THE REPRESENTATION DEBATE.
. -*> mr ai.lf.N'.s sra-xur. Our Parliamentary reporter writes that the speech made on Friday evening by Mr .lames Allen, member for Dunedin I 1! ist, created a most favorable impression, and is regarded in the lobbies as the best address that was made during the debate in opposition to the Representation Bill. Mr Allkn said : Sir,—l rise to enter my earnest protest against this Representation Act Amendment Bill, and I hope t'at other city members and suburban members in this Hcusc will also make a strong protest against it. I tio not wish anything in the shape of "stonewalling," but a strong and earnest protest against the second reading of this Bdl. I i»-*y s»y that this Bill has bacn brought upon us by a surprise. Only list Wednesday, about half-past two o'clock, was this Bill placed in our lockers, and wo wore called upon the same evening to begin the discussion of a large measure like this without having had half an hour's time to read it through. I thiuk it was obviously unfair to the small minority of city and suburban members to be called upon to face so hrgo a majority who intended to use their power ngiinst us. And yet there were members among that majority who, when we asked them for forbearance and for an adjournment, so that we might consider the measure, would have refused that adjournment to us. I desire, however, to say—and I say this as perhaps the only one good thing I can say as to the action of the majority—l say with regard to the Government and with regard to some membsrs of the majority, that they were reasonable, and assisted us in our endeavor to get the debate adjourned. The result was that it was adjourned to this evening. Now, sir, I think it will be obvious to you, and to all members of the House, how unfair it is even now to ask us to consider this measore. As I say, it M'as only placed in our locked last 'Wednesday, and most of us have been busy since, so that we have scarcely had time to wotk out the real result of the measure as affecting the cities and the country : and there are somo considerable mathematical calculations to bo made in connection with it. There is one strong objection that I have to this Bill, and I hope the hon. gentleman who introduced it or some of his colleagues will make a note of the objection. Sir, I object to this Bill because it comes upon us quite in the shape of a deception. Apparently a 25 per cent, reduction is going to be made, and hon. members will ho led to suppose, from seeing the number 25, that that is a comparison with the 18 per cent, which is added under the present Bill to enable country constituencies to make up their quota. Now, it will be obvious to hon. members that the hon. member who introduced the Bill knew very little of the intentions and actual effects of this 25 per cent.—that he did not work out the calculations, and that he did not know until afterwards that it actually meant, a 9 compared with tho present system, ;]:U. I believe that, after he has had time to consider and make up these calculations, he is prepared to admit that compared with the present system it is equal to 33A. Now, sir, I maintain that, in justice to this House, in justice to the city members of this House, the hon, member who introduced the Bill ought to have taken the trouble to make his calculations before he mnele his speech on the second reading, and not to have unintentionally led this House astray hy supposing that, as compared with the present :->s-'em, it is only 25 per cent. Mr Hi.si.or : I did not say that.
Mr Ai.i.kn' : I beg pardon ; that is what I understood. When somebody asserted it was .'S.'Vi the lion, gentleman ltd the House by hu words to suppose that it was not 38A Mrllisun 1 : That is a different thing'to being '2"), Mr Ai.U'.x : Yon absolutely said it was 2.1. Now, sir, I any that this intuir-a, compared uith the prcKciit system, 33 ; '.. I would like thfi Home ami I want the country to understand that, as compared with the present arrangement, whereas by the present arrangement of IS per cent, a hundred city'ineinbera are equal to eighty- live country members, under this new arrangement a hundred city members would only be equal to seventy-five country members. Anybody who makes a calculation will be abi2 to show that is really 33 ; ', addition to the country members as compared with the present system. The real pith of this Hill is "contained in section"2 and tho two first subsections ; and in order that I may make my remarks clear I intend to read these two subseations, because the remarks I am going to make now will be based upon them. They say : —"ln computing for the purposes of this Act the population of the following portions of the colony—that is to say the cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurclt, and Dunedin, and every borough and town district any part of which is within one mile from any prut of any of the said cities—a deduction of twenty-five per centum shall be made from the number of tho population of such cities, boroughs, and town districts. The total population of the colony (other than Maoris), less the deductions made from cities, borouglis, and districts aforesaid, shall bo divided by the number of members, and the quotient thus obtained shall be tho quota." Before I proceed to the few figures I intend to lay before the House this evening, let me say this much : that I think it extremely unfair the Premier has not submitted to the city members a map, or figures, so that, without having the trouble to procure them for ourselves, wo might have seen at a moment's glance what was the real effect of this measure was. I