The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 1880.
A telegram from Melbourne, of date April 10, announces the issue of an Order in Council providing for the f*ce importation of oats intended for conversion into oatmeal for exportation. This opens up a new market for our over-stock of oats, as it means taking off a handicap in the Victorian market of more than 4ld. per bushel. The import duty on grain into Melbourne previous to this alteration was Is. per lOOlbs., or 7d. l-sth per bushel of COlbs. on wheat; 6d. per bushel of 501bs. on barley, and 4d. 4-sths per bushel ef 401bs. on oats. By many it was thought that we were done w ; th the Land Tax when the Property Tax was instituted ; but it appears that for one quarter at least owners of land will have to pay thetwo taxes together. The last quarter of the Land Tax’s existence ends on the 30th June, the end of the old fiuancial'year, while the new financial year commenced on the first of the current month, and with it began the quarter of the Property Tax. Whether this coexistence of the taxes was observed or not by Parliament when the Property Assessment Act was passed we know not, but we confess to have been unaware of it until we saw' attention drawn to it in the Wellington “ Evening Post,” a paper that usually speaks with authority on Government matters. It was certainly the idea of Parliament to substitute the Property Tax for the Land Tax, and that when the former came into force the latter was to become a thing of the past. But apparently the interlacing of the old and new financial years have not been provided for, and the collectors will therefore draw into the Government coffers some £20,000 or £30,000 that the framers of the Property Tax machinery never counted upon possessing. Parliament, however, will meet before the end of the Land Tax
quarter, when it is to be hoped they will relieve the tax-payers of the Land Tax portion of their burden. But failing Parliamentary interference, we know of no means wheieby payment of both taxes can be avoided, and parties li vble to both had better make up their minds to pay.
So thoroughly do we feel assured that New Zealand will lean upon a broken reed if she trusts much longer wholly to grain growing and wool raising as sources of income from foreign markets, that we cannot help again referring to the imperative necessity that exists for New Zealand joining in the rush to the English market with dead meat. It is needful, if we would get the farmers to join issue with each other on this subject, and agitate it, with a view to extending stock raising operations, that it should be persistently kept before them. We are therefore pleased to see from occasional letters in the Southern papers that the idea is beginning to take root among the farmers themselves, and from this we hold out a hope of sooner or latter seeing ships in regular trade between this country and Home, carrying frozen meat to the London market. We may boast as we like of our grand wheat growing land, our rich yields, almost unprecedented in any country, but we cannot hide the fact that taking the past few years all round, grain growing has not paid sufficiently to satisfy the fair hopes of the farmer. We are wholly dependent for prices upon the state of the English, Continental, and American harvests, and if these are abundant it does not matter whether we have the most plentiful yield that ever was reaped, we cannot get a higher figure for our grain than will leave a barely paying margin after export to and sale in England. America has such a wide expanse of land suitable for wheat growing, and she is so rapidly bringing large tracts of fresh land under the plough, and her railway communication is so great, that she becomes a competitor who cannot fail to crowd us out of the market. But we can enter the market with meat in spite of her, by the avenue to the London butchers’ shops opened up to us in the new refrigerating process ; for the opinion of England seems to be that the Australian meat sent over in the Strathleven was superior to anything America has yet been able to send. It is not too egotistical on our part to say that our climate is more favorable to the rearing of meat than any in Australia, and why, therefore, while America devotes her almost undivided attention to the cropping of her land and pouring wheat into the great centres of European population, should not we develope stock-rearing I We could command good prices for our meat at all times where America sends her grain, and where we have hitherto sent ours, and while she devotes her energies to supplying the world with grain, and does so with a reckless exhaustion of her soil, we could, while we are rearing stock, be husbanding and improving the producing powers of our land. Again, we urge upon farmers to move in the matter, and to follow the example of Victoria. There is nothing to prevent us raising here sufficient cattle and sheep to keep quite a line of vessels continually at work, and England could find a market at fair prices for every pound we could send. The matter only wants to be mooted in our Agricultural and Pastoral Associations and Farmers’ Clubs to bo taken up in earnest, for we are satisfied that enterprise is not lacking in this colony to form a strong exporting company. There is no necessity for waiting until the larger firms take it up : it can bo done by the farmers themselves; and if they would set about the agitation, we have no doubt that it would end in a company being formed that would absorb and dispose of in England every carcase the colony could supply.