THE PORT CHALMERS ELECTION. THE NOMINATION.
The nomination of candidates to represent the district of Port Chalmers in the General Assembly took place on Monday, outside the Court House, Port Chalmers. There was a large attendance. The Returning Officer (Mr William Reid) • read the writ commanding the election, and read the advertisement stating the dates of the nomination and polling. He announced that he would now receive the nominations of candidates. A pause. The, Returning Officer : In order to facilitate the business, I will rule, if it does not make any difference to anyone, that the candidate proposed last shall address the electors, first. — (Hear, hear.) < Mr David Miller proposed the Hon. W. H. Reynolds as a fit and proper person to be their representative in the General Assembly. He stated that he had known the honourable gentleman for .the past 20 or 24 years, and reviewed his political career in a rather long speech which, more especially as it was raining at the time, he, was repeatedly requested to cut short. • The Hon.' Mr W. H. Reynolds had taken a great deal of care of his former constituency, and he thought the Dunedin electors might be proud of Mr Reynolds, that gentleman having left two or three marks of himself there that would be remembered after he had gone. He showed that Mr Reynolds had in the past advocated Financial Separation for many years— from 18G7 to 1872. They could not set down Mr Reynolds as a Centralist. Some called an Abolitionist a Centralist, but they need only look as far as Dunedin to see what Dunedin ,had done in the past in the way of Centralism, so far as Port Chalmers was concerned. In proof of the Centralising tendency of Dunedin, he referred to the once agitated question of, the site pi the Government workshops, and to the action of the Harbour Board, which Board would not do dredging at Port Chalmers, alleging as its reason that at the Port the dues levied were only half of those charged at Dunedin. So far as Centralism was concerned, they saw enough in Dunsdin. Mr Reynolds was the largest holder of property in the Port, and when he -was looking after the electors' interests, he would be looking after his own. Mr David Law seconded Mr ReynolJs's nomination. Mr (Mr Law) was an out-and put supporter of Mr Macandrew, that was to say, he believed in him because he had done a great deal for Port Chalmers, but he 6 ; d not endorse his Provincial views. He believed nine-tenths of the people of Port- Chalmers were in Mr Macandrew"s favour, but people in Dunedin now sent some one in his aiead, ii they (the people of the Port) could stomach it, —(A Voice: No, we can't.) But they had got up a requisition ■to Mr Reynolds, who was the proper man, and they would carry his election. Dr O'Donoghue had a candidate to propose* — (Uproar.) There were some there who could cry down as much as they pleased, but they could not stop the voice of public opinion. He had not the slightest objection to the Hon. Mr Reynoids's candidature. He wan very glad that that honourable gentleman haJ come forward to test the question whether, in the opinion ' of the electors of the district of Poi I Chalmers, Provincialism or Centralism was best. In this contest the question would beproperly decided because one candidate was a Centralist and the other a ' Provincialist. They all knew Mr Keynoldß'B views. The Port Chalmers people tad decided in favour of Mr Macandrew, and • if they now turned round and supported Mr Reynolds they would show that they had no politics whatever.— (Confusion ; and A voice : It's men, not measures.) He would be glad to support Mr Reynolds were that honourable , gentleman on his side in politics. He begged the voters seriously to consider the question involved in this contest, and, as they vslued the future of the country, to support men who op •posed Centra Using views. He concluded by • proposing Mr Green. Mr John Sibie, who was received with laugh ter and cries of "Blueskinl BlueskinJ" seconded Mr Green's nomination. Mr Green said that in a British community there should be something like regularity and order, and that having been placed in nomina tion after Mr Reynolds, that gentleman should have been the first called upon to speak. — ■( A "voice : You did not choose to clafr-. right ) He impressed upon them not to allow tnem. selves to be led away by the cry, "Blueskin against Port Chalmers." There was no cause for opposition or ill-feeling between the two places, and he hoped that on the election day they -would come to the poll, discard such cries, and record their votes ill favour of 1 the candidate vhose opinions coincided with theivs, Mr Reynolds would not address them first, and your Minister of the Crown waß prepared to give way to a member of the Provincial Executive : fie (Mr Green) was not afraid to address them. They bad already beard of the serviced, of the Jnug ser« Vices, -of the Jion- Mr Reynolds t© Dunediu j feu.4 wip it ooi thi l*ti f th*t but i w toe veto el
