Yesterday, at noon, the nomination of candidates took place at the School-house, Richmond. About forty electors were present. Precisely at noon, Mr. Sharp, the Returning Officer, read the election writ, and called on the electors to nominato candidates.
Mr. Oxley proposed Mr. John Fedor Augustus Kelling, who he said was well-known in the locality. We wauted men like him of intelligence, and political integerity, and it behoved tha electors to send such men to represent them ; men of patriotism—if a such a thing still existed—-and he believed it did, though it was scarce. Mr. Kelling, as a member of Council had shown himself to be a man of good sense, as his votes and conduct there entitle him to respect; and he had also served in the Assembly at Auckland. Mr. Oxley strongly denounced the system of taxation, which ho declared was heavier in New Zealand than it was in England in the time of George 111. and the rottenborough system. He pointed to Mr. Kelling as being in favor of taxing wool, and insisted on the great want of reform in respect of taxation; showing that a few rich runholders had got possession of the country, and after making money many of them left it, and paid no taxes. He proposed Mr. Kelling on public grounds. Mr. Thomas White seconded the nomination. Mr. Wm. White proposed Mr. Joseph Shephard of Wai-iti Valley. He was not an entire stranger ; and ho had delivered a very able address, the policy and principles enunciated in which were such as he believed must meet the views of the majority of the electors (hearj hear.) We were suffering under an awful debt, brought upon us by our late and present Ministries; and New Zealand politics-had got into such a state of entanglement, that^we now wanted clear-headed well-informed and intellectual men, who were willing and able to get us cut of our difficulties. Such a man was Mr. Shephard (hear, hear). He (Mr. White) had been askedltb come forward ; and had stated as an objection his own incompetence, and he thought the same objection applied to the two other candidates, Mr. Kelling and Mr. Baigent. Mr. White referred to the objection that Mr. Shephard was not on the roll, but Mr. White said he was now on the roll, and was a registered elector, the Revising Officer having gone his rounds, and placed him on the roll. There had been a desire expressed to bind Mr. Shepherd down not to take office in any Ministry, but he did not think that was fair. It was not a likely occurrence, but no man should be so bound down, if he might be useful in any Government" (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Sharp said that he did not find Mr. Shephard's name on the roll, and asked Mr. White to state the candidate's place of abode and the nature of his qualification.
Mr. White said: Mr. Shephard resides at Fernhill, and is a freeholder.
Mr. Thomas Knight seconded the nomination, stating his belief that Mr. Shephard was a much ¥etter man than Mr. Kelling. In reply to Mr. Boddington, Mr. Sharp, the Returning Offloer, said the Aot provided that a member may be elected provided he was a qualified per-
boh. Th >re was a difference between the writs fort the Provincial Council and that for the House of Representatives, and in consequence he could notun lertake to Say officially that Mr Shephard was not a qualified person. If he did so he would be putting himself in the place of the General Assembly, which he had no right to do. His proper duty was to leave, tlie question open to be decided by the House of Representatives on petition if that were found necessary. ■''"'-. '''..'.|
After some further questions, Mr. Sharp said that on two occasions the election of Mr. Domett for Nelson City, when he was an elector for Hawke's Bay, and of bMr. Travers who was elected for the Waimeas, ths House found them both legally elected, although their qualifications were objected to.
Mr. Glpper lodged a protest against the nomination of Mr. Shephard, on the ground that he was not an elector, either within the province, or within the colony.
Mr. Henry Hubbard proposed Mr. Edward Baigent, who, he said, was a fearless and fair politician; who had risen by his own industry and perseverance, —a practical man, who know the wants and circumstances of the district, and who had occupied a good position in the Provincial Council, and had always voted well there. He would be of great service in the Assembly ; he would command respect by the truths and facts he would boldly lay before that House. He (Mr. Hubbard) did not remember anything Mr. Kelling had ever done, except the Military Settlers affair, for which he got about £1000 for going home to Germany, and although that scheme failed, yet Mr. Domett brought another, which cost the country three millions of money. We were donbW burdened with taxation, and who were in the wrpijfr^; y^hy, tEe people ; because while they were straining their blood and sinew at hard labor, they had been neglecting the great principles of self-govern-ment, which it was the duty of our representatives to carry out.by saving taxation from the people as much as possible. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Baigent would tell the House of Representatives of the evils which a succession of Ministries had placed on the public (hear* bear.)
