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WESTLAND AFFAIRS IN THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL.

.(From the Christchurch Papers.) Tuesday, Deo. 11. WESTJ.AND REVENUES. Whall asked what alterations the (Government, intended to make in. tlie •-^ present systSm of spending the revenues ' \hf Wostland in public .works ? <FZ}>'til v Joliie replied that the Government had no intention of making any immediate .alteration. The lion.- gentleman would >reeollecfc that it was intended to appoint a .commission on Westland affairs, Alterations were, perhaps, yeyjired, although jjven that was not yet clear. At all events, the' .Government were satisfied both 'that alterations were necessary, and of the direction in whiah they ought to be isade, he was not in a position to answer the question more fully than ho had dose. .GIBSON'S QUAY AND S T E,?TLANJ) TRAMWAYS. • Mr Bright asked if "it is the intention of ihe present Executive to carry out the promises of the late Government with reference to the introduction of a Bill to transfer Gibson's Quay, Hokitika, to the Municipal .G«»nipil of that town; and to introduce a Bill to giuwantecj j^jterest on .capital invested iii tramway ,in Westland. /' Mr Jojlie'said the Governnient did not at present intern! to introduce a Bill for the purpose of transferring Gibson's Quay to the Hokitika Municipal Council . They did intend i& bring down $ resolution jvhich would have the same effect virtually. With regard to tramways, it was the indention of the Government to ask the f louse to pass a jrcne^ui resolution, one. flint Would not refer . tp any particular Locality, but which, would .allow the Go-s-ejnuventi to ,deal with any cases of tlit* jsamo suit wbi/ih might arise in other parts pf the.Pmyiuce. ARAHUIIA TJKID.GE. Mr Bright asked what were the intonations of the Government with reference to the application of the Hokitika and Grcyinouth Tramway Company for psr)4«^on to build a bridge fiver the Arahura River. J Mr Jollio WjJ. the Government had.j some difficulty in 'answering the question, prising from the fact that negotiations were then pending. They hoped to be able, at an early date, to make such • lurraijgemeiits as would be satisfactory to p.ll parties concerned. MINIHiVE&IAi,. In seconding Mr Wylde's motion of want of confidence iiVthe Ministry, Mr Whall made th,e following speech :— lt was the fluty of every lion, member, before proceeding to the business which had been so culpably delayed, to ascertain whether, under- a. new Government, further lavish expenditure # f #uj4 ke incurred, and whether the hon. Provincial Secretary who, when he left office before, had left behind a debt of L1'26,000, was the most lit man to lead the Government of the Province. It had been said by the lion, gentleman (Mr Jolliu) that when he was formerly in office the Government had b6en compelled to spend a groat deal of money in West-land, and so a heavy debt jfras- iiicuiTe;L , Whether such was the .csise^r Mot, 'it w;is pretty evident that the ' deople" Of both Easthmd and Westland -- - -werij- > 'd^S{iti^J i d 1 ; the -former because the , 4e-it had been incurred, and the latter be- : ca'use^inoney which was now debited to $y#liivl boen spent without their sanc,.^on,.and in a manner which they did not ijjPjiprove of. [Mr Whall cited some iu--^H^sWces of how' contracts had boen carried put in -Westland.] It was the general /opinion among his constituents that the {Government engineers were the hona fide Government contractors, and that in some instances they had made large sums of money. So far as engineering on the West Coast went, it could only be regarded ' as a series of experimental failures- The police system of Westland, for which the lion. Provincial Secretary had taken some Credit, and which had certainly cost a great deal of money, was most inefficient. In fact, the action taken by the policjhad ' tendod-rather to increase than to repress r .crime; It was very clear that there must be reformation in the administration of Westlaiid affairs, and it was equally clear that tlie .reformation must be begun by a revolution in tlie Government benches. If tlie lion. Provincial Secretary were iicrahi to "be allowed to try his hand at governing Westland the same thing would 'happen again, and the just remonstrar.Cis - pf .the district would be treated as they ... '-.had been formerly. Mr Joliie replied -io the hon. member ' in the following ternis :— The hon, member for Greymouth had said something $vhich was not very distinct, but which looked very much like an ugly insinuation against Government servants. A similar thing.had been done in the previous session by the gentleman who was now one of the members for Westlaud (Mr Barff). That gentleman had been severely taken to task by the Secretary 1 for Public Works, and had been asked either to prove his statements or retract He had done neither, and the. House regarded the qccurrence as a specimen of AYest Coast manners, interesting in a psychological point of view, but hardly worthy of unction. (Hear, hear:')-. The hon. member for Greymouth, if Wwag iii possession of facts, ought not to lulve kept them back ; he ought to have laid vthem before the Guvomment. (Hear, near.)- : - ;■■ Mr' Whall • said he wished to offer an explanation. He did not intend to say tliafi- any Government engineer had been giulty- of conduct which was wrong. What ne^meant to say was, that the general ppuiion among- his constituents was that thij. engineers in some instances were also the contractors.. , Mjt Barff said^ie would ill discharge iliat duty whichtlh% owed to his constitu--oiits; iflie gave a silent vote on this occaflicin: - Hori. . msmters had asked why the -Stewart Ministry^lpgned. In hjs opinion "the reason" was : plain en6ugh. They reei<med:on"a.point'of honor, and because $icy; felt that; they had not a worlfing - hiaiprity- in the House. He must say :,iliat :i lie 'thought the Road Boards had been tre«\ted scurvilyi and he |hought the f Jate Governriient niight have given way to the opinion' of the Council without laying theniselvesopeh-to the charge of having no fixed policy' Westland, lie was bound to say, had been treated in a moist neglectful manner by. the Government of which the. Hon. member (Mr Joliie) was then, as " ,vji6>vV Provincial Secretary, and he liai no ; la&situ either in that gentteman's ability to «|fevith Westland4imtter3, ; ,o^ liis . good .^HBp||iiQns towards the-;.^stricfe&HeywaS;: surprised -tP^iea&i; x>ne| JiGji/y ~ : WMks&W that the Je^pfe of =ySfipstlaMi