that constituency they would not have Mr Reynolds hero now ? Mr Green then referred to his (Mr Green's) part in politics since his landing here, to his services in the Provincial Council during the past eight years, and mentioned tha'; those whose votes had fii&fc brought him into political life had since continued to give him their warmest support — a proot that his labours were appreciated. Mr Keynolds's action on the land question was e'lfficicnt to prevent him ever being returned by any con stituency. Ho (Mr Green) would be the last to deprive that gentleman of the opportunity of taking any further part in the affairs of the country, but they all knew that ; i Mr Reynolds did not succeed in being elected, there was not the slightest doubt that he would be called to the Upper House, and there tlic community could get the benefit of Hs intelligence, ability, and experience. Mr Grocn referred to the remark that this was a contest between Provincialism and Centralism, and referred to the statement of Mr Reynolds's proposer, that Mr Reynolds, though he supported Abolition, was not a Centralist. This he (Mr Green) considered was not consistent. But whether the electors determined in favour of Abolition or against it, he (Mr Green) woul 1 say and say advisedly, that the Hon. Mr Reynolds might, in his action on the Abolition question last session, be fairly characterised as*, one of the greatest tyrants in the community.- — (Appxu bation. disapprobation, and great confusion.) He knew full well the import of the word Concerning the statements of Mr Reynolds's proposer, he would say. that if Port Chalmers could not get its wants attended to in Dunedin — if that statement were correct — Port Chalmers, that was within nine miles by rail of Dunediu, where there was a Provincial administration, he would ask them how would they have justice done to their interests by a Central Government at Wellington ? He had not ths slightest hesitation in telling the gentlemen who came down from Dunedin to champion his honourable friend, that they would not howl down Blueskin — the Port people would give him a fair hearing, and if those he had referred to wanted io howl, they could go to the reclaimed land, where there was plenty of room, and where they , could howl to their hearts' content, He then replied pretty fully to Mr Reynolds's published speeches, and argued that with Centralism the administration of the Waste Lands would pass to the Colonial Government, and that the Land Fuiid would pass from the hands' of the Provinces. He pointed , out that the pastoral tenants were strong supporters of Centralism, and tnat some of those who supported the Abolition Bill had actually claimed perpetual leases. That placing of power in the hands of a Government with such supporters was one of the things they would have by the downfall of Provincial institutions. He impresied upon the electors that under the Abolition JMU the Governor in Council, that was to Bay, the Colonial Executive, would deal with the pastoral leases when they fell in. Another matter, that cf the Education Reserves. Mr Reynolds would tell them that the Education Reserves had been seuired to Otago— (Mr Reynolds: Hear, hear)— but he (Mr Green) would tell them there was nothing more insecure. The passing of the Abolition Bill, he asked them to bear m mmd, would not give more revenue ; it only affected the way in which the revenue should be disbursed. He then commented on Mr Reynolds's jjroposal as to the way in which losses in the -working of railways should be charged, In answer to questions, Mr GiiEEN said that he was not in favour of denominational education. He wag proud to think that they had, perhaps, > the very best system of education in the Province tb^y were likely to have. If they had 200 scholars in a denominational school in a town without interfering with the Government schools, and if the 200 scholars were passed by the Government Inspector, that would not alter his orinion that the Government should not support u«uiui/iuia< tional schools. The number of scholars would not influence him, it was the principle. He was a thorough secularist in education. He did not believe in any interference of the religious bodies with their schools. As to whether he was_ in favour of putting out the Vogel Ministry, his answer to that question was that if he went to the Assembly he should go there with the deteimination of looking carefully into every measure submitted to the Assembly, and would support or oppose each measure upon its merits, irrespective ox the Government. He would not go to the Assembly pledged to turn out the Go vernment, or to support even the strongest Pro vincialist Government that might be formed, ox to support ahy Government that Mr Macandrew might form or give his support to. There was an insinuation that, because Mr Macandrew stood for Dunedin, that a nominee was sent down here. If he (Mr Green) was the person referred to in that insinuation, he would give it a distinct denial. Many a time had members of Mr Reynolds's party followed^ him to Bluo skin, and hooted him in the district, bocause he (Mr Green) had not supported Mr Maciwiuievv, because, forsooth, he had ventured to oppose Mr Reid. He would go into the Assembly to act independently- -he would be pledged to no man or section