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Land policy and land settlement in New Zealand : an analysis of land policy goals and an evaluation of their effect

Fairweather, John R.
Fields of Research
The main stated objective of government land policy has been to support closer settlement of farmland. Closer settlement has been justified in terms of economic and social benefits, and in general, has had a considerable impact on the evolving structure of agriculture in the past. However, since 1956 the impact of land policy, has declined as direct intervention gave way to a policing role which attempts to prevent undue aggregation of land. Observations of both land policies and changes in the structure of agriculture show that the former tend to follow changes in the latter rather than produce them. Also, land policies have facilitated changes in production by meeting some of the costs involved. Recent land policies have not been compatible with production policies. Closer settlement could not be pursued while farms rapidly increased in size to 1971. The present trend to smallholding suggests that production policies and closer settlement policies could be made compatible if it were found that viable closer settlement could be linked to the trend to intensified production on smaller farms.