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Ashburton Under NoLicense.


A representative of the Tiuiaru "Post" recently interviewed a visitor horn Ashburton, who has resided in that town for some two years, and elicited from him hi. 1' impressions rpgurding the effect of No-license upon thy town. In reply to a question regarding the number of sly grog shops in Ashburton, the reporter was told that it was impossible for auyone to etato definito'y at how many places in ishburtcn liquor was illegally sold. There were two or three notorious houses in the town which had on more than one occasion been raided by the police,

sometimes successfully, but beyond these

nobody could be certain. There were probably many houses whore a S9lect clientele of, say, five or six persons, were supplied with liquor, and a good deal of liquor was illegally sold by private arrangement. An instance of the latter was given in which a man holding a good position imported a case of whiskey, and sold a bottle or two

to intimate friends. Although this was undoubtedly illegal, no one would suspect the person who sold the liquor of being a "sly grog seller in the accepted sense of the term. One of the immediate results ot No-license had been a considerable increase in the number of valedictory socials and sunilar functions in the electorate, at many of which bepr and whiskey termed prominent items of the refreshment provided. This phase w*s, however, now considerably modified, and would probably soon disappear. At many of the com ,try race meefcmgs throughout, the county a largo amount of ii q ,, or was novv consumed, In one ease, at a meeting near Aehburtoa, the contents of two case?, of whu-key disappeared in lf-ss than thrpe hours, (.Jthough not more than forty persons partook thereof. The " Posts informant however, understood that a certain nmount of drunkenness was a feature of Aehbnrton County race meetings for years before NoHoonse was carried.

The railway returns at Ashbnrton showed a large decrease in the amount of liquor sent into the county, but it should not be forgotten that owing to close police supervision of liquor imported per rail, considerable quantities were brought; into the county from Chertsey, Methveu.and Rangitata, by other means of transport. Notwithstanding this, the^e did not seem to 1)6 any general tendency on the part of the townspeople of Aehburron to iinpnrt liauor in buli for home conpumption. Matty people kept a bottle of whiskey or a email kog of beer in their house before N'o-Licon?e was carried, and those people continued to do so under pr« B<>Dt conditions, No-Lioense had been followed in A«hburton by three very marked results — the increase of the Post Office Savings Bank deposits by some £-{-0,000, a decrease of more than 50 per cent, in crime, and the raising of the borough rato=> from Is to 2s in the £ to cope with the loss from hotel license revenue. The rates had since been reduced to Is 6d, but this result was mainly owing to the fact that the present Borough Council had discovered that the work of the borough could be carried on, in an indifferent kind of way, on the lower scale, no adequate provision being made for muoh needed improvements in the borough. Property in Ashburton borough had increased in value sioce the advent of No-License to au extent which covered

the loss of hotel revenue, but the rato of increase as compared with previous* years was perhaps something le s than normal. A decrease in business was noticeable in Ashburton, but this was jost now shared by the rest of the colony, Contributing causes in Ashburton, ho^ovpr, were prnprobably thn large amount of money drawn from circulation, nnd dopo.-itod in savings banks, nnd pxtensivo investments in lnnd by the townspeople and other-, enforcing a somewhat too rigid ecrnouy.

The Ashburfcon police hnd J].v«ly heen particularly unsuccessful in getting convictions in cases against allowed s^v gro<? sellers , and this would lead to an increase in the oxtf>nt of this illegal trade, the profits of which were reputed to be enormous.

There was no doubt a L-ss to the business people of Ashburfcon through farmers and their employees, shearers, harvesters, and other spending their cheques in either Timaru or Cbristckurch in preference to Ashburton, but in the future, with the spread of No-License, this phase would pass. Speaking generally, the reßulfc of No* License in Ashburfcon was that the teetotal 1 ler remained teetotal, the moderate drinker drank far less, and the drunkards who support the sly grog shops get as much liquor as they wanted. The facilities afforded to young men to obtain liquor were greatly curtailed, owing to the closing of public bars, and the ultimate result must be a large decrease in Ashburton of all evils of which the intemperate use of liquor is a rcot. Ashburton's position as a No-Licenße electorate surrounded by licensed districts rendered it more difficult to judge the rosulfcs of the reform than would otherwise be the case, and fin addition to this, |No License had hardly been in operation long enough there to allow of the fall development of its direct and indirect results.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Under No- License., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6622, 15 July 1905

Word Count

Ashburton Under No- License. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6622, 15 July 1905

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