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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Population and Resources

Population and Resources.

Description. Male. Female. Total. Estimated population, December 31, 1887 (exclusive of Maoris)............................ 324,558 278,803 603,361 Increase during the year 1888: By births............................................................ 9,641 9,261 18,902 By immigration............................................................ 9,112 4,944 13,606 Total increase............................................................ 18,753 13,755 32,508 Decrease during the year 1888: By deaths............................................................ 3,315 2,393 5,708 By emigration............................................................ 15,048 7,733 22,781 Total decrease............................................................ 18,363. 10,126 28,489 Total net increase............................................................ 390 3,629 4,019 Estimated population on December 31, 1888 (exclusive of Maoris)................................. 324,948 282,432 607,280 Maori population............................................................ 22,840 19,129 41,969 Total estimated population of the colony December 31, 1888........................................ 347,788 301,561 649,349

Table showing population of New Zealand December 31, 1888.

The Chinese population included in this is 4,707, of whom 18 were females.

Of the number of births 577 were of illegitimate origin and 192 were twins; total number of deaths, 5,708; excess of births over deaths, 13,194; excess of emigration over immigration, 9,175. The fact that the emigration from this colony has largely exceeded the immigration is indeed to be regretted. Yet it demonstrates conclusively that there is something radically wrong, and no doubt there is. When heads of families are compelled while yet they have sufficient means to defray the necessary expenses of trans- page 59 portation to other countries less favored by nature than New Zealand, and when men of small capital, business men, tradesmen, and laborers of all kinds are making determined efforts to leave the colony it is evident their condition is becoming hopeless. They see no chance for improvement in the near future; no material change can be made that will result beneficially to them, at least for the present, hence the exodus from the colony. In years gone by the Government borrowed and spent money on public works of all kinds. In those times no man wanted for work or money; every man was employed who wanted employment, and all were accumulating money more or less. Happiness and contentment reigned supreme in the land. Towns and cities were built upon an extravagant scale, in the firm belief that the reign of prosperity that existed then would continue for an indefinite period. Those who invested their capital in such enterprises were doomed to keen, and, in many instances, overwhelming disappointment; fortunes were easily made and as easily lost. The wonderful and abnormal era of prosperity was of short duration after the Government ceased to borrow and expend money on public improvements. Stagnation and depression in all avenues of trade followed. Taxation was, and is, necessarily high, owing to the enormous public debt of the colony, which is in the neighborhood of $200,000,000, while the population is only a little over 600,000. In consequence of this condition of affairs property of all kinds depreciated in value to an alarming degree. But while these unfortunate conditions existed, and do to some extent to-day, there is still a bright and happy future before New Zealand. A period of unparalleled prosperity prevailed throughout the colony, while the Government borrowed and spent millions upon millions in the development and improvement of the country. But the time arrived when a halt had to be called; borrowing must cease else the capitalists would own the country in a few years. "Retrenchment and reform" was the slogan of the new Government. Borrowing did cease, as did nearly all kinds of public works, and, in consequence of this, great was the collapse all over the colony. This occurred about three years ago. The cessation of public works and the expenditure of public money was a terrible and unexpected shock to many of the colonists, from which they are slowly but surely recovering. There is a healthy and perceptible reaction setting in. Confidence and self-reliance are doing for the people of New Zealand now what the Government sought to do for them, and did to some extent, viz, the building up of a great and prosperous people in this the richest and fairest colony of them all, and the development of her wonderful natural resources. This the Government succeeded in doing for a brief period, but, it must be confessed, it was done at a fearful sacrifice to the material prosperity of the colony.

New Zealand's wealth is in the bowels of the earth and in her soil. All that is required is capital and confidence, determination, energy, and thrift to elevate her from her present depressed condition to a position of high commercial superiority. There is no colony or country on the face of the habitable globe more richly endowed by nature than New Zealand, so far as page 60 climate, mineral, and agricultural resources are concerned. The climate of New Zealand is similar to that of California. The soil is wonderfully productive, especially in what is known as the South Island, while the soil of the North Island will produce abundantly anything that can be grown in a semi-tropical climate. The mineral wealth of the colony is unbounded. It is rich in all the precious metals, such as silver and gold, as well as iron, tin, and coal. All that is required is capital to develop these latent resources and a healthy system of immigration to settle upon the lands, together with continued economy in the administration of governmental affairs. I have no hesitancy in saying that I believe New Zealand will in a few years rank first among the colonies of Australasia, owing to her wonderful natural resources and climate. The present Government (Sir Henry Atkinson's) has done much to restore confidence, both at home and abroad, in the future of New Zealand.

The cities and towns of this colony are sufficiently large for a country population of several millions. What is required more than anything else is a population that will occupy the lands.