Government's Desperate Effort to Flood N.Z. With Immigrants
Maoriland Worker, Volume 13, Issue 31, 1 August 1923, Page 1
Government's Desperate Effort to Flood N.Z. With Immigrants
When moving one of the Labour Party's amendments to Mr. Wilford's amendment to the Address-in-Reply, Mr. B. J. Howard devoted much of his speech to the question of immigration. On this he said-— I heard one honourable gentleman say that Britain's teeming millions are almost falling over one another in their endeavour to come to this young country. Now, .what are the facts? Almost every, means of deception is used to try to introduce the people at Home to come here. Can any one be surprised that we on the Labour benches view this propaganda; with the utmost suspicion and distrust? Tucked away in all' sorts of country papers published in England, Scotland, and Wales we find little advertisements such as that which one of my comrades quoted the other day from the "People's Journal," a paper that circulates among thousands of farm labourers. I have ■jthat quotation here, jind will quote it again:—
Two hundred single qualified ploughmen wanted for New Zealand. Sail in July. Assisted passages. Early application necessary."
Probably you would say: "Well, now, that is inserted by the shipping agents, who want to feed the ships rather than feed New Zealand with immigrants." But here is another one which appeared quite recently. This deals with our own immigration office, and so, of course, it carries weignr. z tiiid.k siv. is a well-known gentleman. It says::—
"Mr. F. T. Sandford, Migration Officer, the High Commissioner's Department, has been on a three weeks' visit to Scotland, his object being to secure farm labourers and certain tradesmen for the Dominion." Instead of these teeming millions in Great Britain .falling over one another in endeavouring to come to this country, we find that our Immigration officer has to tour the Homeland begging these people to come out here. CHILDREN AN ENCUMBRANCE. The paragraph goes on:— "He found the supply of single farm workmen to be limited. Indeed, the farmers, he says, are becoming alarmed at the demands made upon their workmen from the various Dominions MARRIED COUPLES WITHOUT FAMILIES"'—that sounds really nice, does it not?—".are very difficult to obtain.
Farm labourers to the number of about 120, and some 30 or 40 carpenters, have, accepted the offer of a passage to New. Zealand, and these will be going out during July, August, and September. The supply of domestic servants is also becoming limited, and mistresses are becoming to resent the Dominions taking away trained women. Mere advertising does not bring in the" necessary supply, and Miss M. E. Hanloii (of the Immigration Department) will be paying a visit .to Scotland at the beginning of June for the purpose of enrolling recruits." But here is a better one. This is a statement made by the Hon. Mr. Nosworthy quite recently, in reply, he said: "However, in 1920 the Government decided to again commence a vigorous immigration policy, and with that end in view, it accepted immigrants under the Imperial Government's Oversea Settlement Scheme,, which provided for free passages for ex-members of Imperial forces, both army and navy, together with their dependents. The Government also opened up its own nominated policy, by allowing any resident of the Dominion the privilege of nominating any person residing, in the United Kingdom, irrespective of relationship .or occupation. This resulted in 10,017 immigrants arriving in the Dominion during the period Ist April, 1920, to the 31st March, .1921, which constituted a record number since mv &**>■.
