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DEPASTURING COMMISSION.

The Commission appointed to report as to the best means of utilising the Wakatip Depasturing district, held an inquisition in the Courthouse, Queenstown, on Monday. There were present —Messrs It. Beetham (chuirman), B. Hallenstein, J. Douglas, A lnnes, J. A. Miller, and J. S. Worthington. The Court-house was full nearly the whole day, and considerable interest was manifested throughout the proceedings. The following is a brief report of the evidence taken : Mr Bourdeau, stockowuer, and member of the Board of Wardens, thought that the Hoard should be done away with, as members were too much interested. I*he district should be divided into runs by Government Inspector, with sufficient reserves for mining purposes—the surplus to be divided into small cattle blocks, and otTered for sale by auction, with six months' grace to remove stock ; whole of great cattle couutry iu be reserved from leasing. Miners to have right of entry on leased country. A. C. Thomson, farmer and stock owner, Hayes Lake, thought the Board of Wardens should be done away with. It had been swayed by interest. Land ought to be sold by aucti"n for a term of from 5 to 10 years. Buns to be defined by natural boundary. Was in favor of reserves tor great ea:;le belonging to miners* miners to have full entry and limited number as at present set, of cattle and horses. Would not ject to miners receiving damages done to races by sheep or cattle. Thought sale by auction preferable to tendering. J. E. Haines handed in a document, the pmport of which was, that sale of runs would be injurious to small settlers and miners, and furnished a case in point in his own instance. John Withers, stockowners, was in favor of small runs, with natural boundaries; or else that holders of agricultural land should run stock according to tneir acreage. Thought the latter the better plan of the two. Was in favor of the country being sold and leased to present owners, giving miners right of entry. (Mr Geo. Atkins here presented a memorial signed by about eight stockowners. The memorialsts advocated that the present great cattle blocks should remain as hitherto, and that the Government should assess the sheep

blocks, fix a premium on same, and allow the present sheepoirnen on the respective runs the right of lease for ten years) • Mr Atkins would allow any amount of fair damage to miners' property, or agricultural leases. Where there were no natural boundaries thought amalgamation of holder* deniable. The memorial referred only to sheep country. <fILL Mr J. Kirkpatrick, sheenowner, and of Board of Wardens, thought the unsold land should be leased in runs. The Board of Wardens bad not worked well, erpeeislly the last six months' having had no legal adviser; if they had had such a person the Board Would ham worked well. f

(Mr Jas. M'Artbnr applied to hare Ms name erased from petition presented, because; when signing it he was under the impression it wan against the sale of runs.) Mr 6. Beer, cattleowner, waa not in faror of selling leases. He considered the present prosperity of the district waa due to easy access to country for depasturing purposes. If the rune were sold meat would increase in price. Mr Jas. M'Arthur, stockowner, Bbotover, was not in favor of selling the runs. He though* there was monopoly enough already, and it would be increased by giving n bettor tide to owners of stock. Was a member of the Board of Wardens for two years. Waa not in favor of allowing each settler to run sheep in proper-' tion to area held by him. Was a gainst the apKintm nt of interested men as members of the »rd. Would nominate by Government. The selling of the runs would decrease the population. A great part of best country had been set aside for sheep. A large number of miners ran sheep at present. Was in favor of the present system, if amended. The Board having no power, and members being interested, no good would result. Mr Edward Welsh, miner, thought a Board of Wardens should be app inted, which had direct power. As at present constituted, nogood could come of it- Meat waa reduced because of competition. A better system would be a great benefit to small farmers, an facility would be offered to increase the stock. Free commonage must give great benefit to email farmers. Intended to invest in stock.

Mr H. W. Cantons, miner, was ill fcnr of selling the runs, although it might be a bad precedent, should it decrease the miners* mutton. It would not interfere with miners or their rights. Was not aware that miners kept any cattle.

