Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.


A PROTRACTED SITTING. IFrom Our Pari.iawitntary Retortkr.] WELLINGTON, July 25. The sitting of the House, which commenced at T.'-.O last night, has continued almost without interruption. The country member*', backed up by the Government, even refused to grant a half-hour's adjournment for luncb, and at the time of writing tho chances of a comprom'se seem as far distant as ever. The Town Party. The representatives of the town and suburban electorates ire in great form, and profess their preparedness to cmtinue the struggle for never d days despite tho great disparity in numbers as contrasted with the foices of those opposed to them. Their only dread is that the ■ peaker imy summarily stop the discus-ion, on the ground that the time of the House is being trilled with. Should a non-intervention policy be part-ued, they will continue the debate on tie motion raised by Mr Scobie Mackenzie viz, that the quest'on be now put till to-morrow morning, by which time all tlie opponents of the Representation Bill will probably have exhausted their right to speak; and, in order to gurfthtm a fresh innings, an aojournment of the House will then be moved. Thia little band of twenty odd mon is baing recruited by defections from the other side. First Mr Marchant, member for Taranaki, disapproving of the tactics of the country party, and especially loaenting their conduct in refusing to allow Mr Jones to continue his speech after rhe teputy Speaker had in error ruled him out of order, offered his service by expressing Lis wil'igness to take a hand fir half an hour whenever he might be rcqa'red; and then Sydney Taiwhanga, in grateful recognition of the assistauco lent him by Mr Taylor on the Native Bills last session, volunteered bis aid—a most welcome offer, for this Native member has proved himself aetonewallerof the very first order. As an arch stonewaller of previous soiriinc, Mr R. Reeves showed sympathy with the town party at an early stage of the present debate, and at last he determined that he would j>in in the fray, and addressed tho following letter to Mr Seymour, chief of the country party executive committee: -

My dear sir,-I write to request that you will not consider me a* being one of the supporters of the Represertatlon Bill now before the House. My reasons for declining to support tbo Bill are mainly based upon its absurd character as a Tory meamre. It is openly admitted by the Bill's leading advocates that its chief intent is to weaken the Libera} party in the large towns, and throw politic, il power into the hands of the squatters and large landlioldtr>. It is admitted that the chief supporters of the Bill were also the strongest enemies rt the Liberal party in past years, to which I have always belonged. A very objectionable featuro in the measure Is the proposal to treat towns of 2,000 people and upwards as part of the couutrv district', and to give them the nd »antagc of the country quota, to whioh on no princip'e whatever are they entitled* I wish also to enter ray strong protest against the tyrannical and unjustifiable baste with which tho Bill was introduced and debated before the ink was dry' on the oopies circulated, and with which it is now being toroed through by main strength, brforo the constituencies have any chance of fairly understanding its provisions.—l am, etc., Bion. H. J. Reeves.

The support of sach ao experienced stonewaller as Mr Beeves is a tower of strength to the town party. Coercing the Minority.

It was thought that the usual dinner adjournment would bo granted at 5.30, bat, probably wi f h the idea of starving out the minority and coercing them into submission, the Premier refused to grant the request when made. The Speaker expressed the opinion that the usual dinner adjournment ought to be allowed, but pointed out that under the Standing Orders the matter was one for the House to determine. Representations were made by Mr Turnbull and others that the Chamber required ventilation, and eventually Sir H. Atkinson consented to half an hour's adjournment, but merely for the purpore of allowing the atmosphere in the Parliamentary Chamber to be cleared. In course of tho diEcussion which took place, Mr Fish said that whilst he had personally used every effort to bring about a compromise, even to tho extent of sacrificing his own feelings, with a view to shortening the debate, he was determined, in consequence of the Premier's brutal conduct in respect to tho request for adjournment, to fight him inch by inch. Removing the Bedding Accommodation. 7be bedding, etc., which was thoughtfully provided by the Government whip this afternoon to furnish a temporary dormitory for the Government combatants in the stonewalling, was not brought into use sfter all. 'lt was placed under lock and key iti the Government whip's room, but Boon afterwards a p.rty of Opposition wags got on its track and determined to secure comfort for themselves, and, headed by the member for Kumira, they obtained access to the room by one of the windows, and were in the act of removing the goods to their own whip's room when the Government whip,' in walking along the passage, was first made aware of what "was going on by receiving a blow from a bolster heaved out by the marauders. Trouble ensued, the Oppositionists declining ti give up their plunder, and ultimately the Government emissary was obJ ; ged to consent to a compro- j mise, tinder which all the material was sent back to the upholsterer who Kid furnished ifc. Danedin Sympathy* The Wel'lngton members are encouraged in their stonewalling endeavors by the knowledge that a public meeting Ins been convened for tomorrow night to protest against the passage of the Bill, but to-d»y, however, no indication of feeling had been received from other centres. This afternoon Mr James Allon received a te'egram from the chairman of his election committee approving of ihe action being pursued. Mr Owen telegraphed: "Bill must be delayed. Do your utmost. Don't be afraid to stick out " Another member of his committee wired: "Satisfiod with your action, and hope that reduction of members will not be endangered " During tho day Mr Fish telegraphed to Sir R. Stout for an indication of feelirg in Dunedin on the matter, and inquiring whethei the stonewalling tactics were being reprobated. The ex-Premier replied to the effect that a vast majority of the Dunedin people approved of the action being taken, and

