CRITICISM OF TRANSFERS Parliamentary Reporter. WELLINGTON, this day. Strong criticism of the practice of transferring surplus funds from primary production accounts to the War Expenses Account, instead of those funds being used to ease farmers' costs, was voiced in the House of Representatives yesterday by Mr. Holyoake (Nat, Pahiatua), who said that farmers were being called upon to subsidise the consumers of their products, while other sections of the community were subsidised out of the War Expenses Account.
The House was considering the annual report and accounts of the Marketing Department (export division).
£500,000 in Three Years Mr. Holyoake said payments from the meat account, the wool account and. the tallow account to the War Expenses account amounted to £150,000. With similar payments made over the last three years, the total was approximately £500,000. The Opposition claimed that those accounts were run on behalf of the farmers, and that any surplus should be used for the reduction of commission charges in the handling of primary produce. Almost every other section of the community was receiving subsidies from the War Expenses account, yet money collected from the farmers was being transferred away from them. Dairy farmers were providing butter at a price which meant they were giving a subsidy of nearly £500,000 a year.
The Minister of Finance, Mr. Nash, would say that it was all by agreement witii the primary producers, continued Mr. Holyoake. The Minister had said recently that he had signed an agreement on one occasion -under duress. If he had ever been -under duress the farmers had been -under far greater duress with the present agreement, and the farmers should not be required to carry out an agreement put on them by duress. If the Government would allow the farmers to charge prices in proportion to their mounting costs and would stabilise the prices at that level, the farmers would do all they could to assist <the Government. Reply "by Minister Mr. Nash replied that the price paid by the British Government included subsidies paid out of the War Expenses account, so that the price automatically covered the subsidy and went into the dairy industry account. There was no claim on industry for anything other than what was in the price, which went fully into the dairy or meat account. One point which had been raised might, if it was discussed in the House, prejudice a disputed point, which had been referred to arbitration. On all other points the committee representative of all parties had come to an agreement.
"The full price paid by Britain," continued Mr. Nash, "goes into the Dairy Industry account. If costs are reimbursed to us they should be charged to the industry concerned."
In regard to the Meat Industry account, the Minister explained that the Meat Board agreed that the price of meat in New Zealand should be stabilised, but they wanted a limit, and the cost to the Meat Industry account was fixed at a maximum of £400,000.
As for the wool industry, Mr. Nash declared that Australian growers were given 15 per cent more by the British Government as a result of their representations. New Zealand growers knew nothing about it, -and when they were also given the 15 per cent increase, it "came out of the blue." No question had then arisen of needing it because of increased costs, but propagandists then got to work. It was also said, justifiably so, that if one section of the community received an additional 15 per cent, others would want more, as wages were being kept down. "This," added Mr. Nasi*, ''created the first breach in the stabilisation structure."
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SURPLUS FUNDS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 171, 21 July 1945
SURPLUS FUNDS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 171, 21 July 1945
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