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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

"The Horowhenua Block

"The Horowhenua Block.

"During the consideration of the Horowhenua Block Bill last evening the proceedings became rather heated. Mr. Bell waxed wroth at what he considered an attempt by the Government to override the decision of the Supreme Court by Act of Parliament. It was a scandal and a shame, he said, in the course of his remarks, that this should be done, and by a Bill that it was attempted to smuggle through in the dying hours of the session. The Minister in charge of the Bill (the Hon. J. McKenzie), with equal warmth, retorted that it was a scandal and a shame, but not upon the Government. Since he had been a Minister he had come across some disgraceful dealings, but none to equal those in connection with this block. Sir Walter Buller was a man knighted by Her Majesty, presumably for good conduct, and who ought to be in gaol for his dealings with the Natives. He had assisted Major Kemp to rob the Natives by getting them to sell parcels of land and with the money fighting each other through the legal profession, Inquiry was needed into the dealings in connection with the block, and it would be found that all he had said was borne out by the facts."

I am informed by members who were present that this report is a correct one of what took place. I desire, therefore, to ask you, as the head of the Government, whether Mr. McKenzie's remarks have the authority or approval of yourself or your colleagues?

In order to put on record at the earliest possible moment my refutation of these slanderous statements, I beg to state,—
1.That I have not been a party, either directly or indirectly, to any of the sales by the Natives of their parcels of land in the Horowhenua Block.
2.That the only sale in which I have been personally concerned was a sale by Major Kemp to myself of two detached pieces of land, containing 8 acres and 4 acres respectively, being part of Horowhenua 14, adjoining my own property, and for which I paid the full price of £10 an acre.
3.That, to enable Major Kemp to test the Horowhenua question in the Supreme Court, I advanced to him, in October, 1894, from my own pocket, a sum of £500, and took by way of security a mortgage of his own parcel in the Horowhenua Block. The whole of this money was applied to the payment of the costs of the suit.
4.That the decision of the Supreme Court, confirmed afterwards by the Court of Appeal, established in every particular my contention as to the title, and had the effect of restoring to the Muaupoko Tribe the lands of which they had been unjustly deprived.

I shall be glad to have a reply from you to this letter as early as possible; and in the meantime I am forwarding, for your information, copy of a letter I have addressed to the Minister of Lands.

—I have, &c.,

Walter L. Buller.

The Hon. the Premier, Wellington. Enclosure.