intimated that the question would probibly he considered at tho meeting re the Otago Central Railway, to bee died for Tuesday next. Sir Robert adds Unit " the Government are losing supporters in Dunediii by their ac ion on this Bill." As You Were. Tbe movement to Vevert to tho condition of affairs prior to the passage of the Representation Act of 1887 reduoing the number of members to seventy is growing in strength, and I now incline to the belief that tbe outcome of the present discussion will bo a return to the status quo, by the repealing of tho Reduction of Member* Bill, and agaiu fixing the number of European representatives at ninety • one. When the Government measure gets in committee Mr Lirnach intends to move a clause repealing the Act of 1887, with the object, no doubt, of killirg the Bill now under consideration. Mr Lirnach voted two sessions ago for a reduced Bouse, but, like many other hon, members, has since changed his views on the question. Very little interest is attichcd to the ballot initiated by Mr Ballance in connection with this matter, as several hon. members do not intend taking the trouble of casting their ballot papers. Strengthening the Town Members. The town members are receiving every encouragement in the war they are wagug. A public meeting to back up their efforts is beiug arranged to be held in Auckland, and the fol- , [ lowing additional hon. members have joined their ranks:—Messrs Hutchison, LarnacU, Blak •, and Feldwick. Any of these hon. gentlemen will speak for half an hour should it be necessary for them to do so. A Rail Sitter. The action of Mr Downie Stewart in standing aloof from the proceedings of tho town members is commented on pretty stronsrly by the puty. In speaking about tho amalgamation of city'seats, Mr Fish said that if tho proposal were given effect to, and tho present representatives for Dunediii were returned, most of the grievances would ba referred to him for attention. For instance, if anyone wanted the assistance of Mr Downie Stewart, where would they find him.—(An hon member: " On a rail 1" and great laughter.) " Yes, sir," proceeded Mr Fish, "ladmit it; he would be 'on a rail.'" This feeling of irritation with the member for Dunedin West has been occasioned by his refusal to sign the resolution anived at at yesterday's meeting, and by his abstinence from taking part in the proceedings that have taken place in the House during the last thirty hours. The Small Boroughs. The country members openly taunt the town representatives by stating that they had to buy the support of sma 1 ! boroughs to ensure the passage of the Rcpresen ation Bill. Hence it is that Nelson, Napier, Timatu, Oamaru, New Plymouth, Hokitika, Invercargill, and Greymouth, with a population of over 2,000 which received no exceptional treatment under the Act of 1881, are now reckoned as country districts, and are accordingly entitled to the 25 per cent, allowance. The city men reply that though the supporters of the Bill have _ a majority, its passago through committee will never be accomplished, for amendment after amendment will be proposed, and the measure will be so delayed as to tire out and dishearten its aVouncliest friends. One proposal is to move separately that every town, district, and borough in the colony, ommencing with the Bluff and terminating with Russell, be added to tho clause of tho Bill dcMing with the four chief centres, and to divide the House on each occasion. Stopping the Discussion. It was reported this evening that the Speaker bas discovered a precedent which will enable him to summarily stop the discussion and put the Bill into committee. Whether there is any ground for such a statement the next few hours will show.

