1857 - Hursthouse, C. New Zealand, or Zealandia, the Britain of the South [Vol.I.] - CHAPTER X. GOVERNMENT--REVENUE--PATRONAGE....

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1857 - Hursthouse, C. New Zealand, or Zealandia, the Britain of the South [Vol.I.] - CHAPTER X. GOVERNMENT--REVENUE--PATRONAGE....
Previous section | Next section      


[Image of page 252]




GOVERNMENT.--The Bill creating the New Zealand Constitution was carried through the British Parliament by Sir John Pakington, the Colonial Secretary of Lord Derby's Administration, in 1853. It confers representative institutions and ample powers of self-government on the 50,000 colonists of New Zealand; and never before, probably, were the destinies of so fine and so large a country entrusted to the guidance of so small a body of people.

The Act consists of 82 sections; and the following is a short summary of its leading provisions:--

1. The Queen appoints the governor of the colony and its two judges, and takes from the colony's public revenue £16,000 a year for a civil list; being £2500 for the governor's salary, £1800 for the judges, £4700 for the establishment of the general government, and £7000 for native purposes; and the Queen (as yet) provides all military and naval forces, consisting at present of two regiments and a sloop of war.

2. The general government of the colony is vested in a tripartite body, styled the "General Assembly:" composed

[Image of page 253]


of a governor, a legislative council, and a house of representatives, meeting in annual session (at present) at Auckland; and which makes all laws for the colony, save the local laws, made by the provincial councils.

3. The legislative council (the upper house), consisting at present of some fifteen members, is chosen and created for life by the governor; the house of representatives (the lower house), consisting at present of thirty-six members, is elected by the colonists every five years; but may be dissolved sooner by the governor, and is annually summoned and prorogued by the governor at pleasure.

4. Every adult colonist or native, owner of a freehold worth £50, or leaseholder of an estate at £10 per year; or town tenant householder at £10 a year; or country tenant householder at £5 a year,--is qualified both to vote for, and to be, a member of the house of representatives.

5. Bills for the making of laws may originate with either house or be recommended by the governor. After a bill has passed both houses by a majority, it is laid before the governor for his assent. If he refuse his assent, the bill is lost; if he give his assent, the bill becomes law. But it is sent home, and may be disallowed by the Queen at any time within two years from the date of its receipt in England; and if it be thus disallowed, all acts done under it in the colony, after the date of such receipt in England, are illegal, null and void. 1

[Image of page 254]


6. The colony' is divided into six provinces--Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago. Each province is locally governed by a "Provincial Council"--a sort of Vestry-Parliament, composed of an officer called a superintendent, and certain provincial councillors, elected by the provincial colonists--the qualification for voter, member, and superintendent, being the same as for the house of representatives.

[Image of page 255]


7. Superintendent and provincial council (not consisting of fewer members than nine, but enlargeable at the governor's pleasure) to be elected every four years by the electors of the province; but the governor may disallow the superintendent's election within three months; or remove him at any time on an address from a majority of the council; and may dissolve the council at pleasure.

8. Superintendent may summon and prorogue his provincial council at pleasure; but there must be a session at least once a year. Superintendent and provincial council may make laws for their respective provinces save and except as by the following Clause of the Act:--

"XIX. It shall not be lawful for the superintendent and provincial council to make or ordain any law or ordinance for any of the purposes hereinafter mentioned; (that is to say)

"1. The imposition or regulation of duties of customs to be imposed on the importation or exportation of any goods at any port or place in the province.

"2. The establishment or abolition of any court of judicature of civil or criminal jurisdiction, except courts for trying and punishing such offences as by the law of New Zealand are or may be made punishable in a summary way, or altering the constitution jurisdiction or practice of any such court, except as aforesaid.

"3. Regulating any of the current coin, or the issue of any bills notes or other paper currency.

"4. Regulating the weights and measures to be used in the province or in any part thereof.

"5. Regulating the post-offices and the carriage of letters within the province.

"6. Establishing, altering, or repealing laws relating to bankruptcy or insolvency.

"7. The erection and maintenance of beacons and lighthouses on the coast.

[Image of page 256]


"8. The imposition of any dues or other charges on shipping at any port or harbour in the province.

"9. Regulating marriages.

"10. Affecting lands of the crown, or lands to which the title of the aboriginal native owners has never been extinguished.

"11. Inflicting any disabilities or restrictions on persons of the native race to which persons of European birth or descent would not also be subjected.

"12. Altering in any way the criminal law of New Zealand, except so far as relates to the trial and punishment of such offences as are now or may by the criminal law of New Zealand be punishable in a summary way as aforesaid.

"13. Regulating the course of inheritance of real or personal property, or affecting the law relating to wills."

9. Any provincial bill passed by a majority of the provincial council, and assented to by the superintendent, is submitted by the superintendent to the "governor for his approval. The governor may refuse his approval or assent any time within three months; but if he once give his assent, the bill becomes provincial law, and is not subject to any after " veto " of governor or Queen.

10. The General Assembly (with the consent of the Queen) may create new provinces, increase the number of members of the house of representatives and of the provincial councils, alter the electoral qualification, and alter and increase the powers of the provincial councils--which latter it has already done to a most suicidal extent in empowering the six provincial councils to make laws for the sale and disposal of the wild lands of the colony; thus setting aside the wise original restrictive clause No. 10, in italics as above.

11. The Queen may establish municipal corporations to

[Image of page 257]


be subject to the provincial councils; and may proclaim certain districts to be exceptional districts where the natives shall not be held as subject to British law.

12. No private individual to purchase or lease any of the wild lands of the colony from the natives. The right and power of buying wild land from the natives to belong strictly to the Queen, and only to be delegated to the governor of the colony or superintendent of a province.

13. Though such essence of good government is not provided for by the letter of the constitution, the governor is advised and chiefly guided by an executive ministry: consisting of the colonial treasurer, the colonial secretary, and the attorney-general; and of gentlemen without office-- all members of the General Assembly, and commanding a majority in the lower house. And the superintendents of provinces are also advised by local executives, consisting of similar local officers, and of other members of the provincial councils.


The reader will perceive by this elementary abstract that, setting aside the provincial councils, which we may term "rural municipalities," the constitution of New Zealand bears a strong infantile resemblance to that of the mother country. The governor is the Queen, taking a more personal part in public affairs; the legislative councillors are the created (life) peers, and the house of representatives is the elected House of Commons; whilst in each constitution, we find the executive ministry of the country leaning on the people's representatives for support.

Taking the New Zealand Constitution as a whole;

[Image of page 258]


looking at principle, at detail, at the peculiar self-amending elements which enrich it; casting a retrospective glance at the form of government which it has supplanted,--we must certainly esteem it a good measure, creditable to imperial legislation.

Like all human measures, however, it exhibits serious defects and great capabilities of amendment; and, to me, it seems that its serious defects are these:--

1. The semi-retention of the power of "Veto."

2. The non-elective constitution of the legislative council.

3. The creation of the six provincial councils. 2

Veto. -- Blooming daughter as New Zealand is at "sweet fifteen," it may be well that a prudent mother, however distant, should retain the power of correcting youth's mistakes till the young queen of the Pacific is twenty-one. But the Constitution has preserved the power of Veto in so partial a form, that the tendency of it, is to build up one power of the legislature on the ruins of another. The acts of the General Assembly are, the acts of the Provincial Councils are not subject to the Veto. Now the retention of the Veto is popularly regarded

[Image of page 259]


in the colony as a remnant of tyranny, a thing to be got rid of. The means of getting rid of it are patent--the General Assembly has only to delegate its legislative functions to the Provincial Councils, and the veto-tyranny is evaded. Infinitely the most valuable power which the Constitution conferred on the colonists was the power of dealing with the "wild lands" (the true exchequer) of the colony--a power forming the golden lever whereby population, that want of wants, could alone be moved into the colony. This pearl of powers, the General Assembly made over to the Provincial Councils: instigated to such fatuous impolicy, partly by the consideration that, thus, Veto would be evaded. Two evils presented themselves: if the General Assembly set up any one general system of land and emigration policy, such system (under the Veto power) might be pulled down any day by a gentleman sitting in Downing Street--if they gave the work to the Provincial Councils to do, the result would be the evil of six clashing local systems; but these Veto and Downing Street could not pull down again. Smitten by momentary blindness, the General Assembly deemed the latter the least evil, and chose it; and thus, by one act, surrendered up the brightest jewel of the Constitution, the true key of government, to half a dozen "vestry-parliaments." I am aware that other considerations moved the General Assembly to this transference of its powers. But even if the Veto had no weight in influencing this particular case, the

[Image of page 260]


general argument against the partial operation, of the Veto would in nowise be impaired. These propositions are undeniable: the colonists govern themselves by two legislative organs--they regard Veto as an abuse--one of their legislative organs is subject to this abuse, the other is not--therefore they will naturally seek to govern themselves by the latter. Under such pressure, the General Assembly, stripping itself of power after power, committing political felo de se, might die of inanition in pampering the Provincial Councils.

It seems to me, therefore, that the Crown should either renounce the power of Veto, or make each of our semi-rival organs of Government, subject to its operation.

