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occupation under nine different systems, representing the methods of dealing with the public estate adopted by nine different Provincial Councils. Gradually these various regulations were brought together in a coherent whole; but it was not before the year 1892 that one Land Act contained the law on the subject, and could be made equally applicable to the whole of New Zealand. According to the Statute Books of 1877 to 1887, the land qnestion was the matter of first importance engaging the attention of New Zealand politicians. It was the one central question, complicated with the claims of native ownership thereto, first-comer settler's ownership, colonising companies' ownership, and Government and provincial ownership-ownership by fraud, by conquest, by purchase, and by confiscation.

One of Sir George Grey's favourite projects was the repurchase by the State of private lands, with or without the owner's consent. Sir George did not remain in public life long enough to see it become law; and there has been keen tightingover this principle. But Mr. (afterwards Sir) John McKenzie, one of the most masterful and resolute of the Ministers of Lands put in power by the Liberal Party, carried it into law, and administered it with a strenuous ability, which constitutes an effective example to succeeding holders of his portfolio. Under this law the purchase money paid for 107 estates, comprising 448,350 acres, amounted to £2,117,352 at the 31st March, 1902. Other expenses, such as road construction, &c., amounted to £111,776, bringing the total to £2,229,128. An extent of 386,530 acres, held under lease by 2,033 selectors, returns an annual rental of £101,508.

In 1886 the Hon. John Ballance held the portfolio of Minister of Lands. The period was one of intense financial depression, and hundreds of unemployed artisans and labourers wandered about the country, in a state bordering on famine, looking for work. Then it was that this most radical of all New Zealand's statesmen made a courageous attempt to solve the unemployed difficulty by placing the workless upon the soil, and making producers of them. Blocks of Crown land were taken up io various parts of the colony These were divided into allotments of from 20 to 30 actes, and let to the village settlers on perpetual lease at a rental equal to 5 per cent. on the prairie value of the lands. Some of these experimental farms collapsed, others succeeded. According to latest reports, the village settlers and their families occupy about 42,013 acres, in allotments of an average size of about 21 acres. About £15,000 has been advanced them by the Government, of which sum they have returned some £3,600. The total value of improvements on these lands amounts to £158,800.

Sir William F. D. Jervois' term of office ended on March 22nd, 1889, and the Chief Justice, Sir James Prendergast, was thereupon called to the post of Administrator till the 2nd May of the same year, when the Earl of Onslow arrived to take up the reins of Government. Though the “ Continuous Ministry," under Sir Harry Atkinson, was still in power, its strength was already waning, and the old Conservative strongholds were gradually capitulating to the attacks of the Liberal Opposition, who acknowledged John Ballance as their head. In addition to this, the leaders were succumbing to the effects of their long continued efforts in the public interest. Sir Harry Atkinson's health was breaking down, Sir Frederick Whitaker was fast sinking under the weight of advancing years, and the health of Sir John Hall did not allow him to take office. Thus the Liberals were able to redeem their pledge to widen the franchise, which had been one of their promises ever since Sir George Grey emerged from retirement to organise the party. On the 22nd September, 1889, electors were prohibited by statute from voting in respect of more than one electorate at any election for the House of Representatives. During the Earl of Onslow's administration, about the year 1890, the organised Labour Party made an assault on

on the political citadel and practically carried it by storm. New Zealand had passed through the old days of pioneering, whaling, sealing, alluvial gold-digging, 'native warfare, and mammoth pastoral enterprise, when acres were many and men were few. A new civilisation had grown up, fashioned on oldworld lines, and ripe with a heavy harvest of old-world troubles. The colony had entered upon a commercial and industrial period, with an ever-present labour trouble, unorganised at first, and inarticulate, but rapidly organising and learning the alphabet of its power. When the organisation was complete, the Labour movement found its voice, and sought to make it heard in the councils of the State. The gold was gone, the lands were all occupied, and the pressure of altered conditions forced into prominence the new factor in politics. Somewhere about this time occurred two great strikes—one in England, thousands of miles distant; the other in Australia, in the very heart of the Newer World. One was the London dockers' strike; the other the great maritime strike of 1890. Smarting under the rebut that it met with in Australia all along the line, the baffled cause of labour sought redress for its wrongs in Parliament. In none of the Australasian Colonies was the new movement so vehement as in New Zealand. The way, however, had been prepared. The voice of Grey had long been lifted in advocacy of measures deemed by opponents as ultra-democratic.