of men. As to there being any agreement between Mi 1 M'Dcrmid aud himself that the former should not stand, an arrange inent had been made by which certain gentlemen should report as to which would have the largest measure of support in the district — the candidate having the smnllest to retire. The report had been in his (Mr Green's) favour; but, notwithstanding that, he had expected that Mr M'Dermid would be nominated. Mv M'Dermid was not to stand if Mr Reynolds did. The' Hon. W. H. Reynolds, who was received with cheering and applause, said that he appeared before the electors of the district of Port Chalmers to ask them to return liliii As their momber for the General Assembly, and he appeared before them because of a requisition signed by 203 of the electors of the district. These 203 electors, he felt perfectly certain, never would sign the requisition saying that they would vote for him, ,and work for him, ana do their best to secure his return, unless they really meant it. He had heard it stated by parties on the opposite ticket that some of those who signed the requisition would not keep their word, He believed nothing of the sort. He knew most of them, and he was thoroughly convinced that they would keep their word to the very letter, and he felt, sure that he should have the honour of representing them in the General Assembly. He had already fully expressed his views before the electors of the city of Dunedin, and' as these views had been fully reported he thought it would be unnecessary, at all events at the present tune, to occupy their time at any length in going over his views again. He should take a subsequent opportunity of addressing them, He had already Berved Dunedin 22 years— (A Voice j And then rejected)— and he had served Dunedin faithfully. Aud he did not consider that it was any disgrace for him to stand there that day, and Bay that at the last election he was rejected for Dunedin. He thought that if there was any disgrace to be attributed to any one, it was to the electors of Dunedin.— (Ob J Confusion, and applause,) If they had a servant who served them faithfully lot 22 years, if he bad served them faithfully ftlwflyr, would tli*y> for $ ptagls taiut»kt, fte
justified in dismissing him ? — (No, no.) Every vote he had given, if he had to give it over again, he should give it in the same way. He might say that a gentlemar who, he believed, professed to be a member of the League, came to him, and asked him .he question, "Whether I could modify my view s a little, because if so, he thought that the League would secure me a seat."— (Voices : Name, name,) He would not name, but this was said in the presence of other parties beside himeelf, and he was in a position to state the name privately to Mr Green, if he wanted to know. (Mr Gween : I 'V'} "ot ask you.) He (Mr Reynolds) declined the proposal, and considered that, if he consented to do anything of the sort, he should be unworthy of the support and of the suffrages of any constituency in the Colony. — (Hear, hear.) The opponents of the Abolition Act said it was a Centralising measure. He denied tint in toto, and, while he supported the Abolition Act, he said it far more liberally provided for local self-govern-ment than could bo provided for under any jL'rovincial Council. Ho then defended the Local Government Bill of last session, pointing out that it was merely a tentative measure. The Abolition Act did do away with Provincial Executives, and he could understand how some Provincialusts in pay and power objected to the doing away of thsir offices. In reply to Mr Green's remarks, Mr Reynolds mentioned that he advocated the sub-division of runs when the leases fell in, and said that the educotion reserves were secured by the Abolition Act to the Province, So far as the land laws we±e concerned no one could be more liberal than he. He thought his experience, and the influence he possessed in the Assembly from his long connection with politics, were such as to make his services valuable ; and he believed that he could bring his influence to bear so as to do everything which was absolutely necessary, and which was reasonable, for the district. If they returned him, they might depend upon his energies and influence. His interests were identical with theirs ; he was largely interested in the electoral district of Port Chalmers, and they might depend upon it that he would not sacrifice their interest, which he would do if he sacrificed his own. During the time lie had represented Dunedin he had looked after the interests of other places also, and had lately received a vote of thanks from the Town Council of the Port for having secured a valuable piece of land. In answer to questions,
Mr Reynolds said that denominational education would never answer in this Colony. The question " With all due respect to you, sir, don't you think it wouLl be a degradation to Fort Chalmers to elect you?" Mr Reynolds did not answer.
A show of hands was taken, which the Re turning Officer dcclcavecl to be as follows : — Reynolds, 40 ; Green, 42. Mr Reynolds demanded a poll, and further proceedings were adjourned till election day.
