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THE REPRESENTATION DEADLOCK., Issue 7974, 1 August 1889
THE REPRESENTATION DEADLOCK.
[From Odb Pabuamentaey Rkpobteb.|
WELLINGTON, Jcly 31. It was evident from my messages of this afternoon that the deadlock on the Representation Bill was at an end, so far as the debate on the motion for the committal of the Bill was concerned. At any rate, fhortly before four o'clock an amendment to adjourn the House was put and negatived by 57 to 27. The previous question—" That the question be now put"—was nest affirmed ; and the motion for the committal of the Bill was carried by 57 to 27. The following was the division lißt:
Ates (oT).—Messrs Anderson, Sir H. A. Atkinson, llnwf, liruce, liuchauan. Cail:noi>, Carroll, Cowan, JDodsou, DiiMCin, Fergjs, Fiizuerfceri, Fraser, Fulton, Cri-him, Griiiimoad, Guinness (teller), Sir J. Hall, Hamlin, Uarknesf, Hislop, Ilobb«, Hodgkinson, Jackeon, Kelly, Kerr, Lance. Lawry, Macarthur, Mackenzie (Sffount Ida), T. Mackenzie (Balclutha), MarChant, M'Grepor, il'Kenzie (vVaihemo), Mills, Mitchelson. Moat, Monk, Paraca, Pyke, Rhodes, E. Richardson (Kaiapoi), G. F. Richardson (Mataura), Russell, Samuel, Saunders, Seddon, Seymour, Smith, W. J. Steward (Waimate), Tanner, R. Thompson, Valentine, Verrall, Walker, White, Wilson. Noes (27).—Messrs Allen, Ballance, Barron, Blake (teller), Peldwiok, Fisher, Fish, Fitchett, Goldie, Sir O. Grey, Humphreys, Izard, Jones, Larnach, Loughrey, Moss, Newman, Perceval (teller), Reeves (St. Albans), Rass. W. D. Stewart, Menteatb, Taiwhanga, Taylor, T. Thompson (Auckland North), Turnbull, Withy. Pairs —For: Messrs Ward, O'Conor, Cowan, Beetham. Against: Messrs Hutchison, R. Reeves, Joyce, Peacock. With pairs, no less than 92 votes were thus recorded, besides the Speaker, This leaves only two hon. gentlemen not accounted for. These were Messrs Taipua and Ormond, who, not expecting a division to be taken, were away enjoying an afternoon's constitutional. The galleries were at once reopened, and an adjournment made till 7.80 in the hope of a compromise beiDg effeoted. The Conference. Of course your readers will be particularly interested in knowing what took place at th« mectiDg of the representatives of the two sides, which came off at 4.30. The town party, J learn, were represented by Messrs Mobs, Barron, Dr Fitchett, Newman, Perceval, and Allen, and the country by Messrs Beyraour, Seddon, Lance, Macarthur, Wilson, Fulton, Captain Russell, and Major Steward. It was decided to approach the question as follows: —First, to consider the method of the computation of the percentage, whether by deduction or addition. The Conference decided unanimously by a tacit understanding that addition to the country districts was a fair basis to calculate rather than a deduction from the towns. It was agreed to recommend this to the contending parties, provided that some agreement could be arrived at on the other points. It was proposed to consider who were to receive the percentage. This raised two questions, some agreeing to accept the 1887 Ac as the basis viz., special districts as therein enumerated, and boroughs under 2,000 papulation to receive the percentage addition. This, however, was not considered fair, as they were practically parts of the cities. It was also urged that the country boroughs ought not to get the percentage, although their population did exceed 2,000- even up to 4,000. The other question raised may be explained by the proposal itself: "That an addition of (blank) per cent, be made to all population which is not within two miles of any borough having more than (blank) inhabitants." This was raised by a country member, but the bulk of his confreres were against it and it dropped, to the hon. gentleman's evident disgust. The Conference thereupon returned to the Act of lcß7, it being the proper basis of settling the allowance as regards the various districts and boroughs. Thus the Conference came to the m»in question: What peroentsge was to be granted? The country party said that they would not listen to anything less than 33J per cent, and the town delegate? replied that they could not recommend to their party anything more than 25. Thus practically broke up the Conference in disorder, though some of the more moderate country members, in conversation subsequently, suggested t hat possibly a good many of their party would listen to 28 per cent. Reduction of Members. On the Committee resuming at 7.30 p.m., Sir G. Obey moved an amendment to the short title of the Bill—namely, the abolition of plural voting, and the suspension o! the Act of 1887 (ieducing the number of member to seventyone) for two years. This would, he thought, be a perfect solution of the present difficulty. He was anxious to avoid any party struggle, and had given the matter his most earnest consideration. The great object of the Government Bill was to promote differences between the town and country, but he sought to put all men on an equality, on the principle of " One man one vote." Property owners had undue influence under the existing system, and it was this difficulty that he sought to remedy. He considered that the present Parliament was too large, and contended for the reduction of the number of Ministers to four, and of the Civil Service to four Departments, as being conducive to economy. He quite admitted that there was room for difference of opinion as to the reduction of members, and would like to see the question submitted to the cour-try.—(Cheers.) !For his own part he did not consider the reduction to seventy was enough ; therefore he proposed to suspend the reduction for two years. The abolition of the plural vote would do away with part of the claims of the country to additional representa-