His successor, John Ballance, was not less ardent in the cause. profession a journalist, this man, whose claims to the title of statesman are undoubted, had sprung from the people, and was intimately acquainted with their methods of thought, their hopes, and their desires. When opportunity came he was quick to seize it, and the Labour Party, instead of forming an independent opposition, had their path cleared of preliminary obstacles by the presence of a party in Parliament with similar ideals to their own. To this party they allied themselves, and acknowledged John Ballance as their head. The result was immediately apparent. On the 5th December, 1890, the general elections were held, and the constituences pronounced their verdict with no uncertain voice. No less than twenty members owed their return

By to the Labour vote, and Mr. Ballance found himself at the head of a majority which, though much of it was raw material, was sincere and enthusiastic, and devoted to the principles of its leader.

The Atkinson Ministry, after a few weeks of ineffectual delay resigned itself to the inevitable, and on the 24th January, 1891, Mr Ballance became Premier, having in his Cabinet Mr. Seddon and Mr. Mackenzie, both of whom possessed the physical power and fighting force which their leader lacked.

The legislation initiated by Mr. Ballance, and continued by the Seddon Ministry, may be divided into enactments relating to Finance, to Constitutional Reform, and to Labour. At this time the principal source of direct taxation was the Property Tax. It consisted of a penny in the £ on the capital value of every citizen's possessions, less his debts and an exemption of £500 ; and was a rough-and-ready method of raising revenue. It was, however, inequitable, as it taxed stock that was frequently unmarketable--an exaction that fell

upon

values while incomes, as such, were untouched. Moreover, years of high returns and loss were treated alike. The tax did not discriminate between good seasons and bad, and Mr. Ballance determined to introduce a inore equitable system of revenue-raising. Accordingly, in the session of 1891 the Property Tax was abolished, and its place taken by a progressive Land Tax and a progressive Income Tax, which received statutory endorsement by “ The Land and Income Tax Assessment Act of 1891," a measure amended from time to time until the law was consolidated by the Land and Income Tax Assessment Act of 1900. These measures instituted a system of taxation on the unimproved value of land and the capital value of mortgages, in conjunction with a tax on incomes in excess of £300 a year. The ordinary land tax is ld. in the £, with a graduated tax in addition on all estates of the value of £5,000 and over. The rate of Income Tax is 6d. in the £ on the first taxable £1,000, after deducting the £300 exemption and ls. in the £ on the excess of £1,000. Income Tax is payable by companies at the uniform rate of ls. in the £. After a bitter conflict the measures passed both Houses, and a light Absentee Tax also became law. During the first session various measures were passed having for their object the alleviation of the lot of the worker. Chief amongst these were--the Employers' Liability Act of 1882 Amendment Act; the Truck Act, prohibiting the payment of wages in goods or otherwise than in money; and a Factories Act, afterwards repealed by a consolidating measure. On the 22nd April, 1891, a proclamation was issued to the inhabitants of Raratonga, notifying the appointment of a British Resident for the protectorate of the Cook Islands.

The Earl of Onslow left the Colony on the 2nd February, 1892, his resignation being received on the 24th of the same month, and the Chief Justice, Sir James Prendergast, acted as Administrator until the arrival of the Earl of Glasgow, who assumed the duties of Governor on the 7th June, 1892. During this year an important constitutional point was decided with reference to the relative powers of the Gorernor and the Premier. The Legislative Council of New Zealand is nominated, not elective, and there is no fixed limit to the number of members. Prior to 1891 the nominations were for life. At that time, bowerer, the period of tenure of a seat in the Upper Chamber was reduced to seven years. It was found, also, that the Liberal Party was almost altogether unrepresented in the Council; so, in 1892, Mr. Ballance requested the Governor, the Earl of Onslow, to call twelve fresh councillors. His Excellency demurred at the number. There was then about to be a change of Governors, and the matter remained in abeyance. On the 7th June, 1892, the Earl of Glasgow assumed the governorship ; but he proved as obdurate with regard to the fresh appointments as did his predecessor. Mr. Ballance insisted that it was the Governor's duty to accept the advice of his responsible Ministers in this as well as in other affairs. His Excellency did not think so. The matter was then, by mutual consent, referred to the Colonial Office, and Lord Ripon decided in favour of the Premier. Twelve new councillors were accordingly nominated. The submission of this question to the arbitration of Downing-street was attacked by the Conservatires. It was attacked also by Sir George Grey, the democrat ; but it was highly approved of by the House of Representatives, and by the people generally.

