Report on the Petition of James Nelson Williams.
The petitioner states that he is the agent of Frederick and William Nelson, who, in 1867, leased certain lands, situated in the Province of Hawke's Bay, from Natives to whom it had been Crown-granted in 1866. He also states that one of the grantees, Karama Pohatu, died before he could execute the lease, and that his successor, Peni te Ua, refuses to recognize the lease so far as his individual share is concerned, although the rent has been duly and regularly paid to him.
The petitioner alleges that prior to the passing of "The Native Lands Act, 1869," the lease in question was perfectly good and valid, but that, owing to the retrospective effect of the 12th section of the said Act, the legal position of the lessees has been questioned, and that he has been informed that legal proceedings will be taken by Peni te Ua, the successor of Karama Pohatu, to eject the lessees from the original share of Karama Pohatu.
The petitioner submits that, as the legal position of Frederick and William Nelson was perfectly good and valid prior to the passing of "The Native Lands Act, 1869," measures ought to be taken to set at rest any doubts which may have arisen as to the effect of the 12th section of the said Act, and prays accordingly.
I am directed to report as follows:—That it does not appear that the time has arrived when the interference of the Legislature can be fairly demanded by the petitioner, inasmuch as it does not appear that the law as it stands does prejudicially affect the title set forth, and it is desirable that such matters should be left to be determined by the ordinary tribunals.