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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Outline of the Proposed Reform

Outline of the Proposed Reform.

Debenture 1.To every owner, whose land is unencumbered, debentures shall (subject to the exception in No. 5) be issued to the full amount of his unimproved value.
Debenture 2.To every owner, whose land is mortgaged, debentures shall be issued to the amount of the unimproved value, less the amount due to the mortgagee. In cases where the mortgagee's claim exceeds the unimproved value no debentures will be issued to the owner.
Debenture 3.To every mortgagee debentures shall be issued to the full amount of his loan, provided that they shall in no case be issued in excess of the unimproved value of the land secured.
Debenture 4.Separate debentures shall be issued for each property and, as far as possible, for each title deed, in order to facilitate sub-division and transfer of land as much as possible.
Debenture 5.In cases where the value of the improvements is less than 30 per cent, of the unimproved value of any land the debenture for that section shall not be saleable, but remain in the custody of the Land Tax Department, as security for the ground-rent page 8 payment, until such time as the improvement have been increased to the above proportion. (The total improvements in the Colony exceed 62 per cent.)
Transfer of Debentures 6.The debentures shall be made payable to the present owner of land or the mortgagee, and shall be transferable either by sale, gift, or inheritance A "transfer register" shall be kept, and transfer effected, for a clerical fee. at any Money Order Post Office and at the Land Tax Department in Wellington.
Redemption of Debentures 7.The debentures may be redeemed at par by the Department, at such times and to such amount as Parliament may decide from year to year.
Interest on Debentures 8.Debentures shall bear interest at 5 per cent, per annum, payable half-yearly in New Zealand.
Ground-Rent 9.The State shall, at the outset, charge ground-rent to every owner at 5 per cent, per annum upon the full amount of his unimproved value, payable halt-yearly: the value to be that fixed by the assessment of 1891 for the Land Tax, or at the selling price of later transactions. These values would afford a fixed point of departure; they were not arrived at with any such purpose in view, and their adoption would prevent the delay and cost entailed by a special assessment.
Re-Assessment of Ground-Rent 10.Future assessments should be on the annual and not on the capital value, and be made periodical! at such times as Parliament may direct. Appeals against assessments shall be heard in open court, after the valuation lists have been published for sixty days and the objections thereto for thirty days. Objection may be made by any person to the valuation of either his own or any other person's land.
Management 11.The entire control and management of the debenture and ground-rent business shall be conducted by the Land Tax Department. No political influence shall be permitted; and to ensure this the department shall be removed from all ministerial control, and be administered under an Act of Parliament.
Recovery of Ground-Rent 12.The recovery of ground-rent not punctually paid shall be by ordinary process of law. On no account shall the land of a debtor be taken by the page 9 department. In the event of an owner's bankruptcy the land shall vest, for disposal, in the Official Assignee, and shall be publicly advertised and dealt with by him. Crown claims to be preferential.
Titles to Land 13.The titles to land shall continue to be held, conveyed, and bequeathed in the same way as at present.
Transfers of Land 14.All persons desiring to acquire or part with land shall be free to make their own bargains, without reference to any official, and to convey the whole or any part, as they may mutually arrange. From the date of sale the new owner will be liable for the ground-rent of the land he has taken over, and shall pay direct to the department. The former owner's debentures will not be affected by the transfer of his land.
Stamp Duty 15.The existing stamp duty on conveyances shall be abolished, and the charge for registration shall be a clerical one only.