During the 1880s and 1890s, when land was a fierce political issue, the percentage of adult males who had access to land remained almost constant at over 57%, even though the population grew significantly. Of these, more than 80% were landowners rather than Crownholders – those who leased land from the Crown, who occupied with a right to purchase or who had a deferred purchase arrangement.
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Source: Miles Fairburn, The ideal society and its enemies: the foundations of modern New Zealand society, 1850–1900. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1989, p. 97