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THE REPRESENTATION BILL., Issue 7976, 3 August 1889
THE REPRESENTATION BILL.
THE REDUCTION OF MEMBERS UNDISTURBED.
A COMPROMISE EFFECTED. [From Oua Parliamentary Reporter ] WELLINGTON, August 2. When the House resumed at 2.30 to-day, no definite arrangement had been arrived at, but there was a general impression that the difficulty was nearer solution than at any previous stage of the deadlock; and, as negotiations were still in progress, it was thought that an immediate adjournment till 7.30 would be asked. The Committee, however, continued their deliberations for nearly a couple of hour?, the time being taken up in comparatively empty discussion, questioning by opponents to the Bill, and fencing by the Ministers, Many attempts were made to get an indication from the Colonial Secretary (who was in charge of the measure) as to what attitude the Government would take up if Sir G. Grey’s amendments were carried, and Mr Hislop fenced every query with consummate skill. But the questioners returning to the charge time after time, the Premier was eventually “drawn,”and reminded hon. members that no committee gave any decision in a point that was not before it. What would follow if the amendment were carried? It would be clearly wrong, he said, for the Government to disclose until the question came before them. Mr Seddon then intimated that Sir G. Grey was willing to withdraw hh amendment as the only dignified course that could be taken, seeing that before he had move ! it he had been improperly given to understand by the Government whip that Ministers would not treat it hestitely, but would allow it to be fairly considered on its merits.
Leave to Sir G. Grey to withdraw his amendment was for some time refused, but after some farther bickering the unauimous consent of the Committee was given, and Sir George Grey thereupon exonerated Mr M'Gregor (the Government whip) from any intention to mislead him, and added that that gentleman’s communication had been of a most friendly nature. Of course the member for Auckland Central had seen that it would be futile to push his amendment, and those hon. members who had deluded themselves with a belief that there was a probability of a reversion to the old number of members had their hopes shattered, “ One Man One Vote.” The amendment having been disposed of, Sir George Grey asked what were the intentions of the Government with regard to the abolition of plural voting. The Premier replied that any action in that direction would have to be in the way of the insertion of a special clause in the Bill, and before the time came for that the Government would make a statement. Sir G. Grey twitted Ministers with their undignified position in having to submit to the dictation of a caucus of the city and country parties. An adjournment was then made till 7.30 to enable a conference of delegates from the two parties to meet. Terms of the Compromise. The executives of the contending factions met immediately, and it soon became known that terms had been settled, and that the deadlock was at an end. This speedy termination of the differences that had occupied the attention of Parliament for nearly a fortnight was doubtless due to the fact that all hopes of a reversion to ninety-one members—for which many bon. gentlemen had really been striving had vanished. On resuming at 7.30 an adjournment was made till 9 p.ro., so that the town and country parties might consider the compromise whioh their delegates had arrived at. The terms on which the compromise was effected, shortly stated, were: (1) The Bill to be on the basis of the Act of 1887. as regards special districts; (2) additions to the country in lieu of deductions from the towns ; (3) 28 per cent, to be inserted for 18 per cent, in the Act of 1887; (4) the margin so to be used that it shall not operate to the disadvantage of the towns—that is to say, the town quotas shall not bo increased by any operation of the margin. The clause to be drafted by the law officers. The stonewallers have thus practically been conceded all they contended for, except that in the matter of the “quota” parties have had to yield something to each other. . The town party were naturally practically unanimous inacceptingtheterms of compromise, for they have undoubtedly scored a victory all along theline. Their points of resistance to the Government Bill were the exceptional treatment of the font centres as compared with the rest of the colony, and the fact that deductions were being
made from the towns in place of additions to the country. On both these points they gained their end.
Before disper.-ing the members instructed their executive to mo that tho clause dealing with the marginal different c was clearly drawn, so that it should not f-r the future be in.aiiably us d to tho prejudice of the towns. The Country Parly At the meeting of the country party there were forty present, Mr Seymour proud ng. _ The terms of the compromise i.uvu g been explained, it was moved by Capta n Russell, and seconded by Sir John Hall, that the terms be agreed to. —Colonel Eraser strongly obj cted, and left the room. Messrs hmuzHUEKT, SEDDON, and SAMUEL also objected to bo bound by tho arrangement arrived at. — Messrs Mills Dodson, and Gri.MMOND, whose boroughs were also affected by tho arrangement, said that in order to settlo the difficulty they would waive their objections and fall in with the undcrotand’ng arrived at. How lire Kill now Works. Under tho 25 per cent deduction, as brought in by the Government, the quota for the four centres would have been one member to every 10,221 inhabitants, and for the country (including the boroughs) one for every 7,CG5. Under the 28 per cent. addition, as the compromise provides, the towns will have one representative for every 9,676 inhabitants, and the country one for evtry 7,565. It will thus be seen that while the representation of tho country proper is practically unaltered the four centres have gained an undoubted advantage, which will come from the eighteen boroughs having a population of over 2,600. The country will now return forty-nine members as against twentyone by the cities and boroughs. The End. In the House two adjournments of the sitting had to be made during the evening bd'o.e Ihe matter was finally put into shape, and progress was then reported in order to enable the amendments to be printed, « hereupon the House rose. A Dignified Protest. During tho discussion cf the matter, Colonel Fraser (Ihames) expressed his dissent from the arrangement made by the so-called country party, but said that whatever injustice was done to his constituency ho would not become a party to stonewalling.
THE REPRESENTATION BILL., Issue 7976, 3 August 1889
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