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CHRISTCHURCH, April 15. « advice to returned soldiers deSo««, f,^ was erivmv Kir 'ne llew Commissioner of when replying '° the welcome extended to him W the- Jk 'n?, *°* f °-day V Mr Haszard tliaukad tJ!? mepbfs of the board for the'.cor.dlk ]% oi % welcome extended to him, am. then invi" ed ,th.° returned soldkcs ovA general public waiting outside into £krai 'r ai, ld Board room to address- a few wsa xls. t0 1 lemWhen the public, whiefe deluded a large body of returned, mem; ca*ne m, Mr Haszard said that-he 'Sk lcj beelJ greatly impressed with. th«> fun,© «. '^G °* the returned soldiers; and. he Haft sure j they were men likely to make goad I? se of the facilities offered to. therm yor settling on the land. lift sympait&ie^' were with the returned men,, and be? intended to do his best to maike their path of .progress as easy as he could,- ! but they must remember that the board was only administering the Act, and had to work under certain limitations. He quite understood that each man was inclined to consider his application the most important, but it should be understood that the Canterbury land district extended from' the Hurunui to the Waitaki, and the board had a great deal of work to do. Some of the men compared the delay of the board in dealing with applications with the promptitude of certain mercantile firms, but the mercantile firms had a much smaller district to work, and were not tied up with rules and regulations. Another matter was that the staff had been greatly depleted owing to the war. and in order to do the best for the soldiers the officials had been back at work nearly every liight in the'/ week. Mr Haszard mentioned that all \ his own sons had volunteered early in the war. and one had come back crippled for life.

I Dealing with the maximum advances granted under the Act, Mr Haszard said that a good deal of misapprehension existed in regard to this matter. Many men wanted to know why only £2500 was granted for land, £500 for stock, aud £250 for buildings, etc., but he. ■•could assure them that the board was only administering the Act as it found it. At the same time it meant a great deal advancing £3250 to so many men, and the board had to be careful in making grants. Some of the applicants had little or no experience in regard to farming. It was no real kindness to put these men straight on to the, land and tie a millstone round their necks, which might be a great burden to them. He considered that it was much better for men lacking practical experience to go into the country for a year or so, and see if they liked the work, and if farming suited them. With.the present high wages for farming work this was a better policy than incurring heavy lia-. .bilities. which the man might not be able to cope with, owing to lack of knowledge. The interest on £3250 amounted to over £3 a week, and to this had to be added taxes and rates.

Mr Haszard drew special attention to the necessity for accuracy in filling up the forms under Section 2 of the Act. as these were sworn statements. He found that some applicants omitted to state their actual financial means, and sometimes in examination a man who said he had nothing was found "to have £200 or £300. He wished it clearly understood that the man who was careful with his money was sure to receive, the greatest consideration from the board. Members: Hear. hear. Regarding applications for permission to sell their land, it was essential to remember that this was subject to approval by the Minister of Lands.

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Bibliographic details

SOLDIER SETTLERS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9588, 16 April 1919

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SOLDIER SETTLERS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9588, 16 April 1919