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Wellington Notes.

PERSONAL AND OTHERWISE. (From a Correspondent). A question frequently put by Departmental officers to objectors in the witness-box who appeal to the Assessment Court against the valuation put on their property is—" What will you take or what will you sell your property or home at ?” The Minister for Lauds thinks this is an unfair question to put, and consequently has given instructions that such a form of question is to be discontinued by valuation officials. The intimate and thorough grasp possessed by the Hon. Mr McXab of the affairs of the department tinder his control were abundantly proved by the ready, lucid, and clear manner in which he replied to questions and criticisms during the discussion on the Land, Agricultural. Valuation and Stock Estimates. Since Mr McNab has assumed control of these departments, he has made a number of changes in regard to organisation, management, ami system of working, which will make for prompt, businesslike. and more effective administration. The Minister, by his progressive, practical, and methodical ideas, has "shaken up” and put life and energy into the services of State under his jurisdiction. The extensive knowledge of details, tact, and ability displayed by the Minister of Labour and Customs in handling the tariff proposals have raised the Hon. Mi - Millar very high in the estimation of those who were present during their discussion. The local manufacturers, workroom employees, factory workers, and those engaged in ihe industries of N.Z. owe a great 'deal to the Hon. Mr Millar and the Member for Invercargill for the way they champion their cause. The rapid progress made by the House when dealing with the tariff indicates that the session will not run beyond the third or fourth November. One of the first- items to attract special attention during the tariff discussions was that of the duty on apples, pears, grapes, etc.., a motion I being submitted to admit all fruit free of duty. This was rejected. At a later stage a motion was made to admit- grapes free. Members representing Auckland and Central Otago | constituencies resented the admission of grapes at all, holding the view that their districts would be aide to supply grapes at some time. in the .future. The House approved of the Minister's proposal. tinder which grapes will be admitted on payment of a fluty of one penny in the pound. A number of members complained that the, remission of duty, amounting - to £-21)0.1100 per year, on sugar, was going to benelh the breweries, and the member for Auckland West moved that the duty should be retained on sugar required for the breweries. The Minister of Customs explained that the breweries would benefit to the extent of only ’£3oo. and; that it would he practically impossible to draw a distinction between brewery sugar and household sugar. The House appeared to have no particular sympathy with the breweries, bur it admitted the practical difficulty pointed by the Minister, and rejected the amendment by 33 to 24, A discussion arose on the Cfovornrnent's proposal to charge a duty of twopence per pound on tea imported in packages weighing less than five pounds. The house approved of the proposal, believing; that the packing of the tea guve employment to number of young persons. Tea is now admit ted free unless it be imported in packets of less than five pounds. An animated debate, took place on the items petticoats and hosiery. The member for Selwyn, who is generally regarded as the most silent man in the House, delivered four heated speeches in twelve minutes on. the usiat-ter. and attempted to retain the 25 per cent, duty on silks and satins, on which the Minister proposes to charge 20 per cent-in order to bring them into line with other similar lines. It was- pointed out that- a large amount, of side and satin is used for the making of blouses and in millinery establishments for the trimming of hats. and the effect would be that if a duty on silks and satins were imposed, hats, blouses, etc., would be made dearer. The House declines - to support the proposed increased duly. An amendment to redure the increased duty on .stockings, woollen under garments and other kinds of hosiery, was defeated by a large majority, the desire of the members being to foster the hosiery industry. The member for Selwyn made a

■ vigorous attempt to reduce the duty on boots, proposing an all-round one of 22J- per cent. He produced a sample of a colonial-made 'boot, manufactured largely, he stated, of .cardboard, wood, and bull's wool, and said that the 900,000 people of the colony should not be taxed for the benefit of 3000 bootmakers. The amendment was strongly opposed by the Minister and the Members for ’Avon and Invcrcarg’ill, each denouncing in heated terms the attempt made to favour importers and sacrifice looal manufacturers and colonial workmen.: "Few importers,” declared an irate member, "are philanthropic—they are more concerned about making Karge profits from the sale of imported goods than about men walking about our streets wanting employment.” .'During the tariff debate the galleries- were crowded, many persons being unable to obtain admission. The Public Works Estimates are not to make their appearance until the tariff and hand Bills are disposed of. Mr CTosby-Smith and Mr David Strang, of Invercargill, were in Wellington last week. ■'The new Opposition paper. “ The Dominion,” is to be issued this week.

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Wellington Notes., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907

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Wellington Notes. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907

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