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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62



Crown lands are either sold absolutely, or leased for a term of years. In the case of a sale, the applicant buys the freehold right out, and pays for the land either in cash or by deferred payments. If land is leased from the Crown, it may be for a fixed term of years; at the expiration of which it reverts to the Crown, or it may be with a right of renewal, in which case it is called a Perpetual Lease. The bulk of the Crown lands are now dealt with under a system which gives to the selector the option of choice of tenure between freehold (cash or deferred payment), and perpetual lease.

This system of optional tenure, together with a right to purchase the freehold on fulfilment of certain conditions, was introduced by the Land Acts of 1887, and was the distinguishing feature of the land policy of the late Government.

Appended is a list of the various systems of disposing of Crown lands.

1.Cash Payment.—Town and suburban lands are sold by auction: rural lands either by auction or more generally, by free selection, after being proclaimed open at a fixed upset price, when they page 22 may be either taken up for cash, deferred payment, or perpetual lease, at option of selector, who is restricted to 640 acres of first-class and 2,000 acres of second-class land for cash selections.
2.Deferred-payment Lands are thrown open for selection as above, but the price is 25 per cent, above that of cash or perpetual lease. Selectors are restricted to 640 acres, and must make certain improvements on the land. The freehold is acquired after either ten or fourteen years' annual payments. Residence is compulsory.
3.Perpetual-lease Lands are also thrown open for selection as above, and the rent is fixed at 5 per cent, on the capital upset cash price. The selector is restricted to 640 acres of first-class land, or 2,000 acres of second-class land, and must make certain improvement, after which he has the option of buying the freehold. Leases are for thirty-one years, with perpetual right of renewal. The improvements belong to tenant. Residence compulsory.
4.Village-settlement Lands, consist of village sections not exceeding acre, and small-farm sections not exceeding 50 acres each.
5.Village Homesteads Special Settlements are held on perpetual lease without option of purchase, are limited to 50 acres, and improvements and residence are compulsory. A loan of £10 is made by the Government towards the cost of building a house.page 23
6.Special-settlement Associations are confined to associations of people who combine for settlement and mutual help.
7.Homestead Lands in certain districts may be selected, after proclamation, for the mere cost of survey. Residence and improvement are compulsory. The limit is 300 acres, and the grant may be acquired after five years' residence and on fulfilment of conditions.
8.Small Grazing-runs are offered at auction at a rental of per cent, on upset price for terms of twenty-one years. Improvement and residence are compulsory. The limit of area is 20,000 acres.
9.Pastoral Leases are of various areas, and represent country too broken, or not fit for other purposes. They are offered by auction for various terms, up to twenty-one years. Neither residence nor improvement is necessary.

There are other systems on which land may be acquired but they need not be given here as they are hardly of general interest.

The Crown lands of the Colony are administered under the Land Act 1885, and the amendments of 1887 and 1888. The colony is divided into ten land districts, each being under the local direction of a Commissioner and a Land Board. In each district there is land office and it is with these land offices the selector has to transact all business, from the first consultation of the maps, the subsequent selection and purchase of land, to the final receipt of the page 24 Crown grant. The names of the land districts and of the towns where each principal office is situated are, as under:—
Land District. Town where Principal Land Office is situated.
Auckland Auckland.
Taranaki New Plymouth
Hawke's Bay Napier
Wellington Wellington
Nelson Nelson
Marlborough Blenheim
Canterbury Christchurch
Otago Dunedin
Southland Invercargill
Westland Hokitika