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A Defence of Large Land Owners.

In respect of the large properties held by absentees and some resident owners m New Zealand, particulars of which have been published widely throughout the colony, the "Bruce Herald" steps m as champion thus :—"Has it yet been proved that these large landowners are a hindrance to the progress of the colony, or that the absence of some of them is a hardship to those of us who are left behind ? It might even be asked whether the private ownership of land m general has ever wrought any harm-rand we ask this question m spite of Henry George and all' his fellow theorisers. These absentees own but a very small proportion of the land of New Zealand, and there is not one of them who does not directly or indirectly contribute to taxation. It may be taken for granted that they carefully watch all our proceedings, and do their very best to make their estates as valuable as they can. That cannot be done without the expenditure of money, and m all probability there is more money sent out by these absentees for improvements than the radical reformers know, or, if they knew, would give them credit for." Then it says the Crown Lands Guide, proves that there is abundance of land for all who wish to obtain it. "But to return to these absentee property owners, who are supposed, vampire like, to be sucking the life blood out of the colony. They are said to own between them something like eight millions of real and personal property. Eight millions seems and indeed is an immense amount, but it is not so very much comparatively. The deposits m the banks amount to nearly ben millions. In the Post Office Savings Bank the depositors, most of whom belong to the working classes, have close upon a million and three-quarters. In the building societies, also an institution chiefly patronised by working men and small tradesmen, there is a capital invested amounting to over £100,000. It would be easy to show, as may be seen from the few figures we have quoted, that the value of bhe property owned by these absentee landowners is very smail ivhsn compared with the capital invested m other ways. It cannot, of course, be denied that some large landowners have striven their best to evade payment of taxes, and sometimes with success. And it may ako be urged that the colony suffers through the absence of those landowners who, preferring to live elsewhere, do not benefit the colony by their current expenditure. But take them for all and all, we doubt whether the absentee landowners are as iniquitous a class as are many of the .wage-earners, who lift up their Voices against them, and spend their own money on nothing, and less than nothing and vanity, even to their own hurt."

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Bibliographic details

A Defence of Large Land Owners., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2487, 9 August 1890

Word Count

A Defence of Large Land Owners. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2487, 9 August 1890