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THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT.

i|*\ —— ♦ “ ' '<l ik&t night, the House went into , / Committee of Supply, when the Hon.' the" Colonial Treasurer delivered Ids :'.-' JEhjancial Statement, of which the follow- ,V . jjjjg'is a summary : 1 " Mr Seymour—l have before me this evening a much more pleasing and satisfactory task than that which fell to my lot when I last had the honor of addressing *bn ■ HtatasssswS which I ain about fp make I'must ask pernusalojato calLto the mind jof the Cte Wrnitte&' l '~tb tf HShiTOj^jl 1 ffjklltionof -. tbe-uolonyra SuyembeT'/ at the c\oßßot~Mm<i^i^Or- :, 1 was so un— ‘fwuire veqr vigorous : treatment on the piuShf ;fiuß.®luße, and it.ktothe.resMtsio!ltirtJietionj|hßn taken I have to call your attention to-night. In ; Npyemher, -1879^.-1 r * consohdafea revenue, in (fading there* • n oeipte frdm larid kaleiflfdf r me fime months f " to the date proposed<for the termination of the financial . ; period' sufficient; ~.to a meet , jduxgeable agaiosi it by mat by the sum of L 796,886, and' in 1 Confirmation of that opinion, r I pointed .opt that the revenue betweentbe 30th the time at’ which l - I was speaking had alreadyproved inadequate to meet the by abbut-LGOOjOffiJ, which sum badbeen, raised 3 by,deficiency bills, and these bills it was hopeless to .expect .. to ,redeem, out.pf current reyeuuje. The causes bf'tms deficiency were 'hot far to •SrdSs*frbin 1 the great r from ’ k lavish and rapidly increasing, expenditure, world, was suffering great.commercial depression. Ttut althoughthe dmculty was serious and embarrassing at thelime, com* pari«i)ii of thd that of former, yearp-pro?. ed conclusively : that our receipts Aom taxation had been and .ipcreasuig ,- year by year,; ippd tpe.' phpek which - we were temporary . / only. Qno : ;bjfdf;: i ; °f period of nine montha-beiagj passed, it . ... by means... of .fresh taxation or .retrench* ment during that period, _ especially .as every iteth’of revenueiwaa either declining > or. stationary. , to place the amount upon loan, which was > accordingly done the Treasury Bjlls Act,' in .winch- provision was. made for LBoo,oob butthe actual deficit . a ;theT of. V » L 796,886, - nearly Ji20Q,009-n|OTjej and S was-found necessary to obtain further aid by the issue . of Deficiency BiUa forthat ainountrby the f Treksury3ol| added 1 , ! tothe public debt? it musrbd tomembered • r moreover, Ahiat ®iia defied Haw''mita3ed- “ s upon theicdonyi i ture of atdeast. LfiOjOOOiayeSr'jfcir Jiiterest until this sum pi LI ,000,000 is repaid. The Committee % will., proposal which I made ihiß79 tMt'ttf future the. -, receipts withia,tha .sear.should., ha dealt t with as the. revenue of thp^Mf,'and the . payments made ‘■mthiSffieySar, as the.ex* i penditureof theyearrit willTdsobein the , recollection of the was determined not to apply this , of keeping the acopunta .to thel,fulancial periodo£9 month'BendingSistAp^fhjlOSO,, 1 but that whatever stuii miglfti r J required to equalise the : afld" tothatdktetih'eMdbein^dld^rontof i loan, so that wo might*litifit 'Sfear of r liabilities.' In cbhseqde&ce4>f this, 1 eati- . -mated; in making the financial Statement . last year, that theliabilitiea.o£ i ‘ would the assets with. i the exception i, has.not prdved-Ab berths ,caM, Ac after disohargiAg all liabili«es ! id'; nspfic&of.the; period ttiiw to wfalcn came in course of, payment to Slat, March last, there reinaihedhbi^^tba&nTOb!fTdß,6sS. \ The deficit y 1880, was L 961.445, r beW,th'e differenee betWeeii the credit,-x58,566 . ‘ and Li ,000,000, of ' and- Deficiency Bills" the revenue Pf the ‘yeaA .’-' ii ' + ®*timated the cPst'Pf the ) foi? ’tfie year at L 3,423,709 f r"and the amount which Would course of -business :7 r l^ n the year at mates these ’ "aumk were modified to r L3;348;889 ahd*TS,lss^B9' 1 H9llSfia.ively, j The actual ..Expenditure: was L 3,168,183, jor L 44,294 more than-I-thought-would , come in course of payment during the year. The Committee will not, however, look upon, this, with disapprobation, l but to think, with satis- - . faction, when I fell them it means simply ’ that I took of the opportunity of paying I had estimated 1 would at the end of the fit anpul reducing this from L 225,000 fo 8165,514. • The amount ■ voted “for; the services of last year, inmusif e of Lands and Surveys, ’ wa5L1,929,807, and the actual expenditure - - less than ■ l Yoted; anid if 'fr6m A thu‘ J we; flsduct theputsUndingUa^Uiti^w^And v tfiatfhp services of the year havo f been performed for rather,less r than I now come to the estimated revenii’d as compared with actual receipts for the year. I do not include-here the receipts from land sales. The estimated revenue was , L 3,237,000, . .whilethe actual receipts amounted-‘to L3,i23,9'6l|being L 114.039 . less -than, r, myi taslimate. The receipts frpm.railways weep Jess than the estimiiitisd "iui&aiif'bjf' : Lu!C,%!rf ( ( but, notwithstanding this fact, it will be gratifying tp knpw tha¥thrpugHAconomi- . oai ; management ..-pf, Minister lor have - yielded about 3£ per cent, upon the Ei9,228,000 spent in their construction. The Property Tax yielded L 80,253 less than I had estimated '; but of-.this sum L 42,000 had yet to come in, being the amount outstanding and collectable *on the 31st March. Of the remainder, L 20,000 is accounted-for by the alteration of the schedules which was authorised during the session, and L 20,000 is an ever estimate. Telegraphs, yielded L 12,562 leas than seimiatad.'' ttfS pthei( hhndj' cusioms and stamps{iq£the latter linclude land and deed) produced more thau' was estimated, the former -by the, yum of L 67,634, the tlatter by , JilQ,Bß6.f , The estimated expenditure - phargeahlp: against the land fundwas 1<155,70!6, iPxd,usiye of L 61,648 representing pne]|uU| pf . the proposed subsidies to jocal ; bodira,.,jj.Pon. members will doubtiess recollect tbatwhen ,t was found impossible, from want of timei lib' consider the locAl pubEc wbrks’scheniß of the, Government, St was determined to continue-the Cubsidies at % MdlAed rate.

