The Akaroa Mail. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1913. THE SECOND BALLOT.
The repeat of the second ballot; has given rise to much discussion, and the debate in the House bas been a bitter one. Outside ail political views the second ballot must be judged most; unsatisfactory. It is an immense expense to the State, and it has given the balance of power to the Independent and Socialistic candi dates. The result bas been that the Socialistic Party baa been the master of the eituation, and baa bad the ehoioeof which party it would support and return to the House. This baa created an onomalcue situation, where by the reals minority party has oon- . trol. Bir Joseph Ward has objected strenuously to the repeal of the second billot on the ground that no system has been substituted to take its place, and on the plea that the second ballot did away with minority representation. To our minds the second ballot throws the balance of power into tbe hands of the Socialistic Party, wbo are certainly in the minority, nnd it it doefl that must be regarded as not solving the difficulty. Again the ex pence of its administration is an item that should be noted, and an it is both flxpedatve and. unnecessary it should
the ordinary single ballot system, and made much of minority representation. Now if we are to tftke it Ihfro an 1 three parties in New Zealand poli ■■ics—lUfonn, Li! c a', Labour or Socialistic—we cannot ree where thr minority should como in p>o\ided ore ja r.'y docs not haw two candidates to -'p!i! up its volts. If a Liberal can lidate fopptd tbo list when a Reform and a Labour candidate efocd, he ■*uou'd 1)6 rcg'iidid aa baviDg a -tiojoiity even if his vote 3 did not exceed (he sum of the other two. He is the representative cf the largest party. We believe much of the annoyance caused by the contemplation of the repeal cf the ballot is a fixed idea with the Liberals that the Labour or Socialist Party is the same i.s theirs.' This is a debatable point; but the fact remains that with the 'ccond ballot the Socialistic Party, if it hag n choice of the Rtform or Liberal Paity, usually chooses the latter, acid thereby the spcond ballot system gives
the Liberal Party the opportunity of i fairly sure victory when their candi date is left in the field with a Reform one. At the same time the system does not in reality do away with the minority representation, as we may safely say that the true Liberal Party will be less in numbers than the combined Reform and Socialistic vote.
The election afc Grey, on the West Coast, is a proof in point. There were three distinct parties, and Mr Michel, who represented the Reform topped
tbe poll. The Socialist candidate was next, and the two met Bgiin at the secoDd ballot. Iα the meantime, the Liberal candidate worked to persuade his electors to vote for Mr Webb, | and Mr Webb topped the poll. We 1 cannot see how the second ballot kas justified its existenca at all, besides being a great expense to tbe community. We agree that tbe expense should be incurred with out hesitation if (he system was a fair one, but we do not believe it is. To our. minds it usually results in an undignified barter for the Socialistic vote, and gives the party who are in a minority a great deal of power, Ag to a system to be substituted for the second ballot many suggestions have
D been made, the cbief one beiEg preferential voting. This would mean that the free lances and Socialists who have not had a chance of re. turning a candidate will be able to say which of the other candidates they prpfer. We consider preferential voting gives a man of the smallest party two strings to his bow, and probably be would be the only one to
exercise bis preferential system. If every voter were obliged to vote pre ferentiftllj for all candidates, it might not be so unfair a system, though very nnweildy. We fail to see much fault to find with the old fried system whereby prery man baa to select the candidate he wants and vote for him direct. If, as Liberals say, the Labour candidates prefer them to the Reform Party, they should effect a. coalition at once, and not have a sort of understood coalition after the first ballot. Of course, in some cases, tho Labour Party threw in its lot; with the Reform candidate, but only in a few, solitary instances. As a matter of fact the second ballot does away with the class of politicians designated as Independents, as they are obliged sooner or later to take one or the other side of the issue, Wβ can understand Sir Joseph Ward's objec J
tion to the repeal of the eecond bal lot, as the Fyslem results in a forced coalition of Liberal and Labour vote, but the same position can be obtained without the expense of the second ballot by Liberal and Labour candidates giving way to one another if they wish to defeat the Reform Party.