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Wednesday, Nov. 24. AFTERNOON SITTING. The House met at 2.30 p.m. AN INVITATION. The SPEAKER»read a letter, signed W. F. Crawford, of Woodville, inviting Ministers and members of the House of Representatives to a banquet to be held at Woodville on the occasion of the opening of through railway communication between Wellington and Napier, via Wairarapa,. The Hon W. Hall- Jones, m reply to a question, said that the line would be opened on a date between Dec. 13 and Dec. 18, but the day had not yet been fixed. A PERSONAL EXPLANATION. The Hon J. M j Kenzie made apeisonal explanation with respect to the reporting of the debate on the passing of the estimates for the Valuation Department. He was m charge of those estimates, and Mr Buchanan had made an attack on him with regard to the appointment of Mr Barnes as a valuator. Mr Buchanan spoke for his full ten minutes, and quoted strictures made by Judge Kettle on Mr Barnes, but the whole of his (Mr Buchanan's) remarks were confined to half-a-dozen lines m Hansard. He (Mr M'Kenzie) was quite satisfied that Mr Buchanan would not take anything out of Hansard improperly, but the reply made by him (Mr M'Kenzie) was to the strictures mude on Mr Barnes, which did not appear m Hansard. He was accused of making an improper appointment of the valuer, and he found that the remarks he made regarding Judge Kettle had been telegraphed over the colony as though they were his own opinions, whereas he was simply quoting a memorandum made by Mr Barnes. He found that one of the bodies of a Mutual Admiration Society m Dunedin had taken up this matter. After mentioning ijhe names of the gentlemen who were present at the meeting of the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce referred to, he said they were all political opponents of his, and not only that, but private enemies also. These gentlemen had taken upon themselves to judge his conduct, but he was not responsible to them for what lie said, as they were not his constituents. It was of no consequence to him what they said about him, as he (Mr M'Kenzie) was just as well'known m Ota°-o as they were. What he wanted to explain was that he was represented as trying to injure Judge Kettle without any reason ; being shown, owing to Mr Buchanan's remarks being omitted from Hansard. The Hon W. Rolleston said he was personally concerned m this matter, as the Hansard report had led up to what ho had said. After hearing the charges made against Judge Kettle, he said those charges were either warranted or they were not at all warranted. It was only after a groat deal of trouble that the Minister of Lands was induced to admit that ho had been quoting from Mr Barnes's letter about Judge Kettle. Those remarks had appeared m several newspapers hi tho colony, and he (Mr Rolleslon) had replied m strong : torms, conveying the feeling that was m the minds of the few honourable gentlemen who were awake m the Honse wheu Mr M'Kenzie made the charge against Judge Kettle iv the

