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THE ESTIMATES., Issue 10461, 3 November 1897
AN ALL-NIGHT SITTING. [FROM OtJR PiRT.tAMBNTAKY REPORTER.) \VELLINGTON, Novbmbkr a Immediately the House met at half-past seven last night consideration, of-the Estimates .was proceeded with. ; v '•• ! - ' Class.. 1 (Legislative Departments) first came under review. . Iu connection with the appointment of messengers, Sir R. Stout said that a return just laid bore out what he had stated last session, and which was denied by the Premier at the time—viz., hat the messengers had not been promoted according to length of service. These men had as much right to have promotion by merit as those in the higher grades of the Civil Service.—Mr Kolleaton asked what had become of the late chief messenger-r-one who'bad served them faithfully for years.—The Premier said he had been retired on compensation. Captain -Russell objected to Ministers having the right of appointment and promotion. ! The House Bhould rebel against these matters being taken out of their hands. The messengers and the House's officials ought to look to members and not to Ministers for recognition ' of their services. It was high time that a reader and clerk of Bills was appointed.—Mr Pirani said that if an opportunity were afforded to pass a resolution the House would decide that it was improper that the appointment of the minor parliamentary officers should be in the hands of the Govern." mentof the day. As an indication on the part of members to that effect he intended to move a reduction of £1 on the item of messengers. There was provision in the Estimates for a reader, and it would be for the convenience of Parliament that the vacancy should bo filled.—Sir Robert Stout complained that the present chief messenger had been appointed first as assistant night watchman in order to create a billet for a personal friend of the''Premier, and then had been rapidly advanced to the post of chief messenger over the heads of messengers who had been in the service of the House since 1871.—The Premier said he must give an emphatic denial to both these statements, , It would have been absolute cruelty to have kept the late chief messenger on any longer, owing to his advanced years. The parliamentary officers were not Civil servants. Tin's was a new Parliament, and if it were the general wish to review the position as to whether; the officers should be appointed by arid be under the control of Ministers or of the Speaker he would afford au opportunity to rescind the resolution at present in force. He intended to ask the Cabinet to at once.consider the appointment of a Bill reader. —Sir R. Stouf, a3 showing that promotion wciit by favoritism, not by competency, pointed out that the chief messenger was the list person appointed as messenger, awl .had been promoted over the heads of several of his seniors. —The Premier said hemu3t not be blamed for the fact that Ministers had the right to make the appointment of messengers and Other c-ificers. The resolution moved by him to that effect was adopted by the House in 1893-(Mr Pirani: "By a majority of 1") —and he had just, stated that an opportunity would be affirded to members "of saying whether they should revert to the old order of things of placing the appointments in the hands of the Speaker.—Mr Pirani said he was willing to accept the Prerniei'd offer and withdraw his amendment. —Mr Tanner said it was high time that an accurate definition was made as between Civil seivants nnd those employed in the public sei vice who were .not Civil servants. He referred to what he described asascinelal connected with the retirement of Mr C. Rarron, late chief of the * Hansard' staff.— Sir R. Stout intimated his intention of moving that the vote bo reduced by £1 as an indication that _the resolution passed by tho House in 1893 had not been complied with. The r ! ght of promotion by seniority had not been fol. lowed, and that was why he proposed his amendment.—Mr Taylor said-ha had a prior resolution. He intended to thove a red tietion of £t in the salary of the chief messenger (£170). He regarded the appoint mant as one of those instances of petty corruption which the House.was becoming speedily ashamed of. Mr Lynch had been appointed over the heads of many old meatengers, one of whom was for a time thief messenger. ' It was freely itited among members that Mr Lynch had been appointed because he and his family were the personal friends of the Premier. He would sooner take the Premier's bond than his word. At the same time he should be delighted if that gentleman would keep his promise to give the House an opportunity of saying whether the Government or the Speaker should have the appointment Of the parliamentary' officers.—Mr Hogg characterised the speech just delivered as one of an arrogant and insulting character. Members of the. House knew that the Premier's word was quite as good as his bond.—The Premier said, without fear of contradiction, that the person now filling the position of chief messenger was the most competent of all the messengers for the post. As assistant watchman, he was the only permanent officer who ould be appointed. Sessional messengers had to be appointed every year.— After further discussion, the Premier urged (hat Mr Taylor's amendment should be withdrawn, on, his assurance that an opportunity of ventilating the decision come to in 1893 should be afforded to the House this sess'on.—Mr Rolleston pressed the Premier to say when he would bring the_resolution down.—Mr Wilson said that the House had b-en detained for three hours over a petty-fogging discussion. He despaired, after the waste of time there had been day after day and week after week, of getting on with the business of the couutiy.—Mr Taylor intimated that he declined to withdraw his amendment, as he considered the appointment of chief messenger as an abuse of power.