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to be prepared for the incoming rush. This buoyant spirit of enterprise
and transient energy pervaded the whole colony for several years.

All went well till the public and private money was spent and that upon
enterprises most of which were far in advance of the time and the necessi-
ties of the people. Many of them proved valueless and costly experiments,
which to-day stand as enduring monuments to the folly and inexperience of
the principal actors. Had there been an inflow of population, such, for in-
stance, as we have in the United States, this country would not have suffered
so much; but the immigration was very limited and the population of the
colony small, so that when public works were suspended and the money ex-
hausted and all kinds of public and private enterprise appeared to be nothing
but failures, the people were thoroughly dismayed and thousands left the
colony ; in fact, nearly all who could, did so.

There was the accumulating interest on the public and private indebted-
ness to be paid. With a depressed and diminishing population, the outlook
was anything but pleasant. The country was face to face with a large defi-



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LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND. 19

city and, what was more alarming still, a perceptible diminution in popula-
tion and all kinds of trade and industry from which the national exchequer
could be replenished.

It was now evident that those who had hitherto steered the ship of state
could no longer stem the angry tide of popular disfavor into which they had
fallen. Heroic measures were necessary to brighten the gloom of despond-
ency which had now taken complete possession of a majority of the colonists.
Something must be done to restore confidence in the power of the country
to extricate itself from the unfortunate predicament, which, through want of
ordinary foresight, experience, and business capacity, had brought it to its
knees. Companies formed during flush times for speculative purposes came
to grief, as did also individuals. The courts were full to overflowing with
all kinds of bankrupts, and none knew where it was going to end.

As usual, when a crisis threatens, capital is timid, and, in this respect.
New Zealand proved no exception to the rule. For some time, capital had
withdrawn from nearly every class of industrial enterprise and speculative
pursuits. Nor is this all. Having had control of the Government, it was
not paying its fair proportion of the taxes. The people were, by this time,
thoroughly aroused, and were prepared to accept the leadership of any man
or adopt any measure that promised a way out of their difficulties.

It was about this time that Mr. John Ballance began to expose the true
position of aflairs to the people, and he did his work so effectively that the
people rallied around him ; he was elected and made Premier of the colony.
This was the beginning of the end.

His unselfish devotion to the cause of the people was fully recognized
and admitted at once. His honor, integrity, and individuality so impressed
themselves upon the colony that whatever measures he proposed were inva-
riably adopted. But, unfortunately for this country, he did not last long ;
from overexertion and worry, he sickened and died, and those who succeeded
him, though honest and energetic, were not quite so experienced.

LABOR LEGISLATION.

Then began that era of democratic and semisocialistic land and labor
legislation, including the extension of the franchise to women, which has
brought New Zealand into almost universal notoriety, if not fame. It would
be contrary to fact to say that all that has been done has been successful, for
the reason that most of the legislation of recent years was crude and ill
digested before its passage. Some of the labor legislation, especially, is ex-
tremely vexatious in its character, the idea being to make the life of the
worker easier and happier — an idea with which no one can find fault, pro-
vided the interests of all concerned are properly safeguarded. Here, how-
ever, from the trend of legislation, it would appear that due consideration
was only given to one side of the question, and with the result that the pro-
ducing power of the people has been considerably curtailed in consequence
of too many legally enforced holidays and half holidays and other useless



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20 LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND.

interference with the ordinary business pursuits and life of the people. Too
much class legislation has not conduced to the promotion of that kindly
feeling and mutual regard for each other's interests which should subsist
between capital and labor.

I can not say that the apparent failure to give due consideration to the
rights and interests of the monopolistic and capitalistic class was intentional.
On the contrary, my experience and observation have taught me to believe
that if there be any complaint in this respect, it is attributable more to ill-
advised haste in passing measures calculated to correct existing abuses than
to any desire to injure any class or interests. With the adoption of the one-
man-one-vote principle, the middle and laboring classes became all powerful,
and one of the first reforms advocated was a change in the incidence of tax-
ation from a land, personal property, and improvement tax to a land and
income tax, which was to be a panacea for most of the ills which afflicted
the colony at that time. While this change did not prove a cure-all, yet it
is admitted to be a beneficial step.

