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THE ESTIMATES., Issue 10467, 10 November 1897
FREELY, AND FULLY DISCUSSED. [From Oxtb Pawtjamtotaby Repobteb.] .: : ''" ? --WELt.INGTGN,".KovEMBEB 10. While the bulk" of the Wellington public were ebjoking themselves last night in a manner, fitting to the holiday the members of the House diligently applied themselves to a consideration of the Estimates, and, with the Pre3a reporters, had a very lengthy Bitting.'..".'-' , On the House resuming at half-past seven class 2—-" the Colonial Secretary's D?partment "—was taken. On the vote of £4OO for salary .of a member of the Executive Council, representing the Native race being reached, Captain Russell asked the Premier how he justified this vote, seeing that Mr Carroll represented a European constituency. The Premier said that Mr Carroll, as a member of the Executive, was entitled, to hold the portfolio of Commissioner of Stamps. Mr Rolleston held that the vote was a wrong one. Mr Montgomery said that Mr Carroll illegally held the office of Commissioner of Stamps, because by Btatute only six paid Ministers were allowed. The reason why Mr Carroll was Acting Colonial Secretary was because he was not entitled to be Colonial Secretary. It was illegal in his (Mr Montgomery's) opinion to appoint a member of the Executive representing the Native race to any of these Ministerial offices. The Premier said that Mr Carroll was Bimply a member of the Executive Council representing the Native race. He had nothing to do with the administration of the .Native Department. The Government's law officers had advised him that Mr Carroll, being a halfcaste, could legally represent the Native race. Sir Robert Stout contended that the Government had no power to make an extra Minister by making a member of the Executive Council the Minister representing the Native race. Captain Russell pointed out that no other Minister's salary was put down on the Estimates, thus proving that a seventh Minister had been created contrary to the evident intention of the statute. Mr Rolleston said it was a perfect scandal that Ministers were holding positions outside their Ministerial offices in defiance of what they knew to be the honest convictions of their own party and of the House. The Premier and the Minister of Lands upheld the right of Ministers to hold positions outside their offices, and they defied members to show where the dual positions had clashed. After much further debate the vote was passed at 9.20 p.m. by 35 to 19. At 1 a.m. on the vote " Electoral Department, £4,050," a discussion took place in reference to replacing persons on the rolls whose names had' been struck out owing to their not voting, and the question of printing the electoral rolls was generally debated. Exception was taken to the appointment of five new officers in the Electoral Department for 1897 98, when no General Election was expected. A Continuous Silling. Members have had an all-night sitting over the Estimates, and when the House adjourned at 8 a.m. for breakfast there was every probability of another long day. Several amendments to reduce votes in connection with the Electoral Department having been negatived, Mr Huteheson (Wellington) said that members were only "Bhooting their jaw," which ho interpreted as meaning talking for talking's sake, and he added that as it seemed that the Estimates were only to be got through by bullocking—well, let them " bullock away," and see which side would win. The AgentGeneral's Department having been passed without amendment, Mr M'Gaire at 2.15 moved to report progress, but thiß was negatived by 27 to 24. The printing and stationery vote then passed, and thiß brought the House up to " miscellaneous services," which class was particularly prolifio in subjeots of debate. Not content with the variety of subjsots which the class under disoussion provided, members of the Left Wing discovered in parliamentary paper Bl a Tittle list giving details of. items appearing on the Estimates as " contingencies, £7,000," and|there ensued a desultory debate, which would jump from tho expenditure on telegrams and cablegrams to that on the- purchase of opossums, And from the salaries of night watchmen and messengers to the payment of passage money of delegates to the Labor Conference. As the Premier's little bills for his English and Australian tours were included in the vote under review, Mr Taylor suggested that as these matters were likely to involve a lengthy discussion they should report progress, and he moved accordingly.—The Premier objected, aaying that reasonable progress must be made with the Estimates if members wished to get home before Christmas.—Tbjs provoked from Mr Rolleston the remark that it was perfectly monstrous that they should be forced to stay there, but, as the Government insisted, he would remain till the end and apeak fully upon different items. The motion to report progress was rejected bv 26 to 22.
