THE Maoriland Worker WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 1915.
Maoriland Worker, Volume 6, Issue 219, 21 April 1915, Page 4
THE Maoriland Worker WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 1915.
The Price of Butter
Last weok tho price of butter i>l New Zealand was raised to Is. 6d. per lb. Prior to tho war, tho same iutter wag sold at Is. 2d. per lb. No adequate reason can bo given by the butter ring , for tho systematised iucreaso in tho cost of this commodity. When the cconomio bushrangers who control tho wheat market effected their hold-up, it was alleged in reply to tho public's indignant protests that there was a shortago of wheat—that, pwing to the low prices ruling, farmers
had abandoned wheat-growing for the moro lucrative pastoral and dairying enterprises. It was contended that there was more money in butter and other industries than in Of courso, the wheat shortage argument was an assertion atid nothing more. Thero is abundant proof that Ihero is no luitter shortage. New Zealand produces moro than threo times as much butter every year than is required for local consumption. For instance, in 1912, tho total amount of butter produced was 28,854 tons. It is officially estimated that tho local annual consumption amounts to twenty pounds per head of tho population, or 9721 tons 19 cwt. During 1912,18,955 tons 17 cwt. wero exported. In other words, nearly one-third of the butter produced was con6umed locally, and over two-thirds of it was exported. Of course, the exports arc increasing as a result of the war, and at tho saino time local prices are being lifted. STILL NO INCREASE WHATEVER HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE COST OF I'RODDCING BUTTER. As wo hare pointed out, the last rise means an increase of 4d. per lb. sinco tho war broko out. Let us see what this amounts to on the 1012 figures. If the Year Book figures are correc —and thero is no reason to doubt their accuracy—and if 9,721 tons 19 cwt. of butter are consumed locally in a year, it means that since there are 21,777,168 lbs. of butter in that quantity every penny per lb. rise equals an annual levy of £90,738 4s. imposed on the people of Now Zealand by tho Butter Ring. And tho rise of 4d. which has already taken place means that the people of New Zealand aro now paying toll to tho patriotic plunderers who control the butter market at the into of £362,951 IGs. per annum—MOßE THAN A THIRD OF A MILLION A YEARI Let us carry the examination a littlo further, and wo will discover that —sinco we export 18,955 tons 17 cwt. (42,384,904 lbs.) of butter, and assuming that tho Butter Ring can securo similar increases in Britain, Australia, etc., to those inflicted in New Zealand—tribute will bo exacted from tho people of thoso countries to the amount of £695,815 11s. 4d.1 Tho combined people of New Zealand, Great Britain, and Australia —on the basis of the 4d. increase in butter alone —are thus being systematically robbed in open daylight at the rate of MORE THAN ONE MILLION POUNDS A YEAR. The exact amount is £1,058,768 7s. 4d. It is possible that tho%ting's profits on exported butter will bo much larger than on that consumed locally. What answer has the Massey Government to the demands of tho peoplo that ariso oub of such a situation? It is coolly stated that yet another rise is anticipated. As we have shown, every penny increase moans an additional £90,738 4s. out of the pockets of the people of New Zealand and in the pockets of the treacherous exploiters. Every penny increase also means an additional increase of £176,453 15s. 4d. out of the pockets of the people of Britain, Australia, etc., and in tho pockets of_ the pirates. In all, every penny increase means a total yearly loot of £2G7,181 19s. 4d. —more than a quarter of a million sterling 1 Thero is only ono immediate way to deal with the situation, and that is by the Government seizure of all the butter supplies in Now Zealand, and tho prohibition of all butter exports until tho local wants of the people are supplied. It is quite calmly announced that as tho price increases local con sumption will diminish. Tn _ other words, because the workers' wages do not increase in fixed ratio with the price of such necessaries ps butter, the workers will be compelled to eat less butter —notwithstanding that wo produco tbreo times as much butter as we can consume in normal times. Not only should local prices be brought back to tho pre-war . standard, but when an equilibrium has been established and local wants are supplied, tho Government should soo to it that butter Bent tn England and Australia is sold at ordinary prices. One thing is certain. The claws of tho food pirates have got to be clipped, and if tho Government persists in buttressing the class interests of tho pirates and ignoring tho interests of tho people, then it will be for the industrially-organised workers to devise a plan of drastic action to overcome tho evil.