The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit SATURDAY JULY 6, 1889. CO-OPERATIVE LAND SETTLEMENT.
The settlement of the land on cooperative principles is not by any means a new idea. For some years co-operative settlements of rural land have been m existence m the Wan-
ganui district, and a year or two ago promised to prove very successful, but we have not lately seen any reports as to their progress. The Company which has been formed m Jjunedin, under the chairmanship of Sir Kobert Stout is, however, the most ambitious of the schemes that have yet been matured for the acquisition and settlement of land on co-operative principles. The proposals of the new company are that men of small means shall combine to pur chase or lease suitable blocks of land, which shall then be subdivided into holdings of fifty to two hundred acres each. 'Ihe manner of further dealing with the laud is novel. An essential condition of the purchase of land is that it shall be of such a nature that onehalf of it or thereabouts, shall be pastoral land suitable for a commonage for the use oi settlers, and one-fifth of the agricultural portion of it is to be reserved for the general use and advantage of the Company, m the form of a township, which will be, through the the agency of the Company, the immediate base of supply for necessaries, and ultimately the seat of manufactures for the use and profit of the settlers. Each settler is to have at least one share for every acre of land he occupies. If a blook of 10,000 acres ia seleoted, and half of it consist of pastoral land, there would be room for, say 40 settlers, with an average holding of 100 acres each. As it is provided that no shareholder may hold more than one agricultural section and one township section and as it is also provided than no allotment of less that 50 snares will be made, it follows that monopoly has been forseen and provided against. One of the features of the township is to be the store, which of course wjII be on the co-operative system, and it is to be presumed that the proposed manufactures will be carried on upon a similar footing. A present difficultyi n the way of carrying out the proposals of the Company is that the present Government decline to carry out the provisions of the special settlement clauses of " Ihe Land Act, 1885," and Parliament is to be petitioned that these may be given effect to forthwith. A groat deal oi detail will have to be supplied before the Company's scheme can be reduced to practical working order ; but taking it as it stands it appears to us an excellent project, It is the more to be commended from the purely business character of the prospectus — its operations are to be for the benefit of its shareholders, and no philanthropic motives are adduced to gain support. There is no doubt that the practice of buying large blocks and selling them m subdivisions has often resulted m large I profits being made ; these profits will now be shared by the settlers themselves. Many men of small means will be glad to obtain small farms at the same rate per acre as a large estate can bo bought for, and if the land m the first place be bought with judgment, the company will no doubt prove successful m its operations, and lead to imitation elsewhere.