HC Deb 15 March 1867 vol 185 cc1932-4

said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the proposal to maintain permanently a British regiment in New Zealand. The House had been informed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) that it was proposed to excuse the colony from bearing the cost of that regiment on condition of its voting £50,000 a year for Native purposes. An item of between £60,000 and £70,000 accordingly appeared in the Estimates for the support of that force, and he presumed that in the event of further disturbances the cost would be considerably increased. He regarded that expenditure both as unnecessary and as positively injurious to the colony; but, as the right hon. Gentleman had promised to lay on the table papers on the subject, he would now content himself with apologizing for having troubled the House, and with asking when those papers would be ready, in order that he might renew his notice on a future occasion.


said, the question was one of no inconsiderable importance, and the hon. Gentleman had no need to apologize for calling attention to this matter, there being no Member of the House better acquainted with the affairs of New Zealand than he was. The Correspondence was already in the hands of the printer, and he hoped that in about ten days it would be laid on the table of the House. There were in November last 4,000 British soldiers in the colony, but orders had been sent for 3,000 to leave, and they had probably done so, only one regiment remaining. That arrangement for the retention of one regiment at the cost of this country, however, was only temporary, the facts being these:—In 1860 the colony made a proposal to pay the Imperial Treasury £5 per head for all the troops in New Zealand, and that proposal was accepted. In 1861, the Governor, Sir George Grey, sent home a plan for the amelioration of the condition of the Native population, the estimated cost being £50,000 a year, upon which the Government returned the £5 head money in part payment of that sum. In 1864 the late Colonial Secretary, in dealing with the question of guaranteeing a loan of £1,000,000 to New Zealand, proposed that, save as to one regiment, New Zealand should come under the same arrangement which prevailed in the case of Australia, and should pay £40 per head for infantry, and £55 for artillery; but that, in consideration of the attitude of the Native population, one regiment should be maintained, not permanently but temporarily, by the Imperial Treasury, the £50,000 annually for Native purposes being defrayed by the colony as long as that regiment remained. In 1865 a resolution was passed by the Colonial Legislature, which was interpreted as declining to pay that rate for the troops, and much correspondence had ensued, the result being that only one regiment would remain. Many of the colonists, including Mr. Weld when Prime Minister, were adverse to the stay even of that regiment, and the present Ministry, though they had not displayed so strong a feeling, appeared anxious to develop the self-reliance of the colony. Indeed, he was bound to say that no colony had shown a higher spirit, both in money matters and in undertaking its own defence, than New Zealand. The present arrangement, and also the question of the debt owing by the colony to the Imperial Treasury, were both open to reconsideration. He hoped to be able to lay on the table the papers referred to in the course of the ensuing week, or early in the week following.


said, he desired to add one word to what had been correctly stated by his right hon. Friend. Three years ago there were more than 10,000 men in New Zealand who were spending £1,000,000 a year. A large debt was then running up from the colony to the Imperial Treasury, and in addition the colony applied to the Home Government to guarantee a loan of £3,000,000. The arrangement made was that the Government should guarantee not £3,000,000, but £1,000,000; that the troops, if they remained, should be paid for by the colony at the rate of the payment made by the Australian colonies, and that the debt should be closed and liquidated. This arrangement was not only laid upon the table, but the House, approving it, required that it should be embodied in the statute. The result was that the colonists determined to pray for the recall of the Queen's troops, and they had accordingly been recalled. He was only sorry that any portion of them still remained in New Zealand; but for any beyond one regiment that remained permanently, the full amount of the head money agreed to be paid for troops in Australia was to be paid. It was, however, thought that under the circumstances of the Native population, it would be unreasonable to recall ail the troops, and one regiment was to remain, to be maintained at the Imperial expense, on condition that the colony continued to devote £50,000 a year to Native purposes. The arrangement was, on the face of it, liable to revision at a future time; and if the colony of New Zealand did not desire any longer to insist on the terms, no doubt the English Parliament would be willing to re-consider the arrangement.