NON-ELECTIVE CONSTITUTION OF THE "LEGISLATIVE Council."--Bearing in mind that New Zealand does not yet contain a larger population than a second-class English town, I think that this extra machinery of Legislative Council and Double Chamber might, at present, have been well dispensed with. Having put it in the Constitution, however, its admirers should unquestionably have made it elective; required a six-fold property qualification; and sent every man to the hustings. The Legislative Council, in its present form, is a mere plated House of Peers: emasculating representative government, impeding public business, tripling circumlocution. A glaring instance of its vicious operation has lately been exhibited. Auckland, the little metropolis of

[Image of page 261]


New Zealand, is situated much as London would be were London planted at the Orkneys. The House of Representatives (the House of Commons) has just voted for removing the seat of legislation to Wellington, a port-town in the very centre of the island group. The Legislative Council (the House of Peers) nearly half of whom are Auckland merchants and landowners, 3 of course votes for retaining the Court at Auckland; the Governor sides with the Peers, and London (for the day) remains at the Orkneys. If 200 Liverpool merchants were raised to the peerage--if the question arose of removing the British metropolis to Liverpool--if the Commons voted that it should remain in London--if the Peers voted that it should be removed to Liverpool---if the Queen backed the Peers, the Commons yielded, and London did go to Liverpool--what would my indignant Cockney reader say as to the political state of the country? Would he not embrace Chartism and cool himself with Frost? Yet, comparing small things to great, this, virtually, is the present political "difficulty" of New Zealand. The Constitution empowers the Governor to create as many of these Plated-Peers as he pleases; 4 their property qualification is ridi-

[Image of page 262]


culously low, and when any obnoxious "People's measure" was passing the House of Commons, he might create as many more of these tools as were needed to defeat such measure in the House of Peers. I am aware that the whole spirit of the Constitution is opposed to any such stretch of prerogative; the colonists would instantly rebel against it, and it may never be attempted. But this Legislative Council, even in the subdued sphere of its functions, can only be regarded as an obstruction; and Conservative Sir John Pakington should either not have created it, or, creating it, should have made it a popular high-qualification Double Chamber, triennially elected by the people.

Creation of the Six Provincial Councils. --I regard this as the great blunder of the Constitution. Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago, are six little settlements planted on the New Zealand coasts, some 200 miles apart, with average populations of less than 10,000 each. These parish-populations may truly be termed model populations: they consist of educated, well-to-do pioneer colonists, requiring so little rule and guidance that a magistrate-mayor, half a dozen councillors, and two policemen would amply suffice to administer the local affairs of each.

[Image of page 263]


Stripped of verbiage and figures of speech, two and two make four in New Zealand precisely as they do in England; and political quacks and constitution-mongers alone excepted, we must all see, that as simple municipalities are sufficient to administer the local affairs of communities of 100,000 Englishmen in England, simple municipalities would have been amply sufficient to administer the local affairs of communities of 10,000 Englishmen in New Zealand

But, here, the bounteous framers of the Constitution appearing to think that as New Zealand was the "antipodal-opposite" of England, any governmental machinery constructed for New Zealand must be the "antipodal-opposite" of the common sense of England, have virtually given each of these six parish-populations a Lieutenant-governor, an Executive Ministry, a Local Parliament, an Attorney-General, and a Secretary of State--and if "silver-stick," and "gold-stick," and "groom of the posset," had been added, the parochial foolery would have been complete. Surely this is busking the baby in jack boots and chain mail at the imminent risk of losing the infant in his armour. But the admirers of the Imperium in imperio, the blind Fox, 5 and divers very provincial councillors, plead that the

[Image of page 264]


baby will grow. He will, and when grown to giant manhood the snug municipal garment would be amply equal to his dimensions.

We call New Zealand the Britain of the South; we plant the rose, the shamrock, and the thistle there; we give freely to the patriotic fund; we get loyally drunk on the Queen's birthday; we consume vast quantities of roast beef; and emigrants though we are, we delight to be John Bulls. Why, then, should we make so monstrous a departure from anything English or British as to set up these half-dozen bastard little parliaments! Why should we not tumble this foreign frippery of "gold-stick," and "silver-stick," and "wooden-stick," and "His Honor the Superintendent," into our lumber-room; give every little town, present and to come, its honest mayor and aldermen; give each its members to the New Zealand House of Commons; and attempt to govern New Zealand as the wisdom of twenty generations has elected to govern England: namely, by a strong, central, general Government, springing from and representing the people? Mr. Fox (with parliamentary eloquence) "we pause for a reply!"

Had our ancestors given each English county a local king and parliament, what would local kings and parliaments have brought us to by this time? Should we not have illustrated the "house divided against itself," and the fable of the "bundle of sticks"? Might not the British lion have been dwarfed to the proportions of the Kilkenny cat,

[Image of page 265]


Russian have been the law language of Scotland, Devonshire a province of France, and Derby a conquest of York?--Mr. Fox, again we pause for a reply!

The excuse made for setting up these Provincial Councils was worthy of the stolidity which conceived them. It was gravely alleged that our six New Zealand parishes had such different ailments wants and origins, and were so far apart, that no single "General (medicinal) Government," could possibly cure and embrace them. Now the idea of any one of our little settlements affecting any peculiar ailment and demanding a special treatment, may well remind us of the hypochondriacal fine lady who was instantly cured by a bucket of water and a good shaking. Doubtless each might have different little wants: Auckland a quay, New Plymouth a jetty, Wellington a water-cart, Nelson a pump, Canterbury a stained window, Otago a new, brick kirk. But we take a fan, not a handspike, to knock down a gnat, and a quick-acting municipality would have supplied all these little local wants, far better than a lumbering tripartite machine of local governor, local ministry, and local parliament; each costing its unfortunate 8000 subjects an average of £12,000 6 a year to keep it in motion. Each settlement or province had (and has) the one great overriding want of getting peopled--a want, compared to which, all its

[Image of page 266]


other wants, united, are but as leather and prunella; and this "king-want" it would get supplied infinitely better under some sensible policy of general government and general emigration system, than under any little mosaic quack policy of its own.

As to Origin,--if each infant settlement had a different father, each had a common mother. Traces even of their semi-distinctive origin are fast wearing away, each (except Otago) is becoming cosmopolitan in character; and if Norfolk and Suffolk were now to remove themselves from the government of Westminster because their origin was East Anglian, they would exhibit nothing more than the provincial stupidity which New Plymouth or Otago might exhibit in refusing allegiance to a general New Zealand Government, because their origin was Devonian and Caledonian.

The argument that the six infant settlements were too distant from each other to be governed from a common centre, is the argument that Perthshire, Tyrone, Cornwall, and Cumberland, could not be governed from London. The six settlements, or Provinces, join each other; as population spreads, as infant towns arise, and the beautiful wilderness becomes dotted with spires and villages, the very boundaries of the Provinces will be socially obliterated; and if the seat of government were removed to Nelson, and two weekly screw-steamers plied up and down the coast, the capital of New Zealand (far more centrally fixed than the capital of Great Britain) would be reached from any one of the

[Image of page 267]


other five settlements more easily than Westminster was reached a few years ago by half the country members. And if this were done, and if each town or settlement had its mayor-magistrate and municipality for the conduct of local affairs, it is not the slightest exaggeration to say, that a General Central-Government could legislate for all parts of New Zealand quite as befittingly and effectively as a General Central-Government legislates for all parts of Great Britain.

The creation of these pretentious Provincial Councils, in the room of modest municipalities with town and rural-belt jurisdictions, was unquestionably a blunder; and the inherent evils of the blunder have been aggravated by the legislative "exemptions" and "privileges" with which the Constitution has endowed such Councils. We have seen that they are exempt from the Veto--they have, too, the privilege, of personally representing themselves in the General Assembly : every Superintendent of the Provincial Councils is a member of the House of Representatives. 7 Now at the passing of our New Zealand Reform Bill, we heard a great deal from Mr. Fox and Mr. Wakefield about "balance of power," and how beautifully one branch

[Image of page 268]


of the New Zealand Constitution was to check and regulate the other, as in the English Constitution. But, if a large proportion of the House of Commons was allowed seats and votes in the House of Peers, what sort of check or "balance of power" would be maintained between the two branches of our imperial Legislature! Surely, if we must suffer such an institution as the Superintendent of a Provincial Council, we might with great propriety request his "Honour" to keep at home with his Council, and not to come into our General Assembly, sapping the foundations of our General Government. If a bill were before the House of Representatives repressing the powers of Provincial Councils, would not every Superintendent be likely to vote against it; and if a bill were before the House extending the powers of Provincial Councils to the gradual destruction of the House of Representatives, would not every Superintendent be likely to vote in favour of it? The more legislative power he could help to strip from the General Government, the more legislative power he and his satellites the local councillors would have to divide among themselves. Indeed I can only regard their "Honours" in the House of Representatives as enemies in the camp; and should "greatness be thrust upon me," and I ever be thrust into the New Zealand House of Commons (the author of the "Lily and the Bee" has been thrust into the British Commons), I should esteem it a public duty to make any Provincial Superintendent I

[Image of page 269]


found there as uncomfortable as possible; and, despite "Punch," should conclude a weekly philippic at him with the "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" --a course of persecution which we might hope would eventually drive him to accept the Chiltern Hundreds, and to hurry back to the obscurity of his provincial parish, considerably enlightened as to the fact, that among the Commons of New Zealand he, at least, was not "the right man in the right place;" and that for the future it would be advisible to confine himself to local pumps and paving, and to write up in his Council Chamber, directly over his Speaker's chair, "Ne sutor ultra crepidam."

Mr. Fox writes an excellent little book on New Zealand, and then calls it "The Six Colonies of New Zealand." Does he know the meaning of the word? Does Bath consist of eight cities? England and Wales of forty countries? New Zealand is one colony, at present consisting of six parish-settlements, and to call her anything else is a misnomer. Build New Zealand up as one united colony, under a strong General Representative Government, and her natural gifts will create her the home of "thousands," and she may well become Britain of the South and Island Queen of the Pacific. Yield to the insensate cry of her "Ultra-Provincialists;" allow their half-dozen little vestry-parliaments to destroy her General Assembly, and to dominate the State; split her up thus into half-a-dozen rival little communities, with half-a-dozen

[Image of page 270]


clashing codes of laws;--do this, and we open a true Pandora's box, cast in the apple of discord, sow broadcast the seeds of jealousies and animosities, and create such elements of strife that, as Italian history may show us, stranger sights might come to pass in the next century, than the sight of Great Britain, in the year 1900, landing an army in New Zealand to repress the fury of an internecine war. 8

If union be strength anywhere, it is strength and life too in a young country like New Zealand. The Provincial Councils are in their very nature

[Image of page 271]


opposed to union. As yet, they are only ambitious municipalities--but look to the chance of their rampant growth, and to the inevitable consequences of their rampant growth! Look to the possibility of their rending New Zealand into Mr. Fox's six petty, independent, colonies, to their pouring out on us the evils of the "Imperium in imperio" in a six-fold form! They are young now: fang and poison bag are not developed--but it is easier to crush the adder's egg than to crush the adder; 9 and he who could sweep Provincial Councils from the New Zealand Constitution, would do the State good service, and merit a people's crown.

