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The Land Commission.

United Press Association—By Electric Telegraph. Ckristchuroh, April 27 _'She Land Commission concluded its sitting iv Christohurch to day when Eeveral important witnesses wrre examined. Alexander Cracroft Wilson, registrar of Canterbury College, gave evidence relative to the terms on which college endowments are left to the tenants. A. C, Priugle, a member of the Canter bury Lnnd Board, believed that tenants generally were satisfied with the conditions of their lease m perpetuity tenure. The freehold, if granted, should be at the original valuation. James Stevenson, another member of the Land Board, considered that discretionary powers should be given to Land Boards re cropping regulations. He favoured short leases m place of 999 years lease. Michael Murphy, disagreed with the Government cropping conditions. Farmers should be instructed m improved methods of agriculture. He approved of short leases with the option of purchase. Thomas Humphries, Commissioner of Crown Lands for Canterbury, read a long and exhaustive statement dealing with the various points raised by other witaesses or mentioned m the order of reference. He stated that the optional system had worked well, but no great amount of land had b9en thrown open on that tenure. Since the Land for Settlements Act had been passed, 55 estates comprising 246,000 acres had been purchased and settled. A large extent of country had been taken up under the small grazing system. Future Crown leases should be for 21 years with the right of renewal upon valuation of rent if the holding were let again as a whole. The present constitution of Land Boards was not likely to be improved upon by having elective Boards. The present cropping conditions should be retained, but the Land Boards should have discriminating powers. A. tenant holding a small area should be allowed to apply for a larger holding. A bona fide married servant or owner of an acquired estate should be allowed to eelect an area up to 640 acres. The grouping of allotments should be made m a more general and comprehensive manner than at present. The groups should be balloted m their order, commercing with one containing sections of least value. The wholo of the applicants for a group should ballot for order of choice. Ifthe freehold were allowed to tenants the money should be devoted to the purchase of other estates. It would be impossible to arquire m Canterbury other estates to the extent of a quarter of a million acres of the character already acquired ard settled. If tenants were permitted to pay off half the capital value of their holdings men with limited means would be prevented from taking over sections. The Commission left for Wellington th«s evening, and proceed direot to Auckland.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6556, 28 April 1905

Word Count

The Land Commission. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6556, 28 April 1905