. I then thought th»t tho 38,i1d ; {und 4 Would not bear the whole of these subsidies, hut I affl glrf to gw thaMtssMasa&W *ha purpose. 1 neve, therefore! charged against the land ! fund ; 'the£ full ainonqt .paid on this account, The total expenditure, including L 110,506 .for subsidies, has been JL266,793, the |Whe ? %ch rI«J^ x sal^ but through the siiccesstnl handling of afiaica on'theWest Cbast'bf tfiil/lidand, we have had;:mott> of land in that district, which hasbrought UR tho' lteoeipl*; fibnil land-fides to L 299,166, the expenditure'being ili266v793i;:h}avingil£) Jbrwiit iJlSaflffiflSe of L 32,375. .TheJifkbiiitiea outstanding at the'&oßalof the yesr«ni(iuxitedltDi&37j36L The jgrosah pnbliol-idtbt colony 01}., 31st.. .March, 1880 f .Talnoonted to £27,422,611; qn. Slst M*rtd*J«iyit waa *1129,165,511, or deducting the accrued . . .... i i :; .. i«4 ’

' j npont ofjthe ,W<wkir~fund;] or the r W t LSKKfeOfo *<mepl& debentures ;bf| the loan ' ' fof 1879, guafanteedby theltiOpprial GoA 5 Ivvemraent. ; Aa -$560j100.0f c Tifio [ bills reS f • had bew&oßtaincdnpon secdiify of the idammL ss mi\imß bava jaqw to be ;added to the public debt c TSf « et ™- ' loreaaeof "debt dating fhe ylar* jadusive

! S»m ud the! JTwawujy biUa. M , ■ ( «T^ i thd sinking to 31st Marcfi, 1881, LIT mm»®p*6«k IF «etiV.4|bt jwill be vd rofKwJi'ch the ,f; /annuilyhvgee *wiU,;»inonnt to about the the r v-Tot*i)i[ w»aW:i ft means-available, snb- ,„^ g amounted to j ,{. .an. -*A* *iiMft37arl*V the year. Vjijw* *** i *“ t< ?; be f °r new jmtim tho fflaM Hon. %J) )pffli£em..wiltmoUeet that it whs deterjttSSSst i reyflnne year should be 'the actual lVni *nmt W -,i9tO;ithe;y»ie?«»>3r d 4 rin ft ? bo I«» c . jthenjoney aotqaUypwd away ( •;/ y«a*.(i Ij have paid that thy t expenditure i.u.^MntheyeMrwas XAB6BJA%fand the receipts from revenue >L3,1513,961, exclusive sales, but including the brpaghVfDrwM from the- xecejpte that gpon this} division r j - yywnnts, fthcre rvras adefijiency j 6s,sTaßr * w* d : the ! receipts A tbe,aurpW upon .this account L5.43*.8Z6. .f and the total j revenue . U,4ftLs62,'thas leaving a surplus &MMM‘ ■ c - M j: La6,706 ■ upon the actual trans;ii ,rMtifl9 ;^»pleted v Vrithin- tM year. 1 new come to the consideration of that ■■■!■ ■dWfcuiU l fipwlilwnr iriTTii rrwl iFin rrn rn f* A proIWM ehiefltf because olthfi iwfflwM pushing energy which still , moreJocyl wojks ta ppeh up the 'Sw^ti&^iafcsa and make the Country progress asjwe have determined that it shaU,progress,twe must 1 cailV keep in repair v ‘ ("hht'aSfoifr'ext&itFo^roadhi^tfematically ■- tbspoak poly in relation to jhp financial 1 '■"'’iabest of 3m question, without sefereijco to'theOfgattiati<m or' of theusteau an : f'r. Aeriy the looaTJliodihiWiWefaarged jwith the duly nf inquiring «nd maintaining the roads ' and that upon these vorki the bulk of their expenditure ■