Mindful of Phaeton's fate, recalling the "Cobbler and his last," aware that "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread," I would nevertheless venture to recast our New Zealand Constitution in manner following; and would respectfully recommend my proposal to the serious consideration of Messrs. Fox and Featherston, and the inflated "provincialists" of obstreperous Wellington.

1. Retain the imperial " Veto" (at present); but limit the period for its exercise to one year.

2. Lop off the two excrescences of the Constitution: the plated House of Peers and the Provincial Councils; and retain only its soul and substance, the House of Representatives.

3. Re-christen this body the House of Commons, enlarge it one-fourth, and make it a triennial Parliament. 10

[Image of page 272]


4. Create Nelson the permanent central seat of government; and summons the Commons to hold an annual winter session there, of three months. 11

5. Constitute Russel, Auckland, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Wellington, Ahuriri, Nelson, Lyttleton, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill, municipalities, with full municipal powers, and wide "rural-belt" jurisdictions; and give each a mayor and civic councilmen. When any new settlement contained a thousand European inhabitants, create it a Municipality.

6. All public offices (other than municipal) to be in the gift of the executive ministry. Such ministry, as at present, to consist of members of the House of Commons, and to hold office only while they can command a majority there.

Such I think are the defects, and such the capabilities of amendment, exhibited by our New-Zealand Constitution. The manner, too, in which the Constitution was inaugurated has tended to aggravate the inherent evils of these defects. Governor Sir George Grey unfortunately called the Provincial Councils into existence before the General Assembly: the subordinate element of the Consti-

[Image of page 273]


tution thus obtained a certain unfair start and prominence which has created great bickering and confusion, especially in the financial department of legislation. Smitten by momentary blindness, the General Assembly, (as if the Provincial Councils had not already power enough to nullify the very spirit of the Constitution,) actually altered the Constitution, in order to strip themselves and heap on their subversive provincial rivals the one most valuable power which the Constitution had specially entrusted to their hands--the power of dealing with the wild lands. The first three sessions of the General Assembly were chiefly wasted in political splits and personal dissensions: none would "serve in heaven," all would "reign in hell;" and a "ministerial crisis" stopped the wheels of government about every second week. So many laws were discussed, so few passed, so great was the cry so little the wool, that it is well for honourable members that His Excellency Governor Wynward was not "Charondas," the Locrian; 12 and the Provincial Councils stimulated by the acquisition of the imperial power of the "Wild Lands Purse," have displayed symptoms of desire to grasp at universal dominion, by making the House

[Image of page 274]


of Representatives (the true House of Commons of the country) a subordinate element of the Constitution, and the tool of six insignificant municipalities. Nevertheless, when we cast a retrospective glance at the sort of government which formerly existed in New Zealand, and which has been feebly stigmatised in my "Historical Sketch;" when we look at the peculiar self-emendative nature of our new Constitution; and at the free spirit which it breathes, we must, I think, despite its present failures and defects, gratefully admit that it is, substantially, both a great and a good measure. And if Provincial Councils will only abate their high pretensions, take "vis unita fortior" for their public seal, and ever remember that for New Zealand "Union is life as well as strength;" and if every New Zealand colonist in exercising his political functions will bear in mind, that in these early "unpeopled-wilderness" days, the true end and aim of all our legislation should be the attraction of Population to the country; we may reasonably hope, now that our true legislative leaders are revealing themselves in the crowd, and are becoming more practised in the new art, that New Zealand under her new Constitution will work out for herself a vigorous Representative Government worthy of her position as the young Britain of the South.

I must apologise to the reader for these long and dry remarks on a very prosaic subject. I am no politician; and should deem the arrival of a

[Image of page 275]


1000 pure merinos or 100 good family emigrants in New Zealand, a far more momentous affair than the arrival of a ministerial crisis or the suspension of a provincial superintendent. But in a work even of this unpretending character, it has seemed to me impossible to pass the Constitution over without one word; and the one word has led to many. I will close the subject by presenting the reader with the New Zealand "Queen's speech," the Address in reply, a glimpse of the "House at night;" and the "Prorogation," together with the names of the honourable members of the New Zealand House of Commons (the New Zealand peers are not sufficiently important to merit the like distinction), and if the reader should ever help to guide the State in New Zealand, I trust his political cry will be--repression of "provincial council vestries," and sovereign power to a Central Parliament.


"Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council, and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,--

"Various causes prevented the last assembly from legislating on many subjects materially affecting the welfare of the colony, and it has been reserved for you to undertake that important duty.

"Questions involving numerous conflicting interests remain for your consideration and adjustment, and in the solution of these difficulties an arduous task awaits you.

"To enable me to call to my councils advisers possessing

[Image of page 276]


the confidence of the General Assembly, is naturally a subject which will engage your earliest attention. This may be considered the corner-stone on which all other legislation should be built; and I now repeat, in the most explicit terms, the assurance which I gave on the prorogation of the last Assembly: that I would give my confidence to the gentlemen who possess the confidence of the Legislature; and that whenever changes became necessary, I would allow no personal feelings to influence my public conduct.

"I doubt not that the gentlemen who accept from you a responsibility conferring such an honourable distinction on themselves, will consign to forgetfulness all of the past which has no reference to the future; that they will arm themselves with a determination to disregard all private interests; and that devoting themselves heart and soul to those of New Zealand, they will declare what ought to be enacted for the welfare of the colony at large.

"Such conduct will insure the respect of opponents, and the esteem of Englishmen, not only in this colony but throughout the empire; not only at the present time but in the future, when party feelings and local interests have been obliterated and forgotten, and history records the strength or weakness of those who guided the infant steps of a great country.

"If, on the contrary, the men chosen for this honourable trust should prove unequal to it, looking for the applause and preferring the interests of a party or a province to that of the colony at large, then will the power they are unable to wield remain but a moment in their nerveless grasp; and, once released, it will oscillate backward and forward until seized on by statesmen worthy of their adopted country: statesmen strong in the rectitude and integrity of their intentions, and regardless of all considerations which can in any way hinder the progress of the public weal.

"Such are the men whose counsel I desire, and by whose advice I hope to be guided.

"I rely entirely on your patriotic aid, and feel assured

[Image of page 277]


that, however divided you may be by political or party feelings, your best efforts will always be directed to secure the interests of the inhabitants of this country, mindful that their welfare depends on our efficient and faithful exercise of the powers vested in us by the Imperial Government.

"My recent visit to the different provinces has enabled me to bear testimony to their general prosperity, and to the evident signs of progress and improvement in each and all of them.

"I have witnessed with great satisfaction the strong feelings of loyalty and attachment entertained throughout the colony to the throne and person of our gracious Sovereign; and I feel deeply grateful for the cordial reception everywhere accorded to myself as Her Majesty's representative.

"Information has been prepared on various subjects, with a view to enable the gentlemen honoured by your confidence to lay before you certain measures of importance: among them I may mention a proposal to extinguish the claim of the New Zealand Company, on terms which are therein explained; another for a uniform postal communication with the mother country; the improvement and extension of our own overland posts; and an alteration in the custom laws; and I trust you will lose no time in authorising the formation of a commission, with full powers to settle the many vexed questions connected with land claims, and for the quieting of disputed titles.

"Another subject will, I trust, engage your early attention, namely, the propriety of adopting some plan of final audit for the accounts of the general government, which will be more satisfactory than the one at present in force.

"Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,--

"The utmost economy has been practised in the expenditure of the funds placed at my disposal by the late House of Representatives. The fullest accounts shall be sub-

[Image of page 278]


mitted for your approval, and the most complete information afforded to your inquiries.

"I have to request you to make an early provision for the repayment of £14,086 11s. 5d. advanced by the Union Bank of Australia, being part of a sum of thirty thousand pounds obtained under sanction of a resolution of the late House of Representatives.

"Gentlemen of the Assembly,--

"Your deliberations will be viewed with interest in the mother country; for whether in Great Britain or the colonies, Englishmen watch the proceedings of their legislative bodies with the greatest attention.

"But the Legislature of this colony has no reason to shrink from such a scrutiny; for while adopting all that is good in the laws and usages of our native land, it has a cause for congratulation of which few other lands colonised by Europeans can boast.

"In order to form this flourishing and rapidly-increasing colony, no property has been wrested from its native owners; no hospitality has been violated; no laws of humanity or justice have been trampled under foot. The land, enriched by the sweat of our brows, has been honestly acquired, and is rightfully enjoyed. Nor, when we consider that, in place of a dreadful form of idolatry, we have communicated to the natives a knowledge of the blessings of Christianity, and of the arts and appliances of civilisation, can it be urged that the advantages of colonisation have been exclusively on the side of those who gave money and received wild land in exchange.

"These are considerations which make England proud of her youngest colony--and she has reason to be so. Situated in the same relative position in the southern hemisphere; similar in size to Great Britain; like her, separated from other lands by broad seas; possessing the same natural advantages and colonised by the same hardy race--New Zealand cannot fail to become the Britain of Australasia.

[Image of page 279]


"Free institutions, deeply graven in the hearts of Englishmen, the glory of the British nation, framed, amended, and maintained by the wisdom and perseverance of successive generations, have devolved on you as an inheritance. To them we owe much of that enterprise and independence which have been and are the characteristics of our nation in all parts of the world. They have been transplanted for you in their maturity, and their broad shadow spreads already over this favoured land.

