament did not, by its Act of last year, effect what was intended should be effected, and certainly the statement by counsel that they had no evidence to support such a ciae does not in the least affect the position which I have taken up in this matter. The statements which, as a layman unversed •in - nice distinctions between ordinary fraud and 'active fraud,' I made against Sir W. Buller were shortly as follows :—(1) That he had robbed tho Natives of their Jand in the Horowhenua Block. (2) That he had induced the Natives to" squander their land for the purpose of keeping on foot litigation which could only benefit; the Jawyers engaged. The finding of the Royal Commission practically sustained these statenunts, but it has been alleged that they have failed in the Supreme Court. With this Vicwl do not concur j indeed, notwithstanding the admission by counsel for the Public Irustao in tho Supremo Court, that they rjnuld not adduce evidence in that court against Sir W. Buller, I am satisfied that thuro waa plonty of evidence to support what I have averred. I intend now to point out tho evidence which justifies this statement and leads mc to the belief that there has been a miscarriage of justice in the Supreme Court." The Minister then deals categorically with various phases of the question, concluding thus :—" Such ia my comment on the HorowheDua proceedings, and nothing has transpired in connection with them which weakens the beliof I have alreadyexpressod— namely: (1) That Sir W. Buller knew prior tc- his leaving in 18S6 for England that the whole block was held by Major Kemp in one title in trust for the tribe, and that on his return to New Zealand he, without making inquiry to ascertain that the truPt was extinguished, purchased part and leased other parts of the trust property ; (2) that Sir W. Buller had knowledge that Major Kemp and Warena Huina agreed in asserting that Major Kemp held this block (No. 14) for others as well as for himself both when he dealt with the hnd in Ootober, 1894, and when he dealt with the land in October, 1892, and all the evidence goe3 to show when he dealt with the land in May, 1892; (3) that Sir W. Buller took his leases at a great undervalue from his own client; (4) that Sir W. Buller procured from Major Kemp , a mortgage which he now alleges covers large sums of money for co3ts due to Sir W. Buller, but which posts were never intended by Major Kemp to be. covered by mortgage, and which sums Kemp was never informed were covered by the -mortgage. (5) That Sir W. Buller fomented and encouraged legal proceedings, which have resulted in casting the tribe in thousands of pounds of costs without making the least effort to avert this huge expenditure, a large proportion of which might • probably have been easily saved had he approached Warena Hunia in the first instance, and a large proportion of which has gone into his own pocket. It will be observed that my allegations are based on different considerations from those in the action brought by the Public Trustee they were made prior to the report of the Royal Commission; they were investigated by that tribunal, and were substantially proved by its report. The reason of the failure of the Public Trustee's action is not far to seek. By an Act of lS9o'the Legislature referred it to the Appellate Court to determine whether a trust existed in respect of subdivision' No. 14, and to the Supreme Court to : determine" whether Sir W. Buller'a dealings were valid. The functions of .the two courts were separate and. distinct, and the Supreme Court was not to be approached until the Appellate Court had judgment. That was the clear interitibnof Parliament." What happened? Th&-Appellate Coirrt', instead of itself deciding the.questions-re-ferred to it, practically threw it upon the Supreme Court to do so. The Supreme Court with the one hand threw back until October the case referred to it by the Appellate Court, and with the other forced the Public Trustee to go to trial ia August. The consequence was that the Public Trustsewas called upon to establish in the Supreme Court the existence of a trust, and also to accept the burden of proymg that if the trust existed Sir W. Buller had notice of it: This, his counsel advised, could not be done in that court, and hence the proceedings failed. If, however the intention of Parliament had been given effect to and the Appellate Court had first decided the question of trust, the Public {Trustee could in the Supreme Court have thrown on Sir Walter Buller the onus of proving that he had no notice of the trust or that if he had had notice of it the trust was extinguished prior to his dealings. Jt

is abundantly clear from hia own admissions . that this he could never have done. He has been impeached in a court of conscience' before the tribunal of public opinion j he has escaped in a oourt of law by a series of legal quibbles. For myself I have no quarrel with Sir W. Builer. Throughout the whole of this unpleasant matter I have been moved BQlely by a sense of public duty, and no consideration of personal convenience will induce me to swerve from what in my conscience I conceive my public duty to "be. Having regard to the report of the Royal Commission, and the fact that no evidence was attempted to be adduced in the Supreme Court, I am of opinion- (and in this my' colleagues concur) that a wrong has been done, and the matter should not be allowed to remain in its present unsatisfactory state. A Bill will therefore be introduced declaring section 14 to be Native land, and providing for an investigation into the title and the registration of all dealings therewith that have been made by the true owners and are in accordance with equity and good conscience." *

The Waller tiuluHc Company. Mr W. B. Scandrett, of Inyercargill, petitions, in regard to the liquidation of the Guthrie Company, Limited, of whom he is a creditor to the amount of £302 7s, and which company has other debts amounting'to over £6 000. The petition alleges : That the Bank of New Zealand have obtained fro'j i the Supremo Court an order that the assets of the company shall be first applied in payment ofthe company's debentures. That the official liquidator of the company, has informed the petitioner that the assets will not be sufficient to pay the amount due on debentures. That a3 the colony -by guarantee and share subscription—is responsible for five-sixths' of the capital of the Bank of New Zealand, it has become to that extent a State Bank. That the Bank, by insistingthatthe assetsin the company's estate shall bp first applied to the payment of the said debentures, have obtained an undue advantage over your petitioner and the other unsecured creditors. That it is contrary to the principles of justice and public policy that the State should benefit unfairly at the cost of individuals. Petitioner therefore prays the House to give consideration to the matter, and to take such steps as may be deemed necessary to give all the unsecured creditors a fair and equal share in the distribution of the company's asset?. Joltings. Captain Russell says that the Financial Statement is a cross between the Official Year Book and the Tourists' Guide, but lacks the accuracy of the former or the attractiveness of the latter. The Leader of the Opposition regards with favor an old age pension scheme which will excite the sympathetic co-operation of the friendly societies.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18971020.2.3

Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Evening Star, Issue 10449, 20 October 1897

Word Count
3,046

POLITICAL GOSSIP. Evening Star, Issue 10449, 20 October 1897

Working