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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Personal Volume

Leasing State lands; a speech delivered ... in the House of Representatives ... 15th September, 1875

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Leasing State Lands

A Speech Delivered

By Robert Stout

In the House of Representatives, N.Z.

On the 15th September, 1875.

Dunedin: Millis, Dick & Co., Printers, Stafford Street.

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Leasing State Lands.

Mr Stout, in moving the motion standing in his name, said he was aware that he was about to advocate what might be termed a theory; for the proposition to dispose of the waste lands of the Crown by lease had only arrived at what might be called the theoretical stage; but it must be remembered that every great reform that had ever taken place had gone through its theoretical stage. Even in matters of science, the hypothesis must always precede the experiment and the fact. And this was even more striking in matters of politics than in matters of science; for they would not have had those great reforms in England—they would not have had what was called the change in the commercial system—they would not have had the repeal of the Corn Laws—they would not have had the ballot—they would not have had the extension of the suffrage—had all these questions not been calmly debated and considered by political economists, and at first discussed from the political economist's point of view. Therefore, although this system might be termed a theoretical system, the time would come when it would be regarded as a most pressing practical question. For the present he would set cut, as briefly as he could, some of the reasons why such a system should be adopted in New Zealand, in the hope that, if not in this Parliament, at no distant date there would be a party strong enough to make this system the law of the land. He was well aware that one of the first objections to the system would be that it was Utopian. Time would not permit him to show that even in countries where all the lands of the Crown had been sold it was not regarded as Utopian, and therefore, instead of reading long extracts upon the subject from the writings of gnat men, he would simply refer those honourable members who might desire to study the subject to the works of those writers. A very interesting discussion has been going on in England for some time with reference to this question, which had been debated by some of the ablest political econo- page 2 mists, such as Professor Cairnes, the late Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, Professor Fawcett, Mr. Macdonnell, and several others; and although their opinions differed in some Tespects, yet they all admitted that, theoretically, this was the best system of land administration for every country that had not disposed of all its lands. The book of Mac-donnell's showed that the system might be applied with advantage oven in England, Ireland, and Scotland; and several reports had been presented to the House of Commons, amongst them one by Mr. Harris Gastrell, who gave an interesting account of the land system of Prussia, and traced it down from the time of the Stein-Hardenburg legislation to the present time, showing that the system might not only be applied to Prussia, but that it would be of vast practical benefit to the various countries in Europe. He would briefly sketch some of the arguments that might be adduced in favour of its adoption here; and he would just mention that the subject was not new to New Zealand, because it had been debated in the Otago Provincial Council, where & motion, affirming the principle, was only lost by three votes on a division, the numbers being 15 for it and 18 against it. He noticed also, from a late Victorian 'Hansard,' that the question had been discussed in the Parliament of that colony, and that some of the ablest men in that colony had been found voting in favour of it, such as Mr. Grant, Mr. Higin-botham, and others, who had made this question of the land laws a special subject of study. There were two views of the question which might be taken: first, the question of right, as it was termed; and, second, the question of expediency. He had no objection to view it from one or both of these standpoints, for he was prepared to contend that, whether viewed as right or expedient, it was a proper land system, and one suited to New Zealand, He did not intend to go into the question of right. Honourable members who desired to view the question from that standpoint might derive much useful information from Spencer's "Social Statics." There it was laid down that the State should not part with its lands, because it was, as it were, allowing the people at present existing in the world to say what the people of the future were to do. It was giving the present race, so to speak, a greater power over posterity than they had any right to exercise. Spencer went further, and showed that, if this question of right were carried to its extremity, a man page 3 in a city would have power to say that no person should live in that city. For example, suppose a man happened to buy up the whole of Wellington, he could, if he pleased, prevent anybody living in the city of Wellington, Of course, that was not likely to happen; but one had only to look at the history of Scotland and Ireland to see what had taken place there in evictions. That was an illustration of the question of right, to which he would again refer hereafter. Then came the question of expediency, and the matter would, after all, be decided by that question: not that the question of right should be lost sight of, because the two questions were intimately connected, and should always be looked at together—he meant the two questions, what can be done and what should be done. In our circumstances, more so than in the circumstances of an old country, this question of expediency was bound up with the question of taxation; and it was bound up with it in a most striking way, because he thought he should be able to show that if they were to conserve the land they at present possessed, and, instead of selling it, were simply to lease it, they would have so much revenue accruing from these lands that they would be able to do away with all kinds of taxation. And this was not only not a new system to New Zealand—it was the policy adopted in regard to all their reserves. Their reserves for municipalities, for schools, and for universities were all founded on this principle, that, instead of trusting to the taxation of the day, a landed estate is given to them so that they may have a permanent revenue; and if it were wrong for the State to keep lands to be disposed of under the leasing system, it was equally wrong to endow municipal, educational, and other institutions in the way they had done hitherto. But there was more than that in the question. There was what political economists termed "an economic rent and it was in order to get hold of this economic rent for the benefit of the community as a whole that those who advocated the leasing system so strongly insisted upon it. What the "economic rent" was had been elucidated by several political economists. It was, so to speak, the advantage the land derived from the fact of population being settled near it, and from the progress of the State as a whole. Land increased in value not be much because of the exact amount of money spent upon it as by reason of the increase in the general progress of the community, and from other circumstances page 4 ever which the landlord had no control. That was what had been termed economic rent; and the late John Stuart Mill, in addressing the Land Reform League in London, put that very briefly and very pointedly. He would quote a short passage from his address on that occasion. Speaking of the programme of the Land Reform League, he said—

