THE COUNTRY PARTY'S MANIFESTO.
; WBW4NOTON, Julyi SO Tbe following manifesto haa beeD drawn up by tho oountry party, and Issued on the authority of the Exeoutive Oom~ mltfre of the porty :— ' STATEMENT OF THBi 0 VSK OF tM ■■. ; -.-. i- :■■.■'- OOUNTRy PARTY. '
As members representing oouutry dlstrlots oculd not debate the present Representation Bill, and thus make their views known to the colony without m effect lending assistance to the objaoilonable prtotfoe of 'stonewalling, it bas been thought advisable to shortly state their position through the median) of the press. They would, therefore, draw attention to the following faoie and arguments as i entirely justifying that position :—(]) They are supporting a BUI which Intro ;duoes absolutely nothing that is new, bnt whloh endoraes a principle that thr< ughont che whole past history of the Qolooy, and up to the present hour, has been recognised ; without dissent. (3) Thai even the main idefcall of tbe Bill, namely, an advantage to the extent of 25 per cent of the popu-' latlon given to country dletrfots, has aleo been the rule throughont the past history of the obJooy up tho 1887. 'ihe Representation Aot of 1881, for tnstaao , deliberately made the quota for ooun ; ry dlatr oto Igbs than the quota for town dlil riots by as nearly sb po?nib!e 26 p-*r oenfc, this being the aotual langu.ge of on Mfiolal paper then laid on the table of the House to explain the op:ra lon of the paid AOt, (3) Thla allowaDoa to oanrtry districts made by the Act ef 1881 wan universally recognised In and out .> parliament as j oat an i reasonable. T« general elections were held under that Ao •ud amid all the other mUttra thea di»iQusiad not a word of objaotlm was tain d to the said allowance o aountry diatriof. * IVom tWi »ilowuu« w a«pw^ro io .
principle has ever been made, but m 1897 tl>e extent <>f allowa&<n was cu-twiled to nominaUy 18, bat prnctioal'y 14 er cent* The main purpose of tbo Bill tmb dying this curtailment was to equalise v- presentation as between the North bni South Islands, and all objections In P ,vr lament to the ourtailment were Bappress-d£or the t'me by <he threat on tbe part of the then Government <hat if the objectiona wera insisted on, tho Bill itself, otherwise a good one would be jaopardiasid. (5) The true democratic prinoiplo conaiata ia a fair dl trifaution of power and influence m representation m proportion to the -population; The contention, of town members Involves "a very wide aS^m^it disastronß departure from that principle, inasmuch as it ia - recognised, throughottt tha world iHat large^ " citiea; 'wilh^iifieif fiicilities for ; instantaneous organisation, theirpowerful munioipal institutions, th"»r ic floential newspapers, ond Ihe close oom* mubi y of interests that exists through all the;r- sactions, -have a power and influence out of all proportion to their actufti number. Country membiet^ axe, therefore, only advocating the Vetintion of a power, hitherto poaaessei, of corr<oing an anti-demooratlp inequality ?n r: presentation (6) The inequality if , increased by the facilities which town» afford for eyerciae of the plural vote, ft pr..yil6ge« which, whether right or wrong, wnoor unwise, i» obvwnsly. coafihed to small electors! areas with perfect com* munication (7) Further, m eyersOO^Oa of city population there are 2000 mal© adults who, it will be admitted', foim tho bulk of the taxpayers. On the olher band, there are 2000 of the same cla9B itt every 7000 of the remainder of th> populati nof the colony, bo that, without taking into consideration any of the numerous pojitioal advantages large cities erj y over the oountry, 10,000 p^oity population 'houldon a taxation basis Kava only the same representation m Parliament as 7000 m tho rest of the colony Thi? at once justifies 80 per cent ou>- of 33|per oant of comlnal deduotlon from the olty population dalmed by the ponntry party. T! e'r cljilna, therefore, ie not only < s- Dpo tad by tbe oonatifcutional . maxim !»» ro; r^sentatlon should aooom° pany x ■■ ' . , I ufc »lag by the f aot that tha Oo .Bt li i- Aot requires the representation of t.n Colony to be b*sod on the nomber of c eclors and not on the t<>t»l popnlatjon. Ths decrease m numbert" from 91 *o 70, the eff >ot of which will, be .felt . ohUfl/ m oouatry dlstrio s, wpu'd justify an eyeci higher proportionate diffrenca than that now V claim o'dV]--;(8) The statfraant that oonceesiona to cpuhtrp dtorlots wnuld me«D throwing th j repre-. •entation into the bands of the'' largo landholders l« mauifeatly ab3Ut4« .'ln the pMffc, with 25 per oeot, it has nevor "pro— daoed th»t resaU, why then should It do> co n_?w? Ao a matter of fact th iargumeot, whatever it may be worth la iqutte tha ofher way, since all experience show* that the feelii g ag tioet suoh landholders Is stronger In oauQtirv distrlote thua ia the towns. (9) A trae eitimate of tbe ;v»lue of ihe otjdolions now .made \by Itowh mombere may be made by a bara statement of the fact that thelf leader, Sir (Jeorge Grey; m 1879, Idtrbduoed and. strove to carry through a Bill expressly onrioeding to country districts an ndvenUg,e i of 25 per O3nt. (10) The aodvitySof 'he oi vies at the pzeient momenv In their hcatillty to the Ropreientatlon Bill Is/the moit oonoluiive proof of their powes- of awlft organisatibn and icflaenea they can I wield. On the o h?r baud, the wide dispersion of the c untry population la » aeriouf obsUole tko any tfiaotlva effort, even In defence of their own in^resta la view :of all these faots the country members would regard it as a fcetr*yaLo( thefr trust were they to rebedefroncfc a position bated upon jasilo 0 , and afmlng |at praQtloal equiliy of repreedntatlyei power. ; " ■ r ' ' • ■■' ■ ■ : ''='- i^;
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