THE QUOTA QUESTION.
Up to the time of writing tho unprecedented struggle which has been] going on m the House since Wednes- ! day, July 24th, shows no signs of terminating. The town party, or, as they should properly be termed, the city party, are the obstructionists, and taking up an altogether unreasonable attitude. The country party has offered to meet them very much more than half way ; they have yielded two points out of three, namely, that the definition of town and country given m the Act of 1887 shall be accepted as the basis, and that the process of addition to the country population shallbe adhered to, instead of that of subtraction from the city population as proposed, m the Government Bill. As to the third point— the amount of allowance to the country — they have offered to accept 28 por cent instead of 33£ as first asked, or 25 per <rnt as offered by the city party •a week ago. This is surely o liberal concession on tho part of a two-thirds majority, and which ought to be accepted by tho minority ; instead of which the city members still stand out, and have made a fresh demand of- which nothing na3 been heard until now, namely, that tho marginal allowance of 750, put into the Act of 1887 to allow of the Commissioners paying due regard to considerations of geographical exigencies and community of interests, shall bo reduced to COO. This imparts a new difficulty, inasmuch as a large proportion of the country party are of opinion that such a reduction of the margin would unduly hamper the Commissioners m tho work of re-divi<?ing the electorates. As regards the quota question the offer •f the country party is a very fair compromise, and it is marvellous that it fhould not be at onoe accepted , especially when it is admitted —as it must ba in the face ot indisputable figures — that as between 25 and 28 per cent there is practically no difference m regard to the relativo numbers of town and country members under either ratio. That this is so we will now show, premising that the figares given below are vouched for as correct by tho Government actuary, Mr F, W. Fraukland, Taking the Act of 1887 as it stands, namely, an 18 per cent addition to the country population as therein defined , and the result is town quota 9147 ; country quota 7755 ; number of town members, 222 ; number of country members 47 8. Taking the same act as the basis, and making the addition to the country population 25 per cent, and we then have town quota, 9517 ; country quota, 7611; town members 2 1 3 ; country members, 48 7. This will practically mean that the country will be accorded tho advantage of the larger fraction, and the result will therefore stand — town, 21 members; country 49 members. If instead of 25 per cent the allowance to the country be raised to 28 per cent, then the figures will bo town quota, 9G76 ; country quota, 7565 ; town members, 21 j country members 49. With 33^ per cent allowance the figures would stand — town quota, 9959 ; country quota, 7473; town members, 20 4; country members 4 9 "6. If instead of reverting to the basis of the Act of 1887, that proposed m the Government Bill were adhered to, then with 25 per cent deduction from tho city population the quota would be—city, 10,220; country, 7665. With 28 por cent deduction — city, 10,557 ; country, 7770. With 33£ per cent deduction—city, 11,232 ; country, 7488. | All which goes to show that take it all round, the 28 per cent addition on tho basis of the Act of 1887 is the best solution, being the fairest to all parties ; and, further, that after all the fuss that has been made the desperate fight has , resolved itself into a question as to whether tho towns are to have 22 members to tho country constituencies' 48 ; or whether the figures are to stand town 21, country 49. Our Parliamentary correspondent wired at li o'clock last night, that a , compromise on the basis suggested above, namely, 28 per cent additional to the ! country quota, had been arrived at.]
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