"The history of the growth of these institutions during a thousand years in our native country would be but a tale that is told, and the retrospect of the past but an idle dream, if they teach us no lessons of wisdom. May we profit by them; and when time has consigned all who now hear me to the stillness of the grave, and children's children have succeeded to the inheritance of their fathers, may those who will then review the acts of this Assembly feel for you that admiration and esteem which we cannot withhold from the time-honoured men to whom we owe our origin and our laws.

"Auckland, April 15, 1856."


"We, the Commons of New Zealand, assembled in our House of Representatives, acknowledge, with sentiments of deep respect, the address delivered by your Excellency at the opening of the present session.

"We desire to convey to your Excellency the expression of our gratitude for the prompt manner in which you have given effect to the principle of ministerial responsibility in the conduct of the executive affairs of government.

"We entertain no doubt that the relations proposed to be established between your Excellency and your responsible advisers will secure the efficient carrying out of that principle.

"Fully sensible of the duty which devolves upon the

[Image of page 280]


General Legislature of the colony, of maintaining unimpaired the authority and functions which are reserved to the General Government by the Constitution, it will be our earnest endeavour, as one of the branches of that Legislature, to join in exercising those functions in cordial co-operation with the provincial authorities, and with as little interference as possible in all matters within their own municipal sphere.

"Whatever measures may he submitted to us through your Excellency's responsible advisers, shall receive our best consideration. And we pray you to accept this assurance of our desire to co-operate with your Excellency in whatever may promote the welfare of the colony and maintain the public credit."


"To the Editor of the 'New Zealander.'

"Sir,--As few of our country electors may have the opportunity which I had last night, in the House of Representatives, of witnessing the tournament between the 'Fox opposition' and the Ministry you will oblige me by giving insertion to this letter: emanating, as it does, from one unaccustomed to sights so new and so attractive.

"Though my politics are such as would cover me with infamy at Athens (I am a scrupulous adherent to the maxims of neutrality), and notwithstanding that many of my friends and neighbours have endeavoured to convince me of the dangerous tendency of my opinions--I still persist in my indifference to the 'party cries' of the commonwealth.

"But, Sir, to use the language of the honourable and learned gentleman whom I am about to name, and whose talents I admire, a few more nights' attendance in the "gallery" would, I fear, be the means of causing me to 'abnegate' (this word I have learned in

[Image of page 281]


the House) the dictates of prudence to which I have clung so long.

"Yesterday evening, about six o'clock, I observed an unusual haste in the pace of every pedestrian whom I saw marching through Princes Street. I inquired of one, a 'progress man,' if there was a review or a sham battle at the Barracks? 'Na, na,' said he, ' but there is to be a real battle in some ither ilk. Ye hae read i' the papers o' what the Highland Brigade did at the battle o' the Alma--and to-nicht ye sail see what they can do in Auckland. The Ministry is aboot to be ow'rthrown and turn'd oot.'

"Well, I joined the 'progress' man, and arrived at the House, happily before all the seats in the gallery were occupied; sat down, and contemplated with pride the scene before me--the General Assembly of New Zealand--the miniature of England's glory, her Imperial Parliament. The Speaker in the chair, grave, sedate, and impartial-- the descendant of a race coeval with the Norman dynasty, and the professor of a faith which, like the descendants of his race, survives the war of minds as they have withstood the shock of matter. With the glance of a phrenologist, I scrutinised the head of every member who sat within range of my view; and, like many phrenologists, drew conclusions which the subsequent debate proved to be utterly fallacious. After the usual formula of parliamentary practice, appeared the champion of the night, the redoubtable Mr. Fox--unpopular in this province for having stigmatized the Auckland citizens in his Book; and (as they hint) verifying in himself the epigram:--

"'Says Maria, though tears it may cost,
It is time we should part, my dear Sue,
For your character's totally lost,
And I haven't sufficient for two.'

But notwithstanding the prejudice entertained against him here, he made a bold commencement; and followed up the assault with the skill and energy of a practised debater.

[Image of page 282]


His arguments reminded me of the wars of the Goths: the triumphant barbarians demolished the finest temples of Grecian and Etruscan art, but Gothic skill was too rude to raise up any fabric so elegant in their place. What magnificent promises are made by statesmen out of office! And, as I am fond of classic reminiscences, I was pleased when Mr. Fox re-enacted the part of the Greek candidate -- who having promised his supporters privileges before unheard of in the republic, his modest opponent gained the election by simply saying, 'What my rival has promised, that I will do.'

"Mr. Fox is an astute sophist, endued with all the resources of forensic strife; but he failed in the demonstration of a most important problem--one, alone, which would have established his character as a financier, namely, that one-third of the revenue and a half-crown per acre from the land fund, would be sufficient for the maintenance of the General Government.

"In his eagerness to succeed Mr. Sewell, he seems not even to possess the justice of Pilate -- he has not the patience to ask 'What evil hath he done?' No! he and the 'Progress faction' would hurl the hon. member for Christchurch from the Tarpeian rock, without a trial, and without a hearing. The attempt of the opposition to dislodge the ministry, however, succeeded about as well as the efforts of the Russians to expel our Grenadiers from the rifle pits before Sebastopol: they were met at every point, foiled in every attack.

"As it is an opinion sometimes entertained in the country by those who have no opportunity of hearing the debates of the General Assembly, that the speeches therein delivered are like those of our "Provincial Council" orators (the mumbling of a few disjointed sentences, to be arranged by the reporters), I take this opportunity of recording my opinion, that many of the speeches which I heard last night would have done credit to any legislative body in the world.

"Mr. Stafford of Nelson, and Mr. Featherstone of

[Image of page 283]


Wellington, are the Pitt and Canning of our little Senate; and Mr. Fitzherbert, from the South, is also an able and emphatic speaker. As few of the Auckland representatives lay any claim to the rank of orators, except the Provincial Secretary, we expected, when he rose, to hear something--but the mountain laboured, and the Cicero of 'Progress' stammered out five minutes' incoherent verbiage, and finished off with a Latin quotation, which ought to have been--

"'Risum teneatis, amici?'

"Many of my 'bush friends' who have had the honour of making their occasional salaams to his worship, the Resident Magistrate, may be anxious to know how he comports himself when he aspires to make the laws, instead of administering them. Well,--he sits as mute as a statue! Whoever has read Homer's description of the Grecian chiefs sitting round, deliberating for their country's safety, may fancy he beholds Ajax, 'huge, sullen, and silent,' and he will realise the beau ideal of the gentleman at whose bar misdoers tremble."


On Saturday, August 16 (1856), his Excellency the Governor, accompanied by the Commander of the Forces, the members of the Ministry, his Excellency's Aide-de-Camp and Private Secretary; attended at the Chamber of the Legislative Council for the purpose of proroguing the General Assembly: The Speakers and Members of both Houses being present, his Excellency took his seat in the Speaker's chair, and proceeded to read the following address:--

"Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,--

"I am happy to be able to release you from the duties of a protracted and laborious session.

[Image of page 284]


"The zeal and assiduity which you have displayed in the consideration of the various questions of importance which have come before you deserve, and will, I feel assured, obtain, the approbation of the colony.

"The measures which you have passed relate to important questions which have for some time past engaged the attention of the colony, and with respect to which legislation could not have been deferred without detriment to the public service. 13

[Image of page 285]


"Amongst the most important measures of the session, are those financial arrangements by which it is proposed to provide for the debts and liabilities of the colony, and equitably to apportion the public burdens. The confirmation of these measures by the Imperial Government will, it may be expected, wholly remove a most serious cause of discontent and mutual jealousy amongst the provinces.

"Measures passed during the present session have vested in the provincial authorities the administration of the waste lands and land revenue. It cannot be doubted that a judicious and economical application of the territorial revenue to works of public utility in the districts where it arises, and under the supervision of those most interested in its proper application, must tend to accelerate the settlement of the country. Such will, I trust, be the result of the prudent exercise by local bodies of these large powers.

"The nature of the customs tariff had long given rise to general complaint. Amongst other grounds of objection, its minute enumeration of articles subject to duty, was vexatious alike to the revenue officer and the importer; occasioning great loss of time, expense, and other inconvenience. The alteration now made will, I hope, be received with general satisfaction: based as it is on a recognition of the principle, that revenue should be raised in the most simple and inexpensive manner; and, so far as possible, raised from those articles of luxury which are the most legitimate subjects of taxation. In dealing with this most important branch of revenue, it was an obvious duty to avoid impairing the public income. The new tariff secures this object without curtailing the comforts of the people.

"During the present session, the Assembly has given legislative sanction to a body of rules respecting the pleading and practice of the Supreme Court, which constitute a complete code of procedure in civil cases. For

[Image of page 286]


this valuable accession to the laws, the colony is mainly indebted to the labours of Chief Justice Martin, who, aided by the present Acting Chief Justice, has devoted several years to the completion of this important work.

"Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,--

"I thank you for the liberal provision which you have made for the public service, and especially I have to acknowledge the additional provision for the maintenance of the office I have the honour to hold. The supplies which you have granted will be applied with a due regard to economy in the public expenditure.

"The sums voted for steam communication will not only effect the establishment of a rapid and regular postal service in this colony; but, in connection with the recent arrangements entered into by the Imperial Government and the Australian colonies, will probably secure communication by steam between Great Britain and New Zealand.

"Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,--

"The relations established at the commencement of the session between my responsible advisers and myself, with reference to the government of the aborigines, still subsist. It is my intention, however, to refer this important question for Her Majesty's consideration and decision: meantime, those relations will continue unaltered.

"The session now about to close furnishes an additional instance of the vigour and success with which a free Legislature is enabled to act, when assisted in its deliberations by Ministers of the Crown possessing the confidence of the people; and gives earnest of the good results to be expected in this colony from a popular form of government.