"The other of the two points of our programme—the claim of the State on the unearned increase of rent—requires rather more explanation, as it is not vet equally familiar, though the time has already come when it is listened to, and it is probably destined to become an article of the creed of advanced reformers. The lend of the world—the raw material of the globe—in all prosperous countries, certainly increase in value. The landlord need only sit mill and let Nature work for him; or, to speak truly, not Nature, but the labour of other men. What is it that has produced the prodigiously increased demand for building land which has created the colossal fortunes of the Grosvenors, the Portmans, the Stanleys, and others of our great families? It is the growth of manufactures and the increase of towns. And what has produced that? Your labour and outlay, not that of the landlords. The same labour and outlay—namely yours, not theirs—produces a steady increase of demand for agricultural and mining products, causing prices to rise and rents to increase. No other portion of the community has a similar advantage. The labouring classes do not find their wages steadily rising as their numbers increase; and even capital—its interest and profit, instead of increasing, becomes a less end less percentage as wealth and population advance. The landlords alone are in possession of a strict monopoly, becoming more and more lucrative, whether they do anything or nothing to the soil. This is of little consequence in a country like America, where there is plenty of unused land waiting for any one who chooses to go and cultivate it; but in an old country like ours, with limited land and a growing population, it is a great and growing grievance. We want the people of England to say to the landlords, "You are welcome to every increase of rent that you can show to be the effect of anything you have done for the land; but what you get by the mere rise of the price of your commodity compared with others—what you gain by our loss—is not the effect of your exertions, but of ours, and not you but we ought to have it.'"

That was what was termed "economic rent;" and Professor Cairnes, in one of his essays on political economy, made the statement that had often been urged—namely, that land was in a different position from other property that land might rise in value, and the State did not receive any benefit from it. And he further pointed out that there was no analogy between the possession of the soil and other property, because land did not increase in size; it could not be made larger, while other property might increase or decrease in extent. There was also an illustration given by page 5 Professor Cairnes in reference to what "economic rent" was. He said that a man might be the "monopolist of a favoured situation, in the advantages arising from which, as they are no part of the fruit of his toil, he can, on the principle on which we proceed, have no right to property." In fact, he was placed in the same position as a man who was a monopolist of the water or of the air. He was placed in the position of a monopolist who gained an advantage and did nothing with it. Speaking of the advantages possessed by the monopolist class, he said—