—Mr Rolleston pressed the Premier to say when he would give'the House an opportunity to decide whether its officers should be appointed by and be under the control of Ministers or whether their appointment* should revert to Mr Speaker.—The Premier complained ef the want of courtesy in not accepting his word. He had promised that an opportunity should be given before the session closed, and as an alteration could not bo effected till after the session there was uo immediate hurry.—After a discussion extending over tlrree hours the amendment waß negatived by 39 to 29. Resuming after the > supper adjournment, Mr Monk expressed his*opinion that the appointments that had been made were the result of political influence. It was stated that, as regards the messengers, the unionists were largely responsible for the appointments that had been made.— The Premier gave the House an absolute assurance that he had not been approached by a single unionist in making the appointment.—Sir R. Stout said that the House haying already affirmed that promotion was not to be by seniority of office, and that the Premier waa to be permitted to reward his friends, he would not press his amendment. Mr Taylor eventually moved that the item assistant night watchman (£110) be reduced by the sum of £l. This man, it seemed, had been imported from Waimate, where he had been secretary to the Shearers' Union.—The amendment was negatived by 36 to 17.—1t being now 1.15 aim. Mr M'Guire moved to report progress, which was lost by 33 to 25. In connection with the appointments to the «Hansard' staff Captain Russell differed from the contention arrived at in 1893 that such appointments should be made from the Civil Service. Ho held that the best shorthand reporters on the leading papers of the colony ought to be appointed to the 'Hansard ' staff. It j was particularly to be desired that those appointed to" •Hansard' should be selected by Mr Speaker, and not be the creation,, of the Ministers of the day. —The Premier said that he intended to bring.the 'Hansard' reporters on to the floor" of the House. That was the practice ittjthe United States Congress, and it conduced to accurate reporting. He felt that, as the 'Hansard'reporters were paid £3OO a year, they ought to be at the service of the State during the recess.—The Hon.. Mr Rolleston expressed his strong digapproval of ' Hansard'reporters serving (he Government of .the .day daring the' recess.
Ha was also, adverse' to the" suggestion that they should Jbe pr6vided with a place on the floor of the House.— Mr Smith protested against the yearly mcreasing cost of 'Hansard.' Member*' Bpeechea_cquld; be condensed with advantage. —Mr Taylor expressed the opinion that the expense could be overcome by charging members for the ;space: occupied .by their speeches in * Hansard.' " I should not put a Bingle inch into «Hansard' myself under these -circumstances;" added Mr Taylor. " My : vot«. would: be sufficient."—At this stage the Premier frequently appealed to the Committee to adjourn, and he asked them to pass the balance of the Legislative Estimates, to omit Class 11. (Colonial Secretary's Department), pass Class 111. (Treasurer's Departmeptj.T and go' home —The= balance of the Legislative Department then passed without further debate,.": „ .'■;•• '.' : •.;'.".. : ; - : | _ Mr Taylor, .speaking 'to the item 6f Registrar, of. Friendly ."Societies, thought the registrar and -actuary, (£350) v a superfluity, and urged that the best actuarial investigation should -be made and the different; societies placed on a sound financial position. "Unless they were:in a, sound i and satisfactory position they Bhould not be allowed to register with the Government. He moved'a reduction of £1 on the item as an intimation that the service* of the registrar (Mr-Mason) should be dispensed with. —The Premier agreed that the Government should endeavor to bring the friendly societies into a sound financial position. He was, however, surprised at Mr Taylor attacking a man who had had the courage to point outthe unsound financial condition of certain societies. Mr Tanner complained that Mr Seddonhad promised to. reform this depart-ment;-whereas, so far as Christchurch was concerned, it was ten times worse. Rules were Bent, up to be registered'which were toyed and fooled with by the department until the societies lost all patience.—Mr Sligo did not think blame rested with the registrar, bnt with the revising. barrister. He severely critised the atittude of the revising I agister, stating that the friendly societies were in a state of actual rebellion regarding the registration of their rules.—At 330 a.m. Mr Montgomery moved to report progress, being of opinion that the matter was of such importance that it ought to stand over, till a more fitting hour. This was negatived by 34 to 12; while Mr Taylor's amendment was lost by 36 to 9.—Mr Taylor then moved to strike out the vote £SO for the revising barrister, which was lost on the voices.—Mr Taylor next objected to the increase of £SO in the salary of the Secretary of the Treasury (Mr Hey wood), who already received £7OO a year.—Tho addition was put on, it was explained, as salary for the registrar of consols.—The Premier strenuously objected to any reduction, and pointed out that Mr Hey wood was only receiving the same salary as last year, aud was really underpaid considering his services to the colony.—The motion to report progress was pul at 4.15, and lost by 34 to 10.— MrPirani pointed out that Mr Hey wood's salary had been increased from £6OO to £7OO since 1890. Moreover, last year he had received a bonus of £75. As an indication that the Consols Act, 1894, should not go on any longer, he moved that the item of £SO, salary for'the registrar of consols, be struck out.—This was lost by 33 to 9, and the total vote for the Treasurer's department was passed unaltered, the House rising at 5 25 a.m.
THE ESTIMATES., Issue 10461, 3 November 1897
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