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IMPORTANT DESPATCHES., Issue 10451, 22 October 1897
[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, October 22. . Copies of the despatches from Lord Glasi gow to the Secretary of State were laid on the table this afternoon. ; On the 15:h May, 1896, the Governor favors the government of Norfolk Island from Cook Islands, as being a convenient point for a cable station.
On the Bth July, 1896, Lord Glasgow informs the Secretary of State for the Colonies that the Hon. J. G. Ward has waited on him and tendered his resignation as Colonial Treasurer on account of strictures which had been passed on him in the judgment given by Mr Justice Williams with regard to his indebtedness to the late Colonial Bank and other matters in connection therewith, and that under the circumstances he had, no alternative but to accept hi 8 resignation. On September 26 Lord Glasgow writes in reply to the circular of 23rd June, 1896, covering a copy of a communication from the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom relative to the colonial laws affecting the British shipping, and inviting Ministers to consider the expediency of preserving uniformity as far as possible in legislation affecting the merohant shipping throughout the Empire. Lord Glasgow says that Ministers, though not unmindful of the advantages referred to, are of opinion that their consideration must in some cases give place to measures which are deemed to be necessary for the safety of goods and passengers. Ministers were not of opinion that the manning scale leads to over-manning, and it is not applicable to vessels trading between the United Kingdom and New Zealand, but only to those trading on the coast and between New Zealand, the Australian colonies, and the South Sea Islands. In forwarding for the Queen's pleasure a copy of the Asiatic Restrictions Bill passed by the New Zealand Parliament Lord Glasgow states that the number of Asiatics is not increasing in this colony, and the Government are not in possession of any information as to the likelihood of any influx of Japanese, Chinese, or other Asiatic laborers or artificers into the colony. On March 18 Sir J. Prendergast informs" the Governor that it is the wish of Ministers that the title of •« Honorable" should be retained by gentlemen who hereafter, by resignation or absence, vacate their seats in the Legislative Council after ten years' continuous service.
On March 27 Sir James Prendergast informs the Governor that the Acts in force in the colony relating to employers' liability are on the whole working satisfactorily. Under date of September 23, 1897, the Premier writes to Lord Ranfurly drawing attention to a serious omission on the part of the late Governor in one of the despatches sent Home. " Lord Glasgow," Mr Seddon writes, " enclosed a copy of a memorandum which he addressed to" the Premier on the subject of the appointments to the Legislative Council, but he has neglected to forward at the some time the reply addressed to him by the Premier on the sth February, and the Premier is of opinion that although His Excellency was not asked to do so this reply should have also been forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as the correspondence is incomplete without it." The Premier then suggests that in future he should be allowed to peruse the drafts of all despatches addressed by the Governor to the Secretary of State before they are posted, and so prevent a recurrence of what he has now to complain of. This communication is acknowledged by Lord Ranfurly, who says that "he will bear in mind the Premier's suggestion that in future he should peruse the drafts of all despatches by the Governor to the Secretary of State. Should the Governor be in any doubt aa to the Premier's views being set forth, or should he think such a course desirable in the public interest, he will communicate with the Premier on the subject of such despatch." The Premier attaches minute ; " This will be sufficient."
On October 15, 1897, the Premier, in a memorandum to the Governor, acknowledges the receipt of Memorandum No. 96, and ia satified to know that effect, as far as possible, will be given to the suggestions therein. The despatches to which the Premier with great reluctance refers are thoso relating to the resignation of the late Governor, his application for two months' leave of absence, the reply from the Secretarv of State as to what leave of absence would be granted if there was no objection on the part of Ministers, and as to the payment of half salary if allowed by law. Had these despatches been placed before Ministers shortly after being received a difficulty which eventuated would have been avoided, but unfortunately the correspondence in question was not placed before them until some five months had elapsed from the receipt thereof. AgaiD, as showing the advisability of the Advisers of His Excellency the Governor being consulted prior to despatches being sent, especially where their views would be of service, the Premier directs attention to Despatch No. 27, of the 8 th July, 1896, in which reference is made to a matter ucnrcessarily imported. "The Premier wisheß your Excellency to cl-rarly understand that Bioce your arrival everything in relation to despatches has been most satisfactory to youc Advisers.— (Signed) Seddon." Under date January 23 the Premier informs the Governor that the Government deemed it necessary to maintain the efficiency of the Legislative Council by appointing three new councillors. The Governor would doubtless recollect that prior to his departure for the Sounds the Premier had an interview and intimated verbally the necessity there was for increasing the number of councillors, stating that on the Governor's return to Wellington he would reoeive a memo, on the subject. Sinae that date advice had been tendered for the appointment of the last four members of the Oounoil, owing to vaoancies occurring in the seats of Messrs Mantell, Pharseyn, Pollen, and Buckley respectively j but in addition it must be borne in mind that there were several councillors who, owing to advanced age and infirmities, were unable to attend to their duties. One in particular was only able to be present at one meeting last session, his infirmities being of suoh a nature that it was very improbable that he would ever again resume his duties. Another member, in the same state, was only able to attend very few meetings