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A DANGEROUS BILL.

As generally happens some of the very worst proposals of the session are being brought down by the Government daring the last hours, and the most dangerous of all of them are those contained m the Native Bill just introduced. A week or two ago the Wellington "Post" sounded the note of alarm m an article m which it deolared that " the whole batch of _ Native Bills were of a suspicious character and need close scrutiny," and the warning is fully borne out by the text of the measures m question. The kernel of the proposed legislation is contained m clause 15 of the Native Lands Court Act Amendment Bill which pro* poses the habilitation of certain past' transactions, and reads as follows :— " Deeds executed before the Ist day of July, 1887, purporting to alienate,' whether by way of transfer, lease oe, ■ otherwise, undivided shares m land, shall, - if the certificate of a trust commissioner be endorsed thereon, be deemed to hare been valid and effectual conveyance of such undivided shares, and may, after division or partition under any Act for the time being m foroe m that behalf has been effected, be registered by the district land registrar, notwithstanding that at the time any such deed was executed the alienation of undivided shares m land was prohibited by any Act of the General Assembly, or that part owners of the land had not the power to sell or make other disposition of their undivided shares therein, or the owner purporting to alienate such undivided shares was not registered under any Land Transfer Act as proprietor of Buch land, or that such deed does not contain a precise statement of the estate and interest to be conveyed ; provided that when the approval of the Native Land Court or a judge thereof was required by law for the completion of the transfer intended to be effected by such Bill it shall be sufficient if the certificate of a Trust Commissioner has been endorsed upon such deed ; provided also that nothing contained m this section shall validate any transaction which has been: declared invalid by the Supreme Court or the Coqrt of Appeal, or any deed purporting to convey or transfer any share m land m respect of which there if any restriction or alienation existing afc the time of the production of any such deed for rtgistration, which would, if ' this provision had been then m force, have been deemed to have been validly registered are hereby declared to be validly registered. The word "deed" m this section includes any memoran* dum purporting to be executed under any Land Transfer Act or any Act relating to native land." A more sweep* ing proposition than this it would be impossible to frame, for it deliberately proposes to make legal and effectual transactions entored into m defiance of the law an hitherto obtaining, and would throw the shield of Parliament over all | sorts' of shady purchases. It may ba and uo' doubt |s true that there are cases m which European purchasers of Native lands, who have bepn acting m good faith throughout, are now suffering injustice through their inability to complete their titles, hut it is quite possible to provide a remedy for such cases without involving the condonation of wilful breach of the law, and giving a premium to ohioanery and fraud, which would be the effect of vhe clause above quoted > and which it is to be hoped will receive exceedingly short sbritfc. But what are; we to tbiufc of a Government who can) carelessly or wilfully make suo]} f FT 8 * 1 1 „--v*

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A DANGEROUS BILL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2212, 29 August 1889

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