TIDBIT FOR "PATRIOTS." Perhaps somebody will say that was' quite right, and that we ought to get these emigrants out here, and that we should welcome them here because of the teeming millions in England who want an outlet. Here is a statement from the "Statesman's Year Book," page 24, 1921, under the heading "Drift of Population." I hope that all patriots in this House Avill lis**sn to this statement. The Hon. Mr. Nosworthy says that "10,107 immigrants came out to New Zealand from the Old Country," and the "Statesman's Year Book" says: "In the same year 103,641 ALIENS ENTERED ENGLAND, taking the place of the 10,000 Britishers who left for these shores." The two facts must go together. Instead of the teeming millions wanting ■to come out here, we find we have to put advertisements in different papers asking for immigrants. What an untruth. We have to put advertisements in all the papers of the Old Country to induce these people to leave the Old Land. Here is another one. I think those interested in this statement will. appreciate what I am going to read, because we are charged on these benches with not welcoming to our shores the men who are struggling for a living in the Old Country, and I wish, therefore, to put. it on fecord to prove my case. It is by Sir William Beach Thomas, and he says:—
j "Th chief difference is that New Zeaj land is very empty and England desperj-otelycro-yßdecl. In a sense even the t-OAVir I areas are empty. Nothing more thor! oughly astonished mc in any part of the British world thai; to find factories closing and plans for new factories suspended because of a dearth of hands, both women and men." UNEMPLOYED DEMONSTRATIONMAN STARVING. That is dated 9th January, 1923, and appears in the Daily Mail." Is there any truth in that statement? This morning we saw a large deputation outside this building asking for a chance to labour; begging for work. How does that compare with the stories put before our friends in the Old Country? And it is the same in Christ church, and no doubt the same in Auckland. They are there day after day every morning, seeking work. One man fainted the other day in Christchurch, and we called Dr. Orchard, who was passing at the time, to see this, man. The doctor looked at him, turned up the man's eyelids, and said, "Take him and give him a feed—the man is starving, that is what is wrong with him." When he came to we asked him if he had had breakfast, and he said, "No, I do not eat breakfast now; it is better for my health." The children had the breakfast. That was the fact. Then take another quotation "The C4overumcnt and private employers confess to an absolute dearth of plumbers, carpenters, bootmakers, plasterers, and domestic servants. Any labourer or miner—both are wanted—who is nominated by a resident in New Zealand can get a passage over the 12,000 miles that separate us for the sum of £12." Such is the glowing stuff that is put in to induce these people to come. HEEDED IN THE OLD LAND. But there is another side of the question beside that of cheating the British worker. One English writer puts it this way:— "The immigrants which the colonies desire, and which would best serve the latter"s purpose, are agricultural immigrants but what we need to export are town and industrial workers. The nuni-
ber of males between 20 and 60, in spite of war casualties, is 1,300,000 more than it was in 1911, a number which roughly corresponds to that of the unemployed."' And I think that is about the number 1 fcof unemployed we are told are in England at trie present time. Then this .iwmiter asks: "Is Great Britain pver-poputated?"
And he answers the question in this way: "In Roman times, when the people numbered, say, 500,000 it was probably more over-populated. That is, when measured by the. means to produce food." Labour's programme on this question is a clearly written one. It is not written for an electioneering stunt. It is not Avritten just before a general election. Labour's programme on the question of imigration, no matter how misunderstood and misrepresented—Labour's programme on the question of immigration is written fair for everyone to read. LABOUR'S PROGRAMME. Here is a statement we sent to Great Britain to our friend Mr. Arthur Henderson. Our secretary first mentioned how people could come out to the Dominion. He said:— "(a) That assistance is granted to emigrants who are nominated from this end; (b) that nomination is not necessary in the case of miners, farm labourers, and domestic servants. With regard to (a): The nominators are required to guarantee that work and living accommodation is available for the emigrant. This is generally complied with by the statement that 'I can find them a job,' and living accommodation amounts to taking them into their own horne 1 until a house is available."
Then he goes on to point out what chances there are here:
"To sum up: The Labour Party does not in any. way wish to reserve New Zealand for its present occupants. We recognise that on the average the standard of living in New Zealand is higher than that of the older countries. We object to immigration at the present time because it is (1) Being used to depress wages; (2) rendering the shortage of houses more acute; (3) increasing rents; (4) creating a slight feeling against newcomers because of 1, 2, and 3."