want to show the House what this quota really means, and in doing so I shall have to trouble you, sir, anel the House with some figures. I may remind hon. members of this, first of oil, that the whole thing is baeed upon the census of population taken some four years ago, and, if this Bill comes into force this session ami the new Parliament is to live its full life, even then the representation under this new Bill would be based upon the old census and not upon the new one, and those calculations I intend to submit to the House arc made upon the old census. Now, sir, the cities and their populations that are really affected by this measure I have here, and I would remind those hon. members who have borough constituencies neighboring upon the cities—suburban boroughs—that from the figures I shall show presently they will see that they themselves are affected, so that if there are any boroughs now allying themselves with the country party to wipe our just rights, let them be warned by these figures of s'iDurban boroughs I shall presently read. With regard to Auckland: Tho population of Auckland is 33,101 ; but, for tho | urpose of this Amendment Act, not only will Auckland bo affected, but Parnell will be affected to the extent of 4,072 electors; and also Newton, 1,533; and Newmarket, 1,842. So that the total population affected in the Auckland district will be 41,508. Now, the method of obtaining the quota, as I read it, 13 this : that 25 per cent, is to be deducted from that; that is to say, that Auckland will bo represented by 31,4.31 instead of 41,508. Now with regard to Wellington. The population is 25,945 ; Melrose, 9SI ; and Kaiwarra, 475, affected by this Bill-in all, 27,371 and 25 per cent, from that makes 20,528. And with regard to Christchurch, the population is 15,265; St. AlbaDS, 4,925; Sydenham, 9,465; and Lin wood, 4.050 ; or a total of 33,706 ; and 25 per cent, reduction from that will be 25.208. Now, sir, I como to the city which chsely interests myself—Dunedin. Tho population is 23,210; West Harbor, 1,295 (I would here remind the hon. member for Port Chalmers that a considerable part of his district is taken); Roslyn, 3,609 Caversham, 4,448; Mornington, 3,334; Maori Hill, 1,388 ; South Dunedin, 3,902 ; North-east Valley, 3,221; St. Kilda, 1,073 ; making a total of 45,5181 and 25 per co.nt deducted from that will leave Now, the quota, as I take it, is got al in this way i These four cities, with 25 per cent, taken off their population, are added together; that is to say, 31, 131 for Auckland, 20,523 for Wellingtm, 25 250 for Christchurch, and 34,138 fcr Dunedin; making a total of 111,077. Now, those are the o'ty people who are to be represented, whereas the total population is 148,103, I leave out for the purposes of thin calculation the. population of the Chatham Islands and the shipping population ; so that the total population to be
ivifrcWl is r.;ir>,',P,l, That divided by ttu )-.niii!i.--r <>f members —7O--gives 7 661 7 p.a tlw fju.it:>., I :un rjuite awaro that tho lvndhig of these figure A in the ascertaining of tho quota will not be very intelligible to the House on being merely read out to lion, members, but 1 believe these figures will be found to be eorreot, and upon these 1 shall base the remarks 1 have now to make. I would like to know what facta these figures actually disclose to the House. First of all, let me tell hon. members that they disclose this important fact: that of tho city electors of Uuncdin, Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland no leas than 37,020 of them are to bo practically dis franchisee! ; and they disclose also this fact, that wbeieas 7,665 country electors will be able to return a member, in the case of the cities it will take no less than 10,220. Now, sir, I propose to call this 10,220 for a single, city electorate the city quota. I know the Hill provides for amalgamation in the cities, but for a single electorate it means 10,220 electors in cities are equal to 7,005 country electors. I want to show the House how I have arrived at this cit.y quota of 10,220. I think the House will see it is fair to arrive at it in this way : 7,665 is the actual quota over the whole of the colony. That multiplied by 12, the number of city members, gives !)I,OSi). Hut lion, members must remember this: that this 91.950 people in the city electorates are not to be taken out of the total population of the citifs—l hope the House will remember that but out of the population of the cities reduced by 25 por cent. So that, instead of being taken out of 148,000, they are taken out of 111,000. Therefore, if these !)1,950 arc to ba taken out of the population reduced by 25 per cent., it means this : they are to be taken out of the 111,000 —that is to say, that the population of the city electorates and the boroughs within one mile arc to be subject to 25 per cent, reduction, or 33.'j increase to the country quota; so thn.t the total city population to have twelve members is 91, i)$Q phis the proportion of the :V7,02(» disfranchised electors who will remain in the city electorates, the other portion of them being thrown off—if the cities havctoomany—totliecoiintryelectors. Now, when that proportion is worked out, honorable nif nibers will find as a result that the total population necesfary for the four city electorates will be 122,640: that is the total population necessary for city electorates (that, of course, is subject to tho 25 per cent, reduction), the result being that, if you divide that number by 12, you get this quota of 10,220 for each, supposing they were s'nglo eleetorates. Now, it will bo seen