The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY. DECEMBER 9. 1879.
At a late hour on Saturday morning the House of Representatives were engaged with the Property Assessment Bill. On the motion of Mr. Pitt, one of the Nelson City members, the amount of property a person may hold under the Bill without taxation, and .the amount to be deducted from all the larger properties were raised from £3OO to £SOO. This will materially reduce the unpopularity of the measure, as it will altogether exempt small out settlers in their first struggling stage, and relieve the burden generally from all our small farmers. If Mr. Saunders’ exemptions are also carried, the tax will not be an oppressive one, as it certainly would have bedri in Its original' form. The strongest objection that can? be raised to the alteration is that a large number of the electors will feel too little interested in'the property tax to exert themselves to promote economy in our public expenditure. The Bill, as proposed by Government, would have been oppressive, but we canuot say that the circumstances of the colony do not warrant severe taxation. There, is a large deficiency to make up, and it' showed great courage on the part of the Ministry that they came before the House with a full statement of our difficulties, and a measure to meet them that could not fail to be unpopular. It is satisfactory to know, however, that to some extent the unpopularity of a Bill providing for a sweeping levy of taxation will be averted by a judicious adjustment. The country has met the Government’s proposals ip a proper spirit. It i§ alive to the necessities of the case, and is quite prepared to accept the position. In fact,, it is very much to the credit of the people that they have realised the situation, and without a murmur have prepared themselves for the payment of a heavier taxation than has ever yet been levied in the history of the colony. The times are exceptional, and the demands are urgent; and there are few possible Ministers in the Colony who would have buckled, as the Hall Government have done, to , the difficult task of remedying the muddle left them by a ■'* Liberal " Government, whose term of Government will be long remembered by its evil effects upon the finance of the colony.