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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 10451, 22 October 1897
[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.]
WELLINGTON, October 21, Mining Companies Act.
Mr Pirani-intends movirigwhen in committee on the Mining Companies Act Amendment Bill the insertion of a new clause, as follows':—Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Mining Companies Act, 1894, and its amendments, or in the Companies Act, 1882, and its amendments, or in any other Act, no calls upon shares in any company formed or registered or incorporated after the passing of this Act for mining purposes, or for mining and other purposes combined, shall be recoverable, except so far as the proceeds of such shares shall when forfeited and sold be made applicable in payment of calls thereon." The Municipal Franchise. This afternoon Mr Tanner moved the second reading of the Municipal Franchise Enlargement Bill. He contended that the existing system was unsatisfactory. The polls in the great towns scarcely comprised one-half the qualified voters. This played into the hands of cliques. This Bill would confer the municipal franchise on every adult male and female resident in a district, similar to the parliamentary franchise, and it was reserved for ratepayers to cast their votes in the case of proposed loans.
The Premier said that the enlarged franchise would produce better representation on borough councils, superior administration, and abolish obsolete plural voting. He contended that the rates were indirectly paid by the occupiers. Mr R. Thompson : Who pays the rattß on property not occupied ? The Premier : The owner adds the unoccupied portion to the rent of the properties occupied. The unearned increment must also be counted. He appealed to the House to affirm the principle of the Bill, Bubject to amendments in committee.
_ Captain Russell, who sartd that the Premier was showing the cloven foot of that hybrid animal the Tory-Democrat, opposed the Bill as vicious, because the extension of the franchise would expose a borough to clamors for extravagant expenditure on local works, and entrust the franchise to a nomadic population with no real interest in the district.
Mr Holland thought there were many difficulties in the way of taking the electoral roll in municipal elections. The city of Auckland included a portion of Newton Borough and the Archhill Road Board, and what right had these to a voice in the borough elections ? Mr Tanner: They can't do it. You have not read the Bill.
Mr Holland said he approved of householders and leaseholders exercising the municipal vote, but he denied that it would improve the representation. Very few people would care to bear the expense and trouble of elections connected with a large electoral roll. It was difficult at present to induce men to take part in municipal affairs, and it would be almost impossible with the electoral rolls. The system would entail large expense, and it would be a heavy burdea to a city like Auckland, whose maximum borrowing power was limited to 2s in the £. He would oppose the Bill unless the franchise were limited to householders.
Mr M'Gowan approved of the extension of the municipal franchise, but not to the extent proposed in the Bill. Mr Scobie Mackenzie moved an amendment to the effect that it is inexpedient to deal with the extension of the municipal franchise until the House has had an opportunity of considering the whole question of local government.
Mr Crowther, referring to the declaration of Mr Hutcheson that he was going to run a socialistic show, said it was easy to run anv show on other people's money. They had heard muoh about the sin of owning tramways, and the Wellington system had been called very bad, but he considered it a very fair one. What was the object of the loud olamor in Wellington for a large expenditure on a new dook ? Why, to take away the business from the Lyttelton dook. It was the desire to mop up everything. Mr Wilßon said that if Mr Crowther was an example of the intellectual progress of Auokland under the mayoral administration of the hon. member and the system of a ■ratepayers' franohise, then the sooner a change was made the better. Mr Crowther was a specimen of those stupid people who jingled guineas in their pockets and made a fetish of " proputty, proputty, proputty." Captain Russell, speaking to the amendment, declared himself strongly opposed to the one-man-one-vote principle," Mr Bollard condemned the Bill as introducing the vicious system of conferring power on persons having no interest in a municipality except in levying taxation on others. He argued that excessive rating on property would result in reducing wapes. This speaker continued the discussion until the half-past five adjournment, with the result that the Bill was talked out.
When the Hou?e resumed at half-past seven the debate on the second reading was adjourned for a fortnight.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 10451, 22 October 1897
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