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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

General Land Policy

General Land Policy

of the present Government, it was, as he had said, more liberal in its conception and execution than any other scheme previously proposed. It had however, he believed, one defect. The present Government stopped short of selling land for cash; they desired not to alienate the public estate, and preferred to settle lands under the perpetual leasing system; This he did not altogether agree with. He thought that facilities should be given those who were desirous of paying cash for their land, so that settlement might progress; It might be merely sentiment, but it was a most powerful sentiment in the colonisation of a country, that those coming to it should have the opportunity, at some time or other, either immediately, or at the end of a period of leasehold, of converting into freehold a reasonable quantity of land. (Applause). He was glad to think that this rule of administration was now being relaxed, and that the Government were beginning to recognise that those who come to this colony, perhaps with capital, should not be turned away and told "you cannot buy land, you must lease it." It was some satisfaction that the Government were coming to recognise that the work of colonisation should go on, so that the resources of the colony might be developed. While dealing with the land question, he would refer to a matter of some importance to some of them. There were several leases under "The Wet Oast Settlement Act." They were of two classes—the first consisting of leases obtained from the natives before these natives were debarred from dealing with their lands, and the second class of leases those in which the Public Trustee acted for the natives said to be interested. In the first class promises had been given as to renewals, and it was almost incomprehensible page 4 that such promises should so long have been unfulfilled. There was hope that last session legislation would have been passed that would have enabled these promises to be fulfilled, but unfortunately the measure did not pass. It would be the duty of the member for that district to speak out with no uncertain sound, and have these promises of the country carried out; As to the second class of leases, they found this spectacle: the Government of the country, through the Public Trustee, exacting blood money, or rent for lands which were leased under the system of tender—a system which was now utterly condemned. They found a measure of relief refused—not by the Lower House—though reluctantly granted, but by the dignatories who sit in the Upper House of Parliament, and these settlers' rights were postponed for another term. While on the subject he might say a word as to