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ELECTION OF MEMBERS FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The meeting for the nomination of candidates to serve as Members of the General Assembly was held at Dunedin on the 11th instant. The Returning Officer remarked that the orderly manner in which the whole proceedings of the election of members

of the Provincial Council had been conducted al_ most rendered it unnecessary for him to request the electors to give a fair and impartial hearing to the candidates that might come before them. He pointed out the importance of the rights they had exercised in the selection of members of the Provincial Council, and the yet more important duty they were that day assembled to perform in the choice of three gentlemen to represent them in the General Assembly. The more extended functions and powers of legislation entrusted to that body rendered it necessary for the electors to exercise these rights with discrimination, and he had no doubt but that their selection of members would reflect credit on the Province, and be an honour to themselves. He then proceeded to read the writ for the election of two persons to serve as members in the Assembly for the Dunedin Country District, and asked if any elector had a candidate to propose. Mr. W. H. Reynolds proposed Mr. John Cargill. Mr. F. M'Diarmid seconded the nomination. Mr. J. Cargill had been given to believe that a number of questions were to be put to him, in which it was anticipated by the interrogators that he would be completely posed. He would therefore make only a few brief observations, and reserve himself for the ordeal to which he was to be subjected. He did not anticipate, when he attended the first session of the Assembly, that he would so soon be called upon, to attend again, he imagining that some other would be found able and willing to take upon himself the duties and inconveniences of the station. Such was not the case ; and while he (Mr. Cargill) thought it was the duty of the electors to send their full number of representatives to attend the ensuing session of the General Assembly, and, looking to the paucity of numbers, to endeavour to have the three of such oneness of mind that they would act together on all questions affecting the interests of the Province, he thought that, on receiving a numerously signed requisition, and believing that there was an identity of views between himself and a great majority of the electors, it was clearly his duty not to shrink from the task now imposed on him. With regard to the first session of the Assembly, he would only remark, that the principle of Ministerial Responsibility, contended foi equally by majority and minority, was a thing now accomplished ; but he could not sufficiently reprobate the conduct of that majority, who, refusing to take office themselves, or to allow their opponents to do so, had left the affairs of the colony to be administered by the old officials; and if they (the members forming that majority) were satisfied with the utter and dire confusion that had reigned in the conduct of the public business of the colony for the last sixteen months, he (Mr. Cargill) certainly was not. One other remark as to the last session he attended. It was a source of satisfaction that the Provincial Council had embodied in their Land Regulations those views which he had advocated in Auckland. Looking to the ensuing session, the principal question to be decided was the adjustment of the revenue between the General and Provincial Governments, so as to put the latter in possession of a fixed portion. There were two views before the public on this matter — one to fix the provincial revenue by enactment, leaving the rest to the General Government — the other to fix the expenditure of the General Government, and leave the collection of the revenue to the Provinces on payment of a fixed quarterly quota into the chests of the Colonial Treasurer, by which means every department would be entirely under the control of the Provincial Legislature — a very great matter in a province so far removed from the seat of General Government as this was. He (Mr. Cargill) was in favour of the latter view, but was not wedded to either, and was prepared to support any measure that would secure the object sought to be obtained, namely, a fixity in the Provincial revenue, it being very difficult for the Council to appropriate when the revenue for one yea r might be £5000 and the next £500. With reference to the New Zealand Company's debt, an intimation had been made to the Messrs. Adderley and and Godley that the New Zealand Company would relinquish all claims on New Zealand for the sum I of £181,000, which money could be easily raised in London at 3h per cent., Parliament guaranteeing the payment by the colony of the interest. As it was useless to expect that Parliament would, during the present great crisis, be induced to reopen the subject, he (Mr. Cargill) thought it would be advisable to close with the offer ; and by a proper adjustment of this debt upon the Company's settlements, Auckland would be induced to relinquish the power which was held by the Governor under the Constitution Act, so that the Otago land funds would be freed from the intolerable burden of purchasing the lands of the northern island. In answer to the question whether he would support a resolution to pay the whole of the New Zealand Company's debt off the funds of Otago, he replied that under the same circumstances he would repeat the offer. To the question "If a motion were before the House to change the seat of Government, he would, Jim Crow like, jump into the gallery to avoid the question." Mr. Cargill stated that he was not in Auckland when the motion referred to came before the House ; and he was well assured that no such circumstance as stated by the questioner had occurred. That with regard to the seat of Government, he did not consider it very much affected the interests of this Province. He desired it to be left an open question, as the three votes of the Otago members might be used as a