"Such advantages, so far as they are peculiar to the situation, are not properly the result of his labours, but of the social oircum-stances which have made the situation specially advantageous, and, on the priociple we have recognised would belong, not to him, but to society at large. Now, the ease I have put will be found to fall within this reasoning, The corn, and roots, and grass, which constitute the agricultural returns, no doubt result, nature assisting, from the labours of the cultivator; but the value of these things—the power they confer of commanding the resources of society—is not measured by those labours, but depends on causes extrinsic to the cultivator's operations. The produce bears the price it does, not in virtue of what the farmer has done, but because society needs food—needs food is quantities which can only be obtained by bringing lands under cultivation inferior to the best on his farm. That portion of the value of his produce which is due to this circumstance is, so far as he is concerned, an accident, something to which he has no more right than anyone else. As it does not result from his exertions, so it oners no encouragement to his industry; his claim to it is therefore wanting in that basis which constitutes the justification of property from the economic point of view. My conclusion, then, is that the due reward of the cultivator's industry, even where he supplies the entire labour and capital employed in production, is not necessarily co-extensive with the whole produce of his farm. It is only so on the supposition that he enjoys in raising it no exceptional advantages arising out of his relations with other people. But where he enjoys such exceptional advantages—that is to say, where be farms land better than the worst that yields the current profit of the country,—the principle of property, economically considered, is satisfied by his retaining so much of the produce as shall give him the average remuneration, leaving to society the remainder to be disposed of as it shall think fit."

There were other passages in that work which touched upon the question of economic rent; but he would not take up the time of the House by reading them, and would merely refer honourable members to the essay, where they would see that the question had been fairly and fully discussed. Then there was another book—Macdonnell's "Land System"—in which he had shown that the possession of land was different from the possession of any other property, and he page 6 also gave a quotation from the book from which he had just quoted. He said—

"A bale of cloth, a machine, a house, owes its value to the labour expended upon it, and belongs to the person who expends or employs the labour: a piece of land owes its value, so fares its value is affected by the causes I am now considering, not to the labour expended upon it, but to that expended upon something else—to the labour expended in making a railroad, or building houses in an adjoining town: and the value thus added to the land belong, not to the persons who have made the railway or built the houses, but to some one who may not even have been aware that these operations were being carried on—nay, who perhaps has exerte all his efforts to prevent their being carried on."

So in reference to various other things that might be done, as for example in this colony where railways had been constructed, and where owners had protested against railways passing through or near their properties, but still had the value of their property afterwards increased three or four times by the very fact of the construction of those railways. Such men had done nothing of themselves to improve the value of their property, but it was the State which had done so, and therefore the State ought to reap some reward for its work. That was the principle on which what was called economic rent was based. But it was not only from the construction of works on or near the land that its value was increased, as there were other causes, independent of the exertions of the landowner himself, which tended to improve the value of the land, such as the increase in the population of towns, and the development of industries and manufactures. Take, for example, the city of Wellington. Ten years ago a man might have bought a section in that town for one-fifth or one-sixth the price at which he could sell it now, and yet nothing whatever might have been done by the man himself to enhance the value of his property. What was the cause of this? Simply, that people had settled in or near the town of Wellington. Therefore it was argued, and as he thought very justly, that no one had a right to the increased value of land which was not brought about by his own labour. He mentioned this fact, because some people argued that if this leasing system was introduced it would destroy all industry and desire to acquire wealth, which after all was the great strength of a country. He altogether denied such a deduction. Industry would not be interfered with, because a man would still receive all the page 7 profits that would arise from his own exertions, and all that the State would insist upon was that, he should not get something for which he had not worked. Many objections would no doubt be raised to the introduction of this system, but ho would only take up two or three of the arguments that could be used against it. The first, and he believed the most formidable one, bad been put forward by the wellknown political writer, Mr W. R. Greg, whose position was that the land should be so utilized as to support the best men—that was to say, that the land laws should be so arranged that the best of the race, as it were, should occupy the land, or, in other words, that the laws should be so framed that only the best of the race should live. To that argument there were several replies. First, that, so far as our system in the past was concerned, it had not produced the best men. He thought that what Emerson said was perfectly true, namely, that an Englishman born to an income of £200 or £300 a year rarely came to much. Looking at the list of scientific and literary men in England, it would be found that almost all had to make their living, so to speak, by their science or their literature. The plain outcome, therefore, of the system of getting a monopoly of land in England and other countries—of course there were exceptions, but that was the general rule—was a sufficient answer to the argument used by Mr. Greig. The second reply to that writer's argument was that, in the past, land had not been cultivated so well where the State had not interfered with the land laws at all, as in those countries where the State had exercised some supervision over the land. Mr. Greg neglected to consider the principle, with reference to this question of ownership of land or rather of the social improvement of a people, that you could not expect to raise the intellect of a people by merely saying that some should hold property at the expense of others. Those who objected to the leasing system must be prepared to defend the present system; and he had already pointed out, that if they did so, they must defend the principle that a man might destroy a large portion of the colony. He might say, in the words of a writer, that there was a large part of this colony at the present time

