The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 50
Pastoral.—The pastoral lands of New Zealand are estimated at 27,000,000 acres, nearly all of which have been turned to account in growing wool and mutton; 2,166,194 acres, chiefly in the fern lands of the North Island, have been surface sown with English grasses, but the remainder is in its natural state. Whether the productiveness of the tussock lands can be materially increased by similar treatment seems an open question, for little surface sowing is done in the South Island.
Arable.—The arable lands comprise about 16,000,000 acres, of which 3,022,910 had been cultivated and broken up in 1882. In the mild climate of New Zealand every acre of land over which the plough can pass will grow crops, no matter what the altitude may be. Our food, producing resources are therefore enormous. Instead of having to depend on other countries for our supply of wheat, as alleged by the great English economist already referred to, we could supply the whole of England with the staff of life from about half our agricultural lands.
Capabilities.—The pasture lands of the United Kingdom amount to about 23,000,000 acres, and the arable lands to 24,000,000, the aggregate being 4,000,000 more page 40 than the pastoral and agricultural lands of New Zealand. But taking the superiority of our climate into consideration, we could in all probability produce as much food of all kinds as Great Britain and Ireland if our resources were fully developed. That is, we might feed 20,000,000 or 25,000,000 human beings instead of the mere handful of people that constitute the population of the Colony.
As already indicated, the value of our lands is greatly enhanced by the diversity of climate. In addition to the grain and root crops of the Old Country sub-tropical plants of all kinds grow luxuriantly in New Zealand. Grapes, oranges, lemons, citrons, melons, and almonds have long been common fruits. Olive and corkwood trees are growing well in the North, and proposals have been made to the Government to commence a tea plantation. Tobacco manufactured from leaf grown in the Colony has been occasionally smoked for years, and we are planting mulberry trees for our future silk manufactures.