The Conservatives suffered a severe loss by the death of Sir Harry Atkinson, which took place on the 28th June, 1892, and it was long before the party recovered from this blow. During the year the broadly democratic policy of the Ballance Government found further expression in various legislative enactments. The Employers' Liability Act of 1882 was further amended, and a Contractors' and Workmen's Lien Act was passed, which, under certain restrictions, gives priority of claim for wages against other services, and enables legal proceedings for recovery to be taken before the attached property can be in any way alienated. On the 1st November, 1892, the present Land Act of New Zealand came into force. Under the terms of this measure land thrown open for selection may be either purchased or occupied with the right of purchase or of lease in perpetuity. A special class of settlement is also provided for, called the Small Farm Association, which was at first very popular, but is now superseded by the Improved Farm Settlement, under which areas of forest-clad land are thrown open, the selectors being paid for a time on the improvements, or else the land is cleared at & fixed rate and then balloted for. Up to the 31st March, 1902, 54 settlements, covering an area of 53,906 acres, had been allotted to 493 settlers, the average size of the holdings being 100 acres. The amount paid to the settlers was £71,077, and the value of improvements on the land is estimated at £100,000.

The death of the Hon. John Ballance deprived the Colony of the services of a statesman whose chief aim had been the amelioration of the social condition of the community. His Ministry almost

immediately resigned, and on the 1st May the Hon. Richard Seddon reconstructed the Cabinet on similar lines to those of his late leader.

A measure that Ballance had much at heart was the carrying into law of the principle of one man one vote. He did not live to see it passed. During his lifetime his Electoral Bill was thrown out twice by the Council, and went through only some months after his death. Under this Act, one man has not only one vote, but only one registration; he cannot have his name upon more than one roll. The right to vote by letter was conferred upon shearers, as it had previously been conferred upon seamen, and the franchise was extended to women. This last article only passed the Council by a narrow majority of two, and the Bill became law on the 19th September, 1893. A Workmen's Wages Act was also placed on the Statute Book, but in the direction of democratic legislation the Ministry were less active than usual, mainly in consequence of a split in the camp over the liquor question. The opposing factions were led, respectively, by Mr. Seddon and Sir Robert Stout. The Prohibitionist Party, under Sir Robert Stout, and organised outside the House by two clergymen named Isitt and Walker, considered the time opportune for pressing their demands, as it was thought that the death of Mr. Ballance had sapped the vitality of the Government. Startled by the vehemence of the movement, the Ministry dropped other legislation for the time being, and passed the Alcoholic Liquor Sale Control Act, which provided that new licenses were to be granted, subject to the votes of electors, and that licenses should be reduced or abolished if desired. This hasty measure was of a purely tentative character, and was later on subjected to considerable amendment and expansion. As it now stands, while not satisfying extremists, the measure contains a complete and elaborate system of local option. Publicans' licenses fall in with the death of the triennial Parliaments of the Colony ; licensing districts occupy the same areas as electoral districts, and the licensing poll takes place on the same day as tbe general elections. The poll decides the question of retention, reduction, or abolition of existing licenses, but for the last-named a majority of three to two is necessary.

The first local option poll resulted in the closing of seventy houses, and in totally prohibiting the retail of liquor in the Clutha district. Since then, however, the results of the voting have been somewhat unexpected. Although the prohibitionist power has been greatly augmented by reason of the vote being taken on the same day as the general elections, the party has been defeated, except in the Clutha district, by the moderate section advocating the continuance of existing licenses. The general election at the close of 1893 was remarkable from the fact that it was the first occasion on which the female franchise was exercised. There was a rush of women to be put on the rolls, and then the unexpected happened : they did not vote solidly on a Conservative ticket; their vote, on the contrary, buttressed the

position of the Liberal Party, which returned to power with a useful § majority and increased confidence.

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