Wherein the beast was ever more and more.
And man was less and less.

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He who had a piece of land that would support thousands of his race might say that he would have nothing but sheep and cattle upon it, and, if he possessed land on which a town was built, might destroy its general progress by preventing proper houses being erected, or not giving good terms to his tenants. In fact, he would have the power in his own hands of destroying the district or town. Those who advocated such a system could not find fault with those in other countries who had said to the people, "Your ancestors have lived on the land for hundreds of years, but you shall now leave it and they could not contend that the wholesale system of evictions in force in Scotland and Ireland was wrong. The land law at present in force in this colony was defended as right by some, but he thought it could not be defended on good grounds. Ruskin had brought forward another argument in favour of selling the land, when he said, "You must create a love of country; you must give a man heart in the work that he is doing." That writer in one of his works said that he would like to see all men have stone houses for dwellings, in order that they might have a permanent interest in the country. No doubt there would be members of this house who would adopt the same line of argument, and say that the only way to get land properly tilled would be to give a man the freehold of it, because if he knew it was not his own it would not be his interest to improve it. There were two replies to that argument. First, that in the past those men who had improved the nation, or who had fought for it when fighting was required, or who had improved its agriculture, were tenants, and the best farming in the world had been carried on by tenants. That of itself was a sufficient reply to the argument that "if you destroy the freehold system yon will not have the people tilling the land as they ought to do, or making permanent homes for themselves." As an example, he might instance the Lothians of Scotland, where the finest farming in the world was carried on, considering the unfavorable climate and the other difficulties with which the people had to contend; and vet he did not believe there was one single freehold farm in all that country. The same might be said of the best-cultivated districts in both England and Ireland. So that, so far as this question of tilling or improving the land, or of people forming permanent homes, was concerned, it could not be said that tenants would not carry out these objects as well page 9 as landlords, or that they had not done so in the past. Honourable members must also recollect that under a system of State-leasing, instead of selling, it did not necessarily follow that a tenant should not have full compensation for any improvements he might make. He could conceive, and would be ready to explain a system under which the tenant would have the fullest compensation for any improvements he might make. That system was already in force in one place at least in the colony. He could not imagine a more efficient system than that which was now carried out by the Municipality of Dunedin, which possessed landed endowments to the value of from £150,000 to £200,000. The Municipality so leased these lands that every permanent improvement made by a tenant should be valued at the end of his lease, and the incoming tenant must pay for these improvements on the lands being put up to auction, or the old tenant might have his land back with the improvements added. Of course there must be a separation of the two kinds of improvement—namely, the kind of improvement from which the tenant reaped present advantage, and that kind which might be termed permanent improvement, and which gave additional value to the soil as such. This matter had been referred to by various writers, and especially in the reports which he had before mentioned, which were presented to the House of Commons in 1860 and 1870, and which were printed in the Blue Books of the British Parliament. It was there clearly pointed out that the distinction could easily be made, and that there were, so to speak, three values in the land. The writer said,—