It was argued that an improvement and property tax was a tax on the
industry and energy of the people, and so effectually was this idea advocated
that the desired change was made, and with satisfactory results.

From the following figures, it will be seen that in three years, viz, from
1889 to 1892, the number of landholders, the value of whose land ranged
from ;^ioo (I500) to ^^200,000 (|i, 000,000) had increased from 84,547 in
1889 to 91,501 in 1892. The total improved value of the land held by these
84,547 holders in 1889 was ^^84,208,230 (1421,041,150), while in 1892,
the number of holders had increased by 6,954 and the value of the im-
provements amounted to ;^92,37i,i66 (1461,855,830), or an increase in
improvements during this period of ;^8,i62,936 (140,814,680).

In the face of these figures, there is little room for doubt as regards the
wisdom of abolishing the improvement tax.

The holders of small areas, say from 5 acres and under 1,000 acres, in-
creased proportionately both in number and value of improvements.

The farm-land improvements exempted by the act are defined to include
houses and buildings, fencing, planting, draining of land, clearing from
timber, scrub, or fern, laying down in grass or pasture, and any other im-
provements whatsoever, the benefit of which is unexhausted at the time of
valuation.

In order to minimize the expense of collecting the taxes, the chief
postmasters throughout the colony are authorized by the Government to re-
ceive and give receipts for all taxes paid to them.

The commissioner of taxes has special and almost unlimited power to
prove the accuracy of returns for income, if he has any doubt as to their
completeness.

Although every taxpayer has a right to bring any grievance he may have
as regards his assessment before a board of review, whether it be land or
income, tax, the instances are rare indeed where those paying income tax



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LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND. 21

have availed themselves of this privilege. It is not so, however, with the
land tax, as appeals to the boards of review are frequent. I do not presume
there is any greater desire on the part of the citizens to pay the income tax
more than any other form of taxes, but that it is the result of a disinclina-
tion to have their private affairs examined or looked into by others, not-
withstanding that the proceedings are not public. In 1892, there were in
all sixty-one boards of review and the total number of days on which they
sat was about two hundred.

The members of these boards receive no remuneration for their services,
the office being an honorary one, but, of course, all necessary expenses in-
curred by a reviewer in the performance of his duties are refunded.

But the fact that they receive no pay in no way interferes with the thor-
oughness of their work. This is testified to by the commissioner of taxes
in his report to Parliament as follows :

The office is an important and responsible one, and I have much pleasure in bearing testi-
mony to the extreme care and attention bestowed by the boards in the performance of their
onerous and difficult duties.

And I myself must say that so far as I have been able to observe, I be-
lieve the members of the several boards of review have a high code of honor
in the discharge of their duties, treating every case on its merits, without
fear or favor, whether the applicant be rich or poor.

RESULTS OF LAND AND INCOME TAX.

The tax commissioner, in his report for 1893, further adds, in his refer-
ence to the small amount realized from the income tax, that —

It is desirable to draw attention to the fact that what may be deemed as a small result of
the income tax for this colony is due in part to the high exemption of ;f 300 ($1,500] and
largely to all income from the use or produce of land derived by the owner or occupier (this
includes rent) and all interest from registered mortgages of land, being exempt from income.
Land and mortgages and income therefrom contribute to the land tax alone. The allowance
of an exemption of ;f300 ($1,500) to each partner in a firm has caused a serious decrease in
the income-tax revenue, the effect being to diminish tax paid by some firms by ;^30 ($150)
and more in certain cases.

