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THE representation BILL.

IFh6m Oub Parliamentary Reporter.]


Sifegested Amendments.

When the Representation Bill is in committee Mr Fcldwick will motta “That there shall be only three Maori members in future,” thus reducing the number of members from 74 to 73.

Mr Guinness will move the following new clause Unless a candidate at an election receives an absolute majority of votesjrecorded, the returning officer shall not declare such candidate to have been elected, but shall proceed to take a second poll after giving the notices'in that behalf required by law. At such second poll only the two candidates who have received the largest number of votes' at the first poll shall be entitled to be candidate#; and the candidate then receiving the largest number of votes shall be declared to have been elected.” This practice is in vogue in some of the Continental States, but is not likely to be adopted here. Needed Reforms. lam assured that a majority of the House is pledged not only to’ the abolition of the plu-al vote, but also to' the amalgamation of the city electorates. Tho Female Franchise. Sir John Hall will probably move a' clause extending the franchise to wonlen. On the Same Footing as Cities. Tho following are the names of boroughs which will be excluded from participation in the 28 per cent, advantage to the country districts:—New Plymouth, Greyrhoutb, Petone, Nelson, Thames,; Gisborne, Onehunga, Devonport, Palmerston . North, Masterton, Port Chalmers, Hokitika, Lyttelton, Wanganui, Blenheim, Oamaru, Napier, and Timaru. The Effect of the Compromise. The Government Bill, as framed, with a 25 per cent, deduction from the population of the four cities and the suburbs as therein defined, would have given the following results: —Town quota, 10,220; country quota, 7.665; number of members for the towns, 14.5; for the country, 55.5. If the 38J deduction had been made, the quota for the towns would have been 11,233, and for the country 7,488, the number of members being respectively 13,2 and 56.8. Both parties were, however, unanimous in abandoning the principle of a reduction from the town population and reverting to that of an addition to the country population, as defined in the Act of 1887. The following table, compiled by Mr Frankland (Government actuary),- shows how the various proposals made would work out on the principle of adding to the population of the country districts : Act of 1887.—1S per cent, town, qtfota 147 = 22.2 members ; added to the country, 7,!>50 quota --- 47.8 members.

25 per cent.- town on 517 quota - 21.8 members; added to tho country, 7,C11 quota = 437 members. 28 pet cent, town, quota 9,676 - 21.0; added to tUu country, 565 quota ■-= 49.0 members. SBJ per cent, town, quota 9,059 == 20.4 members; added to the country, 7,478 quota = 49.6 members. It will be seen from the above that the Government Bill proposed to give the country no lets than 55,5 of members—or practically 35, while the extreme country iparty in seeking to make an addition from tho city population of 33Jt per cent, would actually have obtained fifty-seven out of the seventy members. In reality the country party have now got nothing more than was freely offered to them from the very outset. Their nominal gain of 3 per cent, gives them no greater political power, because they would, with the 25 per cent., have been entitled to 48.7 members, and this would iu practice have meant forty-nine, which is tho exact number they are entitled to with 28 per cent, of a fictitious popu lation. A comparison of the figures given above will show that the whole difference that the struggle has been about has been a difference of the "quota,” ranging in the case of the country between 7,488 and 7,755, and in the case of the towns between 9,147 and 11,232 ; and, as regards the number of members, between twenty and twenty-two for the towns and forty-eight and fifty for the country. Of course the “stonewall,” when first erected, was against the boroughs with over 2,000 population receiving exceptional treatment from the centres; but there has been a majority of the House against that for some time. Many members think that the fear about the use of the "quota” to the disadvantage of the towns is only a mere fancy ; but the wish of their party is that no town electorate shall bi asked to contain more tnnn the population required to entitle it io a member according to the Act. A clause to guard against the Commissioners injuriously using their power in this respect has been drafted in various forms by the AttorneyGeneral, and will be finally settled on Monday, when it is expected that no further difficulty will be found in dealing with the Bill. The town members say that if this clause is satisfactorily drawn the real effect of the compromise will be an addition of about 22 per cent, only to the country districts proper. Caught Napping. The representatives of the larger boroughs, including Colonel Fraser and about fifteen others, have besn taken by surprise by the turn that affairs have taken, but, as the Hoase is now wearied with the stonewalling, they have little hope of being able to gain any advantage by offering obstruction. They, however, intend to hold a meeting on Sniiday for the purpose of organising, and will endeavor to reduce the allowance to the country districts to 25 per cent., and to secure that allowance for all boroughs of less than 6,000 inhabitants.

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THE representation BILL., Issue 7976, 3 August 1889

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THE representation BILL. Issue 7976, 3 August 1889

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