"I do now prorogue the General Assembly of New

[Image of page 287]


Zealand to Wednesday, the 1st day of July, 1857, and it is hereby prorogued accordingly.

"Auckland, 16th August, 1856."



Member for.



Henry Sewell, Esq.


Colonial Treasurer.


C. W. Richmond, Esq.

New Plymouth.

Colonial Secretary.


Hon. F. Whitaker

(In the Peers.)



E.W. Stafford, Esq.


Without office.

There is, I think, another without-office member of the ministry; and the commander of the forces is (ex officio) a member of the Cabinet, the secretary of war.

[Image of page 288]




Note.--The six names in italics indicate the Superintendents of the Provinces. The List is as accurate as it has been possible to make it, and will be found substantially correct.


Member for.


Charles Clifford (Speaker)


Squatter. 1

J. E. Featherstone, Esq.



W. Fox, Esq.



J. Fitzherbet, Esq.



F. D. Bell, Esq.


Land Commissioner.

C. D. R. Ward, Esq.



V. Smith, Esq.



A. Ludlum, Esq.


Editor and Proprietor.

Charles Brown, Esq.

New Plymouth

Landed Proprietor.

C. W. Richmond, Esq.


Barrister and Proprietor

A. W. East, Esq.



J. L. Campbell, Esq.



Major Greenwood


Landed Proprietor.

T. Beckham, Esq.


Police Magistrate.

J. Henderson, Esq.



W. Lee, Esq.



G. Graham, Esq.



C. J. Taylor, Esq.



J. Williamson, Esq.



J. W. Merriman, Esq.



W. Brodie, Esq.



H. Carleton, Esq.


Editor and Proprietor.

W. C. Daldy, Esq.



E. W. Stafford, Esq.


Landed Proprietor.

W. T. L. Travers, Esq.



W. Wells, Esq.



A. Domett, Esq.



R. Curtis, Esq.



C. Elliot, Esq.


Editor and Proprietor.

J. E. Fitzgerald, Esq.


Landed Proprietor.

D. A. Brittin, Esq.



J. Hall, Esq.



J. Cuff, Esq.



Henry Sewell, Esq.


Solicitor and Proprietor.

Captain Cargill


Landed Proprietor.

J. Macandrew, Esq.



J. Cargill, Esq.



1   As some fair reader may have misgivings as to what a " Squatter" is, I may explain that a "Squatter" is one of those shepherd princes or pastoral aristocrats clipped in chap. 14. This gentleman, Speaker of the New Zealand Commons, and worthy scion of one of our oldest historical English families, is I believe, brother to the present peer, Lord Clifford.

Clerk to the House, F. E. Campbell, Esq.

[Image of page 289]



The supposition that the central parliamentary government of New Zealand will long be carried on from a remote corner seat of government like Auckland, would be a supposition revolting to the common sense of the colony; and the cits and shopkeepers of Auckland would do well to cast off their huxter selfishness, and to begin to regard the government of New Zealand in some other light than in that of a means of "filling the till." Their argument, to use an expression, that the seat of government could not be removed from Auckland without endangering peaceful relations with the Auckland natives, if I may be pardoned the use of a vulgar, but fit word, is "bosh." If the Auckland natives were multiplied by twenty, they could not be allowed to obstruct the good government of the entire colony of New Zealand--but the truth is, that if the seat of government were removed from Auckland to-morrow, the Auckland natives would scarcely care to inquire whither it was gone. Make the Colonel of the Regiment, the Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, and leave the troops, the parades, drums, and trumpets, for the natives to admire; and they would still bring their pigs and produce to Auckland, and carry back their blankets and tobacco, precisely as they do now.

Indeed, although the Auckland burgesses may persist in kicking against the pricks and in hugging the delusion that their city is to remain the Parliamentary Metropolis of New Zealand, the question is already virtually decided the other way; and the Parliamentary Metropolis of New Zealand will, ere long, be permanently fixed at Wellington or at Nelson.

It appears to me that Nelson, on the whole, would be

[Image of page 290]


the better place of the two. In centrality of position, Nelson is so nearly equal to Wellington that, for all practical purposes, we may say she is quite equal; whilst she possesses certain climatic advantages and "volcanic immunities" which unquestionably endow her with a superiority over Wellington.

I have somewhere read (I think in the Rev. Mr. Taylor's excellent work on the New Zealand aborigines) that what has been spoken of as the "boisterous irritability" of the Wellington people, is occasioned by the boisterous, irritative, character of their peculiar climate. 15 The annual parliamentary session of New Zealand will unquestionably be held in what we call our winter months: members can then be better spared from their (general) rural pursuits; and winter nights, with lights, fires, curtains, and "dined" members of the hungry opposition, make up the most genial time for the in-door work of legislation. How far Mr. Taylor's curious theory may be correct, I cannot say; but this I think we may say--that the difference between the winter climate of Wellington and Nelson is such, that nearly as much legislation would be got through in two months in the latter place, as in three months in the former; whilst Nelson, in all seasons, would certainly be a more pleasant residence for the Queen's Representative and his little Court than boisterous Wellington.

But it is a more serious matter than mere boisterousness of climate which damages Wellington's metropolitan claims. The experience of fifteen years shows, that whilst volcanic action has virtually subsided, both in the north and south of New Zealand, and is seldom perceptible at Nelson, shocks of earthquake are somewhat severe in the immediate town and neighbourhood of Wellington.

Wherever the permanent parliamentary metropolis of New Zealand is placed, certain good and substantial buildings must be erected. Now I would ask any provincial councillor of the good city of Wellington whether, as a private speculation, he would lay out £5000 of his own

[Image of page 291]


money in building a stone or brick mansion there? I would not; and I should regard a £25,000 set of public offices in Wellington as the very reverse of permanent public property. It certainly would not conduce to the domestic comfort of the Governor to know that, any night, some little "volcanic eccentricity" might reverse his sleeping position; ministries shaken by earthquakes could never be stable ministries; and the spectacle of the Speaker toppled from his chair, would not promote the course of smooth and tranquil legislation.

These combined considerations induce me to believe that Nelson is the most fit and proper place for the Legislative Capital of New Zealand; and before the General Assembly actually removes from Auckland, I conceive they would do well and wisely to consider this point; so that when they do remove, they may remove, once for all, to the best place.

Public Revenue and Expenditure, and Financial Position. -- New Zealand's annual Public Revenue is made up by two great branches: "Territorial Revenue," being the annual proceeds of the sales and leases of wild lands; and "Ordinary Revenue," being the annual proceeds of customs duties and petty items.

The gross revenue for the year 1857 may be roughly estimated as follows:--


Territorial 2




Post-office, Fees, Fines, and Licences



2   The average territorial revenue for the last three years has been about £140,000 per annum. Of course, the more emigration, the more land-buyers, and if New Zealand should now become a popular emigration field, the annual territorial revenue of the colony might easily be raised to half a million, and the ordinary revenue to as much more. With respect to the customs branch, it should be observed, that the colonial treasurer does not estimate it at more than £100,000 for 1857. In making his calculation, however, he seems to have overlooked the fact that New Zealand even now is rising in estimation as an emigration field; that the reaction of peace may produce a great revival of emigration; and that thus, the arrival of emigrants, and consequently of duty-paying imports in New Zealand, for the present year may be considerably greater than it was in 1856.

[Image of page 292]


The reader will thus perceive that "Customs Duties" (see Tariff, chap. XX.) is the sole public tax in New Zealand. I regard it as the best and simplest tax by which the public revenue of a young country like New Zealand could possibly be raised. The philosophical author of "Ultima Thule" 16 would, however, abolish customs and substitute a property tax. He intimates that customs is an unfair tax; because it charges the poor man a halfpenny on his pound of tea, and charges the rich man no more. Now there is no "poor man" in New Zealand; and Mr. Cholmondeley, if he be a practical man, well knows that the labourer in New Zealand can afford to drink "orange pekoe" tea, as well as his employer can afford to drink "common hyson." Again, if customs were abolished in favour of a property tax, the natives, who, as consumers of imports, now contribute largely to the revenue, would very unfairly

[Image of page 293]


escape all taxation -- for I apprehend that even "Ultima Thule" would not dream of catching the Maori for the property tax. Next to a Wat Tyler poll-tax, no species of tax is so odious and inquisitorial as a "property-and-income tax;" whilst as to its peculiar fitness for New Zealand, it may be sufficient, here, to remind "Ultima Thule," that to please the fiscal fancies of the northern rebel, Hone Heke, Governor Fitzroy (one 1st of April) abolished all customs duties in New Zealand, substituted a property tax; and, in three months, became bankrupt, and went back to customs, a poorer, perhaps even a wiser, man.


Having (at present) no fewer than seven public exchequers in New Zealand, viz. the one of the General Government and the six of the Provincial Councils--these latter having no good system of accounts, and exhibiting a slight disposition to scramble for the revenue and lay hands on all public monies coming within their reach--it is impossible to do more than to present the reader (in a following page) with a few semi-conjectural figures showing how the whole of the, estimated, public revenue was, probably, expended in the year 1856. The Stafford-Sewell Ministry, however, has shown a desire to reduce order out of chaos, and to lay down some clear financial policy for the entire colony; and the coming session of the General Assembly will, I think, define and adopt

[Image of page 294]


some financial policy, of which the leading features will resemble these:--

1. The territorial revenue of each Province to be provincial revenue, expended by its Provincial Council.

2. The ordinary (customs) revenue of the six Provinces to be general revenue, expended by the General Assembly.

3. The New Zealand Company's debt, £200,000, and a loan (to be borrowed) of £300,000 to be capitalised as a public debt of half a million. The Imperial Government to be solicited to guarantee annual interest on this debt at £4 per cent, (a sinking fund of £2 per cent, being provided for the redemption of the whole in thirty years), and such annual interest to be paid partly by the Provincial Councils from the provincial chests, and partly by the General Assembly from the general chest. 17

The reader who owes no man a penny, will, I fear, be disgusted to learn, that young New Zealand, not yet of age, actually owes nearly quarter of a million. She did not get into debt, though, she was put into debt: strong A lost B's money, and then forced weak C to make good B's loss. In other words, Lord Stanley's Colonial Office of 1843 lost the New Zealand Company's capital, and Sir John Pakington's Colonial Office of 1853 ("might and right," "monkey and cat") made the unfortunate Pioneer Colonists, pay it back!

