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The Evening Star SATURDAY, JULY 27, 1889.

Those gentlemen who object to the present Representation Bill on the

Wliaf are the Facts*

ground that it is a "Tory" measure seem to be oblivious of facts. In 1879 Sir G. Grey,

then Premier of the much vaunted Liberal Ministry, introduced a Bill giving to the country districts a much more favorable measure of representation than is now proposed. It provided that the total number of members to be elected for the country districts—we quote the exact word 3 of the Bill—"shall bear to the aggregate popula- '■' tion of such district a proportion exceeding " by as nearly as possible ;.'J ]>cr rent, the "proportion borne by the total number of " members to be elected for town districts to " the aggregatonumberof the town districts." The only difference between the Bill of Sir G. Grey and that of the present Government is that, instead of adding 25 per cent, to the country districts, 25 per cent, is to bo deducted from the town districts. It is simply a quostion of arithmetic, and, as the country population roughly estimated is as five to one of the town, it follows that the proportion in Sir G. Gkey's Bill is as five to one more in favor of the country districts than that now under consideration. It must, however, be remembered that the Bill of the Grey Ministry did notgetteyond a second reading, because its provisions were so distasteful to the town party of that day. In 1881 a Representation Bill embodying tho 25 per cent, addition was passed, and tho general elections that have since taken place have been conducted on a division of the electorates on that basis.

There is, thus, nothing either new or strange in the proposal of the Government. What is really strange is their deviation from the accepted rule, when they induced the House to pass a measure giving to the country only 18 per cent. There are signs, as we long ago predicted there would be, that certain members of the House are beginning to regret their excessive zeal for economy, or, as Sir Robert Stout would phrase it, " parsimony." We think there is little doubt that this, and not the quota, is the real casus belli.

We learn from our Wellington correspondent that, on the ballot called for by Mr Ballance, forty-nine votes, representing a clear majority of the House, were in favor of restoring the number of members to ninety-one, and that only seven wero recorded against such action. It is, as we are informed, not improbable that this retraceal of legislative steps will form the basis of a compromise which will put an end to the present stonewalling. Into the merits of the question as between the town and country we cannot very well enter at present, because the_ country members are for the most part silent, and the town members are simply talking against time. When more light has been shed on this quarrel it will be time enough to express an opinion. At present reporters and the public are excluded from the House and galleries, and all that ia positively known is that there is a great wasto of time going on at tho public expense. But as the Government have a majority of more than two to one, the final issue of the contest cannot be doubted.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890727.2.9

Bibliographic details

The Evening Star SATURDAY, JULY 27, 1889., Issue 7970, 27 July 1889

Word Count
563

The Evening Star SATURDAY, JULY 27, 1889. Issue 7970, 27 July 1889

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