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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Universal Suffrage in Cities

Universal Suffrage in Cities.

The next matter I wish to draw your attention to is the mode of election of your local bodies. You now elect them by a narrow and restricted suffrage. The nominal ratepayers alone elect the members. But all dwellers in cities are ratepayers either directly or indirectly. The tenant pays rates through his landlord, because in fixing the rent the landlord takes into account the taxes which will have to be paid upon the house or tenement. There is no reason why you should have a different suffrage for local bodies to that which you have for your parliamentary elections. Great questions will soon be ripening in the towns of the colony and will have to be dealt with by your local bodies and the members of such bodies should therefore be elected upon the widest possible franchise. (Cheers.)