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The New Zealand Constitution Act [1852]: together with correspondence between the Secretary of State for the colonies and the Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand in explanation thereof

General Legislature

General Legislature.

45. A consideration of the enclosed Ordinance, and of the subjects of general interest on which it prohibits the Provincial Councils from legislating, reserving these for the General Legislature, will, ] think, so clearly point out the necessity which exists for the creation of a General Legislature, that I do not think it necessary to advance any arguments in favour of the creation of such a body; but assuming it to be admitted that a General Legislature should be constituted for New Zealand, I shall proceed to point out how I think that body should be composed.

46. I think it should consist of—

A Governor-in-Chief, appointed in the usual manner by the Crown; of—

A Legislative Council, elected in the manner recently suggested to me by your Lordship, that is, by the Provincial Councils, such a number of votes being allowed to each member of these Councils as to enable a minority to be at least in some degree represented: and, thirdly, of—

A Representative Assembly, to be elected by voters, with exactly the same qualification as is required to be possessed by those who vote for the return of members of the Provincial Councils.

I think, as it is proposed that the General Legislature should be so rarely assembled, it would be requisite that the members, both of the Legislative Council and of the House of Representatives, should be elected for a period of five years.

47. I have only within the last few days had an opportunity of perusing for the first time the Report of the Committee of the Board of Trade and Plantations on the proposed establishment of a Representative Legislature for the Cape of Good Hope, which your Lordship so kindly sent out to me; and I beg to state, that I think the recommendations made in the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh paragraphs of that page 52 Report regarding the powers to be given both to the Governor and Legislative Council to amend bills which may be sent up to them should be conferred upon the" Governor-in-Chief and the Legislative Council of New Zealand, if the form of constitution I propose is introduced into this colony.

48. I have thus traced the general outline of the form of representative institutions which experience and reflection have led me to deem best suited to the circumstances of New Zealand. There yet, however, remains for me the duty of suggesting the form of Executive Government by which these institutions should be worked, and without a distinct exposition of which the proposed plan could only be very imperfectly understood. In explaining my views on this subject it will be necessary for me to follow an order the reverse of that which I have adopted in explaining the constitution I propose for New Zealand; that is, whilst I traced the institutions themselves up from the lowest order of municipality to the General Legislature, it will be necessary for me, in order to make myself clearly understood, to trace the Executive Government from the Governor-in-Chief downwards.