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THE REPRESENTATION DEADLOCK., Issue 7972, 30 July 1889
THE REPRESENTATION DEADLOCK.
[Fbom Our Pabliamentabt Reporter. | WELLINGTON, July 29. To Fight to the Denth. The contending factions seem determined to fight the battle to the bitter end, and when the Representation Bill gets into committee several days, if not weeks, are certain to be occupied before it is disposed of. The town memborß, though numerically the weaker party, aro sanguine of ultimate Buccem; and, if they are beaten on the question of tho " quota," claim that they will so hamper and hinder the supporters of the Bill that eventually it will drop to the bottom of tho Order Paper. The Government, howovor, profess to be thoroughly in earnest in their desire for tho passage of the Bill, and say that they are prepared to Bpend three months over it before touching any other business, should that position be forced on them, More Encouragement. Meanwhile members of the town party continue to receive marks of encouragement from their constituents, and are goaded to contiuuo their efforts in the direction of stonewal'ing. The latest recipient of these favors is Mr Joyce, who to-day received a telegram from a prominent Christohurch citizen, who designated tho hon. member "ft brick," and expressed regret at not being one of his constituents. Another Side to the Picture. The country parly, on the other hand, avow that the meetings whioh aro taking plnce in the centres are not the result of spontaneous action on the part of the electors, but aro being held in constquenoe of the wires being pulled by members from Wellington. They aro in great glee at the receipt of the following telegram to Mr Valentine, which was forwarded by a prominent Dunedin merchant and leading member <-f the Chamber of Commerce:—"All bunkum about excitement here except amongst supporters of Fish and Fitchett. Outside them people unanimously in fayor_ of amalgamation city electorates and insistence on reduction of members to seventy-oue. Traitors to latter need not seek re-eleotion. Outside of agitators, no one cares a d about the quota." The ministerial Stand. The Premier assured Messrs J. B. Wbyte, Buchanan, T. WKenzie, and Valentine, who waited upon him to-day, that the Government would adhere firmly to tho position which he announced to the House last Wednesday evening—viz., that they would not agree to either more or less than 25 per cent, being placed in the Bill. The Stonewalling goes on Merrily. Within the Chamber the debate to-day was continued with closed doors, but the proceedings have been uneventful and the speeches commonplace. Mr Withy, who coutinued his address fiom Saturday night, put tho Hou*e in good humor with his bantering remarks directed at the failure of the country party to ofer a compromise, and continued to speak till threo o'clock. A Defence of the BUI. Mr Tanner defended the Bill from a country member's point of view, his speech being avowedly an answer to that made by Mr Allen last week. His contention was that a distribution of representation in the country districts on the basis of population alone would bo v»ry unfair. Mr Moss, who held the floor from 3.20 to eight o'clock (out of which must be taken one and a-half hou s' adjournment for dinner), argued that tho present positi n of affiiis was not brought about by the town party, but by the Government, who endeavored to force the Bill through at all boards. He claimed that the question was not one of figures, but was rather that of independence for towns and preserving the constitution from a uew element •which would separate the town from the country and create ill feeling where good feeling now reigned, A Suggested Compromise.
Mr Moss's suggestion as to the way of overcoming the present difficulty was that the Government should withdraw the Bill, failing that there should be au immediate dissolution to enable the people to say whether tbey would have seventy members with the Bill now introduced by the Government as a new condition, or adhere to the old number and the old quota. The Government had no light to introduco the now element; but, having done bo. the question «ught to be referred back to the people. A Denial. Mr W. P. Reeves spoko for three-quarters of an hour, and succeeded in drawing Sir John Hall, who rose with some warmth to contradict an implication in the hon. genth nnu's speech that he (Sir John) had spoken disparagisgly of the townspeople. He challenged Mr Reeves to prove that he had evor in publio or private said anything that would boar such a construction. A Challenge to Ministers.
The only other speaker of tho evening was Mr Perceval, who Bailed along pleasantly from nine o'clock to ten in a somewhat bantering strain. At the conclusion of his remarks on the Bill he took pains to emphasise the fact that tho proposed adjournment till next morning •waß not sought by the town party, who wore perfectly ready to continue the dabate without any adjournment if the Government desired it. The struggle was not of their seeking, but they would certainly not Bhriok from it in any way. Sir M. O'Rorke intimated at this stage that ke would vacate tho chair for half an hour. The Hon. Mr Mitchelson said the Government had no objection to tbo House rising till 10.30 next morning, and this suggestion was at once acted upon.
The Outcome of the Stonewalllnj? will probably be the institution of day sittings. Sir H. Atkinson has long been favorably inclined in that direction, and has deprecated fitting after midnight, a* legislation of a faulty character is frequently pushed through in the imall hourß of the morning, when a bare quorum is present and members are too tired to give proper attention to tho work before them. July 'lO. The Country Party Sanguine. The cu'rent impression is that the Representation Bill will be committed this evening. The country party say that they will g vo a block vote in committee, and claim that they will succeed in getting their allowance—viz., tho deduction of 33$ from the chief towns—despite the vote of the city members and tho Government combined. An Absurd Proposal.
Various wild proposals are beiDg mooted as to the possible outcome of the deadlock. One is that the duration of the present Parliament should be extended to five years. Members are being sounded on this question, but tbe movement seemingly has not met with great enejurigement. Returned to the Fold. It is announced that Mr Ven all has strayed back to the fold of the country party, as the town members will not aid him in getting a return to ninety-one members. Sir G. Grey's Little Plan.
Sir 0. Grey has drawn up three amendments to the Representation Bill, which he proposes to move when the measure gets into committee, They are aB follows:—"That no elector shall, after the passing of this Act, vote in respect of more than one electorate at any election of members of the House of Representatives." "That the Representation Act Amendment Act, 1887, is hereby repealed, and tho provisions of the Representation Act, 1887, which were repealed by the Representation Aets Amendment Act, 1889, are hereby re-enacted." "That a dissolution of tho General Assembly shall take placo on or before the day of August next." Sir George avows himself favorable to the retention of tbe reduced House, or its reduction to a still further extent, but he is willing that the question should be submitted to the country, if by that means be can accomplish the abolition of plural voting. Mr Allen held possession of the floor from 10.30 this morning till the luncheon adjournment at one o'clock. A Surprise Expected. It is understood that the Government have some move in contemplation for closing the present debate, and bunging the Bill into committee. Every country member is instructed to be in his place at 2.30 to-day. Nothing In It After All. Immediately on the House resuming this afternoon Mr Lance moved that the Livo Stock Committee have permission to sit to-morrow, the necessity for this arising iu consequence of th a House sitting. There was no objection to the motion, the town members having agreed not to take what might be called an unfair, although a legitimate, advantage of their position, audit was carried. Probably it was in expectation of opposition to this motion that the country members were all ordered to be in their seats.
The debate has baen resumed by Mr Taylor.
THE REPRESENTATION DEADLOCK., Issue 7972, 30 July 1889
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