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THE FORGOTTEN MAN To the Editor The position and prospects of third-class land and its sheepfarming occupiers in this country are critical. I am a shearer and have shorn in: numerous sheds throughout the Auckland province over a period of 18 years. The deterioration of our third-class land in the past five years has been terrific, through the spreading of weeds and "second growth," gorse, heath, African fur, yellow broom, ragwort, blackberry, tea-tree, ake, tauhani, and many others, combined with the lack of fencing and fence repairing. The reasons are simple. First, the farmers haven't the money to pay for general maintenance; secondly, the drift of country workers into the towns, leaving in many cases only the old people to carry on an impossible struggle. Have the Government raised the price of primary products to keep in step with wages and the high cost of living? The price paid to the farmer for mutton appears reasonable, but the price paid for wool is unbearable. Few people realise the outlay for maintenance on a farm —road rates, interest, building timber, tools, fencing material, with wire at £47 per ton, and puriri posts at £26 per hundred, and scores of other items too numerous to mention. When I speak of farmers, this includes their wives and families; the wives are and always have been, pulling their full weight for existence. I've witnessed scores of these women chopping wood for the homes, clearing scrub, milking cows, fleecing for the shearers, cooking square feeds for the shed hands, etc. Why are these conditions allowed? Is there a solution? Certainly; give them the money they earn and they will entice the young fry who have drifted to the cities. Some people say that synthetic or artificial wool will take the place of natural wool. This may be so if the heavy cost of manufacture and reselling are allowed to continue. Simply compare the shop price of woollen goods to-day with the 1/ per lb gross the producer receives. Can the voice of these people be heard, or shall they wait for another Abraham Lincoln to rise and abolish slavery? JUST A SHEARER.

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Bibliographic details

CORRESPONDENTS' VIEWS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 177, 28 July 1945

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CORRESPONDENTS' VIEWS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 177, 28 July 1945

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