that, supposing we were to take the 25 per cent, from that, we should reach the quota of 7,005 ; but, on the other hand, you are to proceed tho other way, and add the 33Jj per cent., and then you get 10,220. But that is not the only harm that will accrue to cities under this proposed Bill. There is more than this. The cities and boroughs being amalgamated will have a certain number of city electors in eyccs3 of the number necessary to make up the city quota. Hon. members will see that the city quota will be 10,220, or 30,060 for tho time seats. But in most of the cities there will be too many. For instance, in Auckland there will be too many, in Wellington there will be too few, in Christchurch there will be too many, and in Dunediu there will bo too many Moreover, the cities and boroughs will suffer, inasmuch ascertain city peoplethere being an excess of the number necessary to make up the city quota—will be thrown into certain of the country electorates. But it will not be an excess of the true population which will be thrown into the country electorates, but the excess of the city population reduced by 23 per cent. The result of that cornea to this: that out of 111,077 city electors «.)1,950 will be taken to make up the city quota, and that will leave 19,097 as the total number of sucli electorates thrown into the country electorates. Now, that would not be so unfair, possibly, if these 19,097 were to be thrown into other electorates in which they would be represented by themselves. But the effect is this : These electors have been subjected to the 25 per cent, reduction, a-ul this will h-i really equivalent to throwing, nut 19,097 electors into the country electorates, but 25,402. Ho that hon. members will see that of the number of city people no less than 19,097 will be thrown into the country electorates, and will be swamped, so far as their interest} are concerned, by the country electors into whose districts they are thrown. Mr Giunnkss : Still, they will not be disfranchised.
Mr AiJß'i 10,007 will not be, but the difference- between that number and the 25,4015 will be absolutely disfranchised. It conus to this : that 19,007 city electors with the franchise, and 0,375 disfranchised tacked on to their back, are thrown into the country electorates, and these arc neutralised by 10,097 country electors. Captain Ki'ssell : I do not see how they are disfranchised.
Mr Allkn : You absolutely take away their vote from them. .Sir 11. A. Atkinson : No,
Mr Allen : Will the Premier say whether the total number of the population of the city is going to be included in the calculation of the quota ? Sir H. A. Atkinson : No ; but every man is registered somewhere, and lie will have a vote.
Mr Allen': In making up the quota you will not take the full city population but the population reduced by 25 per cent. Sir 11, A. Atkinson : Exactly, Mr Allen: Then you disfranchise the rest?
Sir IT. A. Atkinson : Oh, no. Mr Allen : Vou do, for all practical purposes. This is the result: that 25,462 electors who really belong to the cities are thrown into the country constituencies, and their votes arc neutralised by 10,007 country votes. Therefore I say that the 25 per cent, reduction acts not only on the four city and borough amalgamated electorates, but also on 25,462 city and borough electors who are to be thrown into the country constituencies. Now, in order to make that point a little more clear I will take the case of two of the cities separately. The city quota, on the basis of single seats, is 10,220. Take the case of Auckland first. The last census showed that the population of Auckland was 41,505. If you take from this the 30,060 required to make up the quota for the three scats, there remains a balance of 10,848 who will be thrown into the country electorates ; but of these 2,712 are disfranchised, and the rest are neutralised by country vote 3. Then wo come to the case of Wellington. Hero we have a curious instance, for Wellington will not have enough io make up the quota. The population of Wellington is only 27,371, but, as 30.6G0 are required, instead of any Wellington votes beiug thrown into the country electorates, it will be necessary to bring in from the country districts 3,289 ; and here is the anomaly that seventy-five of these electors are equal to a hundred city men. Taking the whole number, 3.250 from the country districts will equal 4,385 city men. Will the Premier tell me that that is just ? It cannot be j and lam very much surprised that tuch a scheme should be brought before this House. There is one other point which I should like to bring before the House: that is with regard to the limit of 750. I think experience has shown us in the past that this limit of 750 has generally been used to the disadvantage of the towns. I believe firmly that in this case also the limit will be used to the disadvantage of the towns, and, in this case, some 9,000 others would have to be added to the towns. So, in other words, the quota for a single seat, supposing that it were sot down at 10,220, would represent 10,970 ; and this would only be equal to 7,605 country votes. I think hon. gent'emen will see by these figures how absolutely unjust is this attempt"to deprive the city electorates of their rights, and that we have a good reason to object to this measure being forced on us by a majority which wishes to crush us down. (To be continued.)
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THE REPRESENTATION DEBATE., Evening Star, Issue 7969, 26 July 1889
THE REPRESENTATION DEBATE. Evening Star, Issue 7969, 26 July 1889
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