"As regards the value of advantages : the advantages of olimate and of soil are evidently simple, but the advantage of position is seemingly complex. It is compounded of the advantages of local position and of the general position of the nation, and ultimately of the world. These advantages constitute the varying variable in this value of advantages. Now, it is clear that the value of advantages is entirely independent of the single or accumulated labour invested or on the land. It is equally clear that the other three values are dependent upon such labour. The individual man, who has the usufruct of the land, and has invested that labour, is obviously entitled to such part of the gross agricultural returns as shall correspond to these three values, and is as obviously not entitled to the remaining part which corresponds to the value of advantages. But if the usufructuary be not entitled, who is entitled? Whenever land is given over to private speculation, the private owner receives that remaining, and it known as theoretical rent But in the principle that the page 10 right of property of any individual man to a thing only attaches to the things which he has himself created by labour, or acquired by payment of accumulated labour, he is evidently not entitled to any increase in the value of advantages beyond the value of his payment of accumulated labour."

Consequently the writer of the report argued in favour of a system of State-leasing, as well as other economists who had taken up the subject. He would now point out the benefit which the colony might derive from introducing this system. He had already stated that if it were introduced, taxation might almost cease; and very slight reflection would show that this would be the case. Take, for example, the pastoral lands in the Province of Otago, which at present yielded to the Government about £60,000 a year, but they were rented at so low a rate that they returned to the pastoral tenants immense profits when they brought their produce into the markets; in fact those gentlemen got a large premium for occupying the land. These leases however would very soon expire, some of them in two or three years, and the longest within ten years. He was not defending the system of small holdings; but if these runs were taken and cut up, and so offered in the market that the whole of the people could compete for them at a fair rental, he believed he was fixing a low figure when he said that the purely pastoral lands in Otago would yield nearly a quarter of a million a year. Besides that, there were vast tracts of land in that province which were suitable for agricultural purposes. Of course a distinction must be made between the pastoral and the agricultural land; but if they were divided into half, half agricultural farms and half hill farms, an immense income would be derived from them, and he believed he would not be wrong in stating it at £150,000 a year as the amount which would be derived from the unsold lands in Ota go. There would thus be derived from those lands as much as was now obtained from the disposal of them, namely, at least £400,000 a year, which would do more than pay interest on the loans, and go far to lessen the amount required to be derived from Customs duties. Were the same system carried on in other parts of the colony, there would be such a revenue as would put the Government in a difficulty to know what to do with the money. The revenue would be so great that, as had been said to him some time ago, the Colonial Treasurer when he came down page 11 with his Financial Statement would actually not know what to, do with the large sums of money at his disposal. That was one way in which this system would work : bat there was another way in which to look at it, outside the question of taxation,—and that was, that we were in this colony under the present system unduly creating a capitalist class. He did not intend to speak against capitalists, for he recognised that they were a class of the community as necessary to the prosperity of the country as the labouring class; but he contended that it was not fair for this colony to expend its millions in order to increase the value of its lands, so that the whole