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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 10454, 26 October 1897
(Fbom Oub Pi
WELLINGTON,; OctobeS 56.
The Awarna Seat.
The decision of the Appeal Court declaring that the Hon. J. G. Ward .is legally" entitled to sit for Awarua was fully expected ; indeed, one prominent legal gentleman, who occupies a leading position on the Opposition side of the House, last week offered to wager long odds on.the result. The old axiom that judges never give reasons is to be departed from, and the surprise was that their Honors should fly in the face of that well-known rule. The probabilities are that should Parliament feel constrained to amend the law) their Honors will specify in what direction - an amending Act should go. Otherwise their desire to give reasons for their finding is Wholly inexplicable. ■.•■■ Otaso's Necessities.
A good deal of .'Mr Millar's address on Friday evening was devoted to, Otago'B requirements, and this is what he told the House re the Otago Central and the muchwanted new railway station; for Dunedin • " Out of the £200,000 which the Government are going to ask us to make provision for a new railway station at Dunedin is most urgently required. lam not attempting to make any political capital out of this; I am simply drawing attention to what is an admitted ■ fact -by: every person in the. City of Dunedin, and I sincerely trust that out of this £ 200,000 the Minister will make provision for the building of that station. With reference to a remark by the hon. member, for Waitemata, I may say we do not happen to be in the same fortunate position as Auckland, where they have a very handsome station, and likewise a very handsome approach to it. If the hon. gentleman came to Dunedin and saw for himself the risk that every person runs in going to and from that station, I think he would admit the urgent necessity for an alteration, and if we get a handsome station like they have in Auckland, and a Custom-house like they have there too, we will be satisfied , and when some other place wanted a similar necessary work we would no doubt be prepared to allow them to get it. I have heard the hon. gentleman say more than once that these moneys ought to be divided equally amongst the constituencies. Well, so far as the cities are concerned, I am willing to take my one seventy-fourth for the City of Dunedin, and on my colleagues getting their portion there would be three seventy-fourths for our City; and let the hon. member take his one seventy-fourth for the electorate of Waitemata. I am quite willing that that should be done, for I am certain that the City members get little or nothing for public works. I wish to say a word or two in connection with the construction of railway lines. I wish the Minister of Public Works would see the absolute recently for a more vigorous prosecution—to use the words of the Budget—of the Otago Central. That is a line that for the past twenty years has been in course of construction, and we are slowly getting towards its completion. The present Government have done more for it than any previous Government, and have pushed, and are pushing on, the line as fast as they possibly can. Since they have been in office we have had our fair share of the moneys allocated for the construction of railways. I am not finding fault with that at all. But during the past few months there has been a wonderful development in the mining industry there, and the only way to get machinery there at a reasonable expense is by means of that railway. The difficulties are few and far between. The most of the heavy work has been accomplished, and with' the exoeption of one expensive bridge and one large cutting, the whole of the remainder of the line is as level as the floor of this Chamber. These are the only two things that are at all likely to be expensive in connection with the whole work ; and if the hon. gentleman wants to get a loan, let him come down and say so, and I will give him my support, provided that the money is to be devoted to these trunk lines, because they are lines that ought to be pushed on rapidly." .
