WHO GOES TO NEW ZEALAND ?
ailE .COMPJDAINfrS ABOJDJ.IIMiMI- .''•'.'■ ■ -QRATION. MISGUTjRED ' <From Our'-Special Correspondent.)" - ; LONDON, -March 5. .Recent cable messages. ;from New.Zealand have recorded complaints about assisted immigration, and the High .Commissioner's \y.as.instructed' this week -to ascertain whether rthe -ship-ping-companies are :for encouraging a class of immigrant which is not required at .present in New .Zealand. •'< .- ' There are two kinds .of criticism, in' New Zealand regarding this vexed -question of immigration, and -they are mutually-.-destructive. One class of critics, say that New Zealand is not sufficiently well advertised in the Old Country. They point to the Dominion's unoccupied lands/ and demand to know why a flood of. immigrants -is not let in -to -people them, after the fashion set by Canada some years ago. Critics of the other claa* complain that more immigrants are being spnt out than the Dominion can readily absorb. They declare that the glowing descriptions of New Zealand published in the Mother Country attract far too many British artisans and small tradesmen, who are not required in the Dominion, and who glut the labour market when they get there. Between tife two, the High Commissioner and his stall', get rather a had time of it. Obviously both classes of critics cannot be right in this matter, but both have blamed the High -Commissioner's office, on the one hand for not advertising enough, On the other hand for advertising too much!
Fortunately for the High Commissioner, he is able to show that it. is not the assisted immigrants who have caused the trouble in the New Zealand labour market. The men and women sent out under the aegis of his department are either farm hands or domestic servants, and for both of these classes there is a constant .demand in New Zealand. It is not enough even for a man to have been a farm worker before he migrated to a city job in this country; he must have been working on the land gill the time before the High Commissioner will assist him to go to New. Zealand. And all the assisted immigrants are picked men and women. They must pass a pretty thorough .inspection in regard to character and health, and must possess a defini>? sum. of money, enough to keep them on landing until tboy get a situation. It is not these people who have caused the -trouble. Out of all the thousands sent out by the High Commissioner's Department in the last two or three years, not more :than twenty all told have been complained of. These few have tried to remain in the towns on landing, instead of going on the land; but the overwhelming bulk of the assisted immigrants have taken up the kind of work for which they were selected, and have given' satisfaction. From time to time the High Commissioner has been told that the people he sent out are a very good class indeed, and will make good colonists. He is selecting only domestic servants and persons who have done nothing ; else in their lives but farm work. A proportion of the assisted immigrants .are nominated by the New Zealand Govern-' ■ment, work being guaranteed for them by relatives in the Dominion; but for the selection .of these nUninated immi-. grants the High Commissioner's office is not responsible.
Now as regards the. shipping company ies. The New Zealand Shipping Company pays one or two lecturers to give addresses on New Zealand in various parts of the United Kingdom, and they] naturally paint the Dominion in very glowing colours, their .one object being! to atract people to make the -trip out. j But how the Government or the High Commissioner is going to control the I
shipping company's lecturers or compel them to tone down their exuberance in describing the Dominion I am at loss'to understand. The shipping companies also display coloured posters, giving pictures of highly idealised homesteads and farm-, ■lands in New Zealand, but here again Uie High Commissioner, so-far as 1 can see, has no power-,of censorship. He cannot order that the posters shall depict a country road on a rainy day in winter, with a bullock-dray stuck in the mud up to the axles, somewhere in the wilds, of the "roadless North"! Apart from advertisements and lectures, the shipping companies neither encourage nor discourage immigration, and it is no business of theirs to inquire what work the immigrant is going to do when he reaches New Zealand. "' We have agents all over the United Kingdom," said the manager of one of the companies, " and they book passengers for our steamers' on commission. We do not concern ourselves as to the class of pasengers booked and anyone is eligible who can pay the passage money, ivnd has none of the disabilities specified by the legislature." If a man goes to Charing Cross, and puts down the money for a ticket to Brighton, it is no concern of the booking-clerk whether the would-be passenger is a fit and proper person to go.to Brighton. As soon as the money is-put do\vn the ticket is issued. And the position with regard to bookings for New Zealand is precisely the same, subject only to the conditions as tp physical health and racial origin imposed by the Colonial Legislature. If the passenger has the money and fulfils the conditions, the companies will ship him out, and .who is going to stop them? Many enthusiastic New Zealanders are themselves responsible for a good deal of ill-advised immigration. They come over here in the summer for a holiday, and feeling* in holiday mood, they paint all sorts of rose-coloured pictures' about
" God's Own Country," as they call it, for the benefit of admiring circles' of friends and relations in the Umtod Kingdom. They -will slap some poor little City clerk on the 'shoulder in their bluff, hearty way, and say to him: " You don't know you're alive in this country, man! What with your long hours, and your fogs and your acres of bricks and mortar, your ' struggle for a living, your Free Trade, your aliens, your this, that and the other, you have no sort of life her. You ought to be in New- Zealand, my boy; the land of sunshine and happiness, the workers''paradise, the islands" of the blest, God's Own Country, sir!" And then they will launch forth on a discourse about the beauties and prosperity and the opportunities for the man who will work in "dear old New Zealand." . And the poor little city, clerk, meditating on these roseate prospects in a distant South Sea paradise, presently begins to find his city, life intolerably monotonous and grey. His ambition is fired. " lie emigrates with is Wife and,family to New Zealand, to find When he gets there that nobody wants more city clerks, and that as a farmer he does" not stand the "host of a chance, It is. a cruel ■ disillusionr ment. The only; Way" to mitigate the evils ot injiidiciovia booming'•*' at tida aoxi
is.to appeal'to-the good sense of-the New Zealanders'oii'tour, Their inteiitions.are admirable, I know, and their pride in a country which they .love, and "in which theyHhemselyes;have.done well is wholly pardonable, but'they-should be more cautious about advising English'friends with no aptitude for ".roughing it,'' to emigrate. " '-...'.'■
;The.fact that nine out of ten.New/Zealanders who visit 'England become -enthusiastic unpaid -advertising agents for the Dominion is '.a :fine tribute to their patriotism and to the land to which they ■belong. But if the result of their rosecoloured conversations and 'lantern -.lectures is to.induce "the wrong kind of people: to emigrate, the harm they do may easily outweigh the igood. ItJs right' to praise, the virtues, of New Zealand, but t.he wise New Zealander -will temper his enthusiasm with discretion, and .enjoin prudence and caution -in his hearers even while be preaches his gospel of success.
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