The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. THURSDAY, JULY 17, 1890. HOW SETTLEMENT HAS PROGRESSED.
The return furnished by the Property Tax Commissioner m regard to areas held by freeholders m the Colony is instructive. Several of our contemporaries have printed the list m extenso, and from these we compile the following particulars:- —Two hundred persons own areas of la>nd ranging from 10,000 to 140,000 acres each. The Property Tax value, as dis} tingui&hed from the marketable value, of these holdings fluctuates between £10,000 (the lowest) to £331,338 (the highest). Tne total acreage owned by the 200 persons referred to is 5,027,808 acres, the net Property Tax valuation (as given by the owners for this purpose) being £11,070,670. In addition to the foregoing private freeholders, thirty-three Banks, Loan and Mortgage Associations, Land Companies, etc., own land as follows:— Colonial Real Estate Acres Value Company 10,!;i36 £34,751 Dixon Investment ... 12,771 i 17,629 Moorabooland Timboon Estate 10,141 14,012 National Mortgage Ag'y 14,018 60,373 WaikatoCoal 15,129 ' 16,868 Wharekawa Coal ... 12,138 6,569 Wanganui Loan ... 12,951 3.237 Colonial Bank 12,191 30,775 National Bank ... 13,501 26,967 Bank of Australasia ... 15,210 21,835 B. andN.Z. Mortgage... 27,512 .50,610 Coloniallnvestment Ag'y 22,632 67,853 Bank New South Wales 21,632 61,165 N. Z. (Native Land Settlement .« ... 22,888 14,242 Nelson Brothers ... 23,299 130,917 Otago and Southland Investment ... 31,300 77,665 Morton Mains Estate... 32,463 53,967 Assets Company ... 39,110 29,037 Scottish and N.Z. Investment 32,478 75,869 Maraitai Land 43,,503 8,688 N.Z. Mortgage Investment 42,221 73,243 N.Z, Trust and Loan ... 43,667 105,438 R.Campbell and Sons... 71,484 161,498 TaitapuCoal ... ... 88,350 11,040 WaikatoLand 84,783 215,931 Auckland Agricultural 102,177 140,351 N.Z. Agricultural ... 151,137 240,977 Thames Valley Land ... 176,008 97,726 N.Z.LoanandMercantile 215,000 418,132 N.Z. and Australian Land 239,800 1,055,277 Kauri Timber 165 :1 436 157,402 Wellington and Manawatu Railway ... 179,329 247,698 Bank of New Zealand... 262,954 594,427 The foregoing particulars will give a fair idea to the electors how the land has been "settled" hitherto m ~New Zealand. The land laws of the colony have been availed of by the large holders to keep back the bona fide settlement of industrious husbandry on the soil, and these laws hare recently been so amended and mutilated that the above landed proprietors maj', witli impunity, add more acres to their already large holdings. The small capitalist or.industrious settler, meanwhile, cannot get land to settle upon, and is leaving the colony m disgust. Our population, already limited, is becoming less, and each one that leaves the colony also leaves a greater burden of taxatiou to be borne by those who remain. All or nearly all the best lands of the colony are included m the above holdings, and Parliament has now a scheme under consideration for purchasing Native land.s and road ing the country leading to and from the lands already slaughtered m lai*ge and small quantities to landed comapnies and earth-hungry speculators. Are the electors of the colony willing that this pernicious monopoly of land shall continue, and that those who have already too much shall be allowed to acquire more 1 That is the question to which each elector will require to give n decided " yes ' or "no " at the approaching election. The question of retrenchment is important, but is not, as interested persons womld have the people believe, all-important* Retrenchment, without a drastic alteration m the land laws which will prevent any further lands falling into the hands of speculators and companies, cannot bring back prosperity to the colony. The difference between the Government and the Opposition is clearly apparent. The former with the aid of the |Skinflint party, would save the colony by cutting down services and salaries, whatever the public inconvenience or injustice, while the Opposition, willing to retrench, are also willing to indicate m what direction this is to be done; but what is much more important, would also make liberal provision for those who have no land to get some, and prevent those who have too much from getting any more-