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COMMISSION SITTING IX DUNEDIN. The Valuation of Land Commission, which, has so far «»t in Auckland, Wellington, and Wairarapa, held the Dunedin session at the Conr.oil Chambers this morning. The personnel of the Commission is jilr F. F. .Martin, chairman (Wellington), Mr Ewen Campbell (Wanganui), and Mr J. G. Rutherford (Auckland). Mr F. W. Flanagan, head of the Valuation - Department, was oLk> present with Mr Clothier (in charge of the local office). Amongst the main objects of the Commission are : To inquire into such cases at alleged excessive values as may be brought under their notice, and to report 33 to whether these values were assigned In accordance ■with the definitions of " unimproved value" and "value of improvements" in the Valuation of Land Amendment Act, 1912. To consider whetfier, in view of the scope and objects ana practical working 01 the Valuation of Land Act, 1908, and its amendments!, the As)eaament Court provided for in the said \ct is so constituted as to ensure equitable consideration of objections heard and determined by the Court, and to recommend, 'if considered necessary or expedient, an alternative which will improve the composition of the Court while at the name time preserving its judicial character. To consider and to report as to whether section 31 of the Valuation of Land Act, 1908. affords an owner who is not satisfied with the valuo of his land as fixed 'by the Assessment Court en equitable alternative. To consider and report upon the methods of the Valuation Department in making valuations and generally to inquire into and report upon such other matters arising thereout as may coma under notice* in the course cf inquiries and which the Commission coneider should be investigated in connection therewith. Several persons were present to give evidence. James M'Kechnie (Stuart street) came forward with a complaint as to property In ■Stuart street in his .wife's name. He jaid it was valued at £I.OOO, and he paid £2,500 for it. Properties on either side with buildings on them had sold for a little over £4OO and £3OO respectively, nnd he thought £SOO u fair valuation. Chas. Christie Graham, of Dunedin. appealed against the valuation put on three pastoral runs in the Hawea country, held In the name of himself and two daughters, and totalling 101,000 acres. He had overlooked notice of revaluation owing to abaonce, and had found later that fates were charged at £23 2s 6d as against a jirevitfhs £9 15s Id. The nature of the country on this lease could be gnawed from the fact that the highest- number of sheep that ho had been able to winter was 6,300, and each year he had been 1.500 short at shearing.' In the last three rears the run had not paid interest on the capital, and there had been no reserve for losses. He was unable to estimate the capital value.—The Valuer-general explained that the rates were fixed now on the unimproved value instead of the rental as before, which probably accounted for the increase. Comnluin-int. could have applied for a revaluation, but now taxes could not lie altered until 1915. —The Chairman Mid the Commission woidd consider the complaint. A. F. Quelch, 'Mayor of Mnsgipl. said that three years co the Borough of Mosgiel elected' to be fated on the unimproved value. The valuation that theu took place had caused a good deo-1 of dissatisfaction, chiefly owing to tho want of uniformity and an inconsistency of the valuations. A revision should take place as soon aa possible, so as to bring valuations into uniformity. There was a -great disparity, and in sonio ens*;* persons with similar sections did no: nay the same rates. The system of valuation ran Id be greatly improved by having the asSlstancu j of competent people with local knowledge. Witness also stated that the -previous council said that a promise of revaluation in two years had been given.—The Valuerzeneral said that n:> /ueh promise had been given; there was to be a recommendation for revaluation, but he had refused to revalue this and other areas since the outbreak of war. Mr Flanagan proceeded : '"Are you aware that the council withdrew tneir objection to the valuation?— Witness said he was not aware of it.— Tha Valuer-general cro3s-o:;amined further ta show that the cause of any inconsistency was the change in the system of rating from the capital value to the unimnroved vaki? at the bovonuh's wish.

Kate Rossbotham, of Wnodhaugh, ob!ected to the valuation of her house and ections in St. Kilda. The unimproved value had been incroasrd from £9OO to £1,835 in about two years.—ln answer to a question from Mr Campbell, witness said that she supposed that the property might bo sold for £I,BOO, but surely she was not to be taxed to the hilt: surely the value for taxation was tint tho same a3 the value for sale.—The. Chairman said it was, and apparently complainant's quarrel was rather with the law than with tho Valuation Department.—Mr Campbell: You see the thrifty must keep the worthless now. It is a privilege allowed us.—Tho ValuerGeneral said that this witness's grievance was one rather againat the Borough Council, under whom she? was paying six special rates.—The Chairman said they .would consider her statement carefully. * Richard M'Keagg. of Mosgiel, said ho bought his property about six, vears i>'»o ior £443. The revaluation Haced him at £350 (capital value), and he"had lodged an objection. He was prepared to let * ' 'm' : ' ;fli '"t I 1 ■'■.■■.' tiv -vholi: t'lir:;; for £7CO. He had been' unable to get a silts! ■_,' of the Assessment Court to hear hi 3 case—The position as stated hy Mr Flanagan (and agreed to by complainant) ■was tnat it sum of £125 had been taken off, and tho only point at issuej was tho apportionment. This was all the evidence, but Mr Win. Lindsay Craig (valuer and farmer) offered some suggestions and criticisms. Ho said that he had been a valuer for the department, and since he retired on superannuation lie had bee-i valuing nil over the South Island. He considered that tho Valuation Department 'v.-ere not holding iho confidence of tho community aj they Should. One reason for this was that the Valuations of the district were not kept tip to date. In Taieii County, for example, the best land had not been valued for seven years, and yet first chsi land there had doubled in value. Thu was Very -unfair to poorer districts that had been valued up to date. Again, some of Ihe men appointed had not the full contl. deuce of the public. Some years ago a, clerk waa taken out of tho utnee. to value City properties, and when he died a man was sent from Wellington to value Ihuiedin property. As tar as the speaker knew, this man had had no knowledge of land and buildings, and certainly he had bad no local knowledge. In the valuation cf Maori Hill tho speaker alleged that Very few of the properties had bean inspected. Moreover, sometimes districts .Were let by contract for valuation, which »as very unsatisfactory, in that a man Was likely to rush through as quickly as possible, in order to obtain his money. The Valuator-General, in rooly. said shat, generally speaking, there "had been ao increase in the value of good land ia she Taieri; it had noti doubled in* price, jp- asserted. It was quite impossible to Value the whole of a district in one seajfcln, aad the practice of the department was, to revalue as land increased or fhanged in value. There was practically no movement in Qtugo values, and therefore they had not revalued hare. As for the contract system described by Mr Craig, it did not exist under his (the Valuer-General's) regime, whatever it might havt* been when Mr Craig was in -pie service. A local man was certainlv employed to do the work for a sum, but |Q his work had to be approved and Endowed by the District Valuer. MoreOver, no man was now employed upon £ral work who had not had rural experice. finally Mr Flanagan examined Mr Craig a* to his statement that properties were not inspected, and asserted that there would be found in the valuer's field book the particulars upon which valuations were based —particulars that could not be obtained without inspection. The Commission proceed to Gore this evening, and after hearing evidence there »nd at Invercargill and elsewhere, will go Straight through tu Christchurch—pi-o-hably-oauSatwaaju

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VALUATION OF LAND, Issue 15678, 17 December 1914

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VALUATION OF LAND Issue 15678, 17 December 1914

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