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WELLINGTON, this day

"The statement in the Press attributed to Mr. A. H. Honeyfield, Auckland manager of the Internal Marketing Division, concerning the shortage of potatoes is, to say the least, untimely and discourteous and couched in terms which, through his apparent ignorance of the real position, might create an erroneous impression of the situation," said the New Zealand Grain, Seed and Produce Merchants' Federation in a statement issued yesterday.

Mr. Honeyfield, said the statement, seemed over-anxious to disassociate the Internal Marketing Division from any responsibility for the difficult supply position which had been experienced in the , North Island and at the same time to give the impression that the Internal Marketing ©ivision had come in to retrieve the situation by arranging imports from Australia and assuming some greater responsibility for production and marketing in the future. "We do not think the Marketing Division has been generally blamed for the shortage, which, as already announced by the Minister of Marketing, Mr. Roberts, has been due practically solely to the disastrous climatic conditions in producing districts this year."

Regarding future policy, the statement criticises Mr. Honeyfield for making a statement when matters were in course of negotiation with the Minister through his officers. These negotiations had been going on for some days and, unless they were not being told the whole story as to the Government's intentions, the federation saw very little major change from what had obtained during the last two years concerning the production and distribution of potatoes and onions. During 1943-44 and 1944-45 merchants undertook to contract for the growing of potatoes and onions as agents for the Government, such a procedure having been agreed upon as a war measure. The target acreage for 1945-46 under the scheme was 37,500 acres and was exactly the same target as aimed at in 1944-45. As far as the federation was aware, production would continue to be the prerogative of the growers and merchants, with the usual excellent assistance of the Department of Agriculture, and marketing and distribution would still be through the usual channels.

"Mr. Honeyfleld intimates that 50,000 tons are to be made available to the American forces next year," continues the statement. "We would have thought it wiser not to make any commitments at this stage, as the potatoes are not yet in the ground, and our experience over many years, and confirmed with a vengeance this last year, is that it is very dangerous to make any positive estimate until the crop prospects are better known. In conclusion, we can only say that we are of the opinion that, if any public statements are to be made in these matters, they should emanate from the Minister himself and not from an officer who has had very little to do with the arrangements that have been made."

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Bibliographic details

POTATO SHORTAGE, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

Word Count

POTATO SHORTAGE Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

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