Upper House a waste of money

The new parliamentary building under construction in Wellington, with a statue of the late Hon...
The new parliamentary building under construction in Wellington, with a statue of the late Hon Richard Seddon in the foreground. Photo: Otago Witness, 13.12.1921
To the editor: Sir, Permit me to draw attention to the absolute waste of money involved in keeping the Legislative Council as at present constituted.

It involves the greatest waste of money of any department of the State. For while it affords Mr Massey with an outlet through which he bestows political patronage, the State gets practically nothing in return for its outlay of about £20,000 a year, which the Legislative Council is costing the taxpayers at the present time. Parliament opened on September 22, and up to November 29, the date of the last Hansard to hand, the Council occupied in its opening ceremonies and public business 22 hours and 3 minutes, a considerable portion of which time was taken up in the ceremony of opening Parliament and the debate in the Council on the Address-in-Reply. I wonder how some of the honourable members can take their monthly cheque, for which they have done nothing, when there are so many deserving poor needing assistance. Reform of the Legislative Council is one of the main planks of  Mr Massey’s political platform, but this, like too many of his promised reforms, has evaporated in gas. — I am, etc, ‘Observer’


Plague precautions outlined

Wellington: In a statement to the House regarding plague precautions the Minister of Health (the Hon C.J. Parr) dismissed the need for fumigation of passengers’ luggage on ships coming from Australia. He said fleas were more likely to be found in the personal apparel of the crew and passengers, or among bales of merchandise. The greater danger was the rat. What the community should be on its guard against was the introduction into New Zealand of rats, and particularly of plague-infected rats. If a plague-infected flea did become separated from its normal host, the rat and came ashore in a passenger’s luggage, the risk was run by the passenger, rather than by the community. If bitten, the passenger would probably contract the plague, but it was most improbable that he would serve as a focus for the dissemination of the disease. The Minister said that endeavours were being made to prevent rats from getting on the ships that came to New Zealand ports. Before they left for New Zealand, quarantine in Sydney were carrying out drastic fumigation of every ship coming to New Zealand. The Department was still concerned with the risks being run if a stray rat should come ashore.  Whether the human cases should be confined to one or two people, whether they should be few or an epidemic depended on the authorities, the shopkeepers, and the householders of New Zealand. There were still many rats, however, especially at the ports, and it was the duty of those he had
named to see that the numbers were reduced. — ODT, 21.12.1921.




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