The town men are jubilant at the success that haa so far attended their efforts, and point with p ide to the fact that so protracted a stonewall preparatory to gettiug a measure into committee is unprecedented in the Parliamentary annals of this colony. Press Opinions). This is what the 'Evening Tress' has to say of the attitude of town members on the question:—"The attitude taken up by the town members on the quota question of the Rcpro sentation Bill is a completely commendable one. If ever there was a proof of the wisdom of the House in rejecting, last year, the Premier's attempt to put fetters upon the minrrity, it is exhibited by the present state of affairs. Admittedly, the colonyis placed at the mercy of a majority who make no attempt to conceal their intention cf forcing the hand of tho Government and the colony. The majority are speaking not in the name of the people, but of the landed interests; and the minority are retist ng in dofenco of the soundest principles of democratic {representation. It is preposterous to comp!a ! n of the action of the minority in making use of the forms of the House to resist coercion. It is their only resource, and they ate justified to the fullest extent. They are meeting the brute force cf the majority by their powers of passive endurance." The article goes on to applaud the acti n of Wellington members in appealing to the people outside for their support and encouragement, and hopes that it is the beginning of theend of that apathy of the people as to the proceedings of the House which is go marked a sign of their generally baneful indifference to political queatiots of the highest importance. Stifling the Debate. It seems that tho which it is thought that Sir M. O'Rorke may enforce for summarily closing the deb.Vc is found on page 4iJl of the ninth edition of 'May'c Parliamentary I'jaotice.' It is there laid down that the Speaker haa power to order a member guilty of tedious repetition or of irrelevancy to discontinue his speech. Thi» is, of course, giving him the right to enforce the clctme in a mild form. Challenging; the Killing. The proceedings for the most part of this ever+ing's sitting have been maiked by their extreme tamenrss. Mr Perceval took up the running at 3 p.m., and kept it up for five hours, when he gavo way to Mr Withy, who made a neit speech at first, but seemingly tired after a couple of hours' talking, and began to wander away to the question of shipping and dockp. Exception to this was taken by Mr Kerr, and Mr Hamlin, who presided, said he hesitated to check members because he had done ro in tho early hours of the morning sitting, and be understood that his ruling had been unfavorably reviewed by Mr Speaker. This encouraged Mr Withy to proceed ' to speak on the most irrelevant matters, and Sir John Hall interposed, saying that the whole of the proceeding* were a farce. The Ministers of I'dacation and Justice spoke to the same effect, and urged on members the necessity of giving respect to the rulings from the chair. Thus fortified, Mr H«mlin, my informant tells me, proceeded to mildy lecture the Houbo on its discreditable proceedings, saying that they did j not tend to reflect credit on hon. members, Mr Turnbull took exception to the Deputy Speaker's , tone, and asked how he oould review tho ruling. Mr Hamlin point-d out the course that was open to the hon. gentleman if he wished to take any action, and things beginning to wear a lively look ; the Government whip was despatched upstairs to wake up the Premier, who was in bed. Huir'.edly dressing, Sir Harry made his way into the Hou«e. He and Sir J. Hall referred to the very disorderly and very discreditable scenes that were being enscted. Mr Withy replied very hotly, and told the hon. gentlemen that if they thought they wjre going to intimidate him th y were very much mistaken. He went on to say that althovgh he had associated himself with those city members who were opposing the Bill, it wasonly thatmorning that hehad discovered how serious tho question really was. Public opinion was now being aroused throughout the colony, and he notioed that a meet ; ng was to bo held in the city of Wellington the following evening. The Premier: A meeting of wba'.? Mr Withy : A meeting of the electors of the oity of Wellington. The Premier and the Hon. Mr Fe'gus (simultaneouslv): The mob } Mr Withy : No, a meeting of the electors of Wellington. Mr Fergus : The mob I The Premier: Are they electors? Mr Withy said he assumed they would be electors. Mr Fergus: Are they to be led by a demagogue? Sir Withy then proceeded on the even tenor of his way,' and was followed by Mr Marohant, who was in occupation of the floor when the House rose at 10. $0 for supper. A Poetical member. Referring to the tricky action of the member for Mount Ida in moving the previous question on Thursday morning, an hon. member, on the spur of the moment almost, rose to give utterance to tbe following lines : His points are points of order, But his aim >s a>> transparent - Tbqt he spoils his same, His unmelodious voice, discordant then, Betrays the lurking leprosy within, JULT 20. A Dissolution Impending. What may be the outcome of the present struggle no one can foretell; but, as town members seem bent on pursuing their tactics to the bitter end, and as the country representatives are equally firm in their determination to obtain their additional allowances, a complete block of all businessis inevitable. "How will it turn out?" is the all-absorbing question, and no one seems in a position to predict a solution of the difficu'tv. My own conviction is that a dissolution will eventuate, and that before many weeks are over we thall be plunged into the throes of a general election, whatever may be the fate of the Representation Bill. All is