profit arising from them should go into the hands of those who had a monoply of the land. That was a system which was thoroughly wrong in theory, and it could not be defended by any one who looked at it from a purely politico-economic view, and it was equally wrong in practice. What was the hope that was in the minds of all those who came to this colony? It was that all the evils from which older nations such as the mother country suffered should not follow them here—that the land should not be held by a few landlords, and that their tenants should not be tenants at will, bound to do as their landlords told them, who is the meantime lived in great affluence and wealth while their tenants found it difficult to-live. One of the greatest incentives to emigration from older countries was to get rid of this powerful landlord class, but the present system in force in New Zealand was simply creating them. Let anybody travel through Canterbury and see its splendid land and judge whether it was properly utilised. He had done so, and had seen miles of land belonging to one landowner—miles of fine level land, owned by one person; the value of which was immensely increased by the construction of railways near it! and yet there was nothing on that land but sheep and cattle. There was an immense quantity of land in that part of the colony which could be settled by very many people, and which could be cultivated with the plough—and yet large tracts of it were in the hands of one man, who could say that sheep and not men should be settled on it. That was the system in force in New Zealand, and it was a most vicious system, not only from an economic point of view, but from this point of view: that under it New Zealand would never grow into a nation. In reference to this point he might say that the system he proposed would page 12 give the. State control over these lands in a better way than it had at present: and he would submit that it was only necessary to look at the Irish land laws to see the necessity for some such system, and to see that the question was a very pressing one. Some persons might contend that the difficulty would be at an end as soon as all the waste land was sold. It was absurd to imagine that such would be the case, for even in America it was now being recognised, and several articles had appeared in various magazines, and notably one a short time ago on the subject, in which it was pointed out that the question of the American lands was one that would soon have to be taken up by American politicians, because some of the best land had already been parted with, and "going out West" was not so easy as it was some years ago. Therefore those who imagined that the land question would be at an end when the land was all sold would see that, as soon as the agricultural land in the country was sold, there would be such a land agitation as had never taken place in the past. Then the difficulty would be really recognised, and what he desired by his motion was to avoid such an agitation, and not only that, but to put an end to a great deal of the present bickerings between pastoral tenants and agriculturists, by providing that the state should have the power of leasing the lands in such a way that each year a certain quantity should be thrown open, which could be taken on leases extending over a series of years. That could always be arranged, and thus an end would be put to the continual agitation between the two classes to which he had referred. Knowing that the day was devoted to private members business, he had confined his remarks to as short a space as possible; bat there was one point to which he must refer, and that was the right of the State in the matter. Upon this question there was a short extract from Spencer's "Social Statics" which he would like to read. That writer pointed out that, so far as the right of the State was concerned, it could insist, and did insist, when the necessity arose, to review the tenure of the land—that was to say, that various Parliaments in England had interfered with the freehold of land; and when the construction of railways or other works required it, Parliament had insisted upon the owner giving up his land. The writer said,—

