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In the course of his introductory remarks at the attempted sale of the Eastbank Estate at Timaru on Wednesday, Mr J. T. Matson made a few general observations which seemed to find favor with his audience. Whatever (he remarked) might be the result of that particular sale, whether the estate sold as a whole, section by section, or not at all, he was convinced that there were too few people in the colony able and willing to take up lands for farming purposes, and he was certain that in a very few years the country would have legislation intended to cause a large influx of population—an influx of moneyed men, of small farmers, of good mechanics, and of good workmen of all kinds. The country could not be allowed to remain in such a state of comparative distress as hampers it at present. The colony was like a man standing beside a well, desiring a drink, of which there was abundance within sight, but for want of a bucket and rope he could not get it. The country must have more population; more farmers in the country; more capital and more eonfidence in the cities; more mechanics busily employed on the one hand, and consuming the produce of the land on the other. Increase of the population was the cure for the disease that now’ weakened the colony. When that cure had bean applied, when the goal which the colony must strive to attain had been reached, and the lands were _ properly peopled with a large and industrious population, and the cities were thronged with wealthy capitalists and busy mechanics, then land would have a value it had not at present. Man’s first necessity, bread, lay dormant in the soil, and it only needed the incentive of demand, and the touch of the magic wand of capital and labor upon the soil to make it spring into life and utility. Speaking of the value of land, he said emphatically that its value was to be gauged not by any fancies, but by hard facta, by the value of what it would produce, so much profit on an average year’s work to be set against so much fair interest on the cost price and fair remuneration for management. He repeated his conviction that there were not sufficient people of the class required to take up the properties in the market at a fair price, estimated according to their productive power. What were willing sellers to do ? Sell their properties at prices below their value, or wait till the population came ?

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Bibliographic details

LAND VALUES., Evening Star, Issue 7909, 17 May 1889

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LAND VALUES. Evening Star, Issue 7909, 17 May 1889