. balance between the contending parties to obtain ; justice to Otago on more important matters. He i should insist on the General Government including ; Otago in the inter-colonial postal communication- , I Mr. J. Jones proposed Captain W. Cargill. Mr. Macandrew, in seconding the nominar tion, referred to Capt. Cargill's peculiar fitness to > represent the community, and pointed out the great > value of that gentleman's experience in public s business. His services would not be so valuable in r the house by his speeches or votes as they would be > in conference with the leading men of the Assem- ( bly, and in the adjustment of the many importl ant questions which would have to be settled in i the ensuing Assembly. He believed that if Capt. ; Cargill were elected he would go ; and he further i believed that the change of scene consequent on , his attending the Assembly would be highly bene- , ficial to that gentleman. It had been intended to propose Mr. John M'Glashan, and a numerously signed requisition had been presented to that gentleman ; but he had thought fit to decline the ; honour. Mr. Macandrew read the following answer to the requisitionists : — Balmacewen, Upper Kaikorai, 10th December, 1855. Gentlemen, — There have been put into my hands within these few minutes two requisitions, signed by fifty-two electors, that I allow myself to be nominated for election as one of the members of the House of Representatives for the Dunedin Country District. I beg to assure you that I am duly sensible of the honour of this request, and to tender you my cordial and sincere thanks. To one not unambitious of being as serviceable in his little day in promoting the interests of this community as his abilities and sphere may allow, the opportunity of usefulness you have thus held out is not without allurement. There are circumstances, however, over which I have at present no control, insuperable reasons both of a public and especially of a private nature, which make it a paramount and imperative duty on my part to forego the intended honour ; and therefore I entreat very respectfully to be allowed to decline complying with your request. In doing so permit me to express the hope that no inconvenience will ensue, as the decision I have come to was formed and communicated to some of you so soon as I heard of the proposal. I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, Your faithful, humble Servant, J. M'GLASHAN. James Macandrew, Esq., and the\ other Requisitionists. j In conclusion he (Mr. Macandrew) had much pleasure in seconding the nomination of Captain Cargill. Capt. Cargill said that the call upon him to come forward as a candidate was so sudden and unexpected- that he was not prepared to make any lengthened remarks. His attendance at the General Assembly would involve sacrifices of a private, personal, and public nature ; but he would cheerfully make them to serve the higher duty to the public of rendering his assistance in settling the important matters which would come before the Assembly, such as fixing the principle of what were central, and what provincial subjects of legislation. The adjustment of the revenue on a permanent basis. Postal communication by steam.' from which Otago had been excluded by the Assembly, require to be looked into and settled on a satisfactory footing. He considered it of great importance that the three Otago members should be of one mind. He referred to the state of the British Parliament after the union with Scotland. That country had furnished but forty-five members, whose influence was at first much diminished by their diversity of opinion ; but by their unity of purpose, and voting together, the number, though small in proportion to the whole body, soon told upon the House. No other candidates having been proposed, Mr. J. Cargill and Capt. W. Cargill were declared duly elected. The Returning Officer having read the writ, called upon the electors to nominate one gentleman to serve as member for the town of Dunedin. Mr. Rennie, in proposing Mr, James Macandrew as a fit and proper person to represent the electors in the General Assembly, confessed that he did not entirely agree with Mr. Macandrew' s political views ; but he believed him to be the best person they could find to represent them, and he proposed him on that ground. Dr. W. Purdie briefly seconded the nomination. There being no other candidate proposed, Mr. Macandrew briefly addressed the electors. '. He had been induced to come forward at the request of a very large and respectable portion of the constituency. But for this requisition, much as he valued the distinguished honour of a seat in the : Parliament of New Zealand, he should not have ] stood there. Having however accepted the requi- • sition, and believing, moreover, that he possessed ' the confidence of the great majority of the electors, there he was, prepared to represent them and to proceed to Auckland at whatever sacrifice to himself. Although it was usual on such occasions for ' candidates to expound their principles, he con- ' sidered it quite unnecessary for him to do so, as ! he had so frequently gone over the same ground before. The best exposition which he could give ( was a reference to his past conduct, which was well known to the electors. No doubt the first meeting ] of the General Assembly had not been so produc- { tive of beneficial results as might have been expect- < cd. It was not, however, the fault of himself, or of * those with whom he acted, that such had been the { case. After all, their mission to Auckland had not * been altogether barren or unfruitful ; they had got the Custom-House removed from Port Chalmers to Dunedin, to the very great convenience of the trad- ' ing community and advantage of the public — (ex- ' pressions of dissent from Mr. Carnegie, put down by universal expressions of approval from Mr. Jones a and others.) They had got the land question set- r tied, and the administration thereof in a fair way of <

