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An analysis of lands and survey development projects 1945-69

Plunkett, H. J.
Fields of Research
Since the Second World War, Government has played an important role in developing unproductive land in New Zealand. The aim of this report is to examine why Government became so deeply involved in the development of such land and to examine the economic success of this activity. Land development activities were expanded by the New Zealand Government after the Second World War so that the pledge of supplying farms to returned servicemen could be fulfilled. It was realized that even with complete control of all land sales the supply of self-contained farms coming onto the market was insufficient to fulfil the demands of returned servicemen. The demand for farms was stimulated by favourable price movements and the generous terms of the offer. Government land development was given additional impetus in 1953 when land sales controls were relinquished. The abolition of land sales control saw a return to the free market for land and an end to the preemptive rights of returned servicemen to any land sold. Government, as a result, expanded its land development activities to supply the remaining returned servicemen with on the same favourable terms. By 1960, Government had met the returned servicemen's demand for farms and instead of curtailing virgin land development it opened its newly created farms to civilian settlers on a one-man one-farm basis. Such land development was continued to directly expand the overseas earning capacity of the country and to provide an avenue for young men in the farming industry to acquire farms of their own.