last session. Several others suffered from ill-health, and were unable to be present, thus weakening the Chamber both in respect of speaking and voting power. Three other members were absent visiting the Mother Country • another member was only able to attend fcr a_ couple of weeks, and from the outlook there was every likelihood of the same thing occurring in the coming session. The attendance of these Councillors was intermittent and insufficient, and with the increasing age of members of the Council the same thing was bound to continue. Nominally there were forty-five members of the Council, but a reference to the division lists attached disclosed the fact that the average attendance was 28.5, and out of sixty-one divisions only on nineteen occasions did the: attendance exceed thirty. In recommending an increase of three members the Premier pointed out that it would materially alter the position of parties. After analysing the voting on a "policy Bill he says : " There was praotically a majority of five in the Council against the policy measures. Since then the General Election has taken place, and the opinion of the people has been expressed on the measure rejected by the Council." The result of the elections has further proved that the Government policy has .the approval of the people, and that they possess the confidence of electors. The Premier, in, tendering this advice was. not unmindful of the fact that the Governor was Bhortly leaving the colony, and he deemed it advisable that the matter shonld be dealt with by him in preference to leaving ifc to his successor, who, if this were done, would immediately be called on to deal with the matter without being, as Lord Glasgow was, well acquainted with the whole question. Jb was unreasonable to expect that aa ActingGovernor would deal with this question, and even if the new Governor Should arrive before the Parliament met it would be reasonable to expect that he would ask for time to • make himself acquainted with the subject and examine thoroughly into the matter. The result would be that
during the nextvse>sion;ihe poaitioi: oFthe ' Coubcil \rould remain" as it.did during/the lastsession, and the character of the Upper Chambernot be such -as would -promote the ■>•-. of the people and' giv*effebtto their expressed desire. ~'-[.:'":'.-■ : :Y '. ,^ enf °y° w itho recommendation in favor of Messrs KeUy, (Harris, andPinkerton.' . Under date.January 30 the Governor ■ replies that while- prepared to aceept,-the-advicenow tendered he «onaiderß that, in justice to himself, he should indicate which oi the. Pren » er 8 reasonsfor the advice he should aot on. The Premier repeats, he says, some of his reasons which he advanced on the last ocoa-. sioniwhen he advised fourappointments, or, - at least, similar reasons, if not in the same words. With regard.tothese, the Governor adhered to the views he then expressed, but the Premier had brought forward two others as sufficient, in his opinion, to make: it ; his duty to make the appointments nbw» asked. The present position was that the party in power now had appointed fifteen Councillors in ..addition to those previously..'.. appointed by the same party, and on the- v. appointment now asked for being gazetted they would have appointed eighteen Coun. -■■-. cillors in five yearsrr-a number which, the Governor believed to be unprecedented in : the history of this or any other colony. "There can be no doubt, as '.the- ;: Governor has before pointed out, that' 1 when the fjie comes.and another Governor; assumes ouice what has happened will form ; '■ a very strong, incitement to the nextMinistry in their turn to make a considerable addition to the Council;-thereby raising ! it to an abnormal strength, and thus causing the colony unnecessary expense,:for which the present Government will have to bear the responsibility. The reasons which 1 induce the Governor.to agree to these appointmonts, however unnecessary he may" deem them, are—first, the result of. the General Election, which gives the Government a considerable, though a reduced majority. This is evidence that the' Premier still p'os- ' sessed at the General Election the confidence of the colony. The seoond "is that he thinks it very inadvisable that such* an important question should be left for the consideration of his successor as from the Premier's memo, appears would be the case were he not to agree to the advice given him. Therefore, although he feels that this intimation places a pressure upon him, for the reasons given he has coipe to the conclusion that it is only his duty.,to '. act on the advice of Ministers and grant the , three appointments advised." The Minister's letter of February 5 is the one which was signed by Mr Cadmnn, anid which Ministers complained the Goverhqr - did not forward with'the rest of despatches to Mr Chamberlain. The. "reply has special reference to the third paragraph of .the Governor's despatch, pointing out that the party in power appointed nineteen councillors in six, not in five years; that these appointments had been made to fill vacancies caused by and forfeiture, which amounted to 18, and to give effect to the decision arrived at that four appointments should be made direct from the ranks of labor. No ; more appointments had been made than were in the opinion of Ministers necessary to fill the cies which from time to time ocourred and to keep the Council in a state of efficiency.' The Governor was doubtless under a misapprehension when he stated that the number of Councillors appointed by this Ministry was unprecedented in the history of this or any other colony, for on reference to vol. 1 of the Appendices to the Journals of the House we find that from 1866 to 1569 the Stafford Government appointed twenty-five members to the Council when there were only twenty-one vacancies. Witihregard to His Excellency's remarks as to the effect the action of the Government might have on an incoming Ministry, the Governor was aware that Ministers did not share these views. Ministin respectfully contend that the fact ot the constituencies having returned a majority of members who supported the party in power was conclusive evidence that" the action of the Government with regard to the appointments to the Council had the approval of the country. His Excellency's advisers were all prepared to accept the re« sponßibility.
IMPORTANT DESPATCHES., Issue 10451, 22 October 1897
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