*. wm pemao©. a-jusm-«u*.grcai.t|ui»i.iuu • fblMlnfioDMflknr/He funds to |be pro- i Tided for-tho construction and ininten- i ‘X: anc& of bUfciroads indl&cidges? And the j -~ quotationinatmrally - divided; itself Into two * ..!* ijranchea-I-firstmiamteoanee, 'and second « 11, =cotastfuctiom:: ;Bnt< before ■ proceeding 1 , n jfdrtherjietf-toy whatj ini my opinion, are j , £ tirexttqpkirementiilof * soundlocal [finance. These are that local finance ihdila be as j X\ distinctfrom, and independent; of, our . .generrifinanoe aslpossible,'l<md! that the j funds should be sufficient-) to l -iibaintain ] <tosd4iUd' bridges flrst-' Then loti us con- j i „ .ridarifthe'ineansAt’our disposal {for the < maintenance of roads and bridges {already f vary little cohsidera- j •. . /jtrrWifl hft eiridaat that' out roads and , bridges most be main tallied forthe future, j : hl,>ri®>i»firha|« one or two exceptions, by i rates j the landed propertjjnfo each i of the district. This i I J r ,■ /The: <Gov«rnment,jtHerefore. , i ; aWfe grated; .with cartwn exccptions, , J i need ftot here j v that wimmlhad .the hqnortosobpiit last i - « Jr ' ef■ thbir ptOr i f he dividld .infcq two, classes, , rr : aul "lands are : .lo^.lwp^'dmd but of, wjs»t":ftmd are., 1 they W * -"We. propose-jp every' -■ <<: care Triisisuref shall be to 1 J? v^!faL pr £ y’< Against the ~, land-fund ;wmdlthe rates on codrity native ' lands wapmtpoee to advance out of money sppropriated--hy Parliament for the pur* * > tomnaima chafge against the badtre land lbr wfaiph the rates Re paid, : andtphe recovered'without 'interest from the pnrchaassr orl£neee of the land, and so Changed with regard to making »tlw, raWlltfdfogdharged upoft' Crown prepbrty . within boroughs a charge against the consolidated fund. All sides will agree ■■ • aCmiV Amtii-iirf- i niiriiAn ■ 1 nm-ml-w I lavwle

-Therproposal, how ; ever, to advnnoe rates ■ . twmivnativa hfndst will. require some ex- < wvhSmdlbn. .At a strict justice : y - ; , jKJSoildiiotTpay ■fheir'rijaro|of the I } - oostsoßlooaL.W<*kß # r which' improye their 1 common-with the. lands of their Jhitoptan neighbors. There i&re reasons i hope, Induce ti»is Hduse to maSeibeh provision as wiUp without un.wdfihphoresaaiig upon / the > Maoris, deal svctj* >3 fhelorehhbdiea who are maintenance i of roads .passing native landiwithinlthdir jurisdic,jitito|dEhe reasons are-thidflyriiose c E public t f misiako on ally-now that our rfalations I ■I owhioh If wdl Jf3£

A °r j uati ? e tfirTSff-ffiaa. caa bo called: upon to the roads, while at the ifime time they are denied the power of raising enough money for that purpose. We shall therefore propose to increase the rating power to 2s in the £, a power already possessed by several of the local bodies. I believe that s that limit will be approved by .V jjhe country. With regard to the valuations, experience has shown that they are required by law to bo made much oftener than is necessary. tp ease the local bodies entirely, of tlvi