A good idea may be obtained from the following figures, which represent
the difference between the personal property tax of 1888 and the land and
income tax which now prevails (I quote from the commissioner of taxes* re-
port for 1893):

Under both systems the largest contributions were by graziers, sheep
farmers, farmers, dairymen, etc., that is, by owners of country lands, the
total for land and income tax being ;^89,34i ($446,705) and for property
tax (1888), ^81,544 ($407,720). The number of the property taxpayers
was 8,611; the number of land taxpayers is 4,760, who are assessed for ordi-
nary land tax ;^6o,203 ($301,015); 766 are assessed for graduated land tax,
^^28,015 ($140,575), and 97 are assessed for income tax, ;^i,i23 ($5,615).

In considering these and other results, it should be remembered that some
who pay graduated tax do not pay land tax, but it may be taken to be the



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22 LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND.

rule that the land taxpayers include those who pay graduated tax. Further,
some of those who pay land tax also pay income tax.

Land companies (fifteen) were assessed in 1888, for property tax, ;^i 2,049
(160,245), ^^^ ^^^^ companies (nineteen), last year, were assessed for land
tax ^16,579 (182,895) and graduated tax ^15,232 (176,160), which, with
income tax ;^396 (^1,980), make up ;i^32,207 (1161,035), which shows an
increase of ^20,158 (1100,790) in the present as compared with the late
system. Fire and marine insurance companies contribute ^8,279 (141,395),
as against ^6,65 2 (133,360) under the former system ; mercantile companies,
^^16,302 (181,510), as against ;^9,384 (^46,920); manufacturing com-
panies, £7,S49 (l37»745)» as against ^^3,784 (118,920).

In amounts paid by persons, the table shows that, as a rule, the totals
contributed in the various classes under the two systems do not differ very
materially, except as shown above. In the class including "working store-
men, mechanics, laborers, shepherds, miners, sailors, etc., 2,242 of this class
paid property tax of ^^4, 053 (^20,265) and 249 paid land and income tax

of ;^543 (12,715)."

A careful perusal of the above comparisons between the property tax of
1888 and the land and income tax of 1891-92 will show that, in nearly every
instance, there has been an increase of revenue from the sources that are
best calculated to pay taxes and a perceptible decrease in the amount con-
tributed by those who are less able to pay.

The value of the land assessed, as liable to pay land tax, is ;^55, 105,290
(I275, 526,450), and the value liable to pay graduated land tax is ;^26,743,-
370 (1133,716,850). The total estimated number of land taxpayers in the
colony is 11,407, and of graduated land taxpayers, 1,319.

OWNERSHIP OF LANDS.

The commissioner of taxes, in closing his report, observes that "the fig-
ures set out in this report afford much information that should prove of
advantage to those who may wish to study the manner in which the lands
of the colony are owned. The tables have stated the results in a form read-
ily understood, but anyone who wishes to draw deductions from them in sup-
port of any favorite theory will have to make a careful examination for that
purpose. Contrasting the improved and the unimproved values should prove
highly interesting to those who study some of the many important questions
included under the comprehensive phrase 'land reform.* *'

I append herewith a table showing "owners of land classified according
to the improved and unimproved value of land owned by them,'* which
must prove interesting to a large number of those who devote much atten-
tion to the relative positions of improved and unimproved lands for purposes
of taxation.

I know of no country where the statistical information, as regards the
improved and unimproved value of land, is more carefully compiled.



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LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND. 23



Table No. I. — Owners of land classified according to the improved and unimproved value of

land owned by them.



Class.



Number of
owners.



Under ;Cxoo

;C«oo and under ;C2oo ,

£900 and under J[,jix> ,

£yao and under ;^400

/40oand under ^^500

j(^ 500 and under j£6co

/600 and under ;C7oo

j^TOoand under ;^8oo

/800 and under £fyx>

£^po and under £ifioo

;^i,ooo and under £2jooo

j^a.ooo and under ;^3,ooo ,

;£3,ooo and under ;C4>ooo

;^,ooo and under ^^5,000

;^5,ooo and under ;^io,ooo

j£io,ooo and under ;£30,ooo....
j^20/x» and under ;£so,ooo...,
£yyfioo and under £\oo/xx>..
j£ioo,ooo and under ;^2oo,ooo,
j^aoo/)oo and over

Total



23,709

11,446

7,790
5,282

3,940
3,i6i
2,349
2,025
1,426

7,457
2,608

1,336
744

",424
669

356
104
47
M



Improved
value.