On* nalicrlcs. On the fisheries question the middle member for Dunedin had this to say t "We have untold wealth in our fisheries here, but nothing is done to develop them, and it is high time that, we did something in that direction. I am very pleased to see that the Gdvernment are at last taking steps to do something in connection with this matter. If we wish to encourage our fishing industry we shall have to continue the small bonus that is offered for the export of tinned and smoked fish. It costs us little or nothing, and ought to be continued, because several firms are going into that industry now. They have actually got travellers out in South Africa trying to find markets there for our fish, and that will be knocked on the head if we do not give them this infinitesimal bonus, amounting, I think, to Is 3d in the £. There is another thing that ought to receive support, and that is in connection with the marine hatohery which it is proposed to establish. The Otago Acclimatisation Society and the Otago Institute have both made votes of £250 each for importing different species of fish from the Old Country. They believe that those fish can be acclimatised here in our waters, and I believe they can. They are voting £SOO for the purpose, and they ask for five acres of land and that the Government shall give them £ for £ towards the oost of building a hatohery. After that is built the only expense that will be entailed will be £2OO, or at most £250, for a curator. As these fish ate bred they will be liberated, and it. is quite possible that we may be able to get some of the very finest Scotch, English, and American fish introduced into and successfully propagated in our waters if this very moderate assistance is given. I hope, therefore, that out of the sum which the Government propose to give for the encouragement of our fishing industry this marine hatchery will receive sufficient to put it on a fair footing, in order to see whether we can acclimatise these fish in our waters. There is another matter that the hon. member for Christchurch City referred to, and that is in connection with the fisheries inspector at Dnnedin. He told us a very funny tale that he had heard about some prosecution where the fish had shrunk and the man did not know that the tail of the fish had been cut off. I can assure him that wherever he got his information from it is totally incorrect. I will give the -full history of the fisheries inspector, and this is said to be one of tho things which show how the ' spoils go to the victors.' This inspector of fisheries at | Dunedin had been a strong party man on the opposite side for years. He was formerly secretary of the Chamber of Commerce; he is the former secretary of the ; Dunedin Exhibition, and he has always, in season and ■•• Out- of season, been opposed to the present party in power, as any member knows who comes from our district. The Collector of Customs asked me if I knew of anyone suitable for the position of inspector of fisheries. I named one man who said he had been a fisherman all his lifetime, and at that time was fishing. He said he would make inquiries about him, and next week I heard that the Golleotor of Customs had sent for this man, who is at present the- fisheries inspector, and asked him if he would accept the billet, which he-did. The Collector of Customs telegraphed to the Minister of Marine recommending this man for the appointment, and it was on his recommendation that the present inspector was appointed. Now, what does he get? He gets the munificent salary of £25 for the six months for which he was appointed. Now, I want to say this: I know thiß fisheries inspector personally. Although he - is strongly opposed to me politically, that has nothing to do~with the matter. I say that that man has carried out his duties as well as any other man conld . do. since he was appointed, and when' you consider that he has got to come down at all hoars of the night and- morning for six months, and measure the whole of these fish that are-brought in by.fishing boats, you will see it is little enough. So far he has obtained no conviction, and there is little
Wonderthafr'thfere" hafi j •pnt ati any rate his appointment bas.had]the ~ effect of ■ the ; Chinamen, from , . taking". Bmall flounders, as rttiey 'for* ] merly were doing. :■ .JiV, they-.Thad,. -been allowed to continue that practice we' would not have a small flounder; left jn f ,*hat harbor; The;neceßßity for an lnspeVWr is A * admitted even by the fishermen themselves. So"'T- could not.: hear these r oharges . agalnstf that man without' statihg"Wh'at the' ' facts are. The cause of the attack againßt this man was the factthat 'hehad once been the secretary of a Liberty League. lam very sorry that beCauso of a mail's position in something" you do not agree with he should be made—witkbut further proof—-the Bubject of a strong attack upon hiß abilities' ' and his fitness for the position to which tie has been appointed;"" ; ' ' v "■' ' How the Oracle Is Worked. •. i:.<