[Image of page 295]


Mr. Fox was instrumental in drawing up the Act of our New Zealand Constitution--I believe Mr. Fox is a great admirer of American history. Did it never strike the honourable member for Wanganui that if this New Zealand Constitution, carrying such a "black-mail" rider as this Company's "debt-clause," had been offered to the American colonists, they would have pitched it into the sea, along with Boston's tea chests? Logically and equitably, the colonists of New Zealand have no more business to pay this debt, than the colonists of Nova Scotia. Neither ought the New Zealand Company to lose a penny of the money. Their enterprise of colonising New Zealand was unquestionably a commercial enterprise, but it "was unquestionably a national enterprise; and an enterprise which would have been crowned with brilliant success save for the blighting opposition it experienced from the Missionary-Colonial Office. The New Zealand Company prevented New Zealand from becoming a French possession and the foreign mistress of the Pacific--the New Zealand Company are entitled to receive back every penny they lost; and if the Crown raised the chairman to the peerage, and presented the shareholders with £100,000 as a sort of "expiation-present," the Crown would fitly bestow both its honours and its money. If the "Lex talionis" were enforced, this debt would be liquidated in this wise:--Lord Stanley, of the Colonial Office of 1843, would be mulcted one-third; the Aborigines Protection Society, one-

[Image of page 296]


third; and Mr. Danderson Coates and the Church Missionary Society, one-third.

Great criminals, however, generally escape: we can touch neither the Knowsley rents, nor the Mission-box. Indeed, New Zealand colonists do not ask for retaliation--they ask but for common justice. The British public suffered a despotic public institution, a Colonial Office, to lose this money--in equity, the British public should make the loss good. Policy, too, as well as equity, might dictate this arrangement. It is essential to British prosperity that she should have good and prosperous emigration fields; it is better for British manufacturers, and for Britain, that our emigrants should go to New Zealand, a loyal British colony, and become consumers of British imports to the amount of £10 per head per annum, than that they should go to people a rival State, and consume British imports to the amount of only £3 per head per annum. This £200,000 given to New Zealand would do something to make her a more attractive Emigration Field; and whilst it would be a great sum for the daughter to receive, it would be a mere trifle for the mother to give. In short, I conceive that the General Assembly of New Zealand, before they assume this "black mail" debt to be a fixed imposition; and before, in their new financial policy, they seek to provide for it, would do well to appeal, finally, to the British Commons with a petition signed by 20,000 colonists praying the Honourable House to relieve the infant

[Image of page 297]


colony from a burden, which it is nationally disgraceful that an infant colony should ever have been called on to support.




[Image of page 298]



[Image of page 299]




[Image of page 300]


ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.--Except in some petty differences of detail, the civil and criminal law of New Zealand, trial by jury, &c, is exactly

[Image of page 301]


the same, and is administered the same, as in England. Two Crown-appointed judges, one residing at Auckland, the other at Wellington, constitute a northern and a southern supreme court, holding regular terms in the two capitals for the trial of civil and criminal cases, and occasionally holding a short assize in the other settlements. Mr. Attorney-General, Mr. Provincial-Solicitor, Serjeant Buzfuz and his brother spiders, may be seen catching flies here, just as in England. Flies, though, are fewer and less fat; and learned gentlemen, probably as unable to afford it, do not, I think, wear the "wig" in New Zealand. Intestate estates are vested in the Registrar of the Supreme Court. In each settlement there is a resident magistrate's court (answering to county courts) for the recovery of £20 debts or damages between Europeans, and £100 between natives and Europeans. When adjudicating in any native case, the resident magistrate is generally assisted by a native assessor -- a sort of native (civil) magis-

[Image of page 302]


trate. Courts of this description, for the trial of such limited civil cases, and for the trial of common police cases, sit daily or weekly in every settlement. "Resident magistrates" are our only paid magistrates; but so many of the "great unpaid" have been created by different governors in New Zealand, that the initial J. P. is sometimes irreverently read as "judge of pigs." Auckland and Wellington have each a smart Police Force (about twenty men) composed chiefly of young natives, who make excellent constables. But theft and violence are exceedingly rare in New Zealand; and save for the occasional capture and incarceration of tipsy sailors, sawyers, or bush-settlers, even the Auckland police might sit in the watch-house and smoke quietly with Dogberry and Verges through the night.

PATRONAGE.--Virtually, New Zealand patronage is vested in the Governor, the House of Representatives, and the Superintendents of Provinces. The non-legislative officers of the General Government (consisting of about a dozen resident-magistrates, a dozen customs'-collectors, half-a-dozen land-purchase commissioners, and twenty to thirty survey, post-office, government, bank and treasury officers, at salaries varying from £150 to £500 a year, and as many more subordinate officers at £60 to £120 a year) would be appointed, chiefly, by the Governor--though strong private recommendation to any office by two or three members of the

[Image of page 303]


House of Representatives would probably have considerable weight with him.

Under the new principle of "Ministerial responsibility," our three or four legislative officers forming the public "Ministry" of the colony are virtually named by the Governor at the instance of a "majority" in the General Assembly--such Ministry being all members of the General Assembly, and for the most part members of that popular branch of it called the House of Representatives (the House of Commons).

The six Superintendents (salaries £600 to £800) sometimes at the recommendation and with the approval of their Provincial Councils (and ostensibly with the sanction and confirmation of the Governor,) 19 appoint some half-dozen provincial secretaries, treasurers and attorneys, and some half-dozen harbour-masters, police-superintendents, surveyors, land officers, inspectors, road-surveyors, surgeons and coroners, at salaries varying from £200 to £300 a-year; together with various petty officers at salaries varying from £50 to £100 a year.

RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS.--There is no "State religion" in New Zealand. There is a church

[Image of page 304]


establishment of Bishop, Archdeacons and regular clergy; but it is an establishment supported by the voluntary contributions of its members, by certain endowments of the late New Zealand Company, by gifts and bequests of wealthy churchmen; and by pecuniary assistance furnished by societies existing in England for the extension of the Church abroad.

Canterbury, founded by members of the Church of England, and where, in the original scheme of the settlement, a considerable endowment of wild land was set apart for the Church, has lately had a provincial Bishop appointed to its See; and it is probable that, at Canterbury, the Church will receive certain recognition and support from the Provincial Legislature, and become the quasi state church of the Province, just as the Free Kirk (though in a less degree) may become the quasi state church in the Scotch, Free-kirk-founded settlement of Otago. But this is a mere exceptional instance, and the Church of England exists in New Zealand just as the Roman Catholic, the Wesleyan, or any other dissenting church exists--self-supporting and independent of State.

Six hundred pounds per annum formerly stood on the New Zealand estimates as the Bishop's salary: I think it would have been good economy to have continued this sum, in the civil list of the New Zealand Constitution. Whenever this "New Zealand Bishop's salary question" has been alluded to in the House of Commons, that

[Image of page 305]


dapper draper, Mr. Williams, has started up and implored the House, in figurative blunders, to pause ere they fastened a state church on New Zealand.

"There be more things in the world than are dreamt of in thy philosophy," 0 "figure" of Lambeth! a New Zealand bishop is one of the most useful civil officers of State--he is both a producer of Emigrants, and a producer of Exports. With numbers of excellent people (Churchmen and Dissenters) the very sound of the words "the Bishop of New Zealand," his "Lordship of Canterbury," sheds an air of security, civilisation, polish and refinement over our long reputed, cannibal, wilderness of the Antipodes, which practically benefits and pays us. I have probably been brought into communication with more people who have emigrated to New Zealand, than any one individual who has ever taken part in the colonisation of the country; and I assert that, among secondary causes of attraction, the existence of a real Bishop or two in New Zealand, has done more in enlisting us emigrant recruits than the existence of a Constitution giving household suffrage. Whilst as real civilisers, as inciters to work, as theoretical teachers of the natives in the industrial arts, the Bishop and his staff (though they might make themselves much more useful in this way) do unquestionably help to produce a considerable portion of the colony's £ s. d. exports.

I would, therefore, pooh-pooh Mr. Williams' little bit of nonsense, and place £600 or £1000

[Image of page 306]


a-year on the colonial estimates, as the salary of a Bishop, to be appointed by the General Assembly. Such a sum would not lure any sleek and slothful son of the church to "Ultima Thule,"-- but such a sum would materially increase the strength and usefulness of a New Zealand bishop, increase the profit of keeping one, and the General Assembly might always provide that he should be a man of the St. Paul and Selwyn stamp.


"LAND.--All Church lands and buildings are vested in the Bishop of New Zealand for the time being, in trust, for the purposes specified on the deed of conveyance.

"GENERAL CHURCH FUND.--The Bishop will publish from time to time an abstract of the account of the fund placed at his disposal for the general benefit of the Church in New Zealand. The details of this, and of all other Church accounts, will be open to public inspection on application to the deputy registrar, by payment of a donation of one shilling to the Church fund.

"ARCHDEACONRY FUNDS.--The Church funds in the different archdeaconries are managed by a board of five trustees; namely, the Bishop, the archdeacon, the senior clergyman of the chief town, and two laymen, appointed annually by the bishop, one on the recommendation of the clergy, and the other of the communicants. The Bishop may refuse his sanction to any recommendation of which he does not approve. An abstract of the account of the archdeaconry fund will be published, and the details of the account will be open to inspection on the terms above mentioned, at the office of the archdeacon.

