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The Nelson Evening Mail. TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 1877.

Prior to the abolition of Provincial institutions, the dull season of the year, that is, the present time, was enlivened by the proceedings of the various Councils, and the question whether or not the Provincial Ministries would stand through the session or be compelled to advise his Honor the Superintendent to seek other responsible advisers was one of absorbing interest to the localities specially concerned. This little fund of excitement being no longer available, attention is naturally turned to the higher grade of Executive Government, in whose hands are placed the affairs of the colony, and it is interesting to peruse the leading journals published in the more important centres of population in the colony, and to observe how rife is speculation as to the probable results of the rapidly approaching session of the Assembly, and the bearing it is likely to have upon the status of the existing Ministry. Iv entering upon such speculations, however, it is only right to bear in mind that as no new policy is likely to be introduced, any question affecting the position of the Government must of necessity be one relating to" the merits of the men .who compose it rather than of the measures they may introduce. Their abilities as administrators and not as statesmen will, if an Opposition be organised, be the point upon which they will be attacked, and on which they will require their supporters to rally around them in the event' of an attempt being made to oust them from office. And it will be in assuring the House that better men can be found to take their places that the Opposition will find their chief difficulty lies. In Major Atkinson, Messrs Bowen, Ormond, and Reid, the colony has four members of the Executive of fanability, although not one of them can lay claim to brilliancy either as a statesman or a debater. Still they .are men who may be safely calculated upon honestly and honorably to do their very best for the good of the country, the only question being whether that "best" is as good as we have a right to expect in men occupying their positions, or as we are likely to find elsewhere. Dr Pollen is a politician born and bred, and ia just a3 likely to be in the next Ministry as it is certain that he occupies a seat in the present one. Mr Whitaker's position ia without doubt an anomalous one. . On one material point, namely, the appropriation of the land fund, he is notoriously and avowedly at issue with his colleagues, who have received fair warning, that he is only waiting his opportunity to upset them on this particular question. He bas not obtained his seat on the Treasury Benches by any false pretences, but has plainly stated his views, and as these are in consonance with those of his brother Ministers on every point but the one mentioned, there is reason to believe that they Will get on very well together until he considers that a majority of the House are of the same way of thinking as himself on the land question, when he may be expected, and

will have a perfect right, to enter into opposition. On the whole Ministers are likely to offer ,a compact front to the attacks made.r.pon them by the other side of the House, although there is not one really good debater among them. Of the Opposition.it is difficult at the present moment to say much with auy degree of confidence. If Sir George attends the session, which from private information received we have reason to regard as an extremely doubtful contingency, he will of course re-assume hig old position. The effect of thi3 will be to reduce Mr Fox to a state of neutrality. Composed as the Government at present is, it is impossible that he can support it, while old associations will aa effectually exclude him from the opposite party. The lion and the lamb may. lie down together, but to expect that Mr Fox can pull with Sir George Grey, either in power or in opposition, is out of reason altogether. Should Sir George be unable to take his seat, Mr Fox might and probably would muster a very strong body of followers, but in the meantime, and until we know more of Sir George's plans, it is idle to speculate upou. the strength of the Opposition. A recent article in the Christchurch Press on the"- political situation concludes with the following remarks, in which, we are inclined to think; a very sensible ancl correct view is taken of the position of the Ministry :■—" On the whole our conclusion must be that tho prospects of Ministers in the coming session dependon themselves. Considered personally, they are not a strong Government ; or perhaps it would be more correct to say that they are stronger in the body than in the head. Major Atkinson is, aa we have said, a straightforward hard-working Minister, and these qualities have obtained for him the respect of .the House. But he is no moro than this. He is not a man capable of conceiving a large scheme of policy and carryit through by sheer forco of intellect and will. He is a good administrator, but can hardly aspire to the Eaulc of a statesman, The Cabinet therefore wants tho strength wich it is usually^ expected to derive from the presence of a recognised chief. Nor can it be said, either, that there is auy enthusiasm ih their favor. But there is a considerable number of members, mostly of the old abolition party, whoare well-disposed towards them, and who certaiuly see no chance of auy other Ministry more likely to meet their approval. Whether Ministers can secure the continued support of these men, or obtain assistance from other quarters, depends upon the capacity they show, especially in dealing with the questions left over last year— the arrangement of the finances, the completion of the local government scheme, ahd education. But after all, the main security of tho Government lies in the weakness of their opponents. An opposition of which Sir G. Grey and Mr Macandrew are the leaders or the leading spirits, must be a most effective help to their retaining their places. And what other materials are there with which to form an Opposition? Nothing can be conceived more incapable of cohesion than the various sections which, for as various and contradictory reasons, agree in disliking tho Government."

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NEM18770612.2.8

Bibliographic details

The Nelson Evening Mail. TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 1877., Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XII, Issue 137, 12 June 1877

Word Count
1,091

The Nelson Evening Mail. TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 1877. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XII, Issue 137, 12 June 1877

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