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"Owing to the acute housing shortage discussions are now taking place- as to the wisdom, at this critical period, of directing to the building of a vocational training centre, labour and materials sufficient to erect some 100 houses. I will advise you of the Government's final decision as soon as this is available."

This excerpt from a telegram from the Minister of Rehabilitation, Mr. Skinner, was read at a general meeting of the Auckland War Amputees Association last night when the matter of the building of a training centre at Auokland was under discussion.

The honorary secretary, Mr. T. R. Davies, said he had written to the Minister in May stating that it had been rumoured that the Government had abandoned the plan to build a centre in Auckland, and requesting an assurance that such was not the case. Subsequent correspondence had failed to bring a reply, and last week an urgent telegram had been dispatched to Mr. Skinner, who had replied giving his assurance that there was no suggestion of depriving Auckland of a new vocational training centre.

Centres in the South

Mr. Theo. BroWne, president of the Auckland War Amputees' Association, said the Wellington training centre was now in full operation and was doing good work in a very fine building. Dunedm also had its centre completed and was running well. The Christchurch centre was almost completed, but the Auckland centre had not even been started. He traced the attempts to obtain a centre in Auckland during the last four years, recalling the approval given by the War Cabinet as long ago as 1942 and later the promise of Mr. Skinner, when the centre was removed from Hopetoun Street to the Parnell Rise site, that new premises would be completed within a year.

Amputees, he continued, realised the full import of the housing crisis, and if all building at the present time were confined to that class of activity there would be no argument for the centre. However, he had made a tour of the metropolitan area and found that twelve large commercial buildings were in course of erection, including palatial offices to take bookings and look after the transport of people who could afford to take overseas trips.

"As a sop, the Government is prepared to spend a little more money on the Parnell premises," he said. "There has been a suggestion that certain premises of another Government Department at Parnell be taken and used for training disabled men and for the establishment of a limb factory. Parnell, however, is totally unsuitable for amputees. The present premises are on a site that belongs to Auckland city and the Mayor has expressed the desire to reoccupy it as soon as possible."

More than sufficient labour and material were being absorbed in building that was not for housing and should not have priority over a training centre, added Mr. Browne. A Member: It is absolutely being shelved. The Chairman: It is for you to say whether we are to sit down and let them put this over us, or whether we are to fight. Voices: We will fight. It was left to the executive to prosecute the matter of the building of the centre with the utmost vigour, and to enlist the support of kindred associations, Auckland City Council, and the public.

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Bibliographic details

ENDLESS DELAY, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 175, 26 July 1945

Word Count

ENDLESS DELAY Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 175, 26 July 1945

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