INCIDENCE OF TAXATION.
THE GRADUATED TAX. MR. KETTLE REPLIES TO TUB PREMIER. (By Telegraph.—Press Association.) WELLINGTON, Wednesday. The motions passed by the conference of delegates from the Chambers of Commerce of New Zealand, respecting the graduated and mortgage taxes yesterday, have caused a great deal of discussion. The Prime Minister (Sir Joseph. Ward) replied to some of the statements made at a banquet last evening, but the commercial men are not satisfied, anil further discussion took place at the meeting of delegates this afternoon. j By permission of the conference, Mr". N. Kettle was given the right to reply to Sir Joseph Ward. Mr. Kettle said that he had to express his regret that he was not present at the dinner. He had read Sir Joseph Ward's speech, and would first refer to the question of the graduated tux. He had never said that the Department was charging a tax oh business buildings, but on land on which business premises were erected. He was glad that MrP. Heyes (Commissioner of laxee) had admitted that the advances to Settlers Offices had no more money to lend. There was no doubt that the Department had done a great deal of good,, and everybody was grateful for tlie assistance it had given settlers. Mr. Kettle regretted that the Prime Minister had refused to accept a large amount of money offered tho Government for investment. TEe Government could compete on more favourable terms than the private individual, and for that reason the mortgage tax should be removed. They had to see that further capital did not leave the country. The man who was investing his money in mortgages should not have to pay a higher tax than the man who invested his money in a business. Sir Joseph Ward had stated that the Government bad only borrowed £100,000 from the public in New Zealand. During the past ten years the National Debt had increased by 20 millions. How were they going to get that back if more capital was not invested in the country? It was a fact that the fall in the price of wool had contributed to the stringency in tho memey market. They had to remove all obstacles against the investment of capital in this country, and the penalty capital had to bear should be removed. Mr. D. J. Nathan asserted that the Prime Minister did not state the facts as they were actually put at the meeting, and lie went on to show grounds for his contention. The great question, as the speaker gathered from the London ad-' vices, was not what the penal tax amounted to to-day, but what it would amount to in a few years' time. To speak about buildings as Sir Joseph Ward had done was simply to draw a red herring across the scent. He spoke as a friend of the Government regarding the Advances to Settlers Department., .He wished to say that they had nothing to object.to in regard to the principle, .but they desired to emphasise that the true object of that Department was to give advances up to £500 to small setiers and not to come into opposition to tho loan companies. The subject was not further discussed.
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