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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, MARCH 4, 1889. DODGY PROCEEDINGS.

Recently we had occasion to comment upon the astute manoeuvring by which some of the run-holders, by working wnat is termed the " surrender dodge"' are outwitting the Government and the Lands Department and securing indefeasible 21 year leases of their runs at rentals far below the actual value. A contemporary — ihe " Oamaru Mail " now supplied other glaring instances of the same sort of thing m the following article which we reprint here m extenso, reserving our comments on the* matter for another occasion. This, then, is what our contemporary says: — "Another transaction showing the gross abuse which attends the acceptance by the Government of the surrender of pastoral leases has just come to our knowledge. In 1882, two runs 217 and 217a, originally apart, we believe, of the Land Company's Moeraki station, vt • c offered for sale. On that occasion the sale was adewuately advertised, and, as a natural result, the competition was keen. Two of our best known pastoralists bid up to £400 for one run and £350 for tho other, respectively. We are not at present at liberty to mention the names of these persons, but we believe that we could receive authority to make them known, if necessary. The result of the Bale was tbat the Company purchased the leases of the two runs at a little under £900 — we are not able to state the exact amuunt, nor is it necessary that wo should do so for the purpose of our argument. But to proceed with our narrative of this discreditable transaction : Seized with tho repudiation mania, and encouraged by a Minister for Lands who might more appropriately be termed the Minister for Pastoral Lessees, the Company's manager applied tp the Government to surrender the leases of these runs. He succeeded m gaining his point, and the runs were advertised for Bale at an upset of £200 each. Ihe keep-it-dark syßtem of notification was m this cage, as m many others, successful, and the Company secured the runs at £200 each. At the time the Company surrendered, their leases had two years to run. It is plain, therefore, that as the aggregate rental being paid at the time the surrender was accepted was nearly £900 and the present aggregate rental is only £400, tbe colony has lost nearly a thousand pounds by the transaction. But the loss may be still greater, for we have a right to assume that it the runs after the acceptance of the surrender, had been administered m the interest of the colony instead of with a view to play into the hands of tho Land Company, a much higher rental could have been obtained for them during the ten, years for which the Company has secured them. The Premier says that jt is " the duty of the State to make provision" for the relief of tenants who would be ruined unless relieved," and that "it was immoral of the State to hold that a contract was sacred to the ruin of tho individual," Wo need not point out again that tho Premier holds also that the Government can act morally towards pastoral lessees only,and that, according to his own confession, the Government are acting immorally to wards those other classes of State lessees whom they bind to their bargains. But docs the Premier mean to say that the fulfilment of tho conditions m regard to the two runs about which all this manoeuvring has taken place would have ruined tho Land Company? Tho Premier expects too much when he Bxpectß us to credit him "with honesty of purpose m connection with such a transaction as that wo hare exposed. Waat has ho to say about yet another transaction of the same kind — the Kuriheka? This run 217p, was leased at from £750 to £800 a year { a surrender of it was accepted ; and it was offered at an upset of £200, but it was passed m, as, through limited advertising and restricted description, the sale was known anly to the lessee, who took advantage sf the opportunity afforded him of | getting the property for next to nothing, and refused to give oven a quarter of ifhat ho had been paying for it- Tho •un was put up a Becond time, the upset < laving been reduced \o £150 and tho ' ormer lessee got it at that figpro. , Chrough this transaction tho revenue j suffered another serious loss. There is ■ mother matter m connection with these J ransactions that demands criticism. , Hie law provides that when a pastoral i eesee surrenders he forfeits his im- i jrovemonts. We would like to enow what Bacrifioo of improve- j Bents was m&de m conueptiQU with the t

surrender of Kurikeka and tho Company's Moeraki runs ? Tho Company ll bad nothing but fencing on the pro- j D perties : — Did they forfeit that ? If they 1 did what was the monetary value of the , sacrifice ; In nearly every instance of the surrender the forfeituro has been i.m- j material, or there has been no forfeiture j r at. all, for pastoral lessees will not sur- I render when they have valuable improvements at stake, The fact is that i Government accept surrenders where * there are no. improvements to sacrifice, c and that the forfeiture penalty is, therefore, mythical. And what will the Land 1 Company do for the Government m re- ] turn for the utter ruin from which they ] have been saved through tho acceptance 1 of the surrender of their Moeraki runs, and their release from an obligation involving a thousand pounds ? The Company are m duty bound to insist on their eervants supporting tho Government, whatever may betide, and tho Government will need all such support. Wo have used the term Government because we hold that every member of the Ministry is responsible for the wrongdoing, we have exposed ; but we have little doubt that there are members of the Ministry who have not been privy to this wrong c*oing, and who rather than be parties to it, would retire into private life." As indicated above, we purpose to return to this subject ; meantime we commend tho foregoing facts and comments to the consideration of our readers.

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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, MARCH 4, 1889. DODGY PROCEEDINGS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2078, 4 March 1889

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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, MARCH 4, 1889. DODGY PROCEEDINGS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2078, 4 March 1889

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