[advertisement.] TO THE ELECTORS OF THE DUNEDIN COUNTRY DISTRICT. fi ENTLEMEN,— I take an early opportuVJT nity of acquainting you that it is my ! intention to resign my seat as a member of the House of Representatives. In doing so I beg to give a slight sketch of the proceedings of last Session, and the views I advocated as your Representative. I shall pass over the struggles for power betwixt various members of. the older Settlements as a matter in which you can take but little interest, although it caused a great loss of time to the Southern Members, and involved considerable expense to the country, but" shall endeavour rather to explain the principles contested for by the two great parties into which the House was nearly equally divided. The leading points at issue were : — Ist. The distribution of the revenue between the General and Provincial Governments. 2nd. The allocation of the public burdens. 3rd. The Land question. The views of Mr. Sewell, the leader of the Centralist Party, on the first point was — that we ought to look forward to the time when the whole of the Customs Revenue- could and ought to be spent by the General Government, and that the Province, if they desired a permanent revenue, should raise it under their own acts, but his party required a modification to the extent that all expenses of the General Government be defrayed from the Customs Revenue, the remainder to be distributed to the Provinces. On the second point, that the burdens consisted of the New Zealand Company's Debt of £200,000 ; this was to be borne by the three Provinces of Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago. Of £200,000 to be raised under guarantee of the Home Government, this sum to be applied to the purchase of land from the natives in the Provinces of Wellington, Auckland, and New Plymouth, the interest to be paid by those Provinces ; and finalfy, of £100,000 to meet some present debts, such as the Debentures now afloat, cash due to the Union Bank, some small debts contracted under Colonial Office rule with the Governments of the Cape of Good Hope and Sydney, and what remained to form a working balance to the credit of the General Government's bank account, the interest to be paid from the Customs Revenue. 3rd. The whole of the land fund, after deducting interest as above, to be Provincial revenue. The objections to these views were the large and uncertain amount of Customs Revenue annually appropriated by the General Assembly, rendering it difficult for the Provincial Governments to estimate the amount that will come to them, and the difficulty of making the necessary adjustments of the surplus revenue, so as to enable the accounts to be closed annually. (Up to this date the accounts be- ' tween the General and Provincial Governments have been running on since the introduction of the Constitution Act without an adjustment taking place, and are daily becoming more complex and difficult of unravelment.) That the sum sought to be raised by loan in excess of the New Zealand Company's Debt was unnecessarily large — and that the scheme for adjusting the burdens of the colony being in violation of the Constitution Act, required the action of, and was contingent on, the Home Government guaranteeing a new loan for £300,000, which latter was held to be an improbable event. This view is confirmed by recent advices from England, so that the whole arrangement has fallen through. The views of Mr. Fox, the leader of the Provincialist party, were, on the first point, that inasmuch as the expenditure of the General Government, though necessary, was non-pro-ductive, while on the other hand the share of the revenue placed in the hands of the Provinces was eminently productive, from being expended on Immigration and Public Works, that therefore the share expended by the General Government should be as small as possible compatible with efficiency; and he proposed that one-third of the net Customs Revenue, and 2s. 6d. for every acre of land sold, should be the portion assigned to the General Government, the remainder to be Provincial revenue. Should more or less be required at a future time for the share of the General Government, the quotas from Land and Customs Revenue to be calculated in that proportion. But looking to the fact that the machinery of the General Government wouldrequire but little augmentation, although the revenue should largely increase, the probability was, that at no distant period the portion for the General Government might be decreased, and that for the Provincesincreased ; that this mode of allocating the revenue would simplify the accounts, the share for each being paid over quarterly or monthly, if desirable, to the respective Treasurers, besides doing away entirely with the clumsy mode of adjustment pursued at present. On the second point, that the burdens consisted of the New Zealand Company's debt of £200,000, and inasmuch as the whole lands of the middle Island were purchased, while the bulk of the lands in the North Island were still in the hands of the Natives ; and as it was undesirable for the Middle Island that the purchase of land from the Natives should remain, as according to the Constitution Act, a first charge on all the land revenue, it was proposed as a compromise that a sum of £200,000 should be raised by loan and applied to the purchase of land in the North Island ; that this should be a final disbursement on this account, any further sum required to be raised in the- Pro.vince where the need occurred. . The interest
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Page 2 Advertisements Column 1, Otago Witness, Issue 302, 12 September 1857
Page 2 Advertisements Column 1 Otago Witness, Issue 302, 12 September 1857
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