1857 - Busby, James. A letter to His Excellency Colonel Thomas Gore Browne - Appendix, p 26-28

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  1857 - Busby, James. A letter to His Excellency Colonel Thomas Gore Browne - Appendix, p 26-28
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We, your Majesty's faithful and dutiful subjects, the members of the Provincial Council of Auckland, elected under and by authority of the Act of the fifteenth and sixteenth years of your Majesty's reign, desire to approach your Majesty with the expression of our unfeigned attachment to your Majesty's person and Government.

2. Your Majesty's petitioners having on their first meeting in Council humbly represented to your Majesty that the New Zealand Constitution Act, which provides for the establishment of a Provincial Council for each of the six Colonies which have been planted in the Islands of New Zealand by your Majesty's subjects, and for a general or central Government and Legislature for the whole, could not be brought into operation without working injustice and injury to the Colony in general and to the Province of Auckland in particular, would humbly renew their representations to your Majesty, strengthened by the experience which the actual working of the Constitution in all its branches has afforded, since the transmission of that petition to your Majesty.

3. In praying that your Majesty would relieve your faithful subjects in the Province of Auckland from the injustice of having the Revenue collected in that Province appropriated by an Assembly which contains a majority of persons having no interest in the Province, but having interests separate from or opposed to those of the Province, your Majesty's petitioners would humbly represent,

4. That the Province of Auckland was founded by your Majesty's authority, and the City of Auckland chosen by your Majesty's Representative as the Capital of New Zealand and the Seat of Government, and was finally established as such by a Proclamation, dated 26th November 1842, under the authority of a Despatch from one of your Majesty's principal Secretaries of State signifying your Majesty's pleasure thereon.

5. That the Settlements of the South were established by a trading Company not only without the sanction but in defiance of the authority of your Majesty's Government, and without any guarantee or promise at any subsequent period that any one of these Settlements should become the Seat of Government.

6. That the Province of Auckland is not less distinct in its origin and interests from the colonies of the South, than it is separated from them by physical difficulties of an all but insurmountable character.

7. That Auckland has no commercial relations with the Southern Settlements; that there is no interchange of commodities between it and them; that their exports and imports are the same, the same markets being open to both; that the same state of things must necessarily continue for many years; and that in short the Province of Auckland is as little connected with those of the South and as little likely to become so as with Canada or any other of your Majesty's Colonies in America.

8. That the Federal character of the present Constitution being apparently formed on the model of the United States of America, is not adapted to the circumstances of a dependency. The Central Government having no foreign relations or functions of a similar character to those of the President and Congress of the United States, such functions being indeed incompatible with their allegiance to your Majesty's Crown.

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9. That two or more concurrent Legislatures in one Colony are not more novel and unprecedented in their character than pregnant with danger to the administration of justice.

10. That in small communities such as those forming the six Provinces of New Zealand under the present Constitution it is difficult to find a sufficient number of persons qualified by education, experience, and pecuniary circumstances, to give the requisite attention to the duties of legislation both in Provincial Councils and in General Assembly.

11. That the expence of so many Legislatures and Government Establishments is a grievous burden upon so young a colony, and falls with peculiar weight upon the Province of Auckland.

12. That while a Constitution so complex in its character thus endangers the administration of justice, while it tends to withhold those who have the greatest stake in the prosperity of the Colony from taking a due share in the Public business by making it incompatible with the necessary attention to their private interests, while it constitutes an Assembly composed of members who by reason of their conflicting or incompatible interests are more disposed to spend their time in party contests than in useful legislation, while it entails an expence upon the community entirely disproportioned to their resources, it does not offer a single advantage in return, which might not be more effectually secured by a simpler and more economical scheme of government.

13. That while the extent of the Province of Auckland, the number of its inhabitants, both British and Aboriginal, (being greater than that of all the other Provinces in the aggregate), the amount of revenue (being four-ninths of that of the whole six Provinces); and the circumstances of its first settlement entitle Auckland to be the Seat of Government of New Zealand. And while your Majesty's petitioners firmly protest against the injustice of subjecting its interests to a majority of Representatives from the Southern Provinces--those representing the South being twenty-five, while those representing Auckland are only twelve in number-- they would equally deprecate the hardship to the Southern Provinces of being required to send representatives to a General Legislature at Auckland.

14. That the unity of the Colony, so far as regards the relations of Auckland to the rest of New Zealand, and so far as the unity of the Colony under present circumstances can be practically maintained, will be sufficiently provided for by giving to the North a separate and independent Legislature: and by providing that the Governor-in-Chief of the New Zealand islands shall require a uniformity in all enactments of its separate Legislatures, which are intended to affect the objects with reference to which an identity of Legislation is supposed to be necessary throughout the Islands.

15. That it appears from the observations of Sir J. Pakington on going into Committee on the present Constitution Act, on June 4th, 1852, that several persons interested in the Southern Settlements were consulted in the framing of the Constitution Act, while no person connected with Auckland had an opportunity of representing the interests and rights of that Province.

16. That the proceedings of the General Assembly at its late meeting have in fact proved that the Representatives of the Southern Provinces came to Auckland with a determination to compel the Governor, by the majority of their votes, to form a new Executive, selected from the Southern members, and to change the Seat of the General Government to one of the Southern Settlements; and that, failing in these objects, two Sessions of the Assembly, which were held after an interval of a fortnight, were wasted in party disputes and squabbles, and finally brought to a close without a satisfactory settlement of the public business, --the finances of the Colony having been left in a state of the utmost confusion, and the laws enacted having been hurried through the Legislature with so little attention that several of them are manifestly imperfect and unworthy of confidence.

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17. That in order to hold these Sessions of a General Assembly, which extended over a period from the 20th May to 17th September, several of Southern members required to be nearly six months, and all upwards four months absent from home: many of them having besides their s[?] duties to attend to as members of the Local Legislatures of their respect Provinces.

18. That it having been proved that the present Constitution, with its complex and expensive machinery, cannot be made productive of good Government to any portion of the Colony, Her Majesty's present Ministers are especially pledged to grant a Constitution more suitable to the necessity and wishes of the Colonists, as well as more consistent with justice and j faith to the people of Auckland. The Duke of Newcastle, Sir William Molesworth, and Mr. Gladstone having objected to the present Constitution Act for one or more of the reasons which your Majesty's petitioners have stated; and Lord John Russell having declared that if it "were found that parts of such institutions worked with dissatisfaction in the Colony, there could be no interest either in the Ministers of the Crown or in Parliament to oppose the just wishes of the Colonists in that respect."

Humbly trusting, therefore, that your Majesty, with the aid of Parliament, will deliver the Province, of which they are the elected Representatives from the grievances to which it has been subjected by the present Constitution Act. Your Majesty's petitioners will ever pray that your Majesty may continue to reign in the affections ol an united and happy people.

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