On the item " £7,000, including expenses of the delegates to the Trades and Labor Conference" being reached, Mr Taylor eaid that he had nevir beard a more outrageous proposal. Would Ministers pay the cost of delegates to a Prohibition Conference or the expenses of delegates to a meeting of the National Association ?—The Premier replied that the expenses cf Labor delegates had been paid for the past three years. It -was a very useful conference.— Mr Taylor moved to reduce the contiugencies by £6l lis, the passages of the Labor delegates, the payment of which he characterised as a bribe. He said it was an insult to.the Trades and Labor Councils to say they'cculd not pay their delegates' expenses.—At 4.40 a.m. the amendment was negatived on the voices. Mr Taylor next moved to strike out the vote " £SOO, Hilary of the Resident at Raratonga," as indicating that the colony disappaying the salary of an officer over whom it had no control, Mr Moss being an Imperial officer.—This was lost by 41 to 7. At 5 20 Mr R. M'Kenzie moved to report progress, which was lost by 25 to 23, and a quarter of an hour's adjournment was taken. On resuming Mr Montgomery moved to strike out the item of £IOO for Mr Carroll's house allowance as a protest against the Government creating an extra Minister and raising his salary by a side wind. • Here ensued the nearest approach to a scene. Mr Seddon, who was not in the sweetest temper, said, in reply to interjections by Mr Buchanan, that he hoped the member for Wairarapa would learn to behave himself as a gentleman. .This brought Captain Russell to his feet, with a demand for the withdrawal of the remark. The Premier did not at first comply, and told the Leader of the Opposition that if he (Mr Seddon) had said anything objectionable Captain Russell shonld have moved to have the words taken down.—A few words from the Chairman of Committees brought the Premier to his senses, and he smilingly withdrew the term objected to. He could not, however, conceal his indignation, and a few minutes later informed Mr Buchanan that he would not eit still under such treatment from him, and that if they were outside he would be prepared to meet it in a fitting manner.—The incident closed by Mr Buchanan stating that during his speech on the Address-in Reply the Premier and'the Minister of Lands had interrupted him on" fifteen occasions. Mr Montgomery's motion to strike out the vote was put at 7 a.m., and negatived by 26 to 18. ' Mr Flatman moved to reduce the £2OO vote for the Imperial Institute by £l.—The Premier said he did not think the colony got good value for its money in connection with the Institute, and Mr Flatman's motion was carried on the voices. The vote of £3OO for sending Mr Holmes, the flax expert,' to England in connection with the flax industry was under discussion when the House rose for breakfast at 8 a.m. Hostilities were resumed at nine o'clock. Captain Kussell asked for information concerning the expenditure of £5lB expenses of the Premier's trip to Hobart, and wished to know whether the amount covered also the expenses of the private secretaries Mr Smith protested againßt the Premier, attending the Hobart Conference without consulting the House. It was establishing a bid precedent. As to his continuing his
trip to Australia, ..that was purely a pleasure trip. He intended 1 to .move, the redaction of the ; jtern to: £3OO. -*Mr O'Regan denounced r the proposed reduction as mean and of a skinflint nature, while Mr' Moore was of opinion that the Premier had no right to leave the colony on public business and commit the country to such expenditure without taking the House into his confidence.—Mr Scoble Mackenzie regretted that the Premier was not present to explain the details of the vote: —The Minister of Lands replied that it would be undignified for the Premier to defend his personal expenses in the' House. The trip could not have 'been done" any cheaper. —Mr Taylor insinuated that the Premier was hiding away in shame. He believed that' at least £250 went into the Premier's private banking account. He regarded it as merely an addi-~ tional salary to the Premier.—What promised to_ prove a heated' discussion was temporarily shelved by MrPirani moving to reduce the item "£I,OOO, for the expert, Mr Meadows, and his expenses to the Queensland Exhibition," thus confining the discussion to that item. After considerable debate the Minister of Works explained that the item included £SOO for space and the preparation of the New Zealand Court; £2OO for freight on Government exhibits, and £lls for the secretary's salary.—The amendment was negatived by 34 to 18. I Consideration was then again given to the item of the Premiers' Conference at Hobart. While disclaiming any idea of treating the matter in a cheeseparing spirit, Captain Russell denied that there was anything undignified in the asking the Premier to give information regarding his personal expenditure.