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A. New Constitution.

(" Evening Star.';

Mr Vincent Pyke having come to the conclusion that there is something "rctten m the State of Denmark," has formulated suggestions for constitutional reform which are well worthy of consideration, and may not impossibly, we think, commend themselves—in part, at least —to the people who are about sick of the present state of things m respect to parliamentary government. Session after session useful legislation is impeded through party struggles, and the tactics of faction are unscrupulously used to defeat the policy and embarrass the administration of the Ministers of the Crown. Professional politicians, unscrupulous andf presumptuous, seem to takft charge of the House, and do their utmost to bring representative institutions into contempt. The groundwork of Mr Pyke's scheme is the re-establishment of the provincial system under a somewhat different set of conditions. He proposes that the Colony shall be divided into districts, each consisting of three or more of the present counties, and that m each district there shall be a district council, to be elected by persons on the roll for the House of Representatives: every council to elect the executive of the district—to wit, a | president, chairman of committees, treasurer, and such other officers as may be deemed expedient; and to appropriate ! their remuneration out of current revenue. The councils are to have supreme powers i of legislation and administration m regard to "charitable aid, licensing, the sale of liquors, auctioneers, and slaughtering of .sheep and cattle, public health, rabbit nuisance, and all matters of social I economy, all powers under the provincial ordinances still m fcrce, diseased cvttie, codlin moth ;" and to have the control and management of all public works and bridges, the police, and police gaols. Ev«ty council is further to be the Education Board for the district, and is to receive m this connection whatever capitation money may be voted by the General Assembly m proportion to die number of children m average attendance. Most important, however, as an entire subversal of things as they are, is the proposal t» vest m the district councils '' the sole power of levying a district tax whether as a property tax, land tax, or land or income tax." The councils, furthermore, "may pass such laws, subject to the power of districts allowed by the Governor, as may be necessary for the effectual carrying out of their functions ; but the Governor may veto any such law by notice published m the " Gazette."

The Supreme Legislature necessarily would require to be reconstituted. The Legislative Council, it is proposed, should consist of forty-five members— thirty-six to be appointed by the district councils, two by each Council and nine by the Executive Council, i.e., the Governor and the general Executive ; the term of office to be six years ; and no person is to be appointed or nominated unless he has been a Minister of the Crown for at least three years, or a member of the House of Representatives for at least seven years. The House of Representatives is to retain its present functions, but neither branch of the Legislature is to tread upon the powers specifically vested m the district councils.

t Very radical reform, much upon the lines suggested by Major Steward, is proposed m the constitution of the General Executive ; and this possibly, m the light of recent events and the confusion brought about by the abuse of parliamentary government under the present system, may generally commend itself to public opinion. The Executive is to consist of seven paid Ministers, who are to be appointed as follows:—On a day prescribed by the Governor, being " some day not less than one week and not more than fourteen days after the first meeting of Parliament, or after the election of members of the House of Representatives, both Houses shall meet as one House and appoint by ballot the seven members of the Executive." Every member is to hold office for the term of three years, unless removed by the Governor or disqualified ; and m the event of any vacancy, an appointment is to be made by the Governor, to be valid only till Parliament meets and proceeds to till up the same by election,

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Bibliographic details

A. New Constitution., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2508, 3 September 1890

Word Count

A. New Constitution. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2508, 3 September 1890

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