The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, JULY 28, 1890. CHARITABLE AID ADMINISTRATION.
There is considerable friction m Charitable Aid administration throughout the colony. Under the system of local taxation for charitable aid purposes it was thought that, while all deserving cases would be relieved, a much-needed check would be given to imposture. This latter result has been accomplished, and the taxpayers are gainers by many thousands of pounds yearly. The indolent and unthrifty who formerly swarmed about the doors of Charitable Aid institutions and Benevolent Associations have now either betaken, themselves to other fields, or are working for their bread-and-butter like other honest people. This much has been accomplished by localising the administration of Charitable Aid, and causing the residents of each district to provide for the wants of the resident poor. The recipients of Charitable Aid are under constant surveillance by those who contribute towards their Bupport, and cases of impdsture are rare. An evil, however, has sprung up even under the present well-conceived system. Those entrusted with the administration, as a rule, enter upon their duties with the full intention of screwing down charitable aid expenditure to the last farthing, and m this effort the administrators frequently lose sight of the principle that the whole fabric of charitable aid is built upon a natural desire to assist the needy and relieve the suffering. Charitable aid administrators who keep down expenditure by withholding succour fail m the most essential part of their duty ; and, we fear, there is a tendency m this direction m several distriicts throughout the colony. The six-months residential qualification which would entitle a distressed person to apiply for aid is enforced m many cases with the utmost rigor, and the unfortunate applicant is bundled from one district to another until he or she finds himself or herself back m the district from whence they originally came, and where they had resided "six months next before" making application for succour. This proposal was originally intended to suppress mendicancy and itinerancy, but it may be, and we fear is being used for a totally different purpose, viz., to refuse on technical grounds, succour to those m immediate want, and hence arises the frequency of cases familiarly known to the public as a pauper whom nobody owns, etc.' 7 In Dunedin recently the Benevolent Trustees have refused to succour four discharged imbeciles from Seacliff Asylum, because of a technical provision m the Act, and but for the charity of the gaol chaplain, these unfortunates would doubtless now be iraadering homeless and aimless about the streets of the towns until their trials and sufferings again made t&ern fit subjects for the institution from which they have just been discharged. In Auckland recently a poor woman was refused aid because she resided m neither one charitable aid district nor the other, and but for the action of the police and benevolently disposed persons, might have perished. In other parts of the colony similar experiences have arisen. These instances point out only too clearly that there are defects m the Hospit.il and Charitable Aid Act which need amendment, and that these defects are being availed of by parsimonious Board.? to shirk legitimate burdens.