HUGE FOOD DRIVE URGED Parliamentary Reporter. WELLINGTON, this day. The part played by the Opposition leading to decisions to make substantial reductions in New Zealand's fighting forces was detailed by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Holland, who seconded the motion in the House last night, reaffirming New Zealand's determination to play its part in the war until, complete victory is achieved. Mr. Holland criticised the Government's neglect to consult the Opposition regarding important proposals relating to the war effort, and said it was not until the Prime Minister's return to New Zealand that the cooperation of the Opposition was sought. Just before the Dunedin North by-election, Mr. Fraser had told him he would be grateful if the Opposition would consider the Government's proposals. He showed the speaker draft plans for the future of the armed forces. With the Prime Minister's concurrence these facts were earnestly considered by members of the Opposition, and he wished to acknowledge, in particular, the services of Messrs. Poison, Algie and Mac Donald. This committee of the party met the War Cabinet Chiefs of Staff, and a number of their senior assistants, but before they met, the Government made an announcement of a reduction in the Air Force of something over 5000. He deplored that action while negotiations were in progress, but he would add that the Prime Minister iad explained to him that the decision was made before Mr. Fraser -eturned to New Zealand. Mr. Holland explained that it was the desire of Britain that a Commonwealth Land Force of elements from different parts of the Empire should be employed against Japan—forces from British India, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and, it was hoped, from Canada. Cables indicated this was Mr. Churchill's desire. Mr. Holland considered it was for the experts to determine the distribution of men between the various services. Therefore he would pass no comment upon relative numbers in the Army, Navy or Air Force.
One Brigade Suggested
What his party considered in their discussions was the question, "What is New Zealand's war effort to consist of?" They thought it would not be possible to operate a two-brigade land force, and suggested one brigade, though the whole weight of military opinion was against this. They had to find some way out of that difficulty, so they submitted the conclusion that the maximum number of men and women in the three armed services should be between 50,000 and 55,000, though some of his colleagues thought the maximum should be 45,000. They took their proposal to the "* 7 ar Cabinet, leaving it to the experts to decide the relative numbers in the three services. The total at that date was 100,000, and the Government's first proposal was to reduce it to about 75,000. Finally it was deduced to 63,000.
The Prime Minister: That was the proposal put before us.
Mr. Holland: It is now proposed to reduce the number to that proposed by the Opposition. Apparently the Chiefs of Staff have been given a direction that 55,000 is the target to work to.
The Government's plan, continued Mr. Holland, meant that 45,000 personnel from the forces would become available during the next few months to the Government for various purposes. He hoped the Government would now launch a nation-wide campaign to ensure a great increase in the production of the things that people consumed and were so badly needed in Britain and Europe. He suggested that a committee of four members, two from each side of the Housed might be set up to go round the country to stimulate production. He thought, in view of the number of men who would be released, a gigantic food drive could be undertaken in the Dominion on a scale never before attempted.
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OPPOSITION'S PART, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 182, 3 August 1945
OPPOSITION'S PART Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 182, 3 August 1945
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