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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71

Improvements

Improvements.

As the object of the law is to assure the bona fide occupation of the land, occupation certificates with the right of purchase, and leases in perpetuity, are granted subject to conditions of improvement. These conditions are so moderate that no one who desired to use the land for settlement purposes could well do less. It is not the expenditure of money so much as work done on the land that is required. They are as follows:—

Within one year from the date of the license or lease substantial improvements of value equal to 10 per cent. of the cash price must be made or placed on the land; within two years to the value of another 10 per cent.; and within six years to the value of another 10 per cent., making in all 30 per cent. In addition to these, there must be put upon the land "substantial improvements of a permanent character" to the value of £l per acre on first-class land, and on second-class land of an equal value with the land itself, but not exceeding 10s. per acre.

Substantial improvements of a permanent character are defined in the Act to "mean and include reclamation from swamps, clearing of bush, gorse, broom, sweetbriar, or scrub; cultivation, planting with trees or live-hedges, the laying-out and cultivation of gardens; fencing, draining, making roads, sinking wells or water-tanks, constructing water-races, sheep-dips, making embankments or protective works of any kind, in any way improving the character or fertility of the soil, or the erection of any building."

"'Cultivation' includes drainage, the felling of bush, or the clearing of land for cropping, or clearing and ploughing for and laying down with artificial grasses."

Example.—If the allotment consists of 100 acres of first-class land at £1 per acre, or 200 acres of second-class land, the selector would be required to make substantial improvements of the value of £10 in the first year, £10 in the second year, and £10 within the next four years, and, in addition, to make "substantial improvements of a per- page 15 manent character" of the value of £100 within the total period of six years.

The special conditions as to improvements on bush or swamp lands held on deferred payments or perpetual lease under "The Land Act, 1885," are now repealed.