Woe Unto Them That Lay Field to Field: Closer Settlement in the Early Liberal Era

27 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2016

See all articles by Monique van Alphen Fyfe

Monique van Alphen Fyfe

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

This article undertakes a re-examination of the origins, construction and application of the Land for Settlements legislation in the early Liberal era. The Liberal's commitment to closer settlement reveals part of the story of highly contested land policy in colonial New Zealand. Land for Settlements legislation of the 1890s, aimed at "bursting up" the great estates, was predominantly the product of settlers' ideological aspirations and two determined politicians: John Ballance and John McKenzie. When measured against the rhetoric used to promote it, however, the policy was not necessarily effective: it was complicated by practical realities and a narrow vision of New Zealand as a vigorous Arcadian paradise. When contrasted with the treatment of Mà„ori land, yet more of the complexity of the land issue and the frailties of the actors facing it are revealed. The article concludes by proposing that Liberal policy, while flawed in execution, may have nevertheless contributed something to the consolidation of the concept of New Zealand as an agrarian ideal, a concept that remains largely intact today.

Keywords: property, land, land policy, indigenous rights

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

van Alphen Fyfe, Monique, Woe Unto Them That Lay Field to Field: Closer Settlement in the Early Liberal Era (2016). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 42/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2814376

Monique Van Alphen Fyfe (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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