"COLLECTIONS.--Collections for all religious and charitable purposes may be made at the Offertory, whether the

[Image of page 307]


Holy Communion be administered or not. Subscriptions of all kinds will be received and accounted for by the Bishop, clergy, and other trustees of the Church funds. The list of subscribers will be open to public inspection, as before, but will not be generally circulated.

"BUILDING OF CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS.-- Contributions of land, money, labour, building materials, &c, for the building of churches and schools, will be met by a proportionate grant from the Bishop's general church fund, and by another from the archdeaconry fund. The amount of the grants will vary according to the state of those funds. The plans of the buildings must be approved by the Bishop, or by some person appointed by him. No endowments will be accepted subject to the condition of private patronage. Vacancies will be filled up by the ordination of those deacons whom the Bishop shall judge to be most qualified for the particular stations. As a general principle, the income of the clergy will depend on their length of service, their location upon their personal qualifications. Thus the Bishop will not exercise the right of pecuniary patronage himself, nor allow that power to others.


"The bishop of New Zealand's Ordinations are usually held on Trinity Sunday, and the Sunday after Sept. 14.

"Candidates for holy orders are required to reside at least two terms in St. John's College, and bring with them--

"1. Letters testimonial from three clergymen in the diocese, or from three beneficed clergymen in England, countersigned by the Bishop of their diocese.

"2. Certificate of baptism.

"Before ordination, in addition to the usual subscriptions, they are required to sign a declaration, by which they pledge themselves--

"1. To go to any station to which the Bishop may appoint them.

[Image of page 308]


"2. Not to acquire landed property, nor to engage in trade or agriculture, without his written consent.

"3. Not to leave the diocese before the end of seven years, without his written consent.

"4. To administer to all classes of persons within their districts, whether settlers or natives.


"The following is the general plan of education proposed for the diocese of New Zealand, and already partially in progress.

"DEACONS.--The order of deacons is held officially responsible for the management of the schools and public charities of the diocese, under the immediate direction of the priests, and subject to the periodical inspection of the archdeacons. The religious instruction of the schools is especially under the charge of the deacons, who are required to attend for that purpose every day from 9 to 12, when at home and not otherwise reasonably hindered.


"An equivalent from the Church fund will be granted in money, for contributions in money, produce, or labour, made by the inhabitants of any district towards the support of a clergyman or schoolmaster. The Bishop will not pledge himself to maintain a clergyman or schoolmaster permanently in any place upon other terms. The Bishop recommends the adoption of the old practice of Easter offerings, which, in this country, will have the advantage of being made at the time of harvest.

"Endowment.--The endowment of the Church in New-Zealand will be conducted, as much as possible, on the following principles:--

"1. That all deserving persons shall be duly promoted after stated periods of service.

"2. That all similarly-situated persons shall receive the like emoluments.

"3. That an increase of income shall be secured to

[Image of page 309]


every clergyman after stated periods of service, without the necessity of removal to another station.

"All contributions for endowment are therefore recommended to be made to the archdeaconry endowment fund, the income of which will be divided among all the clergy of the archdeaconry upon the above principles. The Bishop's general endowment fund will be applied to regulate the inequalities of the archdeaconry funds.

"Endowments restricted to particular places will be accepted, subject to the condition that the surplus income, beyond the proportion payable to the incumbent according to his standing, shall be added to the endowment fund of the archdeaconry.

"The following is the scale of incomes at present adopted:--

"1. Deacons and priests, £100 from 1st January following ordination as deacons. To increase £10 every year to the maximum of £300.

"2. Archdeacons, not exceeding £400 per annum.

"3. Bishops, not exceeding £500 per annum.

"The income of any clergyman coming to New Zealand from another diocese to be computed in the same manner from his ordination as deacon.

"The diocesan scale of salary will not be guaranteed to any clergyman who obtains an augmentation of income by engaging in any other duties than those which have been assigned to him in the Church.

"All Church dues and surplice fees are to be brought to the account of the archdeaconry fund.

"The deacons are allowed to take private pupils to be educated during the hours not occupied in the school. The archdeacons and senior clergy upon recommendation of the deacons are at liberty to recommend scholars from the parochial schools to be received by the deacons into their class of private pupils, from which the candidates for scholarships at the diocesan colleges will be selected by the bishop or examiners appointed by him. It is hoped that the direct way to the ministry of the Church will

[Image of page 310]


thus be opened to every young man of piety and worth, in whatever rank of life he may have been born.

"The great importance of the diocesan system of education, in its bearing upon all the highest interests of the country, requires that it should be clearly understood from the first, that no deacon can be admitted to the order of the priesthood, whatever may be his qualifications, who shall have neglected the schools committed to his charge.

"PROBATIONERS.--For the same reason, the surest way by which a candidate for holy orders can recommend himself to the notice of the Bishop, will be by diligence and skill in the management of a school. So far as it may be found to be possible, no permanent distinction will be drawn between the offices of clergyman and schoolmaster. The great point to be kept steadily in view, is, to sanctify the work of teaching, by connecting it, in act or in hope, with the ministry of the Church of Christ.

"Candidates for holy orders are required to place themselves under the direction of the parochial clergy in the management of schools and public charities, till they are invited by the Bishop to keep their terms at the diocesan college. In return for their assistance, the parochial clergy are expected to direct them in their preparation for holy orders, and to exercise a fatherly care over their character and habits. Where a candidate has no near relations with whom he can reside, he will be required to live in the clergyman's house, and to conform to the regulations of the family. No candidate can be accepted by the Bishop without a full and particular testimonial from the clergyman under whom he has served.

"INDUSTRIAL TEACHERS. -- It will often be open to those candidates who have been found ineligible for holy orders, to continue their connection with the Church as teachers of useful arts. For this reason, every scholar and student in the diocesan institutions, is required to practise some useful art, that he may be able to gain his livelihood, if he should not be admitted to the ministry."

[Image of page 311]


EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.--No general state educational institutions have yet been provided in New Zealand; but from the peculiar bent and high intellectual character of the community, and from certain legislative indications, it would appear to be not improbable, that some state educational system will be organised, ere long, after the American models. In the meantime, the Bishop's college at Auckland, the grammar schools of Wellington and Canterbury, the Wesleyan training college, various private commercial academies, ladies' seminaries and the flourishing Sunday schools established by the various religious bodies, afford ample means of secular and religious training; and no Emigrant now going to New Zealand would be left without the means of giving his children that best of gifts-- a sound classical and general education.

CURRENCY.--The currency is exactly the same as in England: each coin bears the same positive and relative value. The Government Bank and, at present, I think, the Union Bank of Australia issue notes; but notes are seen less seldom than in England; and three-fourths of our common everyday payments are made in gold and silver.

PRESS.--The "fourth estate" is well represented in New Zealand, the 50,000 colonists supporting four bi-weekly and five weekly papers. Differing, again, from our Banana friend, the "Englishman," I think that the New Zealand Press is con-

[Image of page 312]


ducted both with spirit and ability; and save at provincial elections, when it espouses opposite sides and certainly assimilates for a week or two to Dickens's "Eatanswill Independent," it is fair in style and moderate in tone. Indeed, we boast that our New Zealand papers, like Thackeray's "Pall Mall Gazette," are written by gentlemen for gentlemen; and fancy that the licence and vulgar personalities of the American press would scarcely sell in Zealandia.

Our New Zealand journals, however, would much extend their emigrationary usefulness, if they would make themselves less exclusively political. They plead that their subscribers are electors, keen local politicians, and that they must write to please these, the hundreds, who pay. But there are thousands at home who may pay some day: thousands who want to know what a man can do in New Zealand with £500, what progress is making in exports, what a fat sheep or a hapuka weighed, whose reaping machine made best work, what fruit appeared at the Horticultural Show, who grew the monster cabbage, &c., who would not care twopence to know about a "ministerial crisis," a Superintendent's speech, or the ratting of a provincial councillor. The editor of a London paper is sometimes unable to find in a whole batch of New Zealand journals, matter for a single column which would interest his emigrant readers! and I cannot but think that the New Zealand Press would materially help the colony abroad, and not hurt it much at home,

[Image of page 313]


if it would pitch half the anonymous balderdash received from "Indignant Electors," "Britons," "Baffled Beadles," "Provincial Councillors," "My-eye-is-on-hims," &c, &c, into the fire, and devote the columns so saved to "chips for home readers," and to "facts" for the Emigrant.