£9So,A^t
2,208,539
2,723,436
2,629,906
2,312,921
2.103,715
2,012,077

1,735,977
1,697,246
',339,565
10,291,448
6,257,042

4,578,375
3,360,266
9,451,080
9,090,788
10,628,661
7,H5,932
6,345,732
5,538,049



Number of
owners.



.



Unimproved



improv<
value.



45. »92
'5.692 \
7,791
4,612
3, "2
2,184 '
i,6<9
1,256 •
983 \
830 I

4,121 ,

1,408 I

7.0 1

437 \
820 ,



91,501 I 92,371



,166



200

18 ;

6 !



/l, 716, 727
2,137,630
1,845,658
',559,396
'.361.949
1,179,169

',072,335

93'. "4
828,896
783,016
5.709.493
3.392,136
2,462,311
'.953,742
5,690,705
5,364,802
5,996,897
5,328,842

2,549,577
2,562,780



9', 501 54,427, '75



Table No. 2. — Owners of land classified according to the improved value of land owned by

them for i88g and iBg2.



Class.



Under £\<io ,

;^xoo and under £900

;^aoo and under ^^300 ,

£2po and under ;^40o ,

j^40o and under ^£500

j^Sooand under j^6oo

;{^6ooand under ;^ 700 ,

;^7oo and under ;^8oo ,

;^8oo and under £yoo ,

;^9oo and under ;^i,ooo....
;C 1,000 and under £'ijaoo.
£9fioo and under j£3,ooo.
jf 3,000 and under ;£4,ooo.,
;^4,ooo and under £$,OQO.



Year.



189a
1889
1892



1892



1892
1889
1892
1889
1892
1889
1892
1889
189J
1889
1892
1889
1892
1889
1892
1889
1892
1889



Number of
owners.



23,709
20, 752

'5.614
15,069
",446
10,904
7,790
7,270
5,282
5,230
3,940
3.594
3.'6t
2,995
2,349 i
2,232
2,025
1,821
1,426
'.394
7,457
6,755
2,608
2,299
'.336
','75
744
704



Improved
value.



;^950,421

843,561
2,208,529
2, "5. 529
2,723.436
2,592,172
2,629,906

2,469.159
2,312,921
2.292,344
2,103,715
'.937.442
2,012,077
'.894.849
'.735,977
1,666,184
1,697,246
',533.435
'.339.565
1,306,615
10,291,448

9.403.253
6,257,042
5,578,261
4,578,375
4,076,691
3.360,266
3»'33,'5'



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24 LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND.
Table No. 2. — Owners of land classified according to the improved value^ etc. — Continued.



Qass.



Year.



Number of
owners.



Improved
value.



£,$jaoo and under ;^io,ooo

;^io,ooo and under j^ao.ooo...
jC2o,ooo and under jCso.ooo....
;^So,ooo and under ;^ioo,ooo..
;£zoo,ooo and under ;£200,ooo.
;^2oo,ooo and over

Total



1894
1889
1892
Z889
Z892
1889
1892
Z889
xig2
1889
z892
Z889



1892
1889



1,237
669
623
356
338
104
Z07
47
37
X4



;C9»45«,o8o
8,516,672
9,090,788

8,417,460
10,628,661

9» 535, 543
7. "5,93a
7,107,479

6,345,73«
4,952,568
5,538,049
4,835,862



•91,501
84,547



92,371,166
84,908,230



*ln the X892 total are included properties assessed to "owner," and also lands owned by friendly societies
and other institutions that are exempt from taxation. These were not included in the Z889 total.

Table No. 3. — Owners of land classified according to the area owned by them, exclusive of
land in boroughs and town districts ^ etc.



Acres.