Mr. Home in a speech of some length, seconded the nomination of, Mr. Baigent. He said that the people were to blame for the class of representatives they had hitherto chosen. They had allowed capital to ride over them without labor being represented at all; and therefore, they need not wonder that there was no tax on wool. He smiled when he heard Mr. Kelling say he. would advocate a wool tax for he knew well enough that in such a House if he were to propose it, it would never be carried. (Hear, hear, from Mr. Kelling, and others). It was objected that Mr. Baigent was a man of plain speech, and only of ordinary education, but he was an honest man, and honesty was but poorly heard in the councils of the nation. In the Council, Mr. Baigent had a plain and honest tongue, and only.'meddled with matters he had a practical knowledge of. He argued that Mr. Kelling had done nothing except, go to Germany and come back again, after a very pleasant excursion at the expense of the colony. Mr.. Miles did not do much only d d the eyes of the cook in his own kitchen at Bellamy's, and had his eyes similarly treated by the cook, who seemed to know best what he was doing. Next came Mr. Oliver, who got in by a fluke, and then went home without doing anything. He condemned the apathy of the electors caused by individualism which led men to say that they did not care for these things, so long as they were getting on well themselves.
Mr. Kelling then addressed the electors, reading from the Gazette figures showing the revenue for the March quarter, and arguing from that that the annual revenue of the General Government was about £1,140,000. Of this, the Provinces get about half-a--million, including surplus revenue, all which the General Government handed over to the provinces. If this were not done, the General Government could reduce our Customs revenue by one-half, and do away with other stamps and taxes. Then every province could take care of its own money, and could tax itself directly much better than the General Government. Road Boards worked well, it would be found far more satisfactory if our local taxes were thus collected. He condemned the .proposal ..for snomiuated Superintendents," as giving too much power into the bands of the General Government; and defended his mission to Germany, replying to Mr. Hubbard by saying that he confounded two systems. His (Mr. Kelling's) system was very different from that of Mr. Domett; and if his system had been carried out of getting 1000 Prussians drilled to arms, and able to cultivate their fields, they would have protected tho country, and there would never have been any necessity for the Three Million Loan. He did not get £1000 for going home, but a good deal less. He concluded by saying that although Mr. Hubbard could not see that he had done anything, yet in Auckland he had opposed increase in the expenditure in the same way as he bad done in the Provincial Coucil. He said that in the House of Representatives nearly one-half of the members were paid officers of the Government, and until that was altered, it was against nature to expect that the House would reduce salaries. What they wanted were independent men who would not seek office. Mr. Kelling explained that he did not require to say much at present, having so recently addressed tbe electors, but he would reply to any questions. Mr. Bhepiierd weut over the main points contained in the address delivered last Thursday, said he had been always a consistent advocate of the ballot, while Mr. Kelling was only a recent convert to that system, and therefore only a proselyte. Referring to the discussion which took place at the outset, with the Returr ing Officer, as to his own eligibility, he said that a lot of legal amateurs, very indiscreetly, as he thought, attempted to discuss law with the Returning Officer ; and he said that if elected he was prepared to maintain the choice of the electors. It had been said that he was unqualified, but what qualifications did the other candidates possess ? Mr. Baigent did not wish ta go to the Assembly, and had said he did not think himself fitted. And what had Mr. Kelling done? ' He first petitioned against Mr. Travers' election without effect, and afterwards he was elected, and after sitting a session he offered himself for Suburban district, but was defeated, and was again defeated 'by Mr Saunders, and then he got his appointment to go to Germany for soldier settlers, who were to create sund iy villages iv the North Island, smoke the pipe of peace with the Maories, and stop all war and taxation. But did he do it ? No, he went to Germany, and no doubt had'a very pleasant and profitable journey ; he put a certain amount of money in his pocket, and then came back again. Mr Saunders afterwards resigned, and Mr Kelling again contested the seat with Mr. Miles, and was again unsuccessful; the people knew too much of that little German scheme. When he was defeated on that occasion he publicly pledged himself never to stand again for any political place, that he was done with political life. But what did he do ? He got elected for the Council, and now came forward for this office. It was aaid Mr. Barnicoat was to come forward, and Mr. Kelling told him (Mr. Shephard) that whether Mr. Barnicoat came forward or not, he would not stand. Then it was said Mr. Barnicoat was not to come forward, and then Mr. Kelling made up his mind to stand. It was quite a see-saw. He could not" forget his past rejections, yet he would try again. The whole course of Mr. Kelling's conduct with the electors reminded him of the lines—
" When first he attempted their pity to move, They turned a deaf ear to his prayers. It was all very well to dissemble their love, But why did they kick him down stairs ?" (Lond laughter.)