being placed upon a satisfactory and permanent footing. They had got the hospital placed under the Provincial Government, and the sinecure of the Colonial S.urgeon's salary abolished, at least in as far as the resolution of the Assembly was concerned. Although in the very teeth of that resolution, and in defiance of the Appropriation Act, that salary had continued to be paid. He (Mr. Macandrew) had not a doubt but such a wanton setting aside of the decision of the legislature would be severely dealt with by the next Assembly, and that the parties who had thus robbed the public purse would be compelled to refund. Out of the £7000 set aside by the Constitution Act for the benefit of the natives, they had got £300 a-year voted for this Province — (Mr. Cutten stated that it was only £200) — not a farthing of which had been received. With regard to steam communication, he had carried an address to the Governor expressly stipulating that in voting £6000 a-year for the Nelson steamer, she should come to Otago regularly every trip. The resolution of the Assembly, however, had been treated as a dead letter. The same with regard to the Supreme Court, which was to have held a sitting here once a year. From what he had stated, the electors would perceive that the mission of himself and colleagues to Auckland last year would not have been fruitless had there been an efficient Executive to have carried into effect the acts of the Legislature. As it was they had to thank the party who had replaced the old Executive in power and who had expressed greater confidence in them than in an Executive composed of the representatives of the people, for the present state of things. The great objects now to be attained were to secure a fixed and equitable distribution of the revenue among the provinces : £30,000 to £40,000 a-year ought to suffice, with economy, to defray the whole expense of the General Government. The great object, therefofe, should be to rate each province for its just share of the revenue, and leave it to deal with the whole of its remaining revenue as it might see fit. The question of the equitable adjustment of the New Zealand Company's debt would require to be dealt with. Suppose, for instance, that during the current year they were to sell as much land in Otago as would extinguish the Company's debt, it would be a very hard case for this Province if the rest of New Zealand were thereby to be exempted. What was meant, therefore, by an equitable adjustment was, to provide for such a contingency as that now referred to, and to spread the burden equally over all the provinces. The administration of the Customs was another matter which would engage his earnest attention. At present the department was so thoroughly stereotyped, and subject to strict forms, which were absolutely adhered to, irrespective altogether of variety of position or of circumstances, that nothing short of provincial control over the administration would cause the department to accommodate itself to the circumstances of the port, and get over the redtapism which was so obstructive to business. The other provinces were more or less in the same boat, and he had every hope that ultimately the Customs' administration would be placed under the Provincial Government. With regard to the waste lands, he Should oppose any attempt to upset the regulations adopteSby the late Provincial Council, or to take the management out of the hands of the Provincial Government as therein provided. He should insist/upon the conditions imposed by these regulations being fulfilled to the letter. Another important subject which the next Assembly was expected to deal with was the subject of banking and currency. He was an advocate for a paper currency, and considered that a bank without the power to issue note 3 (subject of course to proper restrictions) was comparatively useless. He should endeavour to get the law so framed that a native bank might be established in Otago forthwith. Upon this subject he regretted to differ from some of his friends, who seemed to prefer a foreign bank in the meantime. Although the introduction of such a bank at once would be of greater service to himself than almost to any one, and would place him in clover at once, still he was so much impressed with the disadvantages which would ultimately accrue to the Province by the unnecessary withdrawal of large sums in the shape of profits, that he would rather jog on a little longer if there were the slightest prospect of proI curing a native bank. He believed that the Union Bank of Australia, when originally started in that colony, introduced some £5000 of specie. Since then it had traded upon its deposits — with the capital of the colony in fact — and had withdrawn an immense sum annually, which went into the pockets of the shareholders in London, instead of being expended in the colony. The same result would undoubtedly be experienced here, and he considered it perfect folly to sacrifice the future to a mere temporary advantage. Such were some of the leading subjects which would have to be dealt with by the Assembly, and his views with regard to them. He felt assured that by sticking together the Otago members might secure that attention to the just rights of the Province which had hitherto been denied ; and ii was only by being united as one man that they could hope to succeed. He should be happy to answer any question, or to give any explanation which might be required of him. In answer to a question — whether he would vote for the removal of the seat of government ? — he would leave it an open question. By the Otago members being free and unfettered, they might, by their votes, hold the balance between the larger Provinces, and might make use of the power for the benefit of Otago. He would most certainly support the principle of Responsible Government. He would maintain the Land Regulations passed by the Provincial Council, and would especially enforce the restrictions. (Cheers.) Hewouldrefer alteration in the Regulations to the Province. He would oppose any measure to endow any Church. He had voted for the resolution to relieve Auckland from paying any share of the New Zealand Company's debt he would pursue the same course again. That resolution at the time it relieved Auckland from the New Zealand Company's Debt, enforced upon her the payment of other debts contracted exclusively for her benefit. They were carrying out the Otago Scheme; With reference to the Church funds and the other funds of course the Otago Scheme was given up. He would not seek to revive the Scheme. It was impossible to explain to them or give them a clear understanding of the reasons which induced him to offer to pay the whole of the New Zealand Company's Debt out of the land sales of Otago.

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Bibliographic details

ELECTION OF MEMBERS FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES., Otago Witness, Issue 212, 15 December 1855

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ELECTION OF MEMBERS FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Otago Witness, Issue 212, 15 December 1855

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