5 and under 10

zo and under 20

20 and under 30

30 and under 40

40 and under 50^

50 and under 60

60 and under 70

70 and under 80..

80 and under 90

90 and under 100

zoo and under 200

zoo and under 320

330 and under 500

500 and under 640

640 and under 1,000

z,ooo and under 2,ooo.„....

2,000 and under 3,000

3,000 and under 4,000

4,000 and under 5,000

5,000 and under 6,ood

6,000 and under 7,000.

7,000 and under 8,000

8,000 and under 9,000

9,000 and under io,cod ,

10,000 and under 20,000

90,000 and under 30,000

30,000 and under 40,000....,

40,000 and under 50,000

50,000 and under 75,000....
75,000 and under zoc,ooo...
100,000 and under 150,000.
150,000 and over

Total



Number of


Improved


Unimproved
value.


owners.


value.


2,820


;C678,032


;C3«2,Z39


3,015


806,959


401,495


2,267


663,050


352. 02X


1,428


532,242


292,753


2,3x8


642,000


359,245


2,412


813, "65


469,106


x,463


522,686


295,523


i,z6a


582,378


373,015


J, 423


546,970


3«o,777


z,o6i


561,973


332,253


8,967


5,461,487


3,239.817


4,575


4,688,67z


2,861,409


2,53»


4,352,224


2,680,446


1,022


2,377,803


1,470,907


X.143


3,652,884


2,342,827


992


5.121,688


3,381,176


3"


2,703,380


1,798,500


146


z, 706, 128


1,150,432


109


1,393,844


969,723


66


1,047,158


717,983


50


822,486


564,312


38


727,542


477.931


29


648,600


436,6x2


25


778.427


537,801


148


5,495,958


3,771,082


45


2,743,301


'.839,700


30


2,5x7,765


1,741,038


9


987,659


719,708


14


1,418,031


994.463


6


1,086,623


859,028


4


624,980


421,772


6


2,583,281


>, 853, 538


38.935


59,289,375


38,398,462



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LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND. 25



Table No. 4. — Freeholders of land outside boroughs and (own districts, etc.j classified by area
showing total value of each class for j8g2y i88g^ 1886, and i88j.



Acres.



5 and under xo..



to and under 90...



ao and under 30...



30 and under 40...



40 and under 50...



50 and under 60.....



60 and under 70...



70 and under 80..



80 and under 90.... .^



> and under xoo...



100 and under aoo..



aoo and under 330



390 and under 500..



500 and under 640..



Year.



1899
1889
x886
X883
1893
1889
1886
1883
x89a
X889
x886
1883
1893
1889
x886
1883
1893
1889
1886
X883
1893



X883
X893
X889
1886
X883
1893
X889
1886
X883
X893
1889
1886
1883
1893
1889
x886
X883
1893
1889
1886
1883
1893



1883
X893



X883
X893
X889
1886
X883



Persons.



Number.



3,809
3,8x7
3,1x1
x,4ix

3»«>5
3,833
3,410

3,363
3,138

3,X04

«,854
1,433
».370
I #935

a»3i4
9,x8o
3,3x7

»»99»
3,410

2,448
8,334
3,x87
x,46o
1,403
1,4"
1,877
«,'57
1,164
1,038
970
x,43a
»,346
«»337
1,274
x,o6x
1,054
866
777
8,358
8,188
7,280
6,745
4,571
4,3x3
4,»54
3,887
3,526
3,380
3,1x7
«,953

X,03X
896

86x
737



Improved
▼ahie.



;C643,66x

804,136

577,023

296,538

789,932

886,871

736,684

579»»37

649, 64X

669,734

654, X06

580,810

530,407

538,270

509,064

445,492

638,448

608,961

636,664

538,389

789,334

831,5x5

832,984

799,878

519,853

463,728

5>7,734

456,756

560,673

531,498

525,239

507.416

540,408

489,775

516,489

502,935

561,973

5«3,053

457,338

442,874

5,388,930

4,731,707

4,795,838

4,791,036

4,683,333

4,0x1,809

4,3x1,058

4,342,29a

4,321,466

3,572,757

3» 615, 055

3,503,704

2,374,303

1.755,929

2,038,443

1,777,274



Companic



Number.