THE TAIERI ELECTION. The nomination of candidates for the representation of Taieri in the House of Representatives took place at Mosgiel on the 2'Jth, at noon. There were about thirty persons present. Mr James Fulton, the Returning Officer, having read the writ, called upon those present to nominate a candidate for the seat. Mr Donald Reid was proposed by Mr Andrew Todd, and seconded by Mr J. Allan, M.P.C. No other candidate was proposed, and the Returning Officer called upon Mr Reid to address the electors. Mr Reid, who was received with applause, said he need scarcely tell them that it was with feelings of very great satisfaction that he found there was to be no other candidate for the representation of the district. He looked upon it as another act of very great consideration on the part of this constituency, for, at the present time he felt that it was a very high honour indeed to have received the confidence of his constituents to such an extent as to be elected without a contest. He would wish to detain them for a short time while he said a few words with respect to the future, and to the action taken in the past. He was not there to impute motives to those who voted in, favour of Abolition. He darecl^ say that they did so, conscientiously believing* that they were acting for the best interests of the Colony. But he did think that it was very gratifying to see the feeling that had been evoked throughout the country among the electors, and which would be a warning to those who voted for Abolition in such a hasty manner, that the Constitution of this country i 3 not to be tampered with on the eve of a general election, without the people themselves having an opportunity of expressing their opinions as to the form of Government under which they are. to live. No matter how wise a measure Abolition might be, and even if every elector present thought that Abolition would be an advantage to the country— which ho thought was not theii 1 opinion — he maintained that it would be establishing a most dangerous precedent to allow the Parliament to deckle, on the eve of an appeal to the constituencies, which was the befrt form of Government for the future. All despots, of whom history had given an account, had been actuated Dy the belief that they were doing the best for the interests of the people. ' They simply thought they knew better than the people themselves what was good for the people. It would be most dangerous to introduce such ideas into a representative form of Government. As he had already Said, he was gratified to witness the feeling which was manifested throughout the country with regard to the action which had been taken > last session. He held in his hand a card containing the names of the members of the Opposition, who were divided into watches to prevent the Abolition Bill from becoming law at once. .There were 1(3 names on that card, and it was gratifying to him to find that everyone of those gentlemen who had come forward as candidates during the present general elections, were returned as members of the new Parliament. — (Applause.) He sincerely hoped that everyone of. those men who presented himself would be re-elected. It epended on the new Parliament whether or not the Abolition Bill should become law. He was free to say for himself, as one of the minority who said that this question should be remitted to the constituencies^ that if the electors determine by a majority that there shall be a change, he will be prepared to accept that decision. Of course, when the Parliament met, he would have to vote against the Abolition Bill to determine whether or not there was a majority in favour of it ; but he would at once state frankly that he would raise no factious opposition, and so far as his humble ability went, he would assist in framing the form of Government which was to supersede the Provincial system. He could assure them that if the Parliament decided in favour of Abolition, they would have a very arduous task before them in framing a new Constitution— a task which would tax the energies of members during one if not two very long sessions. He thought the very best policy for the Colony was to retain the present form of Government. He berioved that, owing; to the configuration of the country — owiijg to its extreme length, and the diversity in the character of the country*-it would not be advan* tagcous to eudeavom? to govern the Colony, vrfttj reflect to«U it? torn uMixp, itom om,
centre. That was to say, to govern it in the same way as Victoria is governed. He believed that any attempt to do so would not meet with the hearty co-operation of the people themselves. But he saw no reason therefore why they should have a separation of this country. He saw no reason why all matters relating to the outside world should not be c irrieel on by a Federal Government, as it was in the early days of the Colony. That was to say, they should have a Government in Wellington which would have to do with all matters of a Colonial nature, as provided in the Constitution Act, _ leaving to the Provinces or Provincial districts the management of all matters of local concern, and the raising of local revenues required for carrying on that management. Thus they would throw on each part of tht Colony, and on the residents in each part of the Colony, the responsibility of determining what works they wished to have earned out, and by what means they should be carried out. lie believed that the means would be derived from the surplus waste lands revenue, and, where there was no such revenue, from loans which would have to be repaid by taxation over the district. If they adopted a system such as that propounded in the Abolition Bill — the General Government having the control of all the revenues, and raising large sums from the Customs duties, to be doletl out to the diffeient ' districts as subsidies — they would not ,have a beneficial system of Government!, or one calculated to promote the interests of the people of New Zealand. A speech had been recently delivered in Dunedin by Sir I<\ D. Bell, whom lie looked upon as probably the most able exponent of Abolition views. If anyone took up that speech and read it lie would be forced to the conclusion that the Colony could not dispense with the Provincial form of Government, or something near akin to it. Sir F. D. Bell's proposal was to