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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

The Business of the Conference

The Business of the Conference.

Mr Roberts then moved a resolution to define the number of delegates that each society should send to the next Conference, and to provide for the appointment of special visitors. After discussion, some amendments, the chief of which was the limitation of the number of invitees, were made to the resolution, which then read as follows:—"That each agricultural and pastoral association in New Zealand be entitled to send not more than two delegates to the next Conference; that the Arranging Committee be empowered to invite gentlemen who have special knowledge of subjects bearing on the business of this Conference to attend the same and take part in the proceedings; that the number of invitations be limited to ten." He said the opinions of such men would be extremely valuable to the Conference. He did not think that if such a resolution were carried it would actually increase the number they had got. Many of the small associations would not send more than one delegate.

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Mr Buchanan said he would like to make a suggestion to Mr Roberts to the effect that some arrangements be made that the proceedings of the next Conference be reported fully and brought out in pamphlet form or in the Country Journal. They were much indebted to the Wellington papers for reporting their proceedings at such length, but it was evident that in such reports many matters must be curtailed. It would be well to have a complete shorthand report of the Conference which could be submitted afterwards to some expert—say Mr Murphy. He did not think the question of expense need stand in the way of such an important matter being carried out.

Mr Grigg, in seconding the resolution, supported Mr Buchanan's suggestions, as such a report would be found very useful for the guidance of the various agricultural and pastoral associations of New Zealand.

Mr Overton said that before the report was published in pamphlet form it should be edited.

Mr Barnett considered if the suggestions were carried out the Conference would become too large, and so much more time would be required for the proceedings that a number of members could not afford to spend the necessary time at the Conference.

Mr Forster-Pratt was prepared to support Mr Roberts' resolution.

Mr Gray said that if the number of representatives included more than one-half of those engaged in farming these gentlemen might swamp the agricultural delegates.

Mr Anderson thought the number of delegates should be two for the larger and one for the smaller societies.

Mr Pashby would vote against the motion.

Mr Kirkbride was of opinion that they should not object to a number of invitees being present and giving their opinions, but they should not be allowed to vote.

Mr Roberts did not think it would be proper treatment to allow those delegates to be present and then prevent them from voting.

Mr Buchanan pointed out how valuable the opinions of gentlemen connected with shipping would be to the Conference. The information imparted by Mr Reynolds was of very groat value to the Conference.

Mr Grigg said that the admission of invitees to the Conference was not a question of figures at all; it was a question of principle. He considered that the presence of those gentlemen would be a disturbing element at the Conference. He would withdraw from seconding the motion if they were to vote.

Mr Buchanan then seconded the motion.

Mr W. Wilson moved an amendment that such invitees should not have the power of voting at the Conference.

Mr Overton said if they were to get useful information from these gentlemen it would be only right to allow them to vote.

Mr Lowes opposed the motion. If it were intended to have only one delegate from the small societies it would be manifestly unfair, and the question would arise what were small and what were large societies.

Mr McDonald thought it might be quite safe to leave the matter in the hands of the Otago Association.

The amendment on being put to the meeting was negatived.

Mr Roberts said that he had no doubt the Otago Association would take note of the suggestions made, and have the proceedings of the next Conference embodied in book or pamphlet. He was sorry that Mr Grigg had made an objection to members of the Chambers of Commerce being invited.

Mr Grigg asked to be allowed to explain. If they had half a dozen men present interested in shipping, there would be dust thrown in the eyes of the members.

Mr Roberts replied that he was not one of those conspirators.

Mr Grigg: Not conspirators, but natural enemies.

Mr Roberts said he had not spoken of shipping since he attended the meeting. If the question of selecting those gentlemen to be invited were left in the hands of the Otago Society they would be careful to ask only members of agricultural societies, men who were interested in furthering the interests of agriculture in their districts.

The motion was then put and carried.