Addressing a deputation of Maoris yesterday the Premier gave an instance to show ■ how matters had been worked- in connection with Native transactions in the past; '<■ In " 1896, he, said, a Native Bill was before'the •■' Council, and someone sjot hold of one of the members of that body and pointed out to him what a great-benefit to the Natives it would be if one word were inserted after the ' word " lease "in a certain clause. ' The Bill v came back from the-Revising Chamber,'sand he (the Premier) was informed that there none but technical amendments made. It was not; until after the Bill had become law that he discovered the addition of this > word, and that its effect would be that 30,000 acres of land would go to the legal representatives of the old jtf aoriß who had Bigned certain papers. He felt Bure that when this transaction was exposed in Parliament jobtice would be done>to the Natives;' and punishment .would be inflicted on those who could so use Parliament for their own purposes. If he had noticed it in time he would have blocked the Bill. But he had trusted to the Revising Chamber, and 4t was there that the wrong had been done in the past and where' wrong -would be done again, because in that Chamber they were in favor of free trade in Native lands. He would' also point this out to the Maoris: that they-must have in the Council those who would work in unison with them. If the Maori members of the Legislative Council had known of the presence of this amendment to which he had just referred it would never; have been carried. It was done, however, so nicely and calmly that it was taken as a mere matter of form. But. it was a lesson to teach them that they must'. be more careful in future. -
The measure referred to by the Premier., was, I understand, the Native Land Laws Amendment Bill, and is stated that a Wellington member of the legal prompted a certain Legislative Councillor —' who, strange to say, is one of the staunchest supporters of the present Admiatration—to ■ have the amendment made before the* Native Affairs Committee of the Upper House. . " • Awarnn. On the House meeting this afternoon there was a mild flutter of excitement at the sight of a large card hung up between Mr Guinness and Mr Morrison, immediately behind the Treasury benchoß, bearing in large black letters the words "The Hon. J. G. Ward, M.H.JB." The Speaker read the certificate df Chief Justice Prendergasfc and Mr Justice William?, that upon the tacts specified in the Awarua Seat Inquiry Act the seat of the member for Awarua had not becomevvacantt t and on the Premier's motion the certificate was entered on the Journals of the Honse. The Ministerial Caucus. The forecast of the caucus results which I forwarded yesterday proved to be practically correct. Ministers put their foot down against the proposal for adjourning over the Christchurch show and races, on the ground that the business of the country must be pushed on, and though a disposition waa evinced by Messrs Fisher aud Morrison to send the Left Wing to Coventry, the Premier was adverse to any such action* preferring to leave them severely alone. There was a. baoking down about" the setting np of-, sessional committees, and when they are appointed the Opposition will have their fair share of the representation.
Railway Classification. In laying on the table the annual railwaya classification scheme the Minister of Rail, ways said he intended to strike off 8,000 copies, and that every member of the perma« nent staff would receive one. .'.".". ■Juvenile Depravity. Inspeotor Pender and a female captain ot the Salvation Army were torday examined before the Young Persons' Proteotioni Com' mittee. The Dingo Central; A batch of petitions were presented by Mr Millar to the Houee to-day calling for" the speedy prosecution of the Otago Central Railway. Tuc Order of Business. The proposal by tho Premier to take future Wednesdays for Government business met with a vigorous protest from Sir R. Stout, who strenuously objected to partial mentary usages being usurped. He'said that members apparently were to be denied the right even to question the administra" tion of the Government, as questions' were now_ daily shelved. What apparently Parliament was called together for was to register the decrees of the Government, assisted by what the caucus might determine. .•
Mr Speaker, replying to Mr Hutoalsofl, said questions were daily placed at the head of the Order Paper, but he had no power to compel Ministers to answer them. :
As a protest against the attempt to deprive private members'of the right of discussion, the member for Patea moved to amend tha resolution by saying that Government ,busU nessßhould be" taken on Wednesdays aftef the disposal of private members' notices of motion.
■; The Premier said tha* the amendment simply meant losing .every .Wednesday afternoon. The game of the Opposition was simply to block all. the business of the country. (This statement was received with derisive cheers from the other side of the House.) He(Mr Seddon)wasnotinclined, aa Sirß; Stout suggested, to followtheleadof the other colonies iu respect to divorce, and was averse to extending the facilities for divorce. There was a general outcry in the country against the waste of time this session—(hear, hear from the Opposition)—for whibh the Opposition were entirely to blame.—(Cries of "No, no."), .;.;•." Sir R. Stout charged the Premier with stonewalling the motion. His Divorce Bill had passed the Council- in 1896, and thirty odd members asked the Premier to give facilities for its passing through the House, but their request was refused. The Bill did not go the length of the divorce laws of the other colonies. Its main provisions had been law in Scotland for hundreds of years. The Minister of Lands said that the object of the Opposition was clearly to prevent any legislation being passed thia session.
The discussion is likely to last nearly the whole afternoon.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 10454, 26 October 1897
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