Then he pointed out that to those who came here in the ordinary way there is no objection. LIMITING THE BIRTHRATE. I shall be reminded, no doubt, of the 17,000 young men from this country who were lost during the war. The potential engineers, farmers, tradesmen, and so on, young men who had visions of making this country great. My reply is that you cannot replce these young men by immigrants, and by the system we are pursuing we are preventing the mothers of this country from haying more than-two children. I think this is a very serious charge to bring against the present Administration: that we have made it a crime punishable by starvation for a woman to have more than two children if she belongs to the working class. The Government's policy is to cut down wages, and the basis on which the Arbitration Court computes wages is for a man and wife and two children. I want honourable members to mark that, because it is having this effect on cur birthrate. The birthrate of New Zealand is falling so rapidly that every •man who loves his race should pause and think. If you turn up the Official Yearbook for 1922, page 74, you will find that it says:—■
"The number of births registered in 1921 is the second highest on record, having been exceeded only in 1920. The rate per 1000 of mean population, however, is lower than'in any preceding year with, the solitary exception of 1919." RESULT OF BAD ECONOMIC CONDITIONS. With a record number of marriages in 1920 a much larger birth-rate than that recorded might naturally have been anticipated, but the economical and social conditions have beeli hard and have evidently had their effect on the birth-rate. Our rate of births per thousand has been steadily falling and stands at 23.34 in 1921, In spite of the lower death-rate
through 'the work of* Phmket Societies and other forms of organisation that are Looking after the babies, our natural increase has fallen from 29.*41 per thousand in 1876 to 14.65 in 1921. Our birth-rate being as follows: Per Per 1000. 1000. 1912 26.14 1917 25.69 1913 26.14 1918 23.44. 1914 25.99 1919 21.42 1915 25.33 1920 25.09 1916 25.94 1921 23.34 BREAKING DOWN SOCIAL LEGISLATION. The -encouragement that is given t< immigrants to come to New Zealand, ii preference to encouragement being gives to increase the birth-rate is not a sound economic thing to do. It is telling on our old-age pension scheme. A person coming to this country at forty years of age gives us probably twenty-five years of service before he or she becomes entitled to the old-age pension, whereas a child born here gives us'probably fortyfive' years of service. So that from that point of view it is uneconomical to bring immigrants to New Zealand in preference to encouraging the birth-rate here. Now we have seen during the past winter in all our cities people looking'for employment. Only this morning we met many fine strapping fellows who were out of work. Then we see the working-men's savings, savings that they gathered durag the war when men were working overtime, gradually disappearing. Let mc quote the paragraph in reference to the figures of the Post Office Savings Bank:
"During the year ended March 31, 1923, the Post Office Savings Bank figures show that the withdrawals exceeded the deposits by £1,086,836, while in the preceding year the excess of withdrawals was £1,100,233, so that for tyo years in succession those who make use of the savings-bank have been drawing on their capital. The deposits have contracted rather sharply in the past two years, while the withdrawals have tended to increase." This shows that those who use the Post Office Savings Bank been drawing on their capital. Tbe figures show that the deposits contracted while the withdraawls have tended to increase. ROBBING-" THE WORKERS. Our friends the Reformers have taken the breaß and butter from the children of the workers, and have sheltered themselves behind the Arbitration Court. I have conducted eases in the Arbitration Court. In that Court you have to lay out every item of household use. You have to put down every pair of boot laces, every pair of socks the baby wears, every new dress the wife gets, every packet of blue the woman uses in the family washing these are tabulated for a family consisting of a man, his wife, and two children, and the wages are struck accordingly. But then when you get. a family" of ten children, how are they to live on this basis? When I put it to one honourable member in the vestibule he said, "God knows, Ido not." I ask honourable members on that side of the House, what are you doing by that legislation? You are producing rickety children, and you arc causing women to take every means in the power to avoid bringing children into the world. If we will be true to ourselves, we cannot but know that that is so. Worse than that, the rich people are not bringing their share of children into the world, the poor people, who-have more than their share, are being punished. The people are punished for bringing children into the world while the Prime Minister goes to England to sing fine songs and make speeches as to-the greatness of this Dominion, in-order to induce the people to come to New Zealand. As I said, the Prime Minister is' but a pawn in this great scheme of imperialism*