—The Minister.of Lands said it must be conceded, after the intemperate language of Mr Taylor, that it was unfitting that Mr Seddon should be present while his personal expenses were under review. Not only did the £5lB include the Premier's expenses; but also those of two secretaries who accompanied him, and cost of cables to New Zealand and back. The Premier went to the three principal cities of Australia and did business there—attending the Postal Conference, for instance, at Melbourne. He. appealed to members supporting the Government to "sit tight" and leave the talking on this matter to the Opposition.— Mr Montgomery,. Mr Allen, Mr Rolleston, and others explained that they did not wish to have to discuss what was necessarily a personal and delicate matter, and appealed to the Minister of Lands to give similar information to that supplied by the .delegates who attended the Federal Conference in 1891; while Mr Smith intimated that if the return was given in a concrete form of the Premier's expenses he would withdraw the amendment, which he had merely moved as a protest against the manner in which members were being treated.—The Minister of Lands said he was prepared to vouch, on his word of honor, that all the money asked for was expended on the Premier's trip. If Mr Smith would not take his word, he could vote just as ho pleased.— The discussion was continued by Messrs Thomson, Kelly, Pirani, Bollard, Richardson, and others.—Mr Fraser said that the House did nob require the details, but the principal heads of expenditure.—The Minister of Lands Baid if that was all that was required by the Opposition he would undertake that the information should be supplied.—Mr Hogg referred to Mr Taylor as full of bile and having an excessively vile tongue in his insinuation that the Premier had put£2sointo his private banking account. Mr Taylor's accusation against the Premier was one of embezzlement.—The Premier, who had now entered the Chamber, emphatically denied the statement that he had converted £250 to his own use. No more inaccurate or unfounded statement had ever been made in the House. He could not understand ths representative of an intelligent constituency using such language. Such a statement reflected on the credit of the Honse and the country. Of the total sum of £5lB his own share of the expenses amounted to £2ll, of which £6O was for cables and £SO for passages. His actual personal expenses were 30j a day. He thought an apology was due to him for the statement made.—Mr Taylor said thathedesiretito absolutely withdrawthe insinuation against the Premier, but he had suffered under the strain of twenty hours' sitting. It was a qualified statemeLt.— (Sundry members: " No.")—Mr Tuylor: I regret making the statement.—The Premier: The member for Christchurch withdraws the suggestion.—Mr Hutchesou-: Not a suggestion, but a deliberate accusation.—The Premier : I was young myself once, and the world is before him, as it was before me.— Mr Duncan and several other speakers hoped it would be a lesson to youug members.— Captaiu Russell said that he would not be satisfied until some details were furnished to the Auditor-General.— Mr O'Regan said it was mean and humiliating to compel a member of the Cabinet to give petty details of expenses incurred as a representative of the colony.—Mr Taylor, whose apology had been made the subject of moralising by several members, in the course of faia remarks referred to Mr Graham as a pitiable object as chairman of the Banking Committee. Upon "this he was admonished by the Chairman. The Houso adjourned at 1 p.m. until 2.30. At the afternoon sitting the Minister of Lands promised to lay on the table of the House the Treasury returns as to Mr Seddon's Australian trip. —Mr Smith inquired whether similar information would be given regarding theexpenses of the Premier's Home trip, but he failed to elicit a reply. It was stated that the Rocky Mountain sheep to be imported would be liberated on the West Coast range?. The Premier's English expenses were ultimately passed as printed, and the Colonial Secretary's Department was completed. The Justice Department was begun at 3 50 p.m. The Premier's Costs. As to his English trip, the Premier explained that he was willing to place his bank book before members ajd the country, which would dispose of the assertion that he had made a profit out of his trip. He explained that he had paid his daughter's expenses. The principal items were—steamer fares and travelling expenses amounted to £790 ; expenses of travelling in America and Britain, including gratuities, £150; contingencies, including postage, sitting rooms, and an advance to Colonel Pitt, £100; miscellaneous expense?, including entertainment of visitors, £SOO. He claimed that he had not been extravagant in maintaining the J dignity of his position, and in doing justice to the colony which had had the benefit of his services ard was fully repaid every sixpence that he had charged.
THE ESTIMATES., Issue 10467, 10 November 1897
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