The fact was Mr. Kelling was so vacillating that his word to-day was hot his word to-morrow, and if that was the kind of member they wanted they had better not elect him (Mr. Shephard.) He next referred to a letter by a Waimea elector which appeared in the' Colonist respecting his qualification, and which was-the work of a man ~
" —Willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike Who'd hint a fault, and hesitate dislike." It was a stab in the dark and very mean. He (Mr. Shephaid) was qualified ; he was a registered elector ; he saw the Roll oompleted, and had had good opinions from the best legal authorities. Mr. Eobn asked Mr. Shephard why he had beeu
so lottg'lh the-district and had pot registered bekttf now.
Mr. Shephard said he wished to avoid interfering with politics until he knew something more of the people and their wants.
In reply to Mr. Kearns, Mr. Shephahd said that there was not the least necessity for a Resident Magistrate for the Waimea, and he certainly would not accept such an office. In answer to Mr. Boddington, Mr. Shephard said he was neither vain nor ambitious, and therefore did not expect that he would be offered a seat in any Ministry, but he thought it wrong to tie a representative down from accepting such office, when he could serve the public; but if Mr. Boddington meant what was generally called a "billet," he would at once say he did not want such a thing, and would not accept it. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Barnicoat asked Mr. Shephard to produce the opinions from the best legal authorities as to bis qualification for election, but this. Mr. Shephard refused to produce to one who was opposed to him in the election.
Mr. Barnicoat then acknowledged himself to be the writer of the letter in The Colonist signed a " Waimea Elector," and asked Mr. Shephard to point to a single passage which was an attack on him, or a stab in the dark. If he had made an attack on any one he would have put Ms name to it, but the letter was merely extracts from acts of Parliament, which it would have looked like egotism to sign it with one's name.
Some further discussion took place on the subject ofMr. Shephard's qualification, but the Returning Officer said that must bo left to the Assembly. Mr. Baigent then shortly addressed the meeting. He had like many others felt annoyance at the treatment the district had received at the hands of several members who had not done their duty that he determined to come forward himself. Both Mr. Miles and Oliver had promised great things, had done nothing and then gone home. He (Mr. Baigent) had always confessed he had not the ability necessary to go to the Assembly, and the electors knew it, but he would nt least give an honest vote and not leave the district in tlie lurch as Mr. Oliver would have done, for bis resignation would not have been sent in if the matter had not been pushed. Then Mr. Kelling said he would come forward, and then that he would not, and Mr. Barnicoat was talked of but did not come. And, Mr. Sbeyhard came forward and asked him. (Mr. Baigent) for support, but was told that he intended to stand himself. Mr. Baigent then said that Mr. Shephard had in his speech at Richmond departed from his own address to the electors, and had taken up his ground, and quoted some parts of his letter to the electors in support of the sUtement, a.nd said he had got hold of his (Mr. Baigent's) pudding and picked the plums out. He would oppose heavy taxes, and do his best to represent the district.
Mr. (shepherd denied he had picked up Mr. Baigent's ideas. The fact is, the policy he had supported was that of Peel, Bright, Cobden, and Gladstone, and not, therefore, likely to be invented by bMr. Baigent.
Mr.. Kelling defended himself from the charge of vaecillation, and said he had originated the DistillalationAct.
After some more questions, a show of hands was called for, when there were 11 each for Mr. Kelling and Mr. Baigent, and 8 for Mr. Shephard. The Returning Officer declared tho show of hands in fuvor of Mr. Baigent, for form's 'sake, when Mr; Kelling demanded a poll, which is fixed for Eriday next.
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THE NOMINATION., Colonist, Volume X, Issue 738, 25 June 1867
THE NOMINATION. Colonist, Volume X, Issue 738, 25 June 1867
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