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THE LAND BILL.

CRITICISED BY MR McKENZIE.

Mr T. McKenzie, M.11.R. for Waikouaiti, has addressed meetings at Wyndham, Otautau, and Invercargill in opposition to the Land Bill. Resolutions were passed at each place, declaring that no measure which did not provide for the option of the freehold would he in the best interests of the people. Following are some of the points made by the speaker : The main principles of the Bill are clear. The 999 year tenants are to be granted the right to pay off ninetenths of their property at the original cost. Owners of land valued at over £50,000 require to dispossess themselves of the surplus area. Remaining unsold Crown Lands to be reserved as endowments for education, etc. Areas to be afterwards acquired to be limited to £-15,000. I favour granting the freehold to the 999 years tenants. The revenue from endowments is estimated at £184,000, but that sum is already used indirectly for various purposes. The endowment policy is therefore largely a will-o’-the-wisp scheme. It is an effervescent drink. Fowlds is the soda, Laurenson the acid, and 'McNab the water. The dispossession of lands above £50,000 in value has my support. From ancient to modern times there has been a continuaf struggle for the freeholdIn France the Revolution was necessary to bring it about. No Government has a right to play a game of political see-saw with a national question like land tenure. What is causing this perpetual unrest ?

1 The city minority is active, the country majority passive. Mr Seddon, when a private member, favoured tenants having, the right to purchase mining areas ©on the d.p. system. Mr B a llance held the same views. Sir John McKenzie favoured cash sales, and denied that he opposed the freehold Mr Seddon, again, declared that the [more freeholds there were the more prosperous would a country be. Mr Duncan moved to give leaseholders the right of purchase. Mr McNab was a freeholder at the last elections. The Land Commission cost £lO,000, but the Government failed to deal with its report. Then came Mr McNab’s Land Bill. He said last session that the Government would stand to its guns in this matter. He then withdrew the Bill for the session, making no provision to restrict operations in large properties. Thus, when the House meets again land available in connection with large estates will have reached nearly a vanishing point. The Land Bill campaign has assumed the form of a sham fight. The Minister of Labour says the Government will either adopt the limitation clauses or increase the graduated tax. This will not have the same effect in the case of large estates. Does this look as if they mean to stand by their guns. There was no land scheme formulated at the last elections. The late Premier brought with him into the House last session men of all shades of thought—publicans as well as prohibitionists 1 , the land monopolist and the landless single-taxer of the city. They now possessed a Parliament elected to follow a Premier who was no more. They had a land bill that had never been submitted to the country. The members of the House required to be drafted out they were all “boxed.” Many of the land agitators lived in the cities, and would probably never ao on the land, but they claimed the right to tell the man who did so how he should manage. What w r ould they think of a country man who interfered with their business in the same .way ? The freehold is the best tenure. It has a good influence on the frugality, industry, and intelligence of the people. Men would always work harder when they worked on what belonged to them. It would be cruel and unjust for the State, in the name of taxation, to deprive the private owner of more than is fitting.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/SOCR19070504.2.10.4

Bibliographic details

THE LAND BILL., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 5, 4 May 1907

Word Count
649

THE LAND BILL. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 5, 4 May 1907

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