WARM TALK IN THE HOUSE
OPPOSITION CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION.
An Imprest Supply Bill, authorising the payment of £207,100. was. ihe faro provided for legislators when the House of Representatives met on Saturday afternoon! The introduction of “Imprest” usually supplies a vehicle for the ventilation of grievances. The Leader of the Opposition asked why the financial returns for the September quarter had not been published. The Do return, which was wanted by every rail- - man in the Dominion, had not been laid on the table, nor was the ‘ Year Book’ forthcoming. When these interesting documents were asked for members were told that they were delayed in the printing office. Sir Joseph Ward also complained regarding the wholesale manner in which well-known people were taken oft' ihe rolls, although they had not changed their address. He did not blame the officers. It was the. electoral system that was faulty, and he suggested legislation enfranchising everyone who had been three months in ~n electoral district and a year in the Dominion. Mr Isitt strongly supported the idea of allowing people to vote on a declaration before the returning officer on polling day. The Attorney-General (Hon. A. L. Herdman) pointed out that under the Legislature Act Amendment Bill, passed this session, people whose names had been inadvertently left off the roll could vote by making a declaration before ihe returning officer.
The Minister of Finance, in reply to Sir Joseph Ward, said that tho September quarterly returns had been sent on to th<‘ Audit Department over a fortnight ago. They had not yet been returned, and that was the reason they had not been published. Mr Russell said that taxation had risen by 13s Id per head since Mr Massey took office, and lending to settlers had decreased. He. was firmly of opinion that our finances would never be restored till Sir Joseph Ward was again at the head of the Treasury.
The Leader of the Opposition, speaking at tho evening sitting, quoted figures in support of his contention that land settlement under the Massey Government was lower than at any period under the Liberal Administration. He also contended that more money had been spent on roads and bridges each year by the Liberals than under the present regime. In two years of the Reform Government the unexpended votes totalled £1.350,000.
The Prime Minister accused the Leader of the Opposition of want of candor. He had not told the House that there were only 100,000 acres of first class Crown lands available when the Government came into Office. W 7 ith that limited area it was impossible that settlement could proceed as rapidly as when there wore millions of acres open for settlement. In the two years they had been in office they had put 4,135 settlers on tho land, and that record, he claimed, was as good as anything the Liberal party had ever done. So far as land for settlement was concerned, the Government had multiplied their predecessor’s record, so far as area was concerned, by 10. What had the right hon. gentleman to say to that ? Fiom settlers who had acquired the fee simple of their lands under the legislation of the Government tho Crown had received £236,958. That was very satisfactory, and he still thought that 'when tilings again became normal the Stale would be receiving £500,000 per annum from these settlers. The reason that more had not been spent on roads was that they were not able to got their appropriations passed last session until nearly Christmas, owing to the obstruction raised by the Opposition. He was prepared to prove that to the country.
The debate was continued at some length by the Opposition.
The Minister of Finance contended that it was unfair to judge tho revenue on the first half of the year. He predicted that the finances would he perfectly satisfactory before the close of the financial year. So far as the Advances Office was concerned, loans were first cut clown by the Ward Government, but the fact had been concealed from the people. His Government restored tho finances of this department, and had only been compelled to reduce the loans because of tho war. Hie re was no holding money back, and there was a larger vote for workers’ dwellings on tho Public Works Estimates than ever before in the history of the Dominion. Instead of taxation being increased by 13s Id per head it had actually been reduced. Th Bill was then read a second time, and it passed the committee stage. Speaking to the third reading. Sir J. G. Ward claimed that the increases in taxation during his time included the cost of the Defence scheme and the Dreadnought. He had not professed to reduce taxation, but he had given the people enormous concessions in the way of remissions. The charge against the Government was that after they said that taxation should be reduced they increased it. The Bill was then read a third time and passed. It now only wanted three minutes to midnight, and the Prime Minister moved that tho House adjourn till 11 a.m. on Monday. A LIVELY SCENE. Tho Leader of the Opposition: Why 11 o'clock on Monday morning? The Prime Minister: Don't you want to finish? Sir Joseph Ward : If the Prime Minister will say when he is going to close down it will help us to make up our minds. Mr Massey (heatedly): We are going to finish when the Opposition stop their obstruction. I am going to put our programme through if wo stop hero till the middle of December. Sir Joseph Ward (warmly): Very well; we will stop here till tho middle of December. At the same time, considering the hours we have been keeping, it is most unfair to ask members to meet at 11 o’clock. The House adjourned at midnight, amidst wild disorder.
FORT Y- F0 0 R Y E A HS A E 0 TO-D A V
(From the ‘ Evening Star,’ November 2, 18(0.)
The escort brought down 14,5380z of gold. *******
Mr L. J. Weidner, who for many year’s was connected with the police force, was elected by the City Council to tire post of clerk to the Mayor’s Court-. At the same mee.ting the salary of the Town Clerk (Air Massey) was raised to £350 a year. *******
The election of a member of the Provincial Council in the room of Mr F. D. Bell (resigned), resulted in the return of Air 11. S. Fish. The numbers were: Fish 595, Bathgate 370, Birch 149. ******* Air John Griffen has resigned his seat on the City Council. ******* Charles Bradshaw's whaling party captured a “right” whale at Waikouaiti. It is estimated to yield seven tons of oil . A Sign.—Billy: “Do you believe in signs?” MillyYes, indeed.” Billy: “ Well, last night I dreamed you were madly in Jove with nu*. What is that a sign- of?” Milly: “ That’s a sign you were dreaming.”
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IMPREST, Evening Star, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914
IMPREST Evening Star, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914
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