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Politics at Fortrose.

The outcome of a recent public meeting held in Elliott's Hall to take into con* sideration matters political and the merits of candidates for representing tfce district in Parliament was the appointment of a * committee to frame a platform on which it was proposed the whole would act. This committee having done its work, a general meeting was held in the same place on Friday evening to consider its report or recommendations, and take action in accordance therewith or otherwise. There was a good representative gathering, when Mr F. W. Brunton was called to the chair, and explained the pnrpose of the meeting. He concluded by reading the following seriatim as the "platform" adopted :— (1) Establishment of a State Bank of Issue ; (2) advances by the State to freeholders personally ocenpj - ing and workiog farms, not exceeding 500 acres, at lowest possible rates of interest ; (3) 4 Und and income tax instead <A tht

property tax ; (4) local government and aecentralinntion ; (5) the rabbit department and standing armyto be swept away ; (6) tbe honorarium of members of both Houses to be reduced to Ll5O per annum ; members to get their expenses only to and from Wellington ; (7) number of members of the Lower House to be reduced to 60; ->(8) no one to be appointed to the Upper Home till tbe present number is reduced to 25 and that number kept for the future ; (9) Ministers' dwellings in Wellington to be sold, and Ministers to receive in lump sum for residence and travelling, salary, etc , not to exceed a total of LGOOO ; (10) no further taxation fo be made through the Customs except on lnxuriea, (11) the railways to be worked for 12 months under a modified Yaile ryst< m; (12) all Waete Land Boards to be done away with, and their functions handed over to County Councils ; (13) all State aid to be stopped for high schools, and the present endowments for them vested in primary schools ; (14) State Forest Department to be done away with at once, and the management of the forest t> vested in County Councils ; (15) the Bible to be read in schools with a conscience clause ; (16) ineistenco on the equalisation of our revenue and expenditure without further taxation ; (17) resistance to all further borrowing except for the completion of railways in course of construction to a productive point i (18) to appoint a commission to inquire into the position of the deferred payment settlers, with a view of giving them every relief possible. Commencing with the first of the tests the Chairman briefly gave tbe reasons of the committee for taking it as one of the " plank*," and in reply to questions put he quoted from authorities to show the valae of " printed paper "as a currency medium. As to a Btate Bank he said nothing could be better — what was the Bank of England, the soundest institution in the world of the kind, but a State Bank? la the present cate tbe notes of the bank would be subject of course to the usual rules of exchange if sent out of the colony. The adoption of this having been moved and seconded was agreed to. But little consideration was required for the second olause, which was also adopted. Speaking to No. 3 the Chairman pointed oat the injustice of taxiDg improvements ai, ho said, lucidly set forth by Mr Mackintosh in hi* addresses on this topic. — Olause agreed to. Regarding No. 4, tbe Chairman explained tbat it was only intended to apply to email matters— not to have trifles in every tray referred to Wellington. — The clause was adopted. In putting the next •' plank," the Chairman and other speakers ridiculed having a rabbit inspector and a rabbit department. Neither wna wanted or required, and in any case tbe rabbit difficulty could be best dealt with locally. As it was, it coat the colony L 30,000 per annum, which settles residing in parts where there were no rabbits had to pay their share of all the same. — " Plank" agreed to. Putting the next recommendation before the meeting the Chairman remarked that they did not want Mi.H.R. running all over the country selling " dip " and doing other work. — Adopted. Any sane man, the Chairman thought would allow the propriety of the next 11 plank" — that 50 men were sufficient for Parliament. He pointed out that in fact the work was at present done by that number, the remainder usoally running all over the country. — Agreed to, as was also the next clause, the Chairman arguing for the necessity of an Upper House, though he considered lhat a smaller number of member* would be more effective. Mr Preston moved as an amendment on the eighth clausa that the words be added -" that the Upper House be an elected body." Seconded by Mr Cbisholm, and carried by a large majority. The ninth *' plank " was adopted without dissent or discussion. Tbe Chairman in putting the tenth clause explained tbat it was inserted because their late member wished to tax such articles aa tea and svgar — they did not want that. Mr Elliott thought it was just tea and sugar which should be taxed because tbOße people would know exactly what amount was tbe duty, and not be paying more than should be given. The Chairman noted that the same agreement would apply to every other article. Mr Sinclair pointed out that tea and gugar were so commoDly used by all — perhaps the poorer class most — that any tax on them was certain to be felt. Besides this if tbe LSOO exemption for income tax was done away with it would be tbe poorer classoa again tbat would suffer most. After aoaie further discussion, the " plaok " was adopted. After homourously ridiculing the present system of railway cbargep, contrasting it with the uniform rates of the postal service, &c, tbe Cbairman read tbe next clause, explaining Mr Vaile's plan at some length, and how it would operate in the case of farm produce. Several lndicrous instances of the operation of tbe existing tariff were given, and the clause was unanimously adopted. The twelfth " plank " was) not inserted in tbe J' platform " with the full approval of the meeting. Explaining that it did not in any way interfere with the primary schools— which no one desired to touch — the chairman read the next clause amid applause. It was at once unanimously agreed to, as was also tbe next. An amendment that the next clause — Bible in schools — be struck out of tbe programme was lost, a large majority voting against it, Tbe sixteenth clause was adopted without discus Jon. On the seventeenth an amendment was moved that all the words after " borrowing" be struck out. Mr Templeton spoke in favour of finishing lines on wblch work had been already done. A railway was like a bouse — if left in a half finished state, it w«8 soon in ruins. — After considerable discussion the clause as it stood was carried by a majority. The reading of clause 18 was followed by app'auße, repeated after tbe chairman had Bhown the unfairness of the Government to the old deferred payment settlers as compared with its favours to recent comers who took up land under the homestead system. Mr Templeton in moving the adoption of thia " plank " spoke in leeliDg terms of the position of the deferred payment settlers at present, averring that the Government had dealt very harßbly with them. Mr Sinclair supported the motion in a similar straiD, expressing tho belief that the freeholders, who, it waß said by some, might be hurt or unfairly dealt with if any concession were exceptionally made, would instead heartily rejoice.— -The clause was adopted. This finished the " platform," but an opportunity was given for any one to bring forward anything which appeared to be omitted. Some remarks were made as Ito the salary of the Governor, but no action was taken. At this stage the Chairmain intimated that Mr Mackintosh, one of the candidates for representing the district, being in tbe town bad been communicated with, and was then present to answer any questions. This closed the business so far as the committee was concerned and the meeting resolved itself into a public one to hear Mr Mackintosh's replies to the programme of tbe committee. Mr Wm. Dawaou being called to the chair introduced