charge, and so save them from an nnHouse to permit all local Bodies to use for* rating purposes the valuation uncjsit the Property Assessment Act, with annual (Oarreotipn. J -have- had actable prepared abowidgl theririluatfon under the Act, as compared with the valuations made by the local bodies, and when hon. members compare the two valuations, the] totals of which : sSe rhidarkably near, the{ proposition will, I think, commend itself to their judgment. This brings me to bmifslr b£Tmyf khbject—the construction of roads and bridges. Now there are three distinct classes of roads with whiph, we have to deal under this branch of our (tddifct. Ftrift! there main roads |shjgh b|oas hiKd9 i®®l tled I] second, the main road running- thirougnj the settled or partially settled lot; and then district roads, both in settled and unsettled* * districts. Wo will ; consider the question of how money is to be provided for roads through Crown not yet settled. IVfy colleague, the Minister idir'? Lands/ hkal g&enmuch attention to the subject during the recess. ; He has opened a large quantity of land- for settlement, and ho will this year submit a scheme involving the expenditure for this purpose of 1/150,000. This work, • wherever practicable, will be done, as' duthert6,iby th§ local ■bodies-'; but everyone acquainted with the country must know that the promised roads (are only ;a necessary work, and the settlement of small blocks .of lands i cannot be successful without good roads, j An , a matter of sound policy, I a good road, if it does not precede, ought cer- : tajalv cto immediately follow settlement/1 lNswidb&fl£ money for this purpose can be obtained/ After carefully considering the ■ subject, the Government have come to conclnsjon- .that funds can be ob-. timed' front the land itself, and (with advantage to settlement. We propope .-that after the land has been surveyed and the roads marked out an estimate ofl the cost: of forming and metalling the mpin road through the block shall be prepared by the local body-having charge of the; district, that to the fixed upset price pet acre of land to be served by the r oad [shall be added a sum, according to situation, sufficient to cover the cost of construction, and that the money so obtained [shall be set apart and paid over to the local body,; pose that when half the land in a£y block is sold the Government shall advance the. money to complete the main roadjthroughr the block, recouping itself from) time'to rest x»-the .land is sold. .We —unconstructed main roads | running through settled or partially settled tricts. Our proposals in respect t 6 these 1 are in substance the same as year’s. The constitution of the Board, which was objected to by many hon. members, has been altered, and it is now proposed that it shall consist of the Minister for Public Works, and three members toj he ap-' pointed by this House. In ordeg to provide for necessary" work I shall:ask the House to make a grant to the Board-of L 160,000 out of loan, and to cause to he paid over to it yearly a further sum, not mending 1/150,000 out of the balance of the Land Fund. This fund will he applied in the following manner:—Suppose a local body desires to construct a: piece of main road or build a bridge, we vj-ill say, to coat LI,OOO, it will prepare estimates showing the cost of the proposed work, and submit them to the Board, and ascertain if any money is available. * If there is money available the local body will, after taking an affirmative [vote of the ratepayers, strike such a special rate over that part of the district benefited by Ihe Government and native lands, if any, as'twill; in, ten years repay without interest, one {quartet: of tie amount obtained. In few! words,for ever£i pounds which a district finds, three pounds is added from thp. Land Fund. In case more money should-, be applied for than the Board has at its command, .gtgnts.Jpra tote" .would, be made, but aU’-appUcafioilai'in cases whete a main road or bridge has been destroyed or washed away by a flood would take precedence,-. Weflare now only to consider the thirffdiww roads—that is, {district roads. To enable Hoad Boards tb make their district roads, we propose to ksk the Howe to make a free grant of L100;000 testae Road Boards, and to permit it to borrow another 1/100,000 at 5 per cent, from Trust Funds, thus making a [fund of L 200,000 available for this purpose... We thdfcthif fund should, be .self-sup-porting, and it should he dealt with.; in, this way : suppose a Road Board i wishes to borrow.. LIOO for a small bridge or other work, ‘it would submit an estimate of the work to the Construction Board. On ascertaining there \fas, money avaibddecafter jtakipg an affimative voteofthA ratApayebi, thO Board would strike a special rate, which would produce L 9 yearly. For 13J years the produce of this would be paid over to the Board halfyearly, and by ( the expiration; of the period I have named, the whole; of the amount borrowed, with interest at 3 per cent, per fiffiMm, would be repaid. So far I have only dealt with Counties and' Road Boards, and it will have been observed by hon. members that iny proposals do not effect the borodghsj except to the extent of granting them power of rating all Government property 1 within boundaries, t * T J think, with every desire to help thd boroughs, "we must recognise the fact that the surest and most effective method of helping them is to encourage successful settlement upon the land. With a well roaded and prosperous country, thd . difficulties of the boroughs will Wdl n Tin the"bbove proposals I conceive that we are in fact carrying out the idea of the Legislature in withdrawing the 20 per cent of the produce of land sales from appropriation by Pqunty Councils. That fund was meant to he devoted po' the opening out of the very districts from which it arose. --Unfortunately the COuncila, following suit to the Legislature itself, had treated it as ordinary revenue, applicable to any of the objects under their control and administration ; using it in effect to lighten local rates, or dispense with them altogether, The result of the proposals will not be to reduce the proportion of the land, ifpnd locally expended, but in most gases, gud for some time tP pome, to increase it MAteritily.; #2ll under such safeguards as will ensure its application to the colonising uses to which this House desired to devote it. I think the .yrattpefe ;«d vacates Of -the localisation of the land fund can desire no more. | Before quitting this branch of my subject I will deal shortly with the suggestion that Government should take over and maintain the main roads of the colony— a proposition which goes far beyond the centralising tendencies sometimes imputed t 6 the present Government. We are pot ambitious to take charge of some thousands of miles of roads, and do not fgel ourselves competent to undertake the task. The House will certainly not appropriate *the needful funds out of ordinary revenue, not will it invite an annual repetition on i ■ •

