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THE COLONIST

NELSON, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1866. Yesterday there toolt place what we believe to be the first election of a member of the New House of Representatives. Mr. Win. Wells, the former member, was returned unopposed for the Suburbs of Nelson. The election was made at the Upper Schoolhouse, Wakapuaka. He was proposed by Mr. Alfred Fell, seconded by Mr. Doughty, and declared duly elected. The proceedings did »ot occupy more than twenty minutes. Our limited space obliges us to leave over our report of the meeting until next issue. Probably the most remarkable thing in connection with the election for the City of Nelson, is the.fact that, there should be three distinct enunciations of the course in relation to Mr. Stafford, which Mr. 0. Curtis means to pursue. First of all, Mr. Curtis made an onslaught on- Mr. Stafford, his finance, his figures, and, in something more than a Pickwickian sense—rhis honesty. Last Tuesday his. honorable proposer told the electors that it was entirely a mistake to suppose that Mr. Curtis would oppose Mr. for it was I his intention to support him. Mr. Curtis at the outset of his speech, on Tuesday, said nearly the same thiag. He try to turn out Mr. Stafford ? Perish the thought! And then he proceeded to prove his assertion, according to the law of contraries, by decrying Mr. Stafford's policy, denying his economy, and asserting that even the small savings with which he reluctantly credited him would be mischievous to the colony. These are symptoms of a very curious support, and few will be inclined to place much faith in it. Every saving was objected to by Mr. Curtis, and the off-band opinion of Dr. Hector, that gold and coal might be found close to Nelson was employed as a reason why Mr., Stafford should not have struck off £1500 from the vote for the Geological Department. How much practical good has resulted from thete expwiiw department! that could.

in any way in times like these excuse votes we cannot afford ? What real son k-ea wore performed for the province of Nelson, in the way of discovering realisable mineral treasures in return for the £1000 of public money thrown away on Mr. Julius Haast, who was a favorite of* that party to which the Superintendent referred on Tuesday, and a protege of Mr. Curtis and the Chamber of Commerce ? Have any of these professional geologists created a gold-working population or discovered a single coal-field; and have not our New Zealand gold-fields arisen from the discoveries of Maories and practical wandering diggers ? Then Mr. Curtis told us that the £300 of an increase on the salary of t^e Speaker of the House of Representatives was proposed by the late Government in order " to place the office on terms of equality" with the office of Speaker in New South Wales and Victoria ! Equality with colonies having four times our population and ten times our commercial and pastoral wealth! And these are the lame and impotent excuses for unnecessary and wasteful outlay, at a time when the Colony knew not where to look for the money its necessitates demand, and when taxes were and are called for. We presume this is what Mr. Curtis would call "lookingafter the pounds." It was looking after them at the Colony's expense, We should call it throwing hundreds away. But he tells us this £300 never came before the Hnu"?e. This is a mistake. It was brought before the House when the Estimates were *aid on the table, and there was not the shadow of an excuse for the increase, but much to condemn it. Such are specimens of the economy of (he late Ministry; and yet its friends will rail at and detract from better financiers and a more economical Minister, and at the same time pretend that they are that Minister's friends and supporters ! Mr. Curtis haa nice distinctions as to what is and what is not indecent. It would, he said, have been highly indecent for him, a candidate, to have cross-examined Mr. Stafford, another candidate; but was there nothing indecent in "supposing" facts the truth of which couid have been ascertained, and attempting to throw discredit on Mr. Stafford's distinct statements after he had gone away? Will any one tell us which was the less indecent proceeding of the two? We may here repeat Mr. Stafford's statements respecting what he has saved andis saving. On the annual revenue alone Mr. Stafford told us that he had saved £119,000 on the year now current, and he would have saved more than this had not his predecessors' , expenditure forestalled him for the four months ther had held office in the financial year. AH the criticism, all the denials, and all the sly arithmetical manipulation (founded on acknowledged ignorance of facts) which have been brought into play in detraction of Mr. Stafford, do not disprove a single statement in his figures. And thempstcuriousandleastreputable thing in the whole affair is, that while there is a pretence of believing in and supporting Mr. Stafford, there are only contradictions and condemnation of his conduct.

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Bibliographic details

THE COLONIST, Colonist, Volume IX, Issue 865, 16 February 1866

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854

THE COLONIST Colonist, Volume IX, Issue 865, 16 February 1866

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