MR MONTGOMEEY AT AKAROA.
A largely attended meeting, convened by the above gentleman, was held in the Town Hall, Akaroa, on Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. Mr Thacker was voted to the chair. The Chairman stated that the meeting was called by Mr Montgomery to hear his explanation, and to address them on other matters of interest to the electors. He was sure they would give an attentive hearing, and he might say that any elector would havo an opportunity of asking questions of Mr Montgomery, or of addressing tho meeting, always bearing in mind, that nothing should bo stud whioh would not bo Btrictly in order, and within the fair limits to be observed at public meetings. With these remarks, he would introduce Mr Montgomery. Mr Montgojieby said : He appeared before them to explain a mistake which had given him considerable annoyance, principally because, for tho time .being, the district was in consequence without a representative. He ■was sure they would kindly allow him to place tho facts before them, and he thought they would boliove that he had dono nothing to forfeit the confidence with which they honoured him a few months ago. He stated that in tho beginning of January he was very much occupied with provinoial politics, having jusfc formed one of a new Executive, and as tho Council was then in session he could spare very little time— a few minutes daily — to his own business. However", he was content to give his time to public" duties, bb he had valuable men who had been long with him, and he entrusted his business to them. Mr Montgomery then proceeded to explain that before the commencement of this year a number of individuals on the Peninsula used to send up sleepers in consignments, whioh his firm passed to the
General Government find collected the money for. About January I), ho understood from his book-keeper thai; the Genernl Government objected to receive sleepers in small quantities from different people, mid that lie thought of arranging with them to deliver 3000 or '1000 in the name of the firm. Ho (Mr Montgomery) remembered telling him to take care about making any contract which would render tho firm liable for delivery within a certain time. He paid no more attention to the matter than he did to any other matter of comparatively small importance, and it passed from his mind for somo time altogether. His book-keeper wrote on January 9, offering to make an arrangement with the General Government for the delivery of 3000 to 5000 sleepers, and to this the Government replied that 300 to 400 per month would be received at a certain fixed price. The sleepers were forwarded to the firm, and were passed to the General Government at the price stated. About the time of his olectioa for Akaroa, he told his book-keeper and salesman to be careful not to sell any goods to the General Government, and to treat the General Government the same as the Provincial Government. He was perfectly unconscious of the old contract disqualifying him from taking his Beat in the Ho use, and was much astonished when he made the discovery on last Tuesday week. He immediately, on making the discovery, sought advice, and the next morning he laid the facts of the case before the Speaker, and requested him to bring the matter before tho House. A committee was appointed to investigate tho case. He (Mr Montgomery) telegraphed to Christchurch, inquiring if the warning he had given was remembered, and received in reply a telegram. The following is a copy of the telegram : — " Christchurch, July 29. — I remember distinctly about the time of your election both Needham and myself were warned by you not, on any account, to sell goods to the General Government. If I remember rightly, sleeper contract was mentioned, but understood that that, having been entered into long before you had any intention of entering the General Assembly, did not matter, but we were not to enter into any fresh engagements, nor have we. I have received order from the General Government Immigration department- since, and refused, and wrote officially to Mr March, as follows, and have copy : — <f Our Mr Montgomery being a member of both General and Provincial Government, we cannot supply any goods to any Government institution. Signed E. H. Wood." The committee decided, that the contract disqualified him (Mr Montgomery), but tho very important addendum was attached to "<j rep> t that the committee wore unanimous y of opini-m, i>'iat he had erred through inudverti-ncy. lie was exceedingly gratified at this expression of opinion, from gentlemen of such high standing. He might stato that, by the Disqualification Act, ho was liable to pay, to the first person who would sue for the amount, £100 per day, for evoiy day ho would Bit or vote j and that he need hardly point out that no one would knowingly subject himself to such a penalty. He hoped this explanation would be deemed satisfactory. Passing from this, he might Btate what he had not spoken in the House, as he thought it hotter not to be too hasty. Ho stated that he was sorry he could not be present to speak : on the Forest Bill, which was a matter of great importance. He