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[From Opr Parliamentary Reporter.J


Tlie Ri-prowinnllmi Ai'l

The country members held ;>. irwoun.'- thfi ,ioriiii)g- to consider the licann? ot the \n-i> posed in reearu to t!e- election system lipou their eonfilitiien. ie.i. There were twenty-eight present, .Mr Seymour presiding. Mr Pyke suggested that an amendment of the existing Act, dealing simply with the " quota," was preferable to any alteration of the system such as it was understood that the Government intended to propose, and which Bill might have to be dropped without any progress being made with it. Eventually, on the motion of Mr Macarthur, seconded by Mr Pyke, it was resolved that a committee consisting of Messrs Macarthur, Seymour, and lance wait on the Government prior to the introduction of the Electoral Bill, and urge the claims of the country districts to an increase of the allowance in calculating the quota, and report the result to a further meeting.

Release of a Prisoner. Crabtree, the convict who gained celebrity by his prison-breakiDg exploits in Wellington some two years ago, and who was transferred from Mount Lden Gaol to Avondale Lunatic Asylum some months back/j is about to be released from custody, the balance of his sentence having been remitted by the Governor. If he had been made to serve out his full terms he would have remained in prison until about January, 1892. Crabtree was origiually convicted at Christchurch in ISSu on two charges of horse-stealing, and sentenced by the late Mr Justice Johnston to ten years' penal servitude, with an additional three years' for larceny. In the course of time prisoner was removed to the Terrace Gaol, whence he escaped very cleverly in February, 1887, and for this, together with two other charges of burglary, Mr Justice Richmond sentenced him to three years' further imprisonment, making sixteen years in all. Much sympathy was awakened forCrabtree throughout the colony by the consideration that his original punishment was out of all proportion to the seriousness of his offences, and also by the spirit which he showed when giving evidence aaainst the persons who were alleged to have received goods stolen by him in his later burglaries. Representations were made on his behalf to Sir W. F. Jervois, who thereupon reduced the whole of the period of his imprisonment from sixteen years to ten years. His mind giving way, Crabtree was sent to Avondale Asylum ; but, in compliance with a petition of influential Christchurch citizens, the Governor has remitted the remainder of his sentence, and Crabtree will be handed over to his parents, who are now in Auckland, and purpose taking him far away from the colony. What tlie Country Party Want. As the outcome of this forenoon's meeting Mr Seymour has consented to introduce an amending Bill increasing the "quota in favor of the country over towns under the Representation Act of 1887 from 18 to 33 per cent. The country members claim that nfty-five member will support the measure. They decline to believe for a moment that the Hare system will be carried.

The Otago Central Railway formed the subject of a long interview to-day between the Premier and Mr Pyke, '.) .latter receiving most satisfactory assurances that the line would be prosecuted with all due vigor. A Bill wilt have to be brought in dealing with the matter, as the line is now to be constructed out of revenue, and tho intentions of the Government concerning it will be disclosed rn the Financial Statement to-morrow night. 1 expect to find that Ministers will ask authority to push it on to Hyde this year. The Premier expresses the opinion- that the line must be carried on so as to tap the Manuherikia Valley during the following year. ——»

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Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7941, 24 June 1889

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POLITICAL GOSSIP. Issue 7941, 24 June 1889

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