POLITICIANS AND THE LAND QUESTION.
1U i/US iiULiUK. Sir,—When one recognises that monopoly in land and monopoly in the rent values have undoubtedly cursed every country in which the system has been extensively tried, and will curse this land of ours unless arrested, the able contribution under the above heading by “Land Reform ” is of intense interest to those who study the Land Question. Those who merely look on the surface of the question seem to think that the value of land is determined entirely by its productive quality, and cannot conceive. that the value of land depends upon many other considerations. To them the value of land depends merely on the quality of the soil, or the nature of the sunshine, or the amount of rain that falls. The facilities available for getting the produce off the land, the nearness of the land to harbors, roads, and railways, which the people have constructed, are lost sight of as determining factors in the creation of land values. Hence the contention that the value which is given to hind by the united action of the community as a whole should be shared, at least in some part, by the community as a whole, and should not be handed over entirely to the land monopolist, sounds to them like a fetish. They have no time to read Henry George. John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith, 'Ricardo, or any other authority on the question. They are content to be simply Wardites or Masseyites. It is no easy task to attempt to educate them to the fact that as soon as you impose a tax upon the value of land you take from the land monopolist some part of that rent value which belongs to the community, and thereby you naturally decrease the sale price of laud. Surely there are no intricate aspects in the assumption that the effect of a tax of this kind is to reduce the sale price of land, because it takes away from the land monopolist some of that value which belongs to the community. The result is that laud users, as distinct from land monopolists, when they seek to get possession of land, find it ottering to them on better terms than was hitherto the case. Therefore, immediately yon set more demand for land you get naturally more cultivation and more production. The consequence is a greater amount of prosperity in the community. This great general prosperity tells again upon the demand for land. Two forces are set in motion—one which tends to decrease the price of land, and the other which increases the demand for land. As a result of these counteracting forces greater prosperity and well-being of the community would obtain, while the value of land would not become inflated, and settlement on land and production would increase by leaps and bounds. Matters that are omitted by both parties, though urgently needed, are a reduction in the coat of living and the abolition of revenue duties on the necessaries of life, t pity the worker who, though he has his breakfast table taxed, is content to be a “Lib-Lab,” The hand of the tax gatherer is heaVy upon him, and the cost of living is ruinous. The only politicians who can benefit the working class now ore those who would take off alt the duties on the necessaries of life, the things that go into household consumption—food^
clothing, and household requisites of the people, and, if needs bo, implements of I husbandry and all those things that aid production. I do not hesitate to say, without discussing the subject fully, that I am euro an oxpert investigation'"with a view to a substantial reduction in the present tariff schedule is necessary, along with increased taxation upon large landed estates. It is notorious that the* price of moat, vegetables, and bread is rising to such a, point as to scon place them beyond the reach of the working classes, and house rents are abnormal and disproportionate to a worker's earnings. It was mentioned in the last Parliament that Mr Massev has suggested borrowing £ 1,0G0,C00 for" back-block roads, and so increase the unearned increment on land. It was also discovered by a return presented to Parliament that certain members of Parliament possessed large tracts of country. The best land of New Zealand is taken up, and nothing remains but second and third rate- land. The cost of living will never be reduced until the Customs duties are removed from tho necessaries of life 'and the private appropriation of rent abolished. If the workers choose to send to Parliament the owners of large estates, then they must pay the piper, and there must ever exist a tax on labor.—l am, etc.. 'W. E. J. Magttirk. January 6.
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POLITICIANS AND THE LAND QUESTION., Evening Star, Issue 15694, 7 January 1915