its fiqqrqf fihoiißtiraggles for local appropriation which have impaired ■ the - success of the Public Works policy. In the; face of the complaints which are abroad of . the concurrent rating powers of County Councils and Road Boards, the House is not likely to undertake on itself the : duties of a third rating authority, nor can it ifi .the present ‘ condition of * absSidionfanypart of th<j proceeds of the Property tax to local administration. Such then is a brief sketch of the-pro-posals of the Government with regard to Ipcal { iinanoe:; It may, besaid that there, is nothing hew or startling fallout:, this scheme. • That may .be true,; but the question is, is it a - plain .workable scheme easily understood, and will it give us what we must have, as rapidly ks, {out means i will , .permit —■ roads throughout the country ? I submit With confidence that it will, and that it will also relieve both this House and Ministers from'pressure to supply local wants which cannot be ignored if settlement is to advance, but which is very undesirable, should be dealt with directly ' by this House. That the scheme, if it becomes

law* will make qur local finance as distinct from and independent of our general finance as possible, cannot, I think, be doubted, and that-it will .make as much provision for the local bodies! as ; our means now permit is, I think, also .certain. It has also this great advantage, that slibuld-it prove it can be extended without difficulty 16 meet all the future wants of the local bodies, ■ whether we enlarge them and multiply their functions, 6* keep ■ them much as j they are. JL now come to the consideration of the estimated’expenditure for the current year. It will be within the recollection of hon. members that last year the Government, with the assistance of this Committee, made very large reductions in the estimates at sent down, and that after these redactions had been made, 1 stated to the Committee that the net results for the year amounted to 1197,000, and that if the Government succeeded in carrying out the retrenchments it had in view the estimates for the annual appropriations for this year would be 1252,000 j less than those for 1880-81 as introduced last year. 1 am happy to say that my anticipations id this respect have been more . than: realised; The estimates as brought down last year for;/the twelve . ; classes of r Services under ; the ; various departments, *, amounted to 1210,813. The estimates for the same services for this year are-11>774,612 only,! or, in other words, 1334,001 lefss than those of lastr ryoaf. -Upon every class, without exception, there is a ’ reduction, and that in Class' 11, that of ; the Minister for Public Works, there is a , reduction of 153,492, notwithstanding the fact that the estimates for the current -year , are for an average mileage of ninety-three' miles greater than was worked during the past year, and that ample provision is made for their efficient working and maintenance. I should not, perhaps, include in -this sum the item: 152,500 for contingent defence which has been removed from the estimates, this being one of those cases in which it might be said that the item was placed on last year’s, estimates to provide -fora contingency merely, but I think we -may, in' fairness,, claim to include the amount in Consideration of the fact that our being able t 6 dispense with the item is due f to' 'better' prospects ,of continued .atnicable relationg with the natives. Such a result then as the reduction of 1281,501, or including ‘ 152, 500 for contingent defence, 1334,001 in .twelve classes of the estimates, iuoneyear, is a work upon which I think I am fairly entitled- to congratulate the committee. -The total promoted totes for the year,. inclusive of liabilities) • which, now appear aa the ordinary votes, is L 3,270,632, divisible* ; into two; permanent ; charges amounting to 11,570,919, and annual appropriation amounting t0L1,699,612, in ; which latter division alone can reductions be made at present. As I have said, great reductions have been made Under this division during the last year, but notwithstanding this fact the Government believe that they can during the present year effect still further reductions. I cannot, however, do more on the present occasion than point out that the line in which the Government is moving is in the direction iof ;lHa' simplification- of the services, the consolidation of offices, and consequently -the diminution pf the. number of employees. The Item of interest and sinking fund has Increased ,by !1i56,157,. while" - that: <6i constabulary has decreased (including the - bum of. 152,600 for contingent defence, already referred to) , by about ; 1113,000, The steady reductions the Government have been enabled tp ipakq in this fence Is in consequence' of our improved relations with the Maoris. I ought, perhaps, to have said before this that, in speaking of the ordinary revenue, I have not included the proceeds of land sales. If the schema which I have submitted for consideration should be adopted, the Government will propose that any balance there may . be left from land sales after payment of the. charges it is intended to place upon. them shall by law be paid into the public works fund, but without prejudice to the public creditors. The estimated expenditure chargeable against land sales js as follows: —-General Assembly, 184,966 ; Crown and' Survey Department. 1134,584; rates to local bodies, 127,900 ; roads and bridges, a sum not exceeding 1160,000, to be paid to the' Roads Construction Board, the balance, if any, after payment pf these charges tq be paid opt to the public works fund. I will now again refer to the Property Tax.’ The Act, although requiring some amendment, has been found upon the whole effective ; and now that its provisions are generally understood, it is admitted throughout the, colony that the tax is thoroughly fair in principle, and that it has generally worked satisfactorily. I do not mean to imply ’ by this that direct taxation is palatable ; but I venture to say'-that in no country to flto world fma direct; fixation bteii accepted more willingly, or paid more readily, than, the Property Tax -has been by the people of New Zealand. I have had prepared for the information of the House several very interesting tables, which will, I think, increase our knowledge with regard to the distribution of wealth, and especially in reference to the ownership of land. There are, I find, 21,761 freeholders inside, boroughs, and 43.Q58 freeholders of country land. The total number of freeholders in the colony is 60,658, heipg tometfhat 9 stfiqh.: the Aggregate olfreehoMer* of borough hud country because spme oiyners of property. Jiold land under both designations. Tho Qommittee will, I think; expect froiq me here some particulars as to the cost o* collecting the tax. The total expenditure made fo r last year (including' outstanding liabilities, but land tax charges) waS L 31,000, . being made up of the ifollqwing items Cost of valuation,' 116,000; salaries, 17,275; preparing tables. ITOO ;, tioh, I find it has cost about L 3,000 moro than the Rand Tax valaattoU-: / The valuation is used by the local bodies aa the basis for their raring, and the whole, of the cost of this assessment will be saved to tho country during the next year. the saving going into the coffers of the. loom bodies. ( In/wL if one tnenma valuation" do foi* both general and local purposes the cost of it will ba so small as not to amount to one per cent, uppnthe, ,ratoa and taxes collected; If-thja tiori should be'accepted it would mot bo. fair to charge more than 15,000.; per annum for the coat of valuation against the Property Tax for the three years during which the valuation continues ip force. But admitting,. .that introductory expenses and triennial valuations are to be charged against the Property Tax*

