The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit THURSDAY, JULY 10, 1890. THE GOVERNMENT LAND POLICY.
The various Land Boards are taking full advantage of the powers conferred upon them by the Government, and Crown tenants and deferred-payment settlers are reaping a plentiful harvest. The Otago Land. Board recently reduced the valuation of holdings of fourteen settlers by something like 50 per cent; that is, holders who took Up land at £2 and £2 10s per acre, have had the valuation reduced to £1 and £1 5s respectively,. At the time these and similar holdings were taken up on deferred-payment conditions other selectors bought for cash at the original valuations, and the latter are now complaining bitterly of the action of Government m reducing not only the valuation of their own land, but also that of their neighbour's. When the lands m question were taken up there were scarcely any roads, railways, bridges, or other facilities for traffic, but now that the country has been put to enormous expense m providing these advantages —and which are supposed to enhance the value of land—the State steps m and says to its tenants " Your land has depreciated 50 per cent, notwithstanding the improvements you have put upon it and the great expense we have been put to m making roads and railways and bridges to your very door," What a generous-hearted and conscientious Government we have! Happy deferred-payment selectors! But should the State not carry this extreme conscientiousness a little further, and refund to cash purchasers the overcharge valuation? Why should the State tenant not be compelled to stick to his bargain m the same manner as the cash purchaser; and why should the State promulgate the idea that land m New Zealand is now only worth half what it was a few years back when the colony was a vast wilderness 1 No wonder, when an eccentric State policy like this is practiced, that deferredpayment and perpetual lease is preferred to the purchase of land for cash, and no wonder that the unfortunate cash purchaser of land has to pay additional taxation to carry on the Government of the colony. A bargain is a bargain all the world over, and while the State may be perfectly justified m making a slight concession m exceptional cases, there can be no justification for saying, as the Otago Land Board have virtually done, that all land m New Zealand has depreciated m value fifty per cent. It is not fair to the cash holders to say this, and it is not the fact. There may have been a vast amount of bungling and misgovernment m the country, but we refuse to believe that the fertile lands of the colony are worth, under a high state of cultivation, only half what they were when m a state of nature. It would be interesting if a return were asked'for and provided, giving full particulars as to the reductions made m valuations to deferred-payment selectors.