"Moreover, we daily deny landlordism by our legislation. Is a canal, a railway, or a turnpike road to be inside? we do not scruple to page 13 seize just as many acres as may be requisite; allowing holders compensation for the capital invested. We do not wait for consent. An Act of Parliament supercedes the authority of title deeds, and serves proprietors with notices to quit, whether they will or not. Either this is equitable, or it is not."

Then he spoke further about national works, and said,—

"Either the public are free to resume as much of the earth's surface as they think fit, or the titles of the landowners must be considered absolute, and all national works must be postponed until lords and squires please to part with the requisite shoes of their estates. If we decide that the claims of individual ownership must give way, then we imply that the right of the nation at large to the soil is supreme; that the right of private possession only exists by general consent; that general consent being withdrawn, it ceases; or, in other words, that it is no right at all."

That would be a very strong argument in favour of the State resuming possession of the land that had been sold. He did not however intend to deal fully with that question at present, but merely mentioned it in case any argument as to the right of the State to control these lands should be brought against the system which he proposed. He could point out a way in which any difficulty in that respect could be disposed of and in which land could be resumed without any wrong being done to the present possessor, although he would be deprived of the economic rent to which he had referred. The scheme would be met by some honorable members with the argument that it was a socialistic scheme. Nothing could be more childish than to say that the system which at present existed in the colony of leasing waste lands was socialistic; and the system which he proposed was only an extension of that which now prevailed. Socialism had no reference whatever to the question. What he understood by socialism was, that the result of the labours of the community should be put, as it were, into a common purse, in the same way as the House was proposing to do in the abolition of the provinces; but he contended that there was no such thing as socialism in the system which he now proposed. His scheme proposed that for everything a man did by his own labour upon the land he was entitled to a benefit, or, in other words, he had a right of property in anything that he did by his own work. He would give to the tenants the reward of their own industry, of their own skill, and of their own time; and all that he would take from them was something for which they never worked—something, perhaps, which they never ex— page 14 pected to earn. There was nothing of socialism in that. The scheme would also put an end to speculation in laud. Why were so many persons anxious to purchase Native land"? Why were so many desirous to pounce upon the land and bay it up here and throughout the colony? It was not with a view to producing something from the land or to tilling it. He was told that a man could travel through the North Island, and in many parts he would go over miles and miles of land, and see nothing but sheep and cattle on it. It was not, therefore, with a view of reaping something from the Boil itself that they purchased the land, but they simply wished to hold it for what might be termed speculative purposes, knowing very well that if they only held it for two or three years its value would be increased three or four times what it was when bought. That was the cause of land speculation. There was another point which should not be lost sight of, and that was that in New Zealand the area of agricultural land was limited. A vast quantity of it was only fit for pastoral purposes, and it was nonsense to suppose that many millions of acres, in Otago for instance, could be used for any other purpose. That should therefore be kept in mind, because, as the agricultural area was parted with, the great land agitation would then become an agitation really. He did not suppose that this motion would be fully discussed, as no doubt some members had not thoroughly thought it out, and he had rather taken the opportunity of making these observations in the House, with the hope that in the forthcoming elections the matter would be thoroughly considered. If they could only get the people to look upon the land as the property of the State, and to insist upon a certain amount being returned by it to the State, then the country would get rid of many of the evils which had troubled it in the past. That was the urgent need. It was not, as he had mentioned the other night when speaking on another question, that the mere passing of Bills had any effect. The people must be educated to an idea, and in that would be the hopes of progress of a race. In the resolution he had only asked the Government, daring the recess, to consider the matter in all its bearings, and he would urge honourable members to do the same. In the few remarks he had made, he had not so much spoken on the question as indicated the books that might be consulted by honourable members who page 15 wished to see the arguments put in a much better way than he could pat them. He might refer them to Cairnes, Mill, Spencer, Macdonnell, and on the other side Greg and Fawcett. He would ask honorable members to do so if they really wished to get a really good land system for New Zealand—a system that would prevent the heavy and ruinous taxation that must necessarily ensue if the present system of spending public money was carried on, for it seemed that any person or any Government that would only promise to spend money would be popular. But the means of spending that money was coming to a close, and not a day too soon. If along with the vast scheme of public works which the colony bad undertaken, the author of that scheme had come down with some plan that would have secured to the colony the benefit arising from the public works scheme in the increased price of land, it would have been a statesmanlike proposal. They had neglected that opportunity, but there were millions of acres left, which, if dealt with under a leasing system instead of being sold, would add greatly to the prosperity of the colony, and an example would be set that other colonies would he bound to follow; and the colony might be doing something which he hoped it would yet do,—tako a lead in this part of the world in social questions—such a lead as older nations might be proud to follow. In moving the resolution, he was not asking the affirmation of anything that could not stand the strictest test of the strictest schools of political economy. He admitted there were speeches made—not in this House, but outside—to the mass of the people who might not have been studying political economy, in which such cries as "Down with capital" Down with the owners of the land," were raised; and these things were mischievous; but this principle was not one belonging to anything but the strictest economic theory, and it could stand all argument, he did not care what, that could be brought against it. He trusted that honourable members would, at their leisure moments, refer to the books he had named, where they would see the question argued far more ably than he could argue it, even if he had time to speak at length on the matter; but he had merely gone over the heads of the subject. The introduction of such a system into New Zealand would be the only way of laying the foundation page 16 of a population go trained as to look upon themselves as true colonists—as usufructuaries—as holding soil in trust not only for themselves but for the whole race; and would inaugurate not only a new system of government, but a new system of progress, such as the world had not yet-seen.