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Reports of the Native Affairs Committee, 1878.

Nos. 55 and 150.—Petition of Heremaia te Ara and 43 Others, and Wiremu Katene and 48 Others

Nos. 55 and 150.—Petition of Heremaia te Ara and 43 Others, and Wiremu Katene and 48 Others.

The petitioners refer to an alleged impropriety in making up the Electoral Roll for the Bay of Islands. They pray that the system of allowing Maoris to vote for European members should cease, and that the number of Native members in the Assembly should be increased.

I am directed to report as follows:—

That, in the opinion of the Committee, the Government was justified in requiring Mr. E. Williams, the brother of Mr. J. Williams, M.H.R., to resign his position of Registration and Returning Officer for the electorate which his brother, Mr. J. Williams, represents in this House, and that in similar cases a similar course should be pursued.

That the Government should without delay, and if possible during the present session, take steps to cause an inquiry within the district, by Royal Commission, into the charges made in the petition of alleged improper practices in the making of claims to vote for the electorate of the Bay of Islands. That such Commission should be composed of persons not being officers of the Government, residents or owners of property in the district, or having the right to vote therein.

With reference to so much of the petition as relates to the Maori dual voting, the Committee consider it unnecessary to make any recommendation, as the whole question is now under the consideration of the House.

4th September, 1878.