A meeting of settlers in Waikawa Valley was held recently in the house of one of their number to take steps to urge tho Government to reduce the rents at present being paid by perpetual leaseholders in tho district.
Mr W. Robertson was voted to the chair, and explained the object of the meeting, and said that as the land had turned out to be very much poorer than was anticipated at the time of valuation it was unreasonable to expect that people should be forced to continue to pay the rents put upon their holdings.
Mr Duthie read a petition hearing on tho matter which ho had prepared, and which a number, of settlers had already signed, praying for a reduction of rent, and showing cause why the request should be granted. In support of the petition he said than none of the settlers could take the rent off their places without going elsewhere to earn money, whereas the rent should be according to what the land would produce. Mr Buckingham said that when the land was let in runs the holders thereof only paid about 2d per acre, which should be considered the value in its natural state; therefore, if the Government extracted 9d to 15d from tenants, they were taking more than the real value.
Mr Turner said that it seemed to him that the settlers were taking the land in its natural state, and, in place of paying rent according to its unimproved value, were working on it for years to make it fit to produce, and were really all the'time paying according to what it would ultimately produce after all their years of toil and anxiety. He thought that the settlers themselves had a right to the fruits of their own industry. It was resolved to send a copy of the petition to the Land Board and another to the Minister of Lands, and Mr Duthie was authorised to add a memo, to the petition explaining that the settlers had been almost entirely dependent upon road contracts and wages earned in various other ways to pay their rents, more especially those occupying bush and swamp lands.
The meeting was very enthusiastic, and everyone seemed to be of opinion that the Government would see the necessities of the case and come to the rescue.
Although it is very rarely that meetings there, agree on matters political or local, it was ’very evident that all agreed that thev oould not take the rents at present ruling out of the land. 6
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UNSUCCESSFUL SETTLEMENT., Evening Star, Issue 10435, 2 October 1897, Supplement
UNSUCCESSFUL SETTLEMENT. Evening Star, Issue 10435, 2 October 1897, Supplement
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