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Extension of the hours of licensed hotels until 10 or 11 o'clock at night, abolition of the two-hour closing period on Saturday afternoon and opening of hotel bars on Sundays were the main points in suggestions put before the Royal Commission on Licensing by Mr. G. E. English, a miner, of Runanga, en behalf of the Buller Miners' Committee and the Runanga State Miners' Union.

The miners, he said, also contended that imperial measures should be served, and prices fixed by the Price Tribunal. "When a man comes from a dusty mine he wants a man-sized drink," said English. "We also urge the restoration of the strength of beer to pre-war standards."

"This is the first time a request for Sunday opening has been placed before the commission," said Mr. F. C. Spratt, for the New Zealand Alliance.

"When Sunday closing was imposed in Scotland and Wales it became a domestic curse," said English. "Men took drink home and women started to drink also. IS a man wanted to get drink on a Sunday he would get it. Men who are asked to work on Saturdays to get a bit more coal come, back and have to stand round verandahs like hungry fowls round a farm gate." Mr. G. W. Hutchison, a member of the commission: If hotels opened on Sundays hotel workers would have to be paid triple rates. Would the miners be prepared to pay more for their drinks?

Witness: Aren't the miners paying enough to-day?

The chairman, Mr. Justice Smith: Your view is that unless the miners get what they want regarding the question of hours there is a likelihood of industrial unrest?

Witness: I am not mentioning that as a threat, sir, but it is my interpretation of the situation. Miners have always been opposed to six o'clock closing. I have broken the law hundreds of times myself.

Wet Canteens Not Favoured

The chairman: Supposing power was given to some authority to establish wet canteens at certain works in certain industries under supervision would that provide a solution?

Witness: I don't think so, because drink and work don't go together. He added that, a system whereby certain classes of workers, for example, timber workers and miners, might get a drink on production of a pass when hotels were closed to others would not be satisfactory, as it would create a favoured working class.

Evidence concerning the interests brewery companies had in licensed hotels in Canterbury was given by Mr. J. D. Willis, who told the commission there were two main brewery companies in the province. Ballins' Brewery (N.Z.), Limited, including Ballin Bros., Limited, appeared to own fifteen hotels, to be lessees of three and to hold mortgages over sixteen—a total of thirtyfour in which the company was interested. New Zealand Breweries, Limited, appeared to own fourteen hotels, to be lessees of five (of which search notes showed that four had been subleased by them) and held mortgages over 45.

The two companies between them appeared to be interested in 98 out of 167. Search notes revealed a form of tie that had not been noticed before. In one instance, where a private individual owned an hotel it was mortgaged to another private individual, and the mortgage covenant provided that the rate of interest should be reduced if beer and certain, other articles sold in the hotel were purchased from New Zealand Breweries.

Mr. Willis added that these mortsages had not been executed by New Zealand Breweries, Limited,

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Bibliographic details

"MAN-SIZED DRINK", Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 175, 26 July 1945

Word Count

"MAN-SIZED DRINK" Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 175, 26 July 1945

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