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[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, November 16. A legislative Picnic to Picton and Blenheim has -been arranged by Mr Mills, the chief Government whip. The party will leave Wellington by tho Tutanekai about midnight on Friday, returning early on Monday morning. l'rlvnte Assignments. Mr Shrimski has given notice to move in the Legislative Council on Wednesday—- " That in the opinion of this Council (1) no deed of assignment for the benefit of creditors should be valid unless the Official Assignee is the trustee under the deed ; (2) tho official liquidator of every company compulsorily wound up Bhould be an official assignee in bankruptcy ; (3) that legislation be introduced to give effect to these resolutions." The Koynl Commission re Police. I have the best authority for saying that the personnel of the Police Commission, which the Premier promised Mr T. E. Taylor should be set up, will comprise Commissioner Tunbridge, Dr Giles (ex-stipen-diary magistrate at Auckland), and Mr Poynton, K.M. at Invercargill. The names of the Royal Commissioners will probably be announced to the House to-night. Native legislation. A deputation of Maori chiefs representing the Maori King Mahutu and the principal rangitiras in the North Island, waited on the Premier yesterday and asked him to support the Bill now being printed providing for the constitution of a Maori C ?i U xT II l - n which shall be vested thc mana °f all Native lands remaining unsold. The Bill proposed to absolutely stop all further sales, to abolish the Native land courts, and generally to give to the council administration in all truly Native affairs. It was explained by the deputation that all they desired was to exercise the privileges given to them under .the Treaty of Waitangi Tho Premier expressed himself favorable to conserving the native lands and entrusting the Natives with their control. He advised them to print their Bill and circulate it as widely as possible, in order to get the opinion of the Natives personally upon it. Mr t'rowther's little Joke. In the Houge shia afternpon Mr Crowther

raised a laugh by giving notice to ask ■whether the Government will place a tax on bicycles, in order to oreate the nucleus of an old age pensions fund. Mcllile's Case. The Petitions Committee reported that in their opinion the Government had treated J. J. Meikle, of Wyndham, fairly in paying him £294 and placing £SOO on the Estimates in discharge of all claims he might havo against the colony; therefore they had no further recommendation to mako. Mr J. W. Kelly, in moving as an amendment that the report bo referred back to the* Committee, expressed his surprise that the recommendation had been made. It was admitted that Meikle had paid from £SOO to £7OO in hard oash by way of law expenses in prosecuting Lambert for perjury in order to establish his own innocence. Meikle had served a lengthened sentence for aheep- . stealing, his conviction being due to false swearing by Lambert. He appealed to the Government to do justice to an innocent man.—The amendment was carried by 40 to 21, all the Ministers' voting with the minority. After the vote was announced the Premier deprecated reopening tho case. Mr M-Nab, who had charge of the petitioner's oase last year, had stated that £SOO was sufficient compensation for Meikle, and the Government had placed that amount on the Estimates.—Mr Rolleston pointed out that Meikle had refused to accept £SOO on the ground that it was entirely inadequate. Either the petitioner was entitled to a much larger bum or to nothing at all. Mr M'Nab's statement in the Cabinet room ought not to be held to bind the petitioner, as it was not made with his authority.—Mr Buchanan expressed the opinion that Meikle was being harshly treated.—Mr Morrison, as a member of the Petitions Committee, contended that Lambert's conviction did not necessarily establish Meikle's innocence, and u b j b u Waa the who!o P oint - Meikle had been ill advised in resisting accepting the sum of £SOO. As a matter of fact, the evidence tendered did not justify the Committee in awarding him one shilling, but in view of the evidence given in the lust Parliament they had decided not to interfere with what was then proposed. —Mr Pirani contended that any petitioner who was not a supporter of the Government—no matter how just hi 3 grievance might be-had not the slightest opportunity of getting redress. He asserted t.iat there was nothing more surprising in the annals of this country than the offer of a bupreme Court judgeship to Judge Ward after the evidence given in connection with Meikle's cise. It was absurd to talk about the purity of the Bench after that. Judge \\ ard had displayed undoubted bias in connection with this case. Rome of the records had been burnt by the Government rather l» »i a!low fchem to be in evidence. Mr Meredith, as chairman of the Petitions Committee, expressed horror at the way that the last speaker had traduced the fair reputation of Judge Ward. If the statement had been made by the Minister of Linds every member on the Opposition benches would have risen bristling with indignation to denounce the action of the Minister.

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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 10472, 16 November 1897

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POLITICAL GOSSIP. Issue 10472, 16 November 1897

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