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The Ashburton Guardian. MONDAY FEBRURAY, 28, 1881.

TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 5 p.m. j

When a man finds the bottom of his pocket, after he has had control of wealth, and has to cast about for a means of replenishing, it is wonderful, if there is grit in him, what he will be able to hit upon. It is the same of course with a country as with an individual, and New Zealand is in some such position. Only recently she was brought face to face with the fact that her millions of borrowed money had been all expended ; she found money scarce amongst her business men, large numbers of whom had to compound. Then she depended almost entirely on her crops, and several bad harvests helped to add to her distress. A time of universal commercial depression added its share to her trouble, and low grain markets also increased it. The colony found herself with a plethora of oats in hand, for which no market of any kind could be found, and never before perhaps, in any European country was it a fact that oats could be bought in almost any quantity at is. per bushel. This was a terribly depressing fact for farmers ; but it was not without its benefits. It stirred people up, and the necessity of the times compelled them to seek an outlet for this crop. Previously it had not been exported, but experimental export was now made, and it was found that oats could be taken to London just as safely as wheat, and could he sold there for a fairly remunerative price. The experiment did more. It showed the Home millers what quality of oats could be produced in these islands of ours, and drew forth, from those who were best qualified to judge, an opinion that nowhere in the world could New Zealand be beaten as an oat-growing country. This was no idle compliment, and that it is not is now finding proof in the fact that Scotch millers are at this moment looking to New Zealand for oats from which to supply the oatmeal country of the world. Already we hear of millers making their way out here, with a view, less to see after securing a permanent supply of oats than to ascertain whether or not it is advisable to establish meal mills on the spot, and send the meal ready ground Home. The chances are that instead of sending Home the raw grain, we shall yet open an extensive export trade in oatmeal ground in the colony. And there is no reason why we should not do so. Labor is more costly here, to be sure, than it is in Great Britain, but then the difference is amply made up on the price of the grain, its quality, and its almost unlimited supply. Last year about 200.000 tons of oats were grown in New Zealand, and it is well-known that this supply could be very largely increased. In the article of oats New Zealand farmers have many advantages that our. great agricultural competitor America does not possess. In climate everything is in their favor. Our droughts are only nominal ; we have no insect plagues to come swooping down upon our crops; we have never yet had floods covering whole counties, and sweeping away the growing corn; and, everything considered, access to the railways and the ports is comparatively easy throughout the whole length rdf the colony available for culture. Yet with all these advantages on our ! sjd6'America pockets annually about 11509.000 of Scotch money for oats fir inferior in quality to our own. We bjelieve it is quite possible for New Zealand, who has now made a name fdr herself in Great Britain for oats to divert this sum of money to her own shores, instead of allowing it to slide across the “ herring pond” and be deposited in Yankee pockets. Then the

rude awakentipg that the colony has received hasV'sPlgkep up the farmers themselves, and they'are now beginning to study the question of co-operation. In South Canterbury a Farmers’ * Inoperative Society has become a lb mg thing; and if the movement lakes root, and spreads, as did tire grangers movement in America, the time ray not be far distant when the farmer will export his own produce, and save .he commission which all who have the handling of grain between the prodi cer and the Home buyer must cert..inly pocket. Then companies are being formed for meat export. Oamaru took the initiative, and Dunedin has followed suit. We are glad to see the movement started, for now we believe it will go on and prosper. It only wants one successful voyage made from New Zealand to London, to send every district into enthusiasm on the subject, and to draw the curtain away from a grand future for the colony that has been obscured by a want of enterprise born of the easy circumstances in which we lived, and which were created by the flood of borrowed wealth let loose upon the land. It was well, perhaps for the colony that she met hard times. They stirred up the John Bull pluck that is in rer, and as those hard times will only take farewell of us when we can bid defiance to them, there is e rery chance that in all the directions of improvement we have indicated the colonists will persevere. If they do, success is assured, and prosperity with a backbone in it will return and take the place of the inflation that for many years has buoyed us up, only to let us collapse when the inflating medium was withdrawn.

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810228.2.7

Bibliographic details

The Ashburton Guardian. MONDAY FEBRURAY, 28, 1881., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 280, 28 February 1881

Word Count
945

The Ashburton Guardian. MONDAY FEBRURAY, 28, 1881. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 280, 28 February 1881

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