Pukapuka 2, Nama 22

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Te Wananga. immediately at two o'clock, as he (Mr. Russell) was afraid he might be delayed some minutes afterwards. The Re- ceiver of Land Revenue, however, declined to wait beyond the regular official hour of two o'clock, and closed his office at that tune. When Mr. Russell's business with the Commissioner was concluded he took the " receive order " and went to pay the purchase-money to the Receiver of Laud Revenue. The Receiver's office was closed and therefore the transaction could not be completed in the usual way. A Mr Kinross happened to be in an adjoining office at the time, making some application for land ou his own account. He saw Mr. Russell, and suspected that that gentleman was probably applying for certain land which he was himself anxious to obtain. Mr. Kinross on Sunday wrote to the Commissioner of Crown Lands, asking him what land it was that Mr. Russell applied for. The Commissioner replied, and specified the land for which Mr. Russell had applied. Mr. Kinross on the same flav- or on the Monday, saw the Commissioner, who told him that he considered the application of Mr. Russell was not completed, and he consequently put in a counter applica- tion for the land on Monday morning. The Commissioner was afraid that Mr. Russell would take legal proceedings to secure the land to himself. Seeing the difficulty in which the Commissioner of Crown Lands was placed be- tween the General Government and Provincial Govern- ment, neither of whom seemed disposed to maintain him in hia official action, a conversation took place between him and Mr. Kinross, and it was agreed between them that Mr. Kinross should give him a guarantee against the cost of any proceedings Mr. Russell might take. That guarantee was given in writing, and was placed before the Committee. On the Monday, Mr. Kinross put in an application for the same land. The Commissioner decided that Mr. Russell's application was not legally completed on the Saturday ; that, in consequence of the absence of the Receiver of Land Revenue, the money was only paid on Monday ; that the two applications were placed on the same footing as applications simultaneously made, neither of which could be granted, and that the laud should be put up to public auction. After a delay of some six or Seven months, during which time the Commissioner ab- stained from putting the land up to public auction, because the parties requested him to do so while they were entering into some negotiations with the owner of the remainder of the land, who resided in England, he decided to put up the land to auction. Mr Russell applied for an in junction to restrain him from selling it. Some further legal pro- ceedings took place. The result was that a special case was submitted to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which decided that Mr. Russell's application was legally com- pleted on the Saturday, and that he was entitled to possesion of the land. They did not however give Mr. Russell costs, on the ground that the Commissioner was acting in his official capacity, and conscientiously. Subsequently to Mr. Russell obtaining possession of the land, he petitioned this House for compensation for being kept out of the land for a period of twenty months. He was kept out of the land and his money, for he paid a sum of £3,500 into the Land Office in the month of April, 1873, but he did not get possession of the land for twenty months after- wards. He therefore claimed compensation on the ground that the Supreme Court of Appeal had decided that he was entitled to the laud iu April, 1873, but he did not get possession of the land for twenty mouths afterwards. He therefore claimed compensation on the ground that the Supreme Court of Appeal had decided that he was entitled to the laud iu April, 1873, when he made the application, and that, therefore, he had been wrongly dealt with. The Committee were of opinion that Mr. Russell's claim was certainly fully substantiated, and they proposed to the House that he should have compensation in this shape : Interest at the rate of 8 per cent for twenty months while his money was lying idle in the office of the Provincial Government, and also the costs of the suit. He (Mr. Curtis) should state that, while the Supreme Court of Appeal would not give costs against the Commissioner, they were not aware of the whole circumstances of the case. In the special case stated to the Supreme Court of Appeal, there was no mention of the letter of guarantee given by Mr. Kinross to the Commissioner of Crown Lands, otherwise it was very possible the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal upon that point would have been different. At all events, the Committee came to the con- clusion that Mr. Russell was decidedly entitled to receive the amount of the money he had expended in legal pro- ceedings, and the interest on the money paid into the Laud Office. Those two sums together came to the sum of £616 13s. 4d., which he now asked the House to request His Excellency to put upon the Supplementary Estimates. He did not wish to go at any length into the question raised in the first paragraph of the report of the Waste Lauds Committee. They reported that the state of things in connection with the administration of the waste lands in Hawke's Bay appeared to them to be highly unsatis- factory. When the Commissioner was applied to by Mr. Kinross to know what land Mr. Russell had applied for, deeming the application incomplete, and knowing that the reason the information was asked was to enable Mr. Kinross to put in a counter application, it appeared to him (Mr. Curtis), that that officer was not justified in giving such information out of office hours. On the Monday morning, Mr. Kinross would have been at liberty to inspect the official records, and see the nature of the application put in by Mr. Russell. The Commissioner then could have told him all about it. That, of course, did not answer Mr. Kinross's purpose. He thought the Commissioner was very much to blame in accepting a guarantee from Mr. Kinross, and, in fact, espousing his cause, or, at all events, supporting his view of the question. On those two points, he thought, there was something unsatisfactory in the administration of the Crown lands of Hawke's Bay. The Committee were of opinion, and embodied that opinion in their report, that the payment of this £616 should be charged against the land revenue of the Province of Hawke's Bay ; and one very good reason for that was that the £3,500, having been paid by Mr. Russell, was in the possession of the Provincial Government for a longtime— for some twenty months. There was also a similar sum paid by the other applicant, so that they had some £7,000 in their possession for twenty mouths, for which they re- ceived 5 per cent, interest. That amount alone should would very nearly reach the £616 which the Committee proposed be given as compensation to Mr. Russell. But, quite apart from that, the transaction was one which exclusively be- longed to Hawke's Bay, the Government of which received the money for the land ; and it was the custom in all pro- vinces, when legal proceedings accrued, that the costs should bo borne by the revenues of the Province. The Province of Hawke's Bay had benefited to a certain extent in the shape of interest from those deposits, which it was proved were wrongly rettained, and therefore the provincial revenue of Hawke's Bay was a proper fund against which the sum of £616 should be charged. He hoped the House would have no objection to pass the motion, and thus carry out the recommendations made by the Waste Lands Committee." The words of the guarantee given by Mr. Kinross to Mr. Sealy, were to this effect:—" I guarantee you from all costs and expenses incurred through Mr. Russell's application, if you will receive an application for the same land, which Mr. Russell applied for on the Saturday."

Kua oti te whakawa o Mete Kingi i Whanganui, mo te Pakeha kohikohi moni o nga Keeti Tooro. I kiia te whakawa ko Mete Kingi i tika, a utu aua a Te Rewe i aia ki nga moni £10, a ma te Reweti ano e utu te whaka-