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THE MAYORALTY ELECTIONS.

DUNEDIN.

The polling for the Mayoralty of Dunedin took place on Monday. The interest displayed in the election was as nothing to what might fairly have been anticipated, whether from the number of candidates, or from the pecuniary difficulties of "the Corporation. Putting aside the result of yesterday's proceedings, the indifference shown by a decided majority of the Tatepayers as to who was to be chosen as Mayor for the ensuing year, was simply discreditable. Not one-third of those who are, or ought to have been, entitled to "vote, were sufficiently interested in Municipal Government and its results, to go "to a polling booth and vote. There was not in. this case the excuse that voting would entail serious loss of time or any expense ; for there was a booth in each Ward, and half an hour would be about the outside limit of time that any ratepayer need have been occupied in doing his duty as a citizen. It is exceedingly probable that these indifferentists have been, and will be, amongst the loudest growlers as to the amount of the rates and the general management of the Corporation ; and it is a pity that there cannot be devised some means by which to secure indifference on the part of the Corporation to all the growling of all the ratepayers who will mot, by voting, endeavor to put into office those whom they consider the best qualified for it.

There were four candidates for the Mayoralty — Messrs T. Birch, John Hyde Harris, John Millar, and James Turner. The booths were— The Police Station, for Southward ; the Council Offices, for High Ward; the Oddfellows' Hall, for Bell "Ward ; and the Caledonian Society's Grand Stand, on the North Recreation Ground, for Leith Ward. Two of the candidates employed cats— those of Mr Harris bearIngplacards, ' ' Vote for Harris, the liberal ■candidate," or "the most able" man; awhile Mr Turner's cabs were placarded, *'Vote for Turner, who has faitlifully served the ratepayers for six years. " On the walls, there were bills, "Millar for Mayor. " That gentleman was confined to his house by indisposition. Mr Birch did aot, we believe, put out any placards or employ any cabs. There was no sign of excitement in the city ; and it was only occasionally that there were knots of people to be seen near the booths. The polling was more brisk after one o'clock than it was before that hour. Up to one o'clock, not more than 200 electors had -voted at two of the booths— the Council -Offices and the Oddfellows' Hall. There was a small gathering outside the Council Offices soon after four o'clock, and many waited on to learn the result, although a notification was given that the Mayor would not declare it until half-past five o'clock. By that time there were probably 400 persons in Maclagganstreet. The Mayor (William Mason, Esq.) announced the numbers to be — Thomas Birch 200 John Hyde Harris 340 John Millar 101 James Turner 273 He therefore declared John Hyde Harris to have been duly elected, by a majority of 67 votes. — (Cheers and groans.) Mr Birch said that as there was no representative of Mr Harris present, he ■would, for himsolf, most sincerely thank the 200 citizens who had voted for him During the election, he had not said one

Tvrong word as to any of the other candi-datea^-(hear, hear) — and he had avoided personalities of every kind. Though not now elected, he might be so on a future occasion. f- (Hear, hear.)" The majority of the ratepayers who had voted, no doubt thought* that a better man than himself had been chosen ; and they were perfectly right to exercise their own judgment. Mr J. F. Watson, having seconded the nomination of Mr Harris, begged to thank the electors on behalf of that gentleman. — (Laughter and groans.) Mr J. Barnes would say a word on Mr Turner's behalf. He hoped we might all be well satisfied with the result of the election. For himself, he had nothing against Mr Harris, if Mr Harris had only paid his rates " like other poor men." — (Laughter. ) If Mr Turner had now been elected, he (Mr Barnes) was sure that, that day twelvemonths, that gentleman would have been re-elected at the head of the poll, if there was opposition. Mr Turner had at least this satisfaction — he was second on the list. He (Mr Barnes) feared that those who had voted for Mr Harris would regret their work long before the twelvemonth was out. — (Groans.) He believed that had the election been a day later, Mr Harris would not have been elected. — (Groans.) Wait till to-morrow morning, and read the telegram as to what Mr Harris had been doing at Wellington : then let his friends say whether, if that had been known a day earlier, Mr Harris would have had half as many votes as he had now got. — (Groans.) He (Mr Barnes) thanked all who had voted for Mr Turner.

Mr Turner (who arrived as Mr Barnes was concluding) said that he regretted being late ; but the Mayor had said that he would not declare the poll until halfpast five o'clock, and it was barely that time now. He had heard that he was not elected ; and if the ratepayers were satisfied, so was he. It was the business of the ratepayers, who should be Mayor; but he must say that, after having been six years connected with the Municipal institutions of Dunedin, he did expect to be chosen as Mayor. — (Hear, hear. ) However, he knew how to submit to defeat without feeling annoyance. There was nothing for him to be annoyed at, in view of the arduous duties the Mayor had to perform; and he sincerely trusted that the ratepayers would not be annoyed or disappointed at the way in which those arduous duties were perf ormed during the next twelve months. — (Groans.) Perhaps Mr Harris's long residence in the Province, his connections here, and his social position, warranted the conclusion that he was rightly placed at the head of the poll. — (Hear, hear.) But he (Mr Turner), though not Mayor, was still a member of the Council ; and during the next twelvemonth he would act as he had hitherto acted for the public good. He would be always found at his post ; always speaking his mind, fearlessly, on Municipal matters ; never showing the white feather, when he thought there was something which it was his duty to do or to say. It had been said in town, •' Oh ! Turner, from his social position, is not a fit man to receive the Duke of Edinburgh when he comes. " He could say candidly that he had no ambition to do it ; and he did not think the Mayor-Elect would have the honor of doing it, because it was not likely that His Royal Highness would find his way here. Some gentlemen no doubt fancied that if the Duke came, the Mayor would be knighted. — (Laughter.) We should see what would come of that fancy. — (Laughter, and some cries.) Just so ; echoing those words, he thought it very likely that the Mayor would be benighted instead. — (Laughter.) He (Mr Turner) cordially thanked all those who had supported him. The following shews the number of votes given for each candidate, in each Ward :—

This shows a total of 914 votes recorded, as against about 3500 names on the Citizens' Roll. About 90 persons paid arrears of rates during the day, to entitle themselves to vote. There were very few informal votes reported by the scrutineers. Last year, there were 859 votes given, the numbers being — William Mason, 612 ; David Ross, 231; J. G. S. Grant, 16. Then, it was well understood that many persons would not vote, through not being wholly satisfied with Mr Mason, and being wholly dissatisfied with the other candidates ; while many others regarded Mr Mason's election as so certain that, though friendly to him, they considered the trouble of voting to be unnecessary.

The value of wool exported to the United Kingdom during the quarter ending June 30th, was L 154,86 6; to Victoria, L 23,999.

Birch Harris Millar Turner South. . 33 . 73 20 . 315 High. ... 90 ... 124 ... 47 ... 55 Bell. 51 C 2 23 75 Leith. ... 26 ... 81 ... 11 ... 107

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

THE MAYORALTY ELECTIONS., Otago Witness, Issue 817, 26 July 1867

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1,385

THE MAYORALTY ELECTIONS. Otago Witness, Issue 817, 26 July 1867

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