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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71

Small Grazing-Runs

Small Grazing-Runs.

Blocks of pastoral land are opened in sections of varying size, according to situation and carrying capacity. These are called "small grazing-runs," and are let on lease for twenty-one years, with right of renewal at the expiration of the term for other twenty-one years.

If a lessee does not desire to renew the lease, any improvements he may have made are valued, and added to the price to be paid by any incoming lessee, and then paid over to the outgoing lessee.

These runs are opened for lease on application at a rent of not less than £2 10s. per cent. on such price as the Board shall fix, not being less than the price at which second-class land may be sold. The applicant must lodge a deposit equal to £1 5s. per cent. on the value of the run.

Thus, if a small grazing-run contains 2,000 acres, and the price-value is 5s. per acre = £500, the rent will be £12 10s. per annum, of which the applicant must lodge £6 5s., or a half-year's rent, on making his application.

The largest area of a "first-class" small grazing-run is 5,000 acres, and of a "second-class" run 20,000 acres.

No person can become the lessee of more than one small grazing-run.

No holder of a pastoral lease (see post, p. 23) can be a lessee under this system.

Neither can a small grazing-run be held by any person who is the owner of freehold land, or land held under lease from the Crown, or other person or company, any-where in the colony, which taken together would exceed an area of 1,000 acres, exclusive of the run for which he is an applicant.

Exception to these disqualifications is made in favour of any person acquiring a lease by marriage, or under a will, or by virtue of intestacy.

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The lease entitles the lessee to the exclusive right of pasturage, and to the cultivation of such portion of the run as he may think fit.

He acquires no right of purchase; hut with the approval of the Board he may select 150 acres of land adjoining and including his homestead, and hold the same for his unmolested occupancy during the term of his lease.

Roads and rights of way in common use across the run remain open to the public, and land may be taken for making other roads without compensation; also, the lands comprised in the lease are subject to the provisions of the Mining Act, and every holder of a miner's right or business license may exercise the rights granted thereby upon any portion of the land.

Residence.—The lessee must reside on the land within one year if it is open land, and within three years if it is bush or swamp land, and thereafter continuously to the end of the term. But this condition may be relaxed on the same terms as are specified in the general conditions as to residence (see ante, pp. 15, 16).

Improvements.—The lessee is required to put upon the land "substantial improvements of a permanent character" of the value of one year's rent, during the first year of the lease; and to an equal value in the second year; and within six years to a value equal to the amount of other two years' rent; and on bush lands, in addition to the above, he must put substantial improvements of a permanent character on the land to the value of 10s. for every acre of first-class land and 5s. for every acre of second-class land.

Thus, if the lease comprised 3,000 acres of first-class land, valued at 10s. an acre, or 6,000 acres of second-class land valued at 5s. per acre, the rent in either case would be £37 10s. a year; and the lessee of open land would require to make improvements in the first year of the value of .£37 10s.; of the same value in the second year; and of the further value of .£75 within six years: in all £150, But in bush land, further improvements to the value of £1,500 would be required in addition. The clearing of page 23 the bush is necessary for the use of the land, and comes within the category of "substantial improvements of a permanent character."

The money paid by an incoming lessee for improvements previously made is allowed for as substantial improvements put upon the land by himself.

After the conditions of residence and improvement have been complied with for three years, the lessee may, with the approval of the Board, subdivide his run amongst such members of his family as are of the age of seventeen years and upwards, and new leases will be issued to them on the same terms, and subject to the same conditions of residence and improvement, as the original lease.

When a lease expires the run is revalued, and the rent readjusted by the Land Board, by arbitration. If the lessee thinks fit he can renew his lease at the new rental. Otherwise, it will be offered at auction at an upset not higher than the price at which it was offered to the original lessee.