Mr John Brown, fanner, Speargraas Rat, wished to amend or modify the evidence given by him at Arrowtown toe previous Monday. At that time he said he was not aware that there was such an intensity of feeling amongst aaintra in reference to the selling of the runs. He was not aware that many were dependant upon a few bead of cattle for subsistence, and therefore considered it would be almost impossible to take the land away from the miners. The mining interest being too important to overlook be would give it the fullest justice. He did not approve of the present system. Wou d recommend assessment of stock by Government Inspector. Would protect the prerogatives of the mining interest, and also of the farming, so that both callings, as they had risen to prosperity by the present system, might still continue to render the district prosperity. Would be in favor of dividing the country into sheep and cattle blocks. Heard, when present at Arrowtown, that the bulk of the evidence taken there was against the selling of runs, and the opinions outside ran also in the same channel

Mr Matthew Dwyer, farmer, was against thesale of the runs altogether, as it would be injurious to the public at large, by throwing the land of the district into the hands of a few monopolists. He would endorse Mr J. Brown'a (previous witness 1 ) evidence. Mr John Simpson, sheepowner, did not approve of amount of stock to be held by any person to be regulated by the amount of acres lie mightholi,lorhe(witness)was located where the agricultural lessee had been at considerable expense e; ecting woolsheds, Ac Would therefore suggest that the runs should be sold'to the people at present in occupation of them. Mr John Humphrey, tanner, Frank ton Flat, was not in favor o( selling the runs, but would suggest that the present system be improved. Recollected the great objection that was raised when the sale of runs was previously attempted. Best parts of depasturing land were being monopolized by persons interested in the Board, and it resulted in producing inferior stock. Would be in favor of full interest being reserved for use of miners. Would suggest sale of 800 to 1000 acre blocks.

Mr P. B. Boult thought that if more extended powers were given to the present Board of Wardens to fix the boundaries it would meet all difficulties. Was in favor of the blocks being leased and defined with natural boundaries; reserving from lease blocks for cuttle country, abo for mining purposes ; a Board of Wardens to manage the depasturing affairs of the district, assisted by a Government Inspector. Keserres to be set apart for cattle and sheep in' the neighborhood of towns for purposes of sales. • Mr F. M'Bride thought the country should be assessed by competent persons, and landowners should be e-tit>d to run stock according to their holdings. Would suggest that a Government Inspector be appointed. Would be in favor of a Board of Farmers consisting of fife members, to be elected every two yean. The members should be farmers of 50 acres and upwards.

Mr H. Manders, mining and estate agent, handed in a very exhaustive report dealing with the whole question of proper management of the Wakatip, wherein he stated he was totally opposed to sale of runs, on various grounds. J a nies H. Li w ton, stockowner, Moke Creek, advised that lands adjoining agricultural land be set aside, divided into the Frankton, Queenstown. Speargrass Flat, and Arrow divisions, to be subdivided into runs, and leasd to present occupiers, with n serration of all rights to miners at present enjoyed by them. The present owners had incurred expenses in improving the country in the belief that the land would eventually be Rold to them. To regulate the amount of sheep and cattle to be run by any persons according to acreage they held would not work. The country to be assessed by a person acquainted with district. Would be in favor of the country being sold in blocks to present occupiers bj tender and not by auction. Mr Tlios. Bell, farmer and stockowner, was decidedlv opposed to selling the runs on the Gold fields, as extensive commonage was essential to small farmers and miners. A competent ranger would meet all difficulties. Large revenue might be collected, and would save great contention. He wouid do away with Depasturing Hoard. Country not stocked at ] rest nt; if properly managed would carry treble the quantity. Present owners to receive consideration over and above new comers. In case of runs being sold present occupiers should hare eighteeen months grace to remove, if not tha purchasers.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/LWM18730416.2.9

Bibliographic details

DEPASTURING COMMISSION., Lake Wakatip Mail, Issue 753, 16 April 1873

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DEPASTURING COMMISSION. Lake Wakatip Mail, Issue 753, 16 April 1873

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