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A report from the Associated Chambers of Commerce stating that the Minister of National Service, Mr. McLagan, advised that his Department was continually engaged in seeking release from the armed forces of men whose services were urgently required in industry was received at a meeting of the council of the Auckland Chamber this afternoon.

The Associated Chambers considered the manpower position was still unsatisfactory and had drawn the Minister's attention to the fact that he had given no indication as to the actual requirements of personnel still engaged in the home defence forces.

So far as the production of foodstuffs was concerned the Minister stated that the announcement made previously by the Prime Minister referred only to personnel in the Third Division in the Pacific. This had been disbanded and the large majority of the men, on returning to New Zealand, had been released for employment mainly on food production. The recent comb-out from industry of men previously held on appeal had been carried out in pursuance of the scheme for replacement of long-service men from the Second Division.

The Minister added that the number of men returned with the first major replacement draft, all of whom would be returning to civil life on expiry of their leave, actually exceeded the number of men withdrawn from industry as a result of the comprehensive review of appeals undertaken during the past five months. The victory in Europe had enabled a speeding up of the return of men in the next two replacement "drafts and this would result in a gain to industry of several thousand men.

"Wasted In Camp"

Instances of men being wasted in camps in New Zealand were given by members. One stated that recently he had given some airmen a "lift," and had learnt that five of them were occupied in polishing the door knobs of the officers' quarters, a task which would take about half an hour a day. One of the airmen so employed said he was the only skilled umbrella maker in the Dominion. Another member said that 25 per cent of the men in the forces could easily handle the work.

The president, Mr. H. J. Lichtenstein, said that it seemed that the fault lay in many manpower adjustments being made from cards or statistics in the manpower office. It was realised it might be necessary to keep in the services more men than could be fully employed all the time, but the present position went far beyond that.

After other members had spoken of watsted manpower, and reference had been made to the heads of the forces keeping personnel in the services to maintain their own rank, the council decided to write to the Associated Chambers of Commerce asking that the report of the camp personnel committee be published immediately and that action be taken at once to return as many men as possible from the services to civil life.

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Bibliographic details

"UNSATISFACTORY", Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945

Word Count

"UNSATISFACTORY" Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945

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