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LAND F OR SETTLEMENTS

" : • «. . — THE ANNUAL REPORT. [Fbom Oirft- CoitKESPONDBNT.] -WELLINGTON, July 27. 1 The position- of affairs -under the Land for- Settlements -Act is presented in tte an-: nual report* of the Chief Purohase Commis- ; sioner and Surv&yor-.General respectively,: which were laidj.on . the "table of the House. I this afternoon. •Durin.g the year ending" March 31, 57 estates, of a total' area oft 381,213 acres, were offered to the Board of ■Purchase, 191,830, acres are under consideration, and an ai'ea of 108,065 acres was recommended for purchase. Including with this latter area part of the laud offered during the previous year, 28 estates were recommended for purohase, with the result . that offers were accepted by the owners of 19 estates, of an aggregate area of 79,889 acres, for the sum of £353,718. ' Referring I to the amending Act of last year, Mr-MPKer-row states that negotiations have been entered into, for the acquisition of lands for workmen's 'homes, but it is found to be a I very difficult matter in .some cases to obtain! suitable land in a good position and at a price within the means rof workmen who would travel to and from their work dasy I by railway to the cities. I Mr Percy Smith's r&port shows that during th« twelve months ending March 31, AinView;' estates*, of an aggregate .area-, of -"45,059^^acresV aad' j; 3lßjacres^ in* 'fourhome^ 1 steads, were offered to the rjublibfor.selee^ tiori; r Tfiis-'iS Jess thaas ' tifia'B "''SeSlt ;' wilK last" year- ( wJien ' WaikafcaM ; aid "Statb'orough "swelled 'the' "acreage)^ though the "iuni'Ber of properties is greater; It may be of^initferestrto recjipitulate' the names of the nirle estates. They were : — '■ Fencourt (Waikatb), Ohakea and Te Matua

(Wellington), Richmond Brook (Marlborough), Tamai, Takatu and Pareora No. 2 (Canterbury), Janefield and EUterslie (Otago). The last-mentioned estate takes the lead in area -with 11,618 acres. The four homesteads referred to above were Can' terbury rural sections purchased in order to furnish homestead sites for pastoral lands hitherto without theW Out of the total of 45,377 acres offered for selection, 8333 acres were unselected on ' March 31, but this somewhat large area has been considerably reduced since that date. Some few portions of the estates were purposely withheld from selection for a time. In addition to 174 selectors on the estates opened last year, other selections in the estates previously acquired took place, making the total number for the year to be 316 selectors. The Commissioners speak favourably as a whole of the condition, and settlement on these estates. Some". few are still suffering from drawbacks due to natural and other causes, wlr.ch, however, are of a temporary nature, whilst the bulk of the estates are flourishing, and appear to be well established. The arrears of rent owing by 213 selec-' tors out of a total of 1630 amounted to £7193 on March 31. During the year 36 selectors hadtleir properties forfeited, and there were ten surrenders. It is the rule that forfeited or surrendered sections are re-offered to tie public as soon as, possible, and they are. very generally taken up again. '.--"-■'.' Taking the whole of the operations under the Act up. to March 31, it is found that 69 t est&t^, of an area, of 289,660 acres,. have t been acquired- .and : thrown open: J3qt of i this. area 267.Q91 acres fcWe been leased mi farms, etc., whilst 6278 acres ; have' been, j absorbed in. roads and reserves, and 15,390 !' acres remained unlet. -These figures exclude' .eight ..estates acquired but not. offered for: selection up to the close of .the year. • They i have since beep offered, and nearly the whole ' disposed of.. The following figures -rill, show the complete financial position at March 31 : ' — Cost of estates, that have been, offered for selection, £1,413,149 ; cost of roads, • surveys and administration, etc/, £73,313 ; the lands disposed of are let at an annual ■ rental of £72,656 ; the lands unlet (exclusive of roads, reserves/ etc.), are valued- at a' rental of £3671. Taking the lands actually : let, it will be seen that the rental will pay ; interest on the capital expended at the rate of 4,8 per cent, or exactly the same as for ' the previous year. If the ms-lefe lands are I included, the interest received by the State S would be at the rate of 5.1 per cent on the - capital invested. It is understood tihat part ' of this capital raised on loan is paying in- '■ teresfc at the rate of quite 4 per cent, con- ; sequently th& estates are more than paying their waj%^,:eren after allowing 'for the ar- ' •rears of rental .due, "wjjjch, howerer^is regarded :as:a. good! asset.-'" ""' -""■"■ "■"- ~~-;

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LAND FOR SETTLEMENTS Star, Issue 6859, 28 July 1900

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