Mr Mackintosh who etated tbat he would have much pleasure in answering any questiona which might be put to him. To the first he replied tbat he was in favour of a BaDk on the lines of tho Industrial BaDk wliich he had repeatedly uttered. A purely State Bank as proposed by Mr Bathgate he did not see his way to approve of. Mr Templeton, answering; some expression of dissent, said that what the committee were aiming at, and what Mr Mackintosh apoko of were the same thing. Mr Mackintosh said if that were so he was with them heart and hand, and returned the same answer to the next question, both replies being received with applause. With No. 3he could not quite agree, believing tbat they could not do without a property tax jußt yet. Tho only form of land tax be could agree to was an acreage one after classification. No. 4 being put he said that was required above all things. With No. she entirely agreed. To the next query he pointed ont that they would have to be careful in dealing with this qnestion, but he agreed in the principle involved. He did not think the Lower House should be reduced to less than 70, and the Upper House he would do away with a'togother ; if returned at all it should be elective. There was no way, however, in his opinion, of dealing with it except by extinguishing it. He agreed with all the next items in the programme except not allowing travelling expenses— he thought tbat was necessary. To the next "plank" be would add, after "luxuries" — "and such articles as can be manufactured or made in the colony." — With tbe next be agreed thoroughly. — He j would do away with Waste Land Boards, and vest their functions in some other local body. He heartily concurred with tbe terms of the next " plank," and as to the one following, though he confessed he was not fully " up" in tbe subject, he saw no objection to it. — An affirmative answer was given to tbe next question. This concluded the "catechism," and Mr Brunton, secretary for the committee, thanked Mr Mackintosh for attending and giving them so much eatisf action. That gentleman then addressed the meeting, advocating the formation of a Royal Commission to inquire into the method of raising revenue through the Customs and how it operated on article! whioh couid be produced or manufactured in the colony, and resumed his seat amid applause. Mr Kenneth Gr Mackenzie then moved that Mr Mackintosh was a fit and proper person to represent the district in Parliament, which was seconded by Mr James Preston, and carried unanimously amid great applause. A vole of thanks to the chairman cioeed the proceedings.

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Bibliographic details

Politics at Fortrose., Southland Times, Issue 9584, 1 August 1887

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Politics at Fortrose. Southland Times, Issue 9584, 1 August 1887