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(Per Press Association.)

AUCKLAND, February 23. The probable effect of the increasing cost of labour upon the fruit trade was forecasted by Mr A. L. It. McDonald, in presiding over the annual conference of the New Zealand Association of Nurserymen, held in "Auckland this morning. " The fruit trade in Auckland had to face the labour problem,'.' he said. " All' over the world the'upward tendency of wages is making the cost of production . greater, and I think that the nurserymen of the Dominion will have to. consider whether they should not follow the example of other employers and place the extra cost on the public. At present we are trying to shoulder the burden ourselves, but I think it will be too great. It certainly will be if the demands asked at the present time are granted." Mr McDonald added that while Auckland and Christchurch were the only places where awards at present* existed, other districts would probably be affected shortly. The natural consequence, would be that , boards would be set up in other centres. In view of outside competition, especially from Australia, the matter was a, serious one. If they stood on the same level they could hold their own, but competition from Australia met them unfairly. That opened up the question that would protect New Zealand nurserymen.

On the subject of packing and grading the speaker observed that no doubt the want of experience in this branch of the business resulted in considerable • loss to many, growers in marketing their fruit. To obtain the best results the grading and packing should be d'6ne at the wharf or railway siding, not by the growers, but by the professional packer.

On the question of varieties the speaker said that some of the New Zea-land-raised seedling fruits, especially blight-proof apples, must come to the fore. 'There was a great field for private or Government experimentalists, and if carried out on practical lines, many new varieties, not only more blight-resisting, but more,suited to the climate, would be raised. In the meantime they must plant what had been tested and proved. After mentioning that numerically the conference was the strongest ever held, Mr McDonald referred to the prospects of the trade, declaring the outlook to be encouraging. He observed that in view of the facts that the export trade was still in its infancy, that in the past orchards had not been run on commercial lines, and that thousands of acres suitable for fruit-growing were lying idle, it was very difficult indeed to gauge the potentialities of the industry, particularly of the export trade. With the opening up of the Panama Canal, eight or 10 markets .on the eastern side of the United States at present closed to the trade would bo opened, while London would be brought nearer to their doors. Another considerable market, in South America, was growing; rapidly. "We, hear a good deal of croaking about the planting of fruit trees being overdone," he remarked, "and the industry being ruined by overplanting, but I am not in sympathy with that at all. I have not the slightest doubt that the industry is yet in its initial stages, and it is only waiting for the same energy and pluck that have been put into the butter;.,au.d. cheese industry to make it a great success."

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Bibliographic details

AN AUCKLAND ADDRESS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8802, 24 February 1914

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AN AUCKLAND ADDRESS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8802, 24 February 1914

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