was — and a notorious fact it was, too— that the West Coast Road was made against the express wishes of the people- of Westland, again and again .made known. What had been the conduct of the Government of the day — a Government . in which the present Provincial Secretary held a pruminent position — in regard to this road .' Three tracks were open from which to choose, but the people of Westland had never been consulted. The Government threw away L7OOO- odd on the Browning Pass route ; and it was at least open to doubt whether the Otira or Hurunui route was the more preferable for the purposes to which a road jb > Westland would IJ3 put — stock-driving; Hu was aware of many stock-drivers who preferred the Hurunui route ; and he \vas bound to. say from personal experience us well as frum : the indisputable testimony .of persons who, like himseif,- had been in danger of their lives, that tly?. Otira road was a gigantic failure— a failure which had cost the Pro.vince a -very large sum of niQuev, au.d which would cost annually som#thiiig like L 16,000 or L 17,000 to maintain it. The hou. member for Mount Cook had talked of '• measures, not men," as if he was the only person who recognised the duty of adhering to the maxim. For his part, in giving the resolution his hearty support, he voted, not against men but against measures .which lie beJieygd "TOyld be carried out. A great deal had beon gaid : about the debt which, it was -alleged, was due by Westland to East Canterbury. He~ had gone carefully and anxiously over the accounts, and tire only thing he could gather from the inextricable muddle was, that at least LOS, OOO of the sum said.tobo due had beon voted by the Council but not sp.ci/t. The Government which had just gone out had shown every desire to deal fairly and liberally with Westland, but he could riot anticipate a" like course on the part of the gentlemen who had succeeded them.. These hon. gentlemen had taken care to adopt onl.y so much of the policy of their predecessors as had been ratified by the House, and they had avoided bringing forward tiuse points on which a diversity of opinion might be looked for (Hear, hear.) .

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Bibliographic details

WESTLAND AFFAIRS IN THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL., Grey River Argus, Volume III, Issue 147, 20 December 1866

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1,438

WESTLAND AFFAIRS IN THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL. Grey River Argus, Volume III, Issue 147, 20 December 1866

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