Notwithstanding the fact that there a,r»: localities m this Island where there ar« to be found large landowners who are willing to sell to intending settlers such areas of land as they require at moderate prices, there are at the same time localities where this is not the case, and, there being no Crown land available, settlement has therefore come to a dead stop. In a recent article on this subject the "OUgo Daily Times" s»ysi— "lt istobe hoped that the manifesto which the Premier is to issue shortly will contain proposals for opening up for small settlement lands now" held m large blocks, and not put to their full use. To devise som« means of solving this problem should be the principal task of the new Parliament. Opinions differ as to whether Mr Richardson has done all that he could and should to promote small settlement on the Crown lands, but that the rate at which small settlement is proceeding is anything like what it should be, not^ all the official figures that can be quoted will induce us to believe* And whatever Mr Richardson's shortcomings ' may be, it must be evident even \% his opponents thut the fault of the slow progress of settlement lies much less with him than with the ■land he has to dispose of. So far as this island is concerned, there is no ,getting ovur the fact that the cream of the land has been parted with. Here and there, as at Catlin's, patches of good country can be found, but generally speaking only the skim milk reinains'in the hands of the Crown, and the prospects of the intending settler are far from 5 promising. Yet near Oamaru and Timaru, and to a lefes degree irt other districts, there are large areas of good land held by private people who will not or cannot put it to advantageous use. Many of tßein cannot for lack of capital, and are equally unable to sell the land to those who can, because the value of it for cultivation is less than the amount of mortgage over the land. Others are content with the profits they make out of their sheep, or hold on to their estates with the notion that at some future time the increase of the population of the colony will give the land 1 an additional value for which they can well afford/to wait. Thns, from one motive or another, large areas are left' unproductive which might be supporting a considerable population, and progress is blocked indefinitely." We are glad indeed to find our influential Southern contemporary taking so correct a view of the situation —the mpmsothatit has not always written m. this strain. Going on to address him self to the consideration of the remedy for this state of things, the writer points out that a " bursting-up " tax 1 imposed m Victoria has failed to effect that object " except m that it is said to have caused a few owners to divide* their estates with their sons during their (the owners') life-time, . . . and m no case has it caused any of those it affects to cut up their property except amongst their families as before mentioned." But no suggestion is thrown, out as tothe way m which the difficulty should or might be met, our contemporary being apparently content to leave that to be thought out by the Ministry. It, however, declares m unmistakable terms its conviction that it is a matter of the first importance that the difficulty should be grappled with and a solution found, concluding its remarks with the following strong declaration or opinion, with which the large majority of our readers, like ourselves, will agree:—" The fact is that | the colony is now face to face with the most serious problem that it has had to consider since the time when it was left to finish the Maori war out of its own resources. But the difficulty of the problem affords no reason for leaving it alone. "We trust that the Ministry will not shrink from making that attempt to deal with it which Sir Harry Atkinson's long experience should make them peculiarly able to undertake. If the colony is to /make any progress it is absolutely necessary that there should be a considerable increase of settlement upon the land, and that settlement can m this island only take place upon lands which are now m the hands of those who are unable or unwilling to fulfil the implied condition of their holding it—that the gifts of Nature should be put to good use."
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LAND SETTLEMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2551, 23 October 1890
LAND SETTLEMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2551, 23 October 1890
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