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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

Village Settlement Scheme

Village Settlement Scheme.

He (Mr Balance) is charged with having inourred liabilities in excess of the vet) given last year, and a large expenditure in connection with these village settlements; and he was also charged with having misled, or rather not informed, the House as to the amount of liabilities to be incurred by his scheme. They would have seen from the delates in Parliament that a great deal had been incurred under these village settlement regulations which, it was alleged, had not been known by the members of the House. Members of Parliament to so argue must be taken to accuse themselves of very considerable neglect in their Parliamentary duties, when they found in the New Zealand Gazette, published in May, 1886—that was prior to the session of Parliament before last—the regulations for all these village settlements. These regulations indicated that money should be paid for improvements, and for houses put up, on proper certificates being given to the satisfaction of the Department. These regulations were also placed on the table of the House the session before last. Mr Ballance very reasonably said, "These are the regulations under which the scheme was inaugurated. You launched the scheme by voting me £5000 for a commencement. People went on the land under these conditions, and by these conditions Parliament of the country is bound." So far from the Minister of Lands being censured for what he had done he ought to be commended for carrying out a scheme which had had the effect of relieving at least some of the centres of population of their unemployed (applause) There might be differences of opinion as to whether this village settlement scheme was a proper one or not, and he was rather sorry that some of the auspices under which the Auckland scheme had been conducted were not such as to call for enthusiastic support. Some of them were most unfortunate, but was not the point so far as the Minister of Lands was concerned. His scheme was promulgated openly and fairly' j and he was now being condemned for doing the very thing that the Parliament authorised him to do. Whether the scheme was a proper one or not is beside the question, the present question being whether or not he improperly incurred this expenditure. No doubt it was an exercise of responsibility on the part of a Minister that it took a great deal to justify. That justification it would require time to obtain, and we ought to wait before condemning the scheme itself, Referring to the