It passes comprehension that tl|3 present Minister for Lands—always assuming that he would be naturally anxious to see the provisions of the land laws which he has. to administer faithfully carried out—should be so blind to the wilful evasions which are going on m all directions as to have committed himself to the statement that only one or two instances of dummying had been proved—one at Woodville and the other at Waitahuna —the latter having occurred some years ago. The "Waste Lands Committee of last < season (of which Mr Richardson was a member, and the sittings of which he attended) submitted a report to the effect that dummying and false declarations were rife, and recommending the prosecution of some of the offenders—as the French phrase has it pour eiicourager leßautres; and no one 1 can read the evidence attached to that report without seeing that the finding of the Committee is amply justified, were it only m view of ivhat .ire known as ''the Levels cases." In those cases no less than nine persons, being employees on the Levels estate or agents for the Land Company, put m applications for some 10,000 or 11,0.00 acres—according to Mr Brydone's evidence admittedly m the Company's interest. The case was a very plaiu. one and conclusively established, the detail-: being now public property as published m a Parliamentary paper. But after all it is only a sample of what has been going on right and left throughout the Colony, and we are able upon information recently obtained to cite another notable instance insupportof this statement. In August last there were offered for application among other lands three sections at the Upper Waitaki of (A) 70 acres, and (B and C) about 100 acres each. The first (which we have called A for convenience sake), was shown m solid: color and described m the conditions as surveyed land, B and C being shown and described as unsurveyed. For these three sections one James Paterson and his two sons were applicants, the father applying for A and the Sons for B and C. All the applications were taken by James Paterson to tho Land Office, Timaru. Here he was informed that a mistake had been made as to block A, and that a telegram had been received from Christchurch directing that it should be put up as unsurveyed land. Now m tlie case of surveyed land the allotment as between more applicants then one has to be tfecided by ballot, but as regards unsurveyed land the first applicant (who must lodge the survey fee with his application) is entitled to succeed. Paterson had not funds enough with him to lodge the survey fees for all three allotments, but being especially anxious to secure the 70 acre lot (block A) lodged the fees m vespect of that, and withdrew the other applications. This was at a faw minutes past nine o'clock. More than an hour after this an agent for other parties called at the land office and desired to put m applications for the block m the names of two station masters and eight other persons, employees on the same large Company estate, or members of the families or households of the said managers, one of them, we understand being agoverness—all theapplications being of course made subject to the declaration that each of the persons was applying for the land solely for his or her own use or benefit. The agent was told of the alleged " mistake " as to block A, and on finding that it was to be put up as " unsurveyed" land was quite ready to lodge the survey fees on behalf of each of his clients, but was informed that even if he did so it would be unavailing, as Paterson had applied more than an hour before and was entitled to Yet after all this the land was subsequently sold m Christchurch as "surveyed" land, and [the ten persons referred to had a chance m the ballot, one of the number drawing the section or block, Patersdn, the first applicant, of course being excluded. He tells us that the drawing took place on the 21st, and that while a notification was sent to him that the block was finally to be dealt with as surveyed land, that notification was dated from Christ-' church on the 19th, and only reached him at Upper Waitaki on the day of sale, toO late for him to put m another application and take his chance at the ballot. Now if all these statements can be proved, and we are assured that they ca,n be, then all we can say is that the whole business is highly unsatisfactory. The fact is that the more the land administration is. looked
into the more patent it becomes that abuses are rife—largely due to the defective stato of the law, and m view of such circumstances the Minister must be held seriously to' blame for having allowed Parliament to disperse without even making the attempt to remedy such a state of things. ,
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MORE DUMMYING., Ashburton Guardian, Volume X, Issue 2547, 18 October 1890
MORE DUMMYING. Ashburton Guardian, Volume X, Issue 2547, 18 October 1890
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