Improved
va(ue.



;^34,37i
12,545
475
6,598
17,027
32,592
12,479
1,835

13,409
9,890
5,648

t,830

".83s
12,576

37,368

2,980
3,552

2,720

3,500
1,570

33,831

37,987

673

98
2.833

33,098
4,010
x,oco

21,705



Total.



Number.



770
6,563
8,315
x8,78o



5|

» I



x3,85o

9, '32

100

72,567

20,732

61,542

10,439

5,449

9*924

10,472

5,270

30,758

26,731

12,154

92,509

3,500

113,843

x8,x88

500



3,830
2,839
2,113
1,416
3,015
3,843

2,4^9
1.931
2,367

2,144
8,1x0
1,860
1,428
1,377
1,241
1,076
2,318
2,x8x

3,9X8

1,994
2,412
2,454
2,325
3,188
1,463
1,409
1,414
1,278

X,X63

1,164

X,038

971
1,423

1,349
i»339
1,274
x,o6i
1,056
868
778
8,267

8,30I

7.288
6,751

4.575
4.318
4,158
3,890
2.531
3,388
3,1x9
1,957

I,033
901

863
738



Improved
value.



;C678,o33
8x6,671
577,498
303,136
806,959
919,463
749»i6s
580,963
663,050
679,634

659,754
582,630
532,243
550,846
536,332
448,472
649,000
6ix,68x
629,164
539,959
813,165
859,503
833,656
799.976
533,686
485,836
521,744
457,756
582,378
531,498
525,239
508,186
546,970
498,090
535,269
502,935
561,973
525,903
466, 470

442,974
5,461,487
4.752.439
4,857,370
4,801,455
4,688,671
4,031,733
4,321,530
4,347.563
4,352,234
3,599,488
3,637,309
3,596,213
2,377.803
1,869,772
3,0 6,631
», 777, 774



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26 LAND TAXATION AND LABOR LAWS IN NEW ZEALAND.



Table No. 4. — Freeholders of land outside boroughs and town districts^ etc. — Continued.





Year.


Persons.


Companies.


Total.


Acres.


















Number.


Improved
value.


Number.


Improved
value.


Number.


Improved
value.


640 And under i,ooo


1893
1889


1,035


;^3, 631,548
3,04x,737


6


;C3i,34a
74,695


','43

',035


/;3,653,884
3, X 16, 433




10




x886


»,039


3,347.703


4


30,307


',043


3,378,009




1883


936


3,344,357


S


39, '97


93'


3,373,554




1893
X889


984
89X


5,096,060
4,3«i,976


8


35,638
'33,307


993

906


5,X3i,688
4,434,383




'5




x886


906


4,516, X47


xo


48,404


916


4,564,55'




X883


8X3


4,333,083


4


9,93a


8x6


4,333,014


3 000 ftnd under 3,000^


X893
X889


305

377


3,67o,x77
a,a53,539


6


33,303
43,642


3"

379


3,703,380
3,397, x8i




3




1886


366


a, ass, 589


3


57, '30


369


a,3'a,7'9




1883


"43


a,33»,ai3


a


40,400


345


3, 37', 613


•jqoo ftod under ajooo„...


X893
X889


«45
'39


',701,34a
X, 333, 460




4,786
14,848


146
'40


i,7o6,x38
',338,308


S^^*** •""* »*"«»* ^,«M«Wm...


X




x886


143


«,46x,593


3


13,984


'44


',474,577




X883


14a


',583,515


4


30,935


'46


',614,450


4,000 and under 5,000.


x89a


X07


',373, '67


3


30,677


109


',393,844




X889


86


','53,765


3


6,9x8


88


','59,683




x886


94


',337,«»8


3


3a,9'9


96


',370,147




1883


73


','38,590


X


5,500


74


','44,090



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 5 of 82)