small hours of the mornin«\ He had thought when the Minister of Lands made his explanation that he was going to say he regretted. the remarks he had made respecting Judge Kettle, and that would be the only way to reply to what he (Mr Rolleston) had said. It was impossible for anyone to hear the charges made by Mr Barnes without . coining to the conclusion that the Minister adopted those accusations, and the course taken by Mr M'Kenzie was ' entirely opposed to the attitude that should be adopted by a Minister of the Cro wn towards judges. The whole tone of the Minister when speaking on the question was that he adopted the accusations made against Judge Kettle, and those accusations should be withdrawn. He (Mr Rolleston), after hearing the charge made about Judge Kettle and the Bank of New South Wales, had made it his business to inquire into the matter, and he found that Judge Kettle hadhad no account with that institution, nor was he under the thumb of that bank m any way, either directly or indirectly. Mr .Buchanan said he had only made ordinary corrections m his Hansard proof, but he still asserted that Mr Barnes's appointment as valuer was a highly improper one. The Minister of Lauds had certainly conveyed the impression that ho was quoting his own opinion when he referred to Judge Kettle's connection with the bank, and it was only after great pressure that he was induced to say he had been quoting from Mr Barnes's letter. The Hou J. M'Kenzie, m replying, said he had been made to appear as showing a vindictive spirit to Judge Kettle without any reason being shown. 1 for his remarks. Mr Buchanan had now admitted that he had made certain strictures on Mr Barnes, but they did not appear m Hansard, and he (Mr M'Kenzie)' had to defend himself from the charge of making an improper appointment. He had not m any way tampered with the report of his speech. He knew nothing whatever about Judge Kettle's financial position, nor did he care. Mr Rolleston had said lie was wrong m reflecting on Judge Kettle, but he would tell the member for Riecarton that lie would not submit to attacks without defending himself, lib matter whether the attacks came from judges or anybody else. ' MAIL SERVICES. The Premier gave notice to introduce : resolutions next day respecting ocean mail services. QUESTIONS. Replying to Mr Montgomery, The Premier said he hoped to introduce the Banking Bill to-morrow or the next day. Replying to Mr Lewis, The Hon J. M'Kenzie said he did not think it would be wise to prevent the exportation of humble bees from the colony by private individuals. Replying to Mr Buchanan, whether the Minister of Lands considers it reasonable that land alienated from the Crown since the raising of any' loan under the Government Loans to Local Bodies Act should not be charged with interest upon such loans. The Hon ,T. M'Kenzie said that the Crown had large areas m the colony, and if this suggestion were adopted and • the Crown had to pay rates, it would' be a big item. He did not admit that the Crown was liable, but he thought that persons taking land from the Crown should be obliged to pay the same rates as their neighbours. .Replying to Mr Holland, The Hon W. Hall-Jones said that a grant would be made to the Auckland people for the erection of a new Admiralty house m that city, allowing them to have the sale of the present Admiralty house for that purpose. Replying to Mr Joyce, whether the Minister of Railways will m some way recompense those station - masters and clerks who are required to work on Sundays on railways, The Premier said they were paid an annual salary, and it was not m accordance with the rules to pay them overtime. He thought they should discourage Sunday work m every possible way. • Replying to Mr Wilson, The Hon T. Thompson said that James. Shore's case would be considered .when the Petitions Committee reported on the matter, and a sum, no doubt, would be placed on the supplementary estimates to recompense him for his wrongful arrest for a crime he was not guilty of. Replying to the Hon W. Rolleston, The Premier said it would cost .£BSOO for a training ship for training our New Zealand boys, and the colony could not afford it. Replying to Mr Flatman, The Premier said that the weekly halfholiday was working very well, and it would not be wise for Parliament to change the day till some good grounds were shown for making the change. Replying' to Mr M'Gowan, The Premier thought they should take steps to remove the Agent-General's office m London to a more suitable locality as soon as premises could be obtained. Replying to Mr Buchanan, The Premier said that ouv present law relating to charitable aid had thoroughly broken down, but there was no time to go into the matter this session, and it would be considered during the recess. . Replying to the Hon J. G. Ward (for MiMillar) what steps the Premier intended to take to relieve the taxpayers of the colony from the payment of ,£26,000 annually given to the Press Association, The Premier said that the working of the Press Association m this colony was absolutely prejudicial to the best interests of the colony, and steps would be taken to prevent the continuance of this unsatisfactory state of affairs. He thought that the colony was getting- nothing for the expenditure of .£20,000 on this Association, (Mr Montgomery: The colony does not subsidise the Press Association.) He repeated that the colony lost .£26,000 a year through the concessions made to the Association. Replying to Mr Morrison (for Mr Millar), whether the Minister of Defence will sanction the formation of a volunteer medical corps m the principal centres of the colony, and what assistance he will grant them if formed, The Hon T. Thompson said that when the report of the new Commandant Avas received, the matter would receive consideration. PRESS ASSOCIATION. The Hon J. G. Ward moved the adjournment of the House to enable him to refer more fully to the position of the Press Association. He criticised the working of the Association at some length, and specially condemned the rates charged by the Association for newspapers wishing to join the institution. The House rose at 5.30 p.m.

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Star, Star, 25 November 1897

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1,610

Star Star, 25 November 1897

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