The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 1889. SOMEBODY BLUNDERED.
What appears to have been a very serious blunder has occurred m connection with the recent land sale at Dunedin m the re-leasing for a term of twenty" st ycaifi of wo runs at Cteka ke, North vtago, said to be suitable for and required for cutting up into smaller holdings. Following are fuller particulars than were given m the telegram which we published a day or two ago, and are taken from tbe report of the sale given by the Dunedin " Evening Star." That journal writes: — There is likely to be some grumbling m the North Otago district over the mistake that has arisen m consequence of a clerical or telegraphic blunder. For some time past the residents of Kurow have been agitating for the outting up into small runs of the Otekaike runs held by R. Campbell and Sons, and last week the Minister advised the memorialists to attend to-day's sale, buy the runs, and afterwards cut them up according to the wishes of those interested ; but the latter did not fall m with Mr Richardson's ideas, and made farther representations to him, tbe outcome of which was a notification that the runs would be temporarily withdrawn from sale. Unfortunately, the telegram received by the Land Department here notified that Buns 228 and 228a (Hawkdun Station, Maniototo) were to be reserved ; and this was done. Buns 28 and 28a, 318,000 acres m all (Otekaike Station, Waitaki County), bad been tbe very first lots offered, apd had been the subject of keen competition between tbe Perpetual Trustees Company (per Mr W, D, Smith), as agents, and the attorney of R. Campbell and Sons, who retained possession at the respective rentals of £301 and £2§l. T^ e mistake was not discovered, we believe, until the sale bad proceeded some length." Now the worst of this unfortunate business is that under the Amended Land Act under which these runs were disposed of the leases are not terminable by the Government at any time during their currency, and if the Bale be be}d gppd then, however much tbe land may be required for settlement, it cannot bo taken for that purpose until the full term of 21 years has expired — not even by paying compensation. But if the Government is of opinion that this land ought not to be so locked up— and it must be of that opinion or it would not bave directed its withdrawal from the list of runs to be offered — tjien clearly it aught to repudiate the,: sale. ' And this it seems to us it might quite properly do. For as a matter of fact before the land was offered the Government bad directed its withdrawal, and though by somebody's blunder (whose, is a point which ought to be ascertained) that direction had failed of being conveyed to the auctioneer, it still remains a fact that the order for withdrawal had £?en issued prior to tbe sale, and therefore the s&l® was an unauthorised one. Under these cir?°-mßtances therefore we consider that the Mini'bifF w ill only be doing his duty m refusing to eTflCUte the leases until the matter has been submitted to Parliament. If the land is upon enquiry found not to bo wanted for, or to be suitable for settlement, then the leases may be pioperly confirmed, but if on the other hand it is found that it is wanted and is suitable for that purpose then it ought not to be allowed to be locked up merely as the result of a fluke and a blunder for tbe long term of 21 years.