The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, JUNE 3, 1889. THE " HOUSEHOLDER" MUDDLE.
If any further proof were required of the necessity for amending that part of the Education Act which professes to define the meaning of the word " house holder," it is surely supplied by the fact that while the Education Board of Canterbury,, acting upon solicitor's opinion has annulled the electon for the Kaiapoi Suburban district on the ground that persons occupying tents are not householders, the Wellington Education Board has upheld an election for the Mauriceyille district which was challenged on this very ground. Here is an extract from the Canterbury Board's proceedings : — " In one instance, that oi the Kaiapoi Suburban Committee, it appeared that about thirty laborers, working at a flax-mill, had been allowed to vote at the election. They had been m the district only a few days, and were lodged by their employer, some m one room others m tents. An opinion was read from the Board's solicitors to the effect that ' the laborers claiming to vote, and who occupy tents, are clearly neither owners, tenants, lesees, nor occupiers of any building within the meaning of the section of the Act, while the others are, m our opinion, merely servants of the mill owner, and provided by him with lodging—in a word, merely lodgers, and not householders,' The Board adopted the opinion, and decided that the election was invalid. 1 ' And here is an extract from the report of the proceedings of the Wellington Board :— " In the case of Maurioerille a direction was asked as to whether one of the elected persons, who reaides m a tent, could be considered a householder, and therefore eligible for membership. The Chairman said that as no definition of |he term * dwelling ' was given m the Act* it did not matter whether a man lived m a tent or a stone palace. The validity of the election was therefore up held" Now it may be remarked that the word dwelling is not used m Section 4, but the compound word dwelling house, the words being—" Householder, means every adult male or female person who, ac owner, or tenant, lessee, or occupier, occupies, uses or resides m any dwelling-house, shop, warehouse, or other building m any distriot, or every parent or guardian who is liable to maintain or bas the actual custody of any child," Hence we think the Wellington Board deoided wrongly as to the tent question and the Canterbury Board rightly, but
the faot that it should be possible for two diametrically opposite interpretations to be toted upon m different parts of the colony plainly shows that it ie high time the Act were rendered plain and unmistakable as to its meaning, instead of as being at present manifestly ambiguous