erect another set of Provincial Councils, with this distinction, that instead of one Provincial Council for the Province of Otago, he would have probably three or four. He (Mr Reid) was very doubtful whether such a plan would be advantageous. He thought, therefore, that this cry of Abolition had not been sufficiently considered. Even Sir F. D. Bell, who was one of the strongest advocates of Abolition, admitted that they must have something very like Provincialism. There was a feature of difference in his proposal, and it was this : He said there were scrambles for place and pay in the Provincial Councils, and therefore the political elempnt should be done away with. Now, he would like to know what was meant by '' political ?" He could not see how they could separate the " pplitical" element from any system or body which provided for the government of the people — whether that body was a Road Board, or a Shire Council, or a Board of Works. Admitting that there had been scrambling for place and pay in the Provincial Councils, he thought they had had some very good Executives in Otago ; and he thought it was a very great advantage indeed to have the men who administered the revenues responsible to the body which raised those revenues. During the present elections, the question of the incidence of taxation had been raised by many of the candidates. He knew it would be more popular to say something else, but he did not think there was much to complain of at present with regard to the incidence of taxation. _ If there was to be an increase in the taxation in future, it would be a different matter, but he hoped that the affairs of New Zealand would be so managed that there would be no necessity for an increase of taxation. He knew it was a prevalent opinion that there should be a land tax ; and if it were shown that additional taxation would be required to make up deficiencies caused by unprofitable railways, he thought it would be quite reasonable to impose a tax upon' properties benefited by those railways.. But they should remember that land was not the only kind of property benefited by railways ; and he maintained that land was not a fair basis of taxation. A man's income was a far more equitable basis of taxation. If they were to have a land tax, they should also at the same time have an income tax. Land should only be made the basis of taxation' for the purpose of raising necessary revenue, and not for the purpose of oppressing those who purchased land. But there was one case in which he thought a land tax would be justifiable ; and in this case it would not be as a meaus of raising revenue only. The case to which he referred was where land well adapted for agricultural pvirposes was bought in large blocks, and allowed to remain in its, natural state without any effort being made to improve it. They would be not only justified, but it would be their duty to impose on such land a reasonable amount of taxation, which would return to the State an equivalent for what would be paid as taxes by the tillers of the soil, if that land were under cultivation. With regard to education, he thought that was a question which would have to be dealt with by the new Parliament. It was a question which the Government of the country — whether they had Provincialism or Centralism — could not overlook, but he thought that the management of education ought to bo localised as much as possible, and ought not to be altogether free. He believed that the best way in which the Central Government could assist in regard to education — and it would have to assist in some Provinces — would be by giving capitation grants according to certain results, which could be tested by inspectors. Every division of the Colony should be bound to i-iruvide schools for a given number of children, and to see that a certain standard of education was maintained, or othenvise this should be done by a power above them by means of rates levied over the districts. Efe was very doubtful as to whether free and compulsory education would be acceptable to this country. He was very doubtful as to whether the people valued free education so highly as a system of education towards the maintenance of which they had to pay a portion of their means. A Commission which was appointed in the Home country to enquire into the state of education in Europe, came to the' conclusion that the system of education which gave the greatest results for a given period was one in whioh the parents themselves had to provide Homething towards its maintenance. He believed these same remarks would be found to apply to education in this country. In any case they could not allow the population in any part of the Colony to grow up uneducated. With regard to the land question, they were aware that the pastoral leases would soon fall in. One run was re-let a short time ago, the terms being that the land could be resumed at any time, by giving twelve months' notice, without compensation. The rent obtained for that run at open auction was five times more than was previously received. Therefore ho thought they might fairly conclude that when all the pastoral leases expired— assuming that they retained their Provincial enfcityy and secured to themselves their revenues — they would derive at least three or four times- as much rent from, their pastoral leases as. they derived at present. That would give them an annual revenue of something like a quarter of a million sterling,, which would be- very handsome indeed. In conclusion, he Would say that be thought they had much reason to be phased With #» pJfw el propjwityr wWd» thy m»
around them on every side : and notwithstand. ing the heavy liabilities which they had incurred, he thought that, with such an energetic population as the Colony possessed, no fear need be entertained for the future of New Zealand.
The Returning Officer then declared Mr Donald Eeid to be duly elected as the representative of the Taieri district in the General Assembly. • . A vote of thanks to the Returning Officer, and three cheers for Mr Reid, closed the pro•ceedings.
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THE PORT CHALMERS ELECTION. THE NOMINATION., Otago Witness, Issue 1257, 1 January 1876
THE PORT CHALMERS ELECTION. THE NOMINATION. Otago Witness, Issue 1257, 1 January 1876
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