chaos and confusion, and the House is quite ungovernable by its present rulers, while no Ministry fomt d from the other side would last a week Many memheia still delude themselves with the hope that a reversion to ninety-five members will be the outcome of the town v. country fight, but I do not hesitate to affirm that Sir H. Atkinson will Eever submit to this, and that even if he did the Legislative Council would not pass the measure, for the reduction was brought about during the present Parliament, when hon. numbers came fresh from the country pledged in that direction. If my solution of the difficulty comes about, and the House has not passed the Be reeentation Bill, the Government will probably ask for supplus, and insist on the Representation Bill being put through—and with the aid of the country pany they would be successful—before members are sent to the right-about. This Morning's Work. The discu'sion ha 9 been carried on since last night by the following members of the town party :—Meßsrs Fi3h, Blake, Barron, Fisher, and Menteath. At five o'clock Mr Joyce took up the running and spoke till eight, when half an hour's adjournment was granted for the purpose of allowing the ventilation of the Chamber. On resuming, Mr Joyce continued his discourse, and promises to establish a record. He will be followed by Mx K. J. Reeve?, who will kep thaba 1 ! going till eight o'clock to night, wheu Mr Hutchison takes up the "parable." 7he only incident worth recording during the discussion was when Mr Kerr was snoring', and Mr Seddon called attention to his unseemly conduct. Ihe Speaker sent a messenger to wake the member for Motueka, who, however, soon relapsed into his former state. Mr Keir was eventually arouse!, and Sir G. M. O'Rorke warned him that if his sonorous habits were to be continued he must retire into the lobbies. Sir G. M. O'Rorke and Mr Hamlin are relieving eaoh other in the chair every six hours. The Government whips, to meet the exigencies of the situation, are so arranging their men that one half are on at a time. Thty declare they are fighting not so much for ths quota question, which is of minor importance, but against the principle of the four centres of population being considered different to the rest of the colony. It has been suggested that if the stonewalling continues the Speaker or Chairman of Committees may take the same action as was adopted in 1881, when Mr Gumod, was fined for obsttucting the chair duting the representation stonewall of that year. The stonewalleis are unanimous in their determination to keep themse'ves within the clear lines of debate, but if interfered with everyone of them will render himself liable tj a fine and take his cbance of being committed to the custody of the sergeant-at-arms. It would be a queer state of affairs if the Bill should have to be passed in the enforced absence of its opponents. 1881 ana 1880. It is worthy of note that the present stonewall and that of 18S1 are not at all on all fours. Then the Nelson members and their friends obstructed the deprivation of that district of an excessive share of representation which they had held. Now the city party are taking their stand on a distinct question of principle—viz., IHai the \\iVia,V>\taTit» of the cititß are entitled to the came representation as the remainder of the colony, ard should not be obliged to accept any number of members which the country party may deal out to them. The item of quota is now entirely a subordinate question. Sir G. Grey en the Situation. Sir G. Grey is to speak at the public mee'ing to be held here to-night to consider the B('presentation Bill. He his supplied me with the leading ideas tliat he purposes propounding, as showing what should be done. He declares that the Act of 18S7fshould be preserved, by which only certain thinly populated counties and boroughs under 2.00U population received the added advantage of 18 per cent. In his opinion all that is necessary, if a change is wanted, is to strike out 18 and insert the new term. Under the present Bill the four cities are singled out and three members each allot ttd to them; and he contends that once this number of members is fixed many years must eiaps ■• bef or e more representation can be Rained. The stonewailers, he declares, are not contending for the quota, but for equality of rights. He says thac the Bill has been conceivi d in a spirit of avowed hostility to the people of the four cities, treating them as aliens or as a different people, who ought to be thankful for having even three members allowed to them by the country members, or, in other words, by the great land owner?, who, in his opinion, will gain control of our political world. Great interest is being taken in the question here, and the meeting to-night is likely to be a large one. This Afternoon the p sition is unchanged. Mr Joyce f poke till 12.15, when Mr Taylor took up the running. To the surprise of the town members, the Speaker announced that he would leave the chair for an hour, the Government having instructed him to do so without being approached by the stonewailers. Mr Taylor resumed his address at two o'cleck.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

Bibliographic details


Word Count


  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.