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In Search of Land.

NEW ZEALAND'S DRAWBACKS. RETURNED VICTORIAVS EXPERIENCES. A Victorian farmer, who left northern Victoria with his wife and family four mouths ago to settle m New Zealand, retnrncrl m the "Waikare a fortnight- ago. Aitfr sending four montha inspecting the principal farming districts of the Noi'ih Islitni?, he thinks that Victoria is a better place m whichito buy or rent land for farming than New Zealand. "It was chiefly on account of my wife's health," ho said to nn "Argus" reporter, " that we left northern Victoria. We have farming friends m tho Wairarapa district, m the southof the North Island of New Zealand, and there we decided to go to make a new home. Wo had heard and read much about the prosperity and progress of New ] Zealand. Ifc is the old story. (Distant fields look green.' I found that, notwithstanding tbe apparent prosperity of New Zealand, I had turned my back on a far better country, and I am glad to return to it. There is a boom m farming lands m Now Zealand, and prices have gone far above their true value. In the Wairarapa district, where the farmers are mostly engaged m raising lambs for export, land is generally selling at iSll to ,£3O per acre, and the greater portion of it can be cultivated. A farmer friend with whom we stayed cannot use a horse to ride after his sheep. All the work of moving them ftcm one portion of the farm to the other has to be done on foot, because of the rugged character of the country. In the Poverty Uay district the land is excellent, and the river flats are selling at up to MO per acre. I went to see some native lauds, the leases of which were let by auction for 21 years. The reserves placed on them by the commissioners were greatly exceeded by auction, and the best lands were let at 25s to 27s per acre, though they could only be used for lamb-rais-ing, and the stock have to be travelled 40 miles over rough roads to the freezing works. In roads and railway facilities Victoria is a long way ahead of New Zealand, and the prices paid m rhe Melbourne market for lambs tor the export tr^de quite equal to, and, indeed, this year rather better than, those obtained by the New Zealand farmers. The highest price obtained this year for lambs by my friends m the Wairarapa district was 16a 6d. I was able to show them m " The Argus " that quotations at Newmarket for the same week were 18s to 20s. Tbe New Zealand farmer has become a specialist m lamb-breeding. He pays greater attention to the pastures than the Victorian farmer, and exercises far greater care m selecting and breeding. Romney Marsh and Lincoln crossbred ewes and Shropshire and Border Leicester rams are the favourite crosses, and it is a common thing to find formers with 500 fco 800 breeding ewes, and even smaller flocks, giving five to six guineas apioce for the sires thuy breed from. "The New Zealanc'eis, speaking broadly, have a more regular rainfall than we have m Victoria. This is a. big pull, buD it is not everything, and there ttu:ir advaatages end. I was surprised to find that the pastures do not last m many of the districts of the North Island more than three to five years, whon they have again to be broken up, and cropped with turnips or rape, and manured with bonedust, at a coat of JB3to2osan acre, before being renown to grass. With the same thoroughness, farmers here cou)d yet as good results m many of farming districts rg the New Z&aland«r.=, with far fewer discomforts aad at less cost. For ihstß,nc«, one groat draw unck m Ntw Zealand is the absence of r'yiidug and lough building timber. Fehuo posts ia several of the districts I was m were worth. .£0 10s por 100, against 25s to SOs here, and hardwood building timber 163 to 18a per 100, instead of 10s to 12s. In many phicea thu farmers have to burn coal beoausH of the scarcity or firewood. At one place I met a packer, originally from Orange, iNTew .'South Wales, who had a string of 20 pack horses engaged m a contract for packing fence poatd ever the hills'. They were brought many miles by waggons to the point where the packers took delivery. " A great number of seCtlers are btsing attracted to New Zealand from Australia and from Great Britain. Last week the Gothic brought out 42 settlers from England for Auclsland, Th.6re is some arrangement by which the Government allow* bona fide settlers a rebate on their passage money from Great Britain if they are possessed of a certain amount of capital. I met one Englishman, who has been several months m New Zealand, looking for land. He Kaid he could buy good farming Jand cheaper m England, and intended to return. There are many Victorians m New Zealand, and most of them would be glad to come back. A surveror from Ballarat, whose prolossion during the last five years has taken him over tbe greater part or the North Island, whom I met at Wellington, said that m variety of production and suitability for closer settlement Victoria is a long way ahead of Naw Zealand, and that a spirited policy of re-purchasing estates j would soon bring a steady flow of iinmi- ' grants. At Masterton I saw a Wimmera i farmer who was driven out by the drought. He was dairying on shares, and said practically the same thing. Returning on the boat with me was a Gippslander, who had spent several hundreds land-hunting over there, and like me he came fco the conclusion that Victoria, after ail, was a better country to settle m. What is wanted heie is the acquirement of more estates by the Government, and an honest effort to meat the demand for land which exists. During the four months I was ia New Zeamnd the Government there acquired four large estates, including bhe Flaxbourne which cost

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6578, 24 May 1905

Word Count

In Search of Land. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6578, 24 May 1905