A CHANCE FOR THE PUBLIC TO HELP
the most discussed problems of ex-servicemen's rehabilitation is the provision of adequate housing while the former soldier is waiting to obtain a home of his own. The Mayer of Auckland has been outspoken in his frequent reviews of the crisis (which he was among the first to place at its correct evaluation), and Mr. D. V. Bryant, of Hamilton, has also been active in trying to find a way out. In response to their appeals many householders have declared their willingness to take in ex-servicemen and their families as temporary tenants provided the Fair Rents Act is amended to permit eviction after an agreed period, and the announcement by the Prime Minister that legislation is now being drafted to make this possible is most welcome. Mr. Fraser assured the House last night that if an adjustment of the rent restriction law would benefit returned servicemen he was in favour of it, and he said the matter would be dealt with at once. ' Having received this promise the ex-serviceman (and those who want to help him) will be satisfied, but they will expect the Government to put the necessary legislation through with a minimum of delay. Drafts of former prisoners of war are returning almost weekly and all will soon be home, and despite the lack of an official statement concerning the future of the Division it is still anticipated that most of the men with considerable overseas service.will be back before the end of the 3'ear. And they will have to be housed.
The Government's decision to amend the obstructive clause in the Fair Rents Act is the result of official recognition that the housing shortage may assume the most serious proportions even before this year is over. No stepping up of State or private construction programmes can be of immediate benefit, and the public is accordingly being given an opportunity to show where its sympathies lie. While the Fair Rents Act, in its present form, is in operation the reluctance of householders to make available vacant rooms is understandable, but once their freedom to choose tenants, and change them later if they so desire, is restored, they have no alibi if they fail to do their part. In Britain, where the shortage caused by virtual cessation of building during the war has been aggravated by air raids, people without homes have taken the law into their own hands and moved into unoccupied dwellings. Action of this type is completely foreign to British nature, and emphasises the desperateness of the situation facing the authorities where the war has left its destructive mark. It has been followed by Government action allowing local authorities to requisition houses for immediate use. In New Zealand, the endeavour should be to avoid such compulsion. Whether it can be avoided may depend on the voluntary response, a response which should be made more readily now that one great obstacle is to be removed.
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A CHANCE FOR THE PUBLIC TO HELP, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 175, 26 July 1945
A CHANCE FOR THE PUBLIC TO HELP Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 175, 26 July 1945
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