(from our special correspondent. ) Wellington, Nov. 24
The Property Assessment Bill was introduced and read a first time this afternoon. Under it a person not possessing more than £3OO worth of property pays no tax, and same sum is deducted from the total property held by any one person in calculating his liability to taxation. Public reserves, places of worship, and Maori property are exempted ; but after that, every kind of property is included, whether a lady’s wardrobe, a farmer’s nag, or a merchant’s balance in his bank, or money lent on mortgage. It is a fearfully crushing tax, but has been more carefully prepared than the present Land Tax, and avoids all the most glaringly unjust provisions u of that measure. For instance, lessees from the Crown do not pay as if they were freeholders, and the tenants of public reserves are not called on to pay the owner’s tax as well as their own—i. e., the tenant of Maori lands, or of public reserves, is called on to pay the same tax as if rented from any ordinary landlord. A person whose property is mortgaged only pays the difference between the value of his property and the sum for which it is mortgaged. The assessment roll is to be kept secret, and the Commissioner is not to answer any question as to the contents, except from persons assessed, and in reference to their own assessments.
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