THE QUOTA QUESTION.
The battle of the session is evidently to befoufeht on the question of the electoral quota, that is to say what number of population: m town and country districts respectively, is to be entitled to return a member. The principle of difference m this particular was conceded both by the Aot of 1881 and by that of 1887, and the question really at issue is therefore merely as to how far the principle shall be carried— that is to say, the question is only one of degree. The Represent^ tion Act of 1881, which extended the number of members to 91 European members, professed to accord an advantage to the country constituencies of 26 per cent, while the Act of 1887 which- reduced the total number of European members to 70, very illogically reduced the allowance to the country to 13 per cent. This, however, was at the time objected to, and admitted to be open to revision. Borne revision is now necessarily taking place, and while, the country members demand that the allowance m favor of the country be increased to one third, viz., 38£ per cent, the town or rather city members, with the members for the suburbs of the cities stand out for retaining the very insufficient allowance of 18 per cent of the Act of 1887, Some, however, are willing to give way and to grant 25 per cent, coupled with two conditions, those contions being, (1) that the cities and suburbs are formed into amalgamated electorates, and, (2) that the number of European members be restored to ' 91. In order that our readers may understand the effect of the several propositions we will supply a few figures. The total white population of the colony at last census was 578,482. Of this number the four chief cities, A ucklaitd, Wellington, Christen urch and Dunedin, with their suburbs, contained 175,087. To give the country constituencies the one third advantage asked, it is necessary to deduct from the city population as above, 58,362, the nett population for the purpose of allocating the seats being treated as 1 16,725. Those figures plus 408,395— the country populationgive a total of 520,120, which divided by 70, gives a quotient of 7480, being the number of population per member, lhose figures m the case of the country seats would represent actual population, and m the cities and suburbs nominal population, the actual popula tion m the latter case being 11,145 under this method of distribution. Giving to the cities the balance of fractions, the four city districts would have 16 members and the country districts 54 members. If instead of 83^.per cent, m favor of the country, the advantage of the latter were reduced to 25 per cent, (one-fourth), the cities would have one member for every 10,908 of actual population, and the country one member for every 7639, and the result would work out :— City members 17 [country members 58. If again- the total number of European members were raised to 91, with a 25 per cent, allowance to the country, the results would be as follows :— Cities and suburbs one member to every 7834, or a total of city members of 22; country, one member to every 5876, or a total of country members of 69. Both sides are mustering for the fray, and as each side is determined to stand fast, a dead lock is almost certain to occur, the result of whioh will probably be that the whole matter will have to stand over till next session. •
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