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LAND LEGISLATION.

YICTOBIA MINISTER'S INQUIRIES.

(By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.)

'WELLIK6TON, Tuesday. I 'Recognising the great need in Victoria for the introduction of legislation, regarding the land, the Victorian Ministry which replaced the Bent Government in June last, decided to send its Minister fox Lands, the Hon. H. McKenzie to New Zealand to investigate land 'and other important matters in a country which has achieved a reputation for progres&iveness. Mr. McKenzie, who ar rived in Wellington this morning accompanied by Mr. H. O. Allen, an officer oi the Victorian Lands Department, stated to a Post" reporter that he was here with an open mind to ascertain from the authorities and by personal observation the manner in which the New Zealand land taxation system was working, as well as the closer settlement system and the compulsory taking of land Incidental to land resumption Mr McKenzie mentioned that Victoria's only method was the cumbersome one of getting both branches of .the Legislature to agree to any proposal to compulsorily acquire any estate. This was tantamount to the passing of a special Act on each occasion, with the additional trouble of litigation to be gone through. The Advances to Settlers Department which is run by the New Zealand Government, is another instance of State enterprise into which Mr. McKenzie has been instructed to inquire. There is in Victoria an infinitesimal form of State advances in respect of land, limited to lands repurchased from the State, and with a limit of 60 per cent, but the Victorian Government has a project for enlarging the present system considerably. In Melbourne there is established a Labour Bureau, not unlike those of other countries. Mt. McKenzie, however, intends to inquire into the working cf the New Zealand one, and he comes to his task not unfavourably impressed with a suggestion that the New Zealand system of regular and detailed reports on labour conditions in every manufacturing and agricultural district respectively might be followed profitably in his own State. The intention of the Victorian Government to open up a ■State coal mine on land owned by the Government, about 70 miles from Melbourne, will result in the visitor making j a close study of tbe workings of the New Zealand State coal mines. There is no Public Trust Office in Victoria, other than that of a Curator for Public Es- | tates, and Mr. McKenzie, who is of 1 opinion that such an office as the New Zealand one should be established in his j State, intends to learn all he can about | the Dominion office. When referring to this matter the Minister remarked that the absolute security of the Government of the country, as opposed to the risk of trouble with private trustees, was obvious. Mr. McKenzie said that litigation was encouraged by the present condition of land matters in his State; there was no Government valuation roll in Victoria, and if the Government went iv and bought up land the immediate effect was to send up prices everywhere. There was no land tax to steady the prices of big estates, the only tax with I any resemblance to this being the grazing tax, which taxed lands according to their grazing capacities. The need for new land laws was being recognised I throughout Australia.

The cabled news of to-day from Australia that unless the State Governments moved, the Federal Government would impose a Federal Land Tax, waa an indication of the general feeling. His Government Tecognised this need, and 1 pointed it out as soon as it took office.

The intihenary of the Minister includes a trip through Canterbury and Otago, *termiinating at the Bluff, where tho steamer for Hobart and Melbourne will be taken. As Minister for Lands, Mr. MeKienzSe is interested in the State farms, and it is his intention to visit Lincoln College. He had an interview with the Premier this evening.

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LAND LEGISLATION. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 78, 1 April 1909

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