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WELLINGTON, this day.

Official statements that the number of men employed on farms had increased by 10,000 since 1943 were discounted t>y Mr. W. W. Mulholland in his presidential address to the annual conference of the New Zealand Farmers' Union to-day. The situation as he knew it, he said, did not bear out such statements, and he was inclined to think that the Government had relied too much on statistics of movements of men as recorded by the National Service Department and overlooked some other important factors such as natural, wastage by age, by movements from farms and by death. Under normal conditions, said Mr. Mulholland, this outflow was balanced by the inflow of boys growing to manhood and of workers from other occupations, but such inflow had be'en severely restricted under the conditions of the last six years. He would say that, in the last two years, when this 10,000 extra men were said to have been available, the deficit had been not less than three per cent per year, or about 4500, making the total for the two years about 9000. This roughly cancelled out the extra men stated _to have been made available. In addition, the aging of the farming population which had taken place had very greatly reduced the labour efficiency of a large number of those still trying to carry on. It is a pity that the Government had not seen fit to consult with farm leaders, or at least with the Minister of Agriculture and his departmental officers before committing itself to the additional calling up of farm workers last autumn, continued Mr. Mulholland. Nothing during the .whole conduct of the war had had such a devastating effect upon the morale of the farmers, or so gravely threatened agricultural production. It had caused so much uncertainty that farmers found themselves unable to plan for the 1945-46 season with any confidence, and the hesitation and lack of confidence had been very expensive in their effects upon production. Had the Government taken the country into its confidence and said what the need was, and what its policy was, a great deal of this unfortunate effect would have been avoided. In spite of all this, he urged farmers to take up the job of food production with renewed energy. It was now revealed, added Mr. Mulholland, that some 20,000 men were coming back from the European theatres of war. While few of them would be available at the beginning of the season, he felt sure that farmers would make every effort to carry on with the knowledge that relief was in sight.

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Bibliographic details

LABOUR FOR FARMS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 168, 18 July 1945

Word Count

LABOUR FOR FARMS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 168, 18 July 1945

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