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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

Governor's Salary, etc

Governor's Salary, etc.

Mr Ormond brought down a proposal to reduce the Governor's salary and the honorarium to members, and he had no doubt the hon. member would like to have reduced Ministers' salaries too. On the question of Ministers' salaries Ministers could not say much themselves, but they left the matter to be dealt with by the House, satisfied with what they would do. He thought they were entitled to the salaries fixed by Act of Parliament 25 years ago, and he thought that when gentlemen page 15 drew the same salary when the population was 150,000, it was not unjust that the salary should remain when the population was 600,000. Ministers were content that the House should deal with the matter, and did not care what was done so long as the House dealt with it. With regard to the honorarium, the position he had taken up was this, that it was not an honorarium, but was a real payment to members, and must be looked on in that light. In Victoria and New South Wales they paid £300; in New Zealand they paid £210. Why did Mr Ormond want to reduce the honorarium? Because he did not want any man in that house who was not a man of property (cheers). When they had that class in the House they would make laws to suit themselves (cheers). If £300 a year was considered fair in New South Wales £210 was not too much for New Zealand, and this was the stand he had taken in the House and on the platform. It was to the interest of the colony for the conservation of its interests that they should pay members. If they were to have only wealthy men in Parliament the people would suffer from the character of the legislation. With regard to the Governor's salary and allowances, it would be a mean thing to interfere with what had been fixed for more than fifteen years, and the consequence would be that they would have to put up with inferior men, and they would lose caste as compared with other colonies. It would be an unwise thing to do, and he was not certain about the purity of the motive. It was, in his opinion, a cry to catch votes at the general election, and nothing else.