THE FINANCIAL DEBATE.
POSITION OF THE WORKERS.
A" MINISTERIAL DEFENCE.
[FroSi Ottb Parlumbntary, Reporter.]
WELLINGTON, October 26. It is generally conceded that Mr Millar'* speech night .was one of. the best- . delivered r frbm the Ministerial side : in the course of the Financial Debate. Replying to the taunt of corrupt administration so frequently levelled against, the occupants of ithe Treasury benches, and "i to the charge that taxation on the workers had been increased, he said: ." Aa a supporter of the Government I must take my share of the' blame, if there is any - corruption, and rthink'thos'e.hon.fmembers of the Opposition who made those charges of • corruption" should table a motion of no . confidence in the Government on the ground of corrupt administration, and bring forward evidence in this House in support of their charges. I have" not, however, heard one hon; member on that ; Bide say one word about it. They'come forward ; and say "that men of the v 'wrong color-' v were being appointed. They have never ;orice questioned the abilities of the men appointed to perform thehv duties.— (An Hon. '- Member : «Yes. s ) ■ The - hon. .membii \ may say but I ;have- not heard of it. Until the hon. member for Christchurch City enumerated one or two police charges I have not heard one-specific oharge against anyone appointed. The only charge has been .as. to the appointment of extra clerks, but I have never heard their ability to. perform their work questioned. Neither have I heard anyone: dare say that a man had been put into a billet where there m no work for him to do. " Unless the Opposition offer-evidence to this .House to prove .'■ their charges >of corruption I -say theße ".; charges will go, as every other charge made by the Opposition has gone. The hon. member for Mataura likened the Premier to & strong man swimming against the tide, but who is now being carried downwards. The hon. member, himself ,might be likened to a stone sunk for ever out of sightj because the party with which he is allied will never again be a live factor in politics in this country.. The.next member who criticised us severely was the.hon. member for Bruce., I was deeply amused to bear himj deprecate the enormous increase of Customs duties, and pity the poor working-men for.the enormous amount they had to pay; "on account of the increased tariff. . It seems strange to me that the hon. gentleman; made such a statement when he must know full well that the increase.of duties last year amounted to £169,000, whilst the party to which he-. belonged,- and: belongs now, in the year 1888, m their Black Budget, put on £200,000 without one ' word. Let us now see what, the position of the workers is under this increased taxation. " Are they paying more through the Customß than they were paying before? Take the figures of the last five years. In 1892 the amount was £2 9a 3d; in 1893, £2 9a 7d; in 1894, £2 lis 6d; hi 1895, £2-10s 4d; and in 1898— under this enormous increase mentioned by the member for Bruce—-£2 9s lid, Does this show thatr the burden has been so frightfully heavy». There is actually a decrease per head in the Customs duties, Let us see, further, whether the workers are in u position to pay this Increased taxation. Look at table 10 in this year's Budget and you will find that not only have the factories increasod from-4,096 in 1895 to 5,177 In 1897, but 'that the employe's have also increased from 29,879 in 1895' to 36,197 in 1897. Does that show that the inoreased duties have done harm to this colony ? They have found more employment for our people here, and prevented our money from going Home to what the 'Bulletin' describes as ' the foreign rag. merchants.' Take your savings banks. What do they show ? Surely that is a barometer as to the position of ;the workers. The deposits per head have increased from £2B 5s to £29 7s. In 1895 the deposits per head were £2B ' 53 lOd, and in 1896 they were £29 3s 7d per head ; so that whichever way you like to look at it the country is "prospering. I will now go outside "the workers to see whether the colony is in a prosperous condition. Take the return of mortgages registered and those paid off during the past year. The amount of mortgages paid off jb £527,000 more than the amount of those registered, thus showing an amount of £527,000 in favor of the people ' of the colony. Is that a sign of depression ? Surely after those clear evidences of the prosperity of the colony the hon. gentleman will admit that he must have made a mistake in saying that the iucreased Customß duties have affected the workers to such an extent. Then, sir, the next charge is the continued and steady increase of the Publics Debt. One would think from what has been said on this subject that this debt has been increased in a silent and surreptitious manner, when every member, knows that the causes of that increase have been accepted by the people, and that the Government have only been carrying out the behests of the people for the purposes named. Can anyone say that the purchasing of private estates was not a burning question with the electors in 1893* Will anyone deny that many members were returned on that plank 1 Will anyone deny that the acquisition of Native lands was accepted by the people? Will they deny that the question of advances to settlers was before the people ? Because the Government carry it. out, then, forsooth, we are told that we are increasing the debt and doing so without the knowledge of'the people ! For every one of those thinga I have named we have a full aßßet, including the sinking funds and every thing else. TWa sinking fund which we have created will leave an asset for those who aorae after ua and it will more than pay for any in' oreased indebtedness at the present fine. Then, another thing we went Into was the Bank Of New Zealand. Pcopleeeem to oveN look the fact that we are joint shareholders, and I believe tha.fr we shall be sole nro' pnetors before very Jong. Then, another complaint by the Opposition is that a loan is foreshadowed in this vear'n Budget. ;Hon. members may fence as much as they hke about this question, but the* know full we 1 that every district that has a HnT »•#*«**; *i* its completion, and if the thing is tb be vigorously prosecuted the country will have. tomorrow. It is just as well to have this question foughft out. 1 myself have petitions from OUaa with thousands of signatures praying for thei completion of the Otago Central, and %l that is the opinion of the people in that district I will tell them that there is no, " ■' other way of completing that line except by loan, and that I .will" support a loan provided that it is going wholly and solely to complete trunk lines already in hand. But no new railways shall be 'started with tha* money until the present oneß are completed."
Precaution.—"Say, missus," said Meandenng Mike,, "do you wanter hire anv. body!" "No." "You don't thinker husband wanta/ter: hire anybody, do yer"' "I am sorry to disappoint yon, bnt I am sure he does not." "'Tain't no disappointment. I ]es> wanted de assurance that I could go ter-sleep in dis next lot without bein' disturbed by ofiere of work." • An experimental face was recently made m^a Drench office between a skilful typewriter and an expert penman, the test being the nomber.of times a phrase of eight wbrda could be reproduced in".fiveminutes. The typewriter acorea thirty .seven and, thepea. man twenty-th'reei :":■ ■'■;< ..-.-
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THE FINANCIAL DEBATE., Evening Star, Issue 10454, 26 October 1897