even tben the rate per cent, for levying and collecting the tax (supposing it to be ; continued atrtho rate, of one penny in the : pound for three years) will bo,very mode- , rate. The estimated cost of the Property Tax Department for the next two years' is L 12,000.; For this year I shall ask for L 6,000, exclusive of-liabilities, so that the total cost for three years will not, I think,exceed L 44,000, and the total receipts for that : peripd (provided the* present rate of one .penny -in the pound- be continued) will ; certainly reach L 860,000, thus,making the totalcost of the taxi* little oyer 5. per cent, upon the amount actually paid into the Treasury; and if a proportionate deduction is made from the triennial valuation on account of the use made of it by the .local bodies, it will be,seen that the Property Tax can be less than 4 per cent., a result with which’ I think we may be well satisfied. Of course any alteration in the rate of the tax will necessarily increase or diminish, as the case may be, the relative cost of collection. When the Property Tax was first imposed a strong fear, perliaps -hot unnaturally, was expressed by many persons that one. of the effects of the tax would be to drive away foreign capital seeking investment in this colony. I have consulted gentlemen from all parts of the colony; who are authorities upon this subject, and I have not found one who entertains the opinion that the Property Tax has had any appreciable effect upon the flow of capital to the colony, and as a matter of fact, during few periods of our history has more foreign capital come into the country and found investments than during the last year, at an equally low rate. Before I proceed to the consideration of the estimated revenue for the current year I desire to Prefer to one or two important questions which are doubtless occupying the minds of hop. members; and the first which presents itself to most of us is, I think, will it-he necessary to impose fresh taxation this year t I am happy to be able to inform the Committee that I can,: answer that question: with an emphatic negative. That question having been answered satisfactorily, now comes its fellow—Can taxation be reduced this year 1 The answer must depend on the view the House may adopt of the action to be taken in the early future towards completing the great arterial communication of the colony. The (Government, after the last year’s study of the condition of the country, under circumstances of exceptional depression, have decided to assume that the Legislature will require the finance to be shaped in the direction of continuing its great undertakings. ;. The experience of the past will enable us to do this ; oh a surer basis of calculation than hitherto. The general reasonableness of the expectations, as well as the dangers of the policy of 1870, is fully exposed in the revenue returns, and trade and population statistics of the last ten years, and these justify me in recommending that, Whilst avoiding what I will call high pressure finance, we should arrange for the construction of all the links in the trunk lines of railway, necessarily at a reduced speed, but without intermission. While this recommendation forbids us to propose any very imposing reduction of taxation, it need not prevent us diminishing to an appreciable amount our demand on the tax-payer. Beturning to the Property Tax, it will be in the recollection of the committee that when the Act was passed it was determined on grounds of public policy not to include foreign capital as liable to taxation. On a fuller consideration the Government have determined to ask the legislature to bring this excluded capital within the Act this year. We shall therefore shortly ask leave to introduce a Bill to amend the Property Assessment -Act in the direction indicated, and the purpose of correcting some faults and unfairness which have appeared in the working of the Act. Should the Act bo . amended as proposed, I estimate that the taxable property under it will be increased. oy no less than L 1,000,000, of which atimate particulars will ho furnished when the Bill is under consideration. This amount at Id in the pound would piold say L 45,000, and in the present coniition of the revenue will enable us to propose first a reduction in the Customs inties, - and- second a diminution- of the Property Tax. We propose to admit free if duty, calicoes (white and grey), moleskins, corduroy, colored cotton shirts (all in .the piece), axes, spades, and shovels, md to admit free or reduce the duties on t variety of other articles, which I need sot detain the committee to enumerate, ill these; -remissions and reductions tending to encourage local manufacture. With respect to the Property Tax, we shall ask :or the continuance of the present penny rate till September next, to be reduced after that date to £d., for the rest of the year. Wp have now to consider on the above basis the'ways arid means for the current (rear. I estimate that the total receipts jf the year from all sources will amount to L 3,297,680. Speaking then first of the imount raised by taxation, we find that the Customs duties last year yielded L 1,307,635 ; this year I have estiinated ;hemat L 1,360,000, or at an increase of L 53,000, which, considering the_ steady md satisfactory improvement in the rircumstances of the colony, will, I think, be fully realised ; but from this amount it will be necessary to deduct L15,0Q0, if the remissions which I have just suggested ire agreed to, thus making the Customs Iqties for the year L 1,345,000. The Property Tax 1 have estimated to give L 270,000, upon the supposition that the Appending Bill, of which I have spoken, becomes law. But of this amount, L 42,000 is from that part which remained uncollected of last year’s tax upon the 31st March last, so that the tax is estimated to yield this year L 228,000. When first proposed, it was estimated that the Beer Tax of 6d per gallori would yield LIOO,OOO, and when the duty of 3d per gallon was imposed, I estimated it to produce L60,Q00 a year. The actual receipts for the ten months in which the Act was in operation during last year was at a.rather less rate than the estimates, but I think we may not unreasonably expeot to receive that amount during the year. With regard to the Stamp duties, I estimate they will produce L 150,000 if the Deceased Persons Estimates Duties Bill becomes law. This Bill is substantially the same as the ono which passed this House last session, and then thrown out in another plaqe, I hop?, ii[ may become law this, session, as the Bill i| a great improvement on the present law, and the duties charged under it are certainly moderate, The Bill aa passed last session wquld have increased the revenue by about LIO.OOO a year, but as now proposed the increase to the revenue is not estimated at more than L 5,000. I have estimated the receipts from the railways for this year at L 910,000. The actual receipts for last yea* were f L838,622, and as wo have BOW about ninety-three mqr o milbs open fof tra%,aud prosperity is steadily returning, the estimate may, 1 think, be considered not excessive. There is no other item qf revenue to which I need call the attention of the Committee. I have said that the estimated expenditure to be made within the year, and hon. members will understand that this includes outstanding; liabilities, is L 3 ,270,633, to which 1 add the deficit at the end of last year, L5j667, makings total pi L 3,276,198, and- that - the estimated reveriue is L 3 ,297 ,660. Deducting, then, this estimated ; expenditure from the estimated revenue - we have a surplus ; of L2L452, a result which, if attained, will, I think, be , extremely Satisfactory. The receipts from the sales of land are estimated ah1i333,000; My hom frihrid,’ the Minister of Landb, has given great attention to the subject,of selling land by small holdings, ariadus i assigned blocks of land for settleirieit