tion, the immoderation of which he condemned. The reason why he (Sir George) moved in the matter was that he had drawn up the Constitution of this colony, which everybody would admit to be a liberal one, and he believed that the amendment he proposed would confer a lasting benefit on the colony. Mr Fish warmly complained of the nnfair treatment which the city membors had received from the Premier and *he country party, by whom he said they had been absolutely and intentionally fooled. He accused Mr Seddon of having misled him as to the proposals that would be considered by the Conference, and told the Premier that, whilst gaining no support from the country, he had alienated his friends representing the cities who had hitherto stood by him. The Premier's tergiversation in reference to the Bill was discreditable to him and his party. Sir John Hall was the real power behind the throne, and was a curse to the country. The city members had been compelled to defend themselves as best they could on account of their want of trust in the Premier, who, while professing that he would not proceed with the Bill if more than 25 per cent, were inserted, had given no pledge to The Pbejlieb : I told your own deputation so. You know that very well. Mr FicH was glad to get that assurance, but the question was whether he would be allowed, to drop the Bill. From the erratic course pursued by the Premier in the past he could not make ture that he would not yet " sell" the country party. Sir George Grey had stiuck a democratic principle in his proposal that each man should have only one vote. There could also be no doubt that the reduction of members should be suspended, as its adoption had been the rtsult of panic legislation and of candidates bidding against each other as to the extent of the economies they would advocate. The Colonial Skcretabt deprecated the tone of Mr Fish ij speech as tending to raise bad blood between the town and country. As to the reduction of members, the question was put distinctly and clearly before the constituencies in the last election—(cries of "No, no")—who declared strongly in favor of the reduction. This being the case the Government would take a strong position and decline to revert to the old number.—(Cheers.)
MrSEDDON said that when the last election took place the country was in a state of depression, and it was only from motives of economy that the reduction of members was agreed to, without regard to the consequences. Another factor in coming to this decision was that the question of the "quota" should stand over. Had the present state of affairs been seen the reduction would never have taken place. Replying at length to Mr Fish's strictures, he charged the city party with being the cause of the failure of the Conference to agree, and said that some of them had gone about the lobby mocking country members and telling them they had "at last been brought to their bearings." He said that Mr Fish's opposition to the Bill was due to the fact that he was opposed to the amalgamation of the city electorates, and by supporting the presont amendment he hoped to avoid giving a vote on that issue. Though the city members had refused to make any advance towards a settlement, the country managers had offered to recommend their party to split the difference between 25 and 33J per cent., and decide the matter by an allowance of about 29 per cent. In conclusion, he announced his intention of supporting Sir George Grey's amendment. Mr Moss, speaking in reference to the Conference, said that the country members bad certainly offered to make an alteration in the method of computing the allowance, but had insisted on getting their 33J per cent., relaxing their demands in no way. Nothing whatever was said about 29 per cent., but he believed that Mr Seddoc did say something about it privatelyJafter the Conference had broken up. As the Government had altered the conditions of the representation, ho hoped that the constituencies would be asked to decide the matter. He would support Sir George Grey's amendment.
The Colonial Secbitary, at 10.30 p.»., suggested that the chairman should leave the chair till 10.30 a.m. next day. Dr Fitohett protested against the proposal as trifling with the ftfaira of the country.
The Hon. Mr Eallance thought it would be better to adjourn till 2.30 in the afternoon. The Pkemikb said that if an adjournment wore made to 10.30 he would be prepared to give more time till the afternoon, if it were disired, lie was satisfied that a laige section of the House was desirous of arriving at a compromise, towards which some progress had already been made. On a division, an adjournment to 10.30 was carried by 58 to 27. The Chairman left the chair at 10.45 p.m. August 1. Who are Flprlitlns for their seats. As combating the argument of the town members that the majority of their party are opposed to a return to ninety-five members, it has been pointed out to mo that the following who are opposed to tho Representation Kill are in favoi <>f the inciva-iod number of representatives:—Messrs Bj/lauee, Feldwiek, F:sh, Fisher, Dr Fitchctt, Joiicj, Joyce, Hutchison, Lcughrey, Mesa, Peroeval, "\V. 1. Reeves, K. Reeves, Turnbull, and Taylor. Mr Hamlin put* his Foot down. Immediately the Houbc met to-day Dr Newman raised a point of order that, a motion having been carried last night " that tha Chairman do leave the chair," the division that took plaoe suspended further proceedings of the Committee on the Bill, so that any attemnt now to put the question was wholly irregular. The only motion that could have kept the Bill alive would have been one to report progress. The Chairman (Mr Hamlin) sa'd that had he simply put: the question "That I do now leave the ?hair," there could be no doubt that tho point of order raised would be absolutely fatal to the Bill; but the question actually put was that Iw should leave the chair and resume it this morning. He was now in the chair in accordance with the wish of the Committee to proceed with the Bill, and would not allow his ruling to be debated. Mr Downie Stewart said in that caEe he must move that Mr Speaker's opinion be taken on the subject.