1   Mr. Fox, a leading colonist, who (in England) represented the political interests of the colony at the time of the passing of our Constitution Act, seems to have thought that the Crown had for the first time relinquished this "power of veto" in favour of New Zealand. Writing to his constituents in explanation of the Act, he says:--
"In the other Australian colonies all ordinances passed by the Legislature, even though assented to by the governor, are still open to disallowance by the Home Government. This in our Constitution is abandoned. The Governor may reserve laws passed by the general Legislature, for the consideration of the Home Government; but if he chooses to give his assent, that assent will be final, and they can never afterwards be referred home. And the Secretary for the Colonies expressly stated in Parliament that he should instruct the governor of New Zealand, never, unless in the most extreme cases, to refer any ordinances to the Home Government, but to give or withhold his assent at once, on his own responsibility. Laws enacted by the Provincial Councils cannot be referred home in any case."
Now as a private, non-political, colonist who, were he another Cincinnatus and even equal to the "Purple," would far rather guide the plough in New Zealand than help to guide the State, it is with considerable trepidation that I venture to differ from Mr. Fox on any such question as veto: I may illustrate Fox and Goose--still either the learned senator is wrong, here, or my copy of the Act is wrong. The Act runs thus:--
"`LVIII. Whenever any Bill which shall have been presented for Her Majesty's assent to the governor shall by such governor have been assented to in Her Majesty's name, he shall by the first convenient opportunity transmit to one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State an authentic copy of such Bill so assented to; and it shall be lawful, at any time within two years after such bill shall have been received by the Secretary of State, for Her Majesty, by order in council, to declare her disallowance of such Bill; and such disallowance, together with a certificate under the hand and seal of the Secretary of State, certifying the day on which such Bill was received as aforesaid, being signified by the governor to the said legislative council and house of representatives by speech or message, or by proclamation in the Government Gazette, shall make void and annul the same from and after the day of such signification."
2   Some, perhaps rather inclined to paint the lily and perfume the rose, object that the taking of £16,000 a year for a Civil List is an arbitrary diminution of the people's "power of the purse." I don't defend the principle of this Civil List; but just as I would make the minister of a small congregation pecuniarily independent of his hearers, so would I make present governors and judges of New Zealand pecuniarily independent of her handful of people--educated, intelligent, excellent as that handful is.
3   The (present) created, legislative council appears to number some fifteen members. Six or seven are more or less Auckland or northern gentlemen; and these often form a majority; because a legislative council held at Auckland (hundreds of miles from Canterbury and Otago) is so distant, that the southern peers scarcely care to journey up to take their seats.
4   Here, I speak from memory. I believe the Act imposes no limitation; and that the governor has power to gratify any number of New Zealand gentlemen anxious to obtain the "garter" of Honourable prefixed to their public names, as Legislative Councillors.
5   A leading political colonist and a most able and excellent man who represents "ultra-provincialism" in New Zealand as opposed to "centralization" and strong general government. That such a man should believe in such a policy, tends sadly to prove the truth of the dictum, that on some point everybody is more or less mad.
6   Page 299.
7   I have not the Act before me; but I do not think there is anything in it preventing even the inferior members of the Provincial Councils from being at the same time, members of the House of Representatives. If so, three-fourths of the General Assembly might actually and personally be the Provincial Councils meeting together in the capital, instead of separately, in the provinces.
8   "An impartial observer, removed from the atmosphere of local jealousies and distrusts, cannot but arrive at the conclusion that the real prosperity of New Zealand will be best promoted by the discouragement of provincialism and the development of a more national and catholic feeling. Whilst the settlements remain isolated as they are, with a wretchedly deficient postal communication, with conflicting land laws and upset prices differing so widely as two pounds and five shillings an acre, and with distinct assemblies and distinct governors left entirely to themselves, there can be no reasonable hope of such a feeling growing up. But the days of steam communication are at hand, and it is certain that the various settlements will soon be connected by a regular and constant steam service by sea; and, as they have not, and cannot have, any really opposite interests--as, on the contrary, the true prosperity of the colony is involved in the principle of union--it is in the central legislature, and not in the provincial councils, that the real power of government must ultimately reside. At present, the object of the Imperial Parliament in the Act for conferring a constitution on New Zealand, appears to us to have been practically set aside; and the superintendents and local councils have assumed an amount of power and influence quite inconsistent with the spirit and intent of the constitution."--Sydney Morning Herald.
9   I forget for the moment whether the adder is oviparous or viviparous--but egg or no egg, the figure may serve.
10   Five years in a young growing colony like New Zealand, is a period of time equal to twenty years in an old grown country; and triennial Parliaments would harmonise far better with the ratio of progress of the colony than quinquennial. In 1857, say there are 100 fit men for legislators in New Zealand--in 1860, through immigration, there might be 200; and in 1863, 400. Thus, by shortening the duration of Parliaments, the colony would get the benefit of the new-arrived legislative talent, so much the sooner.
11   As there would be no House of Peers to obstruct public business, two months would suffice. But New Zealand legislators both can and will talk, and we give them three--ample time for oratory, if they would only conduct it on the principle of that immortal despatch, the "veni, vidi, vici."
12   Washington Irving in one of his veracious histories relates that Charondas the Locrian, "anxious to preserve the code of laws from the cumbersome additions of mere seekers of popularity, ordained that any legislator proposing a new law should do it with a halter round his neck; wherewith in case his measure was rejected they straightway hung him up; and there the matter ended."
13   "His Excellency the Governor, on behalf of Her Majesty, assented to the following Acts passed by the General Assembly during the session of 1856:--
The Pensions' Act.
The Law Amendment Act.
The Naturalisation Act.
The Bank Paper Currency Act.
The Nelson Trust Fund Amendment Act.
The English Acts' Act.
The New Zealand Debenture Act.
The New Zealand Colonial Bank of Issue Winding-up Act.
The Marriage Act Amendment Act.
The Magistrates' Indemnity Act.
The Building Societies' Amendment Act.
The Bills of Sale Registration Act.
The Nelson Wesleyan Chapel Sale Act.
The Religious, Charitable, and Educational Trusts' Act.
The Savings' Bank Ordinance Amendment Act.
The Superintendents' Deputy Act.
The New Zealand Native Reserves Act.
The Resident Magistrates' Courts' Ordinance Amendment Act.
The Counties' Act.
The New Zealand Loan Act.
The Supreme Court Procedure Act.
The Public Offices' Act.
The Privileges' Act.
The Customs' Duties' Act.
The Auckland Hospital and Grammar School Reserves' Act."
14   Popularly called the "Stafford-Sewell" Ministry; and far the ablest Ministry which has yet been formed. It is reported that Mr. Sewell is about to return on a visit to England, and that Mr. Stafford will resign the Superintendency of Nelson and become colonial treasurer. Mr. Sewell is a most able man, whose presence can ill be spared; but Mr. Stafford may worthily supply his place. Indeed this gentleman is far too good a man for a mere provincial superintendent. He is capable of looking at New Zealand, as a whole; and does not regard her as a grotesque assemblage of six parish-settlements to be misgoverned by six provincial vestries. We may describe New Zealand's two political parties thus--Stafford and Sewell for central government and sovereign parliament--Fox and Featherstone for provincial dominion and "vestry-parliaments."
15   See article on Wellington, chap. IX.
16   "Ultima Thule," a somewhat speculative, but an able and very interesting work on New Zealand, by Thomas Cholmondeley, 1854, price 2s. 6d.: John Chapman, 142, Strand.
17   One proposal is, that the Company's debt of £200,000 shall be liquidated by Nelson, Canterbury and Otago; that £200,000 of the loan (required mainly for purchasing wild lands from the natives in the North Island) shall be liquidated by Auckland, New Plymouth and Wellington; and that the remainder of the loan, £100,000, shall be liquidated by the General Assembly from the ordinary revenue.
18   The way in which these Provincial Council "Vestry Parliaments" promise to economise the colonists' public monies, may be gleaned from the following extract from a late Auckland paper (the New Zealander): showing that the cost of the maintenance of this one of the six Provincial Councils (chiefly officers' salaries, &c.,) which was £16,000 in 1854, has actually crept up to £30,000 in 1856. 0 hon. member for Wanganui, recollect King Log and King Stork; and take care that your imperium in imperio in its six-fold form, does not some day pauperise the colony, and lead to the issue of Provincial Council Bank Paper current at a discount of £75 per cent.!
"In the year 1854, the total amount voted for the provincial establishments' expenditure, exclusive of the sum voted for special works, was £16,862 1s. 9d.; inclusive of £15,400 for such works, £32,262 1s. 2d. In the year 1856, the voted provincial expenditure, exclusive of extraordinary expenditure, is £28,342 3s. 9d. and, inclusive of £68,671 18s. 6d. for such extraordinary expenditure, £97,012 3s. 3d. For the present, however, we may put the special and extraordinary expenditure wholly on one fide. The two totals we have to do with here are those of £16,862 1s. 9d. in 1854, as compared with £28,342 3s. 9d. in 1856--being an increase of £11,480 2s., or some 70per cent., for which the province can show--what?
"We are quite ready to admit that under several heads there has been a considerable addition made in consequence of the higher rates of labour that have prevailed for some time; that an increase has been made in the harbour departments and police of the colony; that the establishment charges of the hospital, lunatic asylum, and gaol, are rendered higher by the increased prices of provisions, &c.; that some new offices have been created. But those facts will not account for the whole enormous increase we have pointed to, and the necessity for some of those new offices is more than doubted.
"The salary of Superintendent being fixed by act is the same in both estimates, viz., £800--a sum which we think sufficient for the duties and responsibilities of that office, even when its holder shall become, as we trust he soon will be, the virtual as well as nominal head of the United Provincial Departments. Under 'Provincial Council,' we find that in 1854, the Speaker had £250; in 1856, £300; Clerk of Council, in 1854, £50; in 1856, £250 (of this £100 was added for the new and at present nominal office of 'Librarian.') Contingencies, in 1854, £500; in 1856, £600. Library, in 1854, £100; in 1856, £150. Total in 1854, £900; in 1856 (including £50 for one member for Bay of Islands), £1350. Under 'Superintendent's Office,' in 1854, Chief Clerk, £300. Under 'Superintendent's Department,' in 1856, Provincial Secretary, £400. So with other officers in this then 'office,' now 'department,' the change of name not being without a marked significance when taken in connection with the accompanying increase of salary and relief from immediate subordinance and responsibility to the Superintendent. Thus, in 1854, Treasury Clerk, £300; in 1856, Provincial Treasurer, £400. In 1854, we find an audit and second clerk at £250 each, and a third clerk at £180; in 1856, two clerks, at £250 each, and an assistant Provisional Treasurer at £250. Total in 1854, £1358 ; in 1856 (including £100 for contingencies, not specified in 1854) £1730. 'Public Works,' in 1854, one provincial engineer, £400; in 1856, two engineers, at £100 each,--£800; half of Provincial Surveyor, £200; draughtsman and clerk, £250; assistant draughtsman, £75; clerk, £200; inspector of city works (not in progress), £250; showing an increase in salaries alone between 1854 and 1856 of from £400 to £1775."
* * * * * *
19   "Before giving his assent to Acts passed by Provincial Councils, and other matters of a legal nature, the Governor will require the specified certificate from the colonial secretary and attorney-general: and in approving appointments to vacant (provincial) offices, he will require to be assured that the gentlemen recommended are fit and eligible for their respective situations." (Late Message from his Excellency.)

Previous section | Next section