Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, APRIL 14, 1919. MEAT AND RIGHT.
We liave, as occasion offered, adversely commented on the conduct of those borough residents who go outside the County borders to purchase goods that could be as satisfactorily bought in this district, which provides the income of these thoughtless buyers. Some of the leading organisations in Ashburton are among the offenders,. assisting to strengthen those who do little in return, and passing by those who help to strengthen the associations referred to. As a general principle money made in Ashburton should be,spent in the district. It must be admitted, however, that there is a temptation to depart from 'this salutary rule when outside tradesmen appear to take a. more reasonable view of ■price-values than is held locally. Does the retailing of meat present such temptation nowadays? The reports of.the dealings at the recent sales held in this County and elsewhere, emphasised the fall in prices of stock, r ,and the butchers' adverisemeiils in the city papers declare that f'owing to the fall" reductions in the retail price of meat are possible. < Nor is the willingness to let the public derive some benefit from the lower wholesale rates confined to the big retail butchers. A casual glance at the Christchurch newspapers' advertising columns shows that the large establishments in the city, as well as the small shops in the various suburbs, announce "further reductions," "bedrock prices," and "cheaper meat." Many housewives in Ashburton are asking, not unreasonably, why local prices have remained unchanged. It is the distinct' duty of all retailers to lower the cost of living when circumstances permiti The public, generally, has been very patient during recent years witlr the various increases in the price of meat and other eatables, recognising the tradesmen's difficulties, but such high prices should not be maintained a day longer than is absolutely necessary. The Ashburton butchers' explanation as to avliv the retail prices of meat have" not fallen here, should make interesting reading, and some such explanation should, be early forthcoming. Where food supplies are concerned —as we remarked when dealing with the milk crisis—retailers have a duty to the public, which other tradesmen escape. It is in the national interests that there should be no misunderstandings about food prices. That state of mind termed Bolshevism feeds on. the lack of food, or the too high, .prices of, eatables. New Zealancters are a j reasonable people, and simply ask for a fair deal. Retailers are entitled to a just profit, but nothing can excuse profiteering, Competition once safeguarded the public interests, but in these days of "understandings" among all classes of sellers, the public must protect itself. The New South Wales Government (which is not controlled by the Labour. Party) lias decided, owing to profiteer-1 ing, to license"Sydney's butchers' shops, and such a license will be with drawn if evidence is forthcoming of excessive charges. We confess that we are not in favour of a great extension of municipal trading in foodstuffs, but we believe that both wholesalers and retailers would be prudent to* realise that the war developments have altered many things besides the map of Europe.