Mr Hamlin refused to put the motion. Mr Stkwabt thereupon moved that progress be reported in order to take Mr Speaker's opinion, which was negatived by 30 to 25. Mr Taylor charged the Premier witn having violated the pledge given to him (the speaker) and others, that the Government would nob bring in any Bill dealing wit a the question of the ''quota," but that tbey would remain entirely neutral. He had consulted a doctor about thU quota, and had been advised by bim that the dorsal coluoin of the Government was in a state of paralysis, and that before lung speedy dissolution would set in.— (Laughter.) Believing that ad men Bhould be placed nn an equality, he would support Sir George Grey's amendment.
Mr T. Thompson was pledged to oppose any effort to increase the number of members, and must therefore oppose the amendment as it now stood, though he believed in the "one man ono vote"' prinoiple. As, however, the country members had declined the reasonable offer of the cities to allow 25 per cent., he would oppose the Bill at every stage. Mr Barhox said the predominant opinion amonst the town members was that the i eduction of members must be sustained; while a majority of the country members he'd aa opposite view. If the amendment were simply for the abolition of the plural vjte he would support it, but as it was linked with an exceedingly wrong thing be was bound to stand by the Government, whom he was glad to see opposing the increase of members. The Colonial Secretary said that out of thirty-one members who opposed the committal of the Bill seventeen were well ktown to be in favor of the restoration of the former number of members.
Mr Ballaxcs said it was evident from the Colonial Secretary's statement that a majority of the House was anxious for tho restoration of the number to ninety-me. This, bethought, was the *j:u,e solutiou of the difficulty, ana he believed that the Government were really desirou* of adopting it, though they could nat openly aJmit the fact. He did not understand that isir Gr. Grey's amendment -was to be treated as a Ministerial question, and he hope \ it would not be so treated. The question, of tho quota hid not yet been placed befoie tho country, and ought to be remitted to the electors. Had it been raided simultaneously with the question of the reduction of the numbsr of members the latter would never have been cariied. As for the Government Bill, it contained no principle whatever, and he would resist ic at ivary stage. The Colonial SKCHErARY said that the reduction was accomplished on account of the pledges given to the electorp, and if members were to change their votes as their interests cliang'd Parliament would soon become a contemptible thing. If they wanted tho country to speak again, let them do it on the basis of seventy members. The only evidenco that the country had changed its view was interested testimony, because their chance of_ re-election had decreased. As to the position of the (rovernment in the nutter, he said that the piinciple of reduction was vital to the Bill. Dr Kitcheit thought, a3 there was an attempt to increase the country quote, an increase of the members was the only intelligent solution of the present deadlock. Mr Goldie said that though he would like to see one man one vote in vogue, he was pledged against the restoration of ninety-one numbers, and must therefore oppose the amendment. that the electors of Dunedin had absolutely made up their minds that the reduction of membeis was the proper and correct thing, as Dr Fitchett would yet find out. Those city members who had changed their minds had not done so in accordanco with the viewrf of their constituents, as tho next general election would show. The city members were now divided on the question, and could not be saddled with the responsibility of Sir G. Grey's proposal. For his own part he would resist any return to the old sybtem or any covert means of obtaining it Mr O'Conor thought it a melancholy thing that members should now be swayed by sflfinterest.'and endeavor to stultify themselves by reversing the vote of 18S7- Kv«ry constituency in the colony went heartily with the policy of which the reduction was a part. Mr Tcrxbull said he would support tho amendment whether it was to be made a Ministerial question or not. Mr Witht would vote for the abolition of plural votes, but c:>u!d not commit himself to tho experiment of suspending the i eduction of members in the hope that it would come to life in the future.
Mr Joxks supported the amendment. Sir John Hall said it would be' a breach of faith with the elector to reverso the reduction of members vote. The country should be allowed an opportunity of trying the experiment of a reduced Home Mr MOS3 said that tin Government could atop the whole debate by bringing down a Bill inserting 25 per cent, as the quota, instead of 18 per cent, as in the Act of 18.57. MrT. M'&knzie twitted Mr Moss with inconsistency in now opposing a reduction, which he jur ported in 1887. Mr Downie Stewakt adhered to his pledge and former vote in favor of the reduction of membfis. Mr Kebr said hia constituents distinctly declared to him in favor of a restoration policy. He alluded to the Dunedin city members as being mere delegates, who had to do what they were told by the mob.—(Cries of "Oh !") Yes —what the Government had called the Wellington electors the other day. Mr Allen rose to a point of order. Mr Kkhr : Well, a small section of the people of Dunedin, if that would suit better. He challenged the Government to say distinctly whether they intended to stand or fall by Sir George Grey's motion. The Outcome of It All. The Government whips claim that there are 51 votes certain ag&inst the Droposal to suspend the Act of 1887 for two years, so that there need be no fear of the reduction of members vote being disturbed. A majority of members, however, favor the " one man one vote " principle. ________«——
THE REPRESENTATION DEADLOCK., Issue 7974, 1 August 1889
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