with marked-aUcce*s during the year, and if the proposals of the Government are agreed to with regard to road making, 1 have no doubt that 'still more settlement will take place during the current year, : ; but that it improbable that my estimate of L 333,000 may prove to he exceeded ; and if it should, it will not, under our proposals, be absorbed in the ordinary charges of Government,' but bo set apart for public; works only. Adding the balance at credit of the land fund on 31st March, L 32,273 to the.! estimated receipts from land sales, we get a total of L 365.373, and deducting therefrom the expenditure, L 246,551, there remains a surplus of L 118,822, which will be payable under our proposals to the Roads Construction Boards. I : now- come to a subject which has been floating in the minds of many people in: a more or less definite shape for some time past. The feeling has been gradually growing of late - years—not only here, but in the Australian colonies-—that .the several Governments might, with great advantage to the community, give further facilities for' the investment, of local capital' in small' amounts than is afforded by the Postofface Savings. Bank. That institution has been a great success in putting within the reach! of thrifty pesple: a place for the safe keeping of - small - savings, and it is satisfactory, to know that notwithstanding the hard times we have had for the last_lß months, the deposits have steadily increased. It is also a gratifying fact, Well worthy|of note, that no less than five-sixths of the deposits are for sums of less than LSO. The Government think it possible that many of these depositors, as well as the public generally, might be glad of a more permanent {form of investment, if one can bo provided which is at the same time secure and easily convertable into cash. I shall therefore submit a Bill' authorising the issue at par of a loan of L 250.000, the principal and interest ofwhich will be payable in New Zealand. I only propose that the loan shall bear interest at a rate not exceeding 5 per cent., and that it shall be issued fin the form of inscribed stock, with the right to the subscribers to obtain from time to time funds payable to bearer, of LlO and upwards. The advantages of such a form of investment will doubtless require some time to be generally understood ; but ifa local market can be once created, as I think it may be, with judicious management, the stock would be found a great public convenience as & means of temporary, as well as of more permanent, investment. It is possible that the time for such B per cent, stock has not arrived, and if so, the proposal will fall to the ground, and we shall have learned at any rate negatively something about our : powers of obtaining money , locally. The time for making the experiment is veryopportune, because the money market is easy, and we are not dependent for money upon its. success. The Government do not 1 propose in any way to force this loan, recognising that the object in view is supplying a local want. They will use all; strenuous endeavors to familiarise the public mind with its nature. The proceeds of: the loan it is proposed to use for public works. Authority will therefore bo asked ,to pay them into the public works fund, to be dealt with in due course by Parliament. Before concluding, ic may be desirable, Mr Seymour, to glance briefly at progress of the colony since 1870, and to compare it with that of our neighbors in . these seas.; Thepopulationin 1870 was 284,400, itisnow 489,700, that is, it has almost doubled in ten years. And what, . sir, have bur two powerful and attractive neighbors—Victoria and N.S. Wales—lone during the sarnie period. In 1870 the population of Victoria was 726,599, of N.S.W. 502,861; it is now 858,682 and 750,000 respectively, thus showing an increase of 18 per cent, in the Victorian population, and 40 per cent, in that of N.S.W., while in New Zealand tho increase Has been 97 per cent. Then, sir, let us look at the value of pur imports and exports. In 1870 they were respectively L 4,639,015 and 4,822,726 ; last year, that is for. the year 1880,. they were -r- imports, L6,162,0i1, exports, L 6,352,692, a not unsatisfactory result when the universal commercial depression of the year 1880 is remembered. Arid, lastly, let me compare the net revenue of 1870-71 (exclusive of land sales and tho revenue appropriated to local bodies) with that of 1880-81. In the former year it was L 1,057.218, in the latter L 3,123,960, a difference, sir, which is ample to cover all the additional interest we have to pay, and with a good margin to spare to provide for the increased cost of Government. It may, however, be said that this increased income does not arrive from natural growth, but from the far heavier taxation under which the country now labors than it did in 1870. But is this so 1 Are we in truth more heavily taxed now than we were in 18701 I venture to think we are not taxed now more than in 1870. The taxation per head was then L 3 4s 6d, it is now L 3 11s 9d, but education is now paid for by the State, an additional charge since 1870. If therefore the rate per head of the cost of education, 9s 9d is deducted from the taxation of 1880-81, we find that it is less now by 2s 6d than it was in 1870. Uor these and other reasons, sir, we may claim that our Immigration and Public Works scheme has been fairly successful. Had, however, the purposes of the loans of the period been mqrp precisely defined and more strictly adhered to, had the amount of those loans been limited as originally proposed, and had economy prevailed from first to last, we should have been able now to affirm, without fear of contradiction, that they had been an eminent success. With the clear view which is now open of the dangers We have escaped and of their sources, the Legislature may, if it is reaojpta, make the future operations more thoroughly matters of business. With that resolve it will define and fix with all exactness the objects of future loans, and determine their amounts, not by the . flush of the revenues of the moat prosperous years, but by the reliable averages of a considerable period. There is another consideration, one of mere justice, which should decide us to do all that prudence will allow to complete our arterial system. ; I mean the claims qf those districts which have patiently awaited the. fulfilment of the pledge of--the Legislature in. the schedule of the Apt of 1879- It ia pot yet the time, nqr is it my place to submit a specific proposal for carrying out the work 1■ have here suggested, but I trust the committee will agree with the Government in this opinion,, that the finance of the colony should be so shaped as to make a definite proposition practicable on the meeting of next Parliament. In' conclusion, I must warmly thank the committee for the patient attention with. Vfhjch they have listened \°- my statementthe ’ circumstances civile "times have pot permitted me to offer proposals which can excite muph enthusiasm, but I believe they are of a practicable nature, resting upon a solid basis, and such as will reassure the country and enable it to look forward to the future with sober confidence.

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Bibliographic details

THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 389, 7 July 1881

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6,986

THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 389, 7 July 1881

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