considered Mr Yogel deserved the thanks of the colony, for collecting such a mass of valuable information, and for placing it before the House in Buch an able manner. But while believing, that a large amount of good would result from Mr Vogel's labours, he did not think the bill would pass this session ; nor did he agree with all its provisions. For instance, he could not agree togivethree per cent, of the land of tho provinces for plantations, which per centago would amount to more than 260,000 acres. To reserve this would impede settlement, and to plant and form these reserves would cost upwards of a million. Mr Yogel only proposed £10,000 per annum for the whole colony, which would be quite inadequate to produco the results he anticipated. He (Mr Montgomery) would have no objection to tho Government taking the land as they planted it, or indeed that tho provinces should allow two acres to be taken for every one planted. Ho might mention that tho Provincial Council had appropriated upwards of -£10,000 during last session for plutiting, and he objected to transferring such a large amount of provincial land to the General Government, when it was not intended to expend more annually on forestry for the entire colony than the amount appropriated by tho Provincial Council for one year. Ho then read extracts from the Financial Statement, showing that the General Government contemplated relieving the provinces of the interest on the cost of construction of tho main lines of railway ; such intorcst to bo paid out of the consolidated revenue ; that tho Government would be inclined to propose at once that tho colony should assume all liability if it were not for tho fact that portions of the lines were in possession of tho Provincial Governments. Ho referred to tho Wintou and Bluff line belonging to Otago, and the line from Lyttelton and the Selwyn in possession of the Canterbury Government. Tho meeting would sco that this was a very important announcement, and particularly so when it was stated that tho Otago Government had offored to sell their portion to tho General Government. He would like very much to be present in the Assembly when the Treasurer's proposals to increase tlio borrowing power would come on for discussion. Ho mentioned at tho timo of his election that he would endeavour to tako some action towards ascertaining tho practicability of lowering Lake Elleamere. The Provincial Government obtained from tho Council during tho last session an appropriation of £500 for survey, and ascertaining tho beßt method of draining the lake. Tho survey would bo ready, and bo laid bofore the Council in March His Honor tho Superintendent and ho had waited on Mr Eiebardson, at Wellington, and he (Mr Eichardson,) expressed himself anxious to assist tho provincial authorities in obtaining the necessary powers to deal with the drainage of tho lake, whether by vesting tho land in the Superintendent by Crown grant, or by legislation. Ho (Mr Alontgomory) believed if a feasible scheme were placed bofore the Council at its noxt session, there would bo every disposition to vote the money required to drain tho lake. With regard to tho railway to Akaroa, ho had to repeat that if the lakes could bo permanently lowered, ho was of opinion that a railway to the head of Little Eiver Valley would pay exceedingly well, and thonce to tho Head of tho Bay and Akaroa, was merely a matter of cost ; that he believed the Provincial Council would be in favour of the lino, and tint he could say that tho General Government was not against it. He believed tho means to make the line would bo forthcoming, provided the cost were not excessive.
Before he sat down, ho would wish to say that tho contest a few months ago had not been without results to the district. A butter knowledge of the wunis of the Peninsula hail been obtained, and the Council had recognised their pressing wants, by giving largely increased grants for their roads. There was not one penny too much given, but; he thought a better knowledge of their necessities had been of service. In conclusion, ho would s; 1 ..)", that during the course of the late contest ho had met with much kindness from all parties, and bad been very proud of being returned as their member. He was not conscious of having done anything to forfeit the confidence they then reposed in him, and he trusted they would believe that he would endeavour, if again returned, to do all in his power for the good of the colony and the district. A number of questions wore asked, and answered apparently to the satisfaction of the meeting. Mr Piper proposed, and Mr Williams seconded, "That this meeting desires to express entire confidence in Mr Montgomery," which was carried unanimously. Mr Montgomeby returned thanks, and proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman, which was carried by acclamation. The meeting then dispersed, having been exceedingly orderly and attentive throughout.
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MR MONTGOMEEY AT AKAROA., Star, Issue 2005, 8 August 1874
MR MONTGOMEEY AT AKAROA. Star, Issue 2005, 8 August 1874
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