THE POSITION OF FRIENDLY SOCIETIES.
Continuing the inquiries from representatives of friendly societies as to the manner of reception afforded to Registrar Mason’s report, our reporter to-day called on leading men of the Druids’ Order and the Independent Order of Oddfellows.
THE DBUJD3. Mr M. Moss, district president, explained that the local lodges of this Order are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Australia, and added: I have written to Mr J. J. Brennan, Grand Lodge secretary in Melbourne, giving him all particulars and enclosing Registrar Mason’s report for an answer. When that answer comes to hand I shall be able to give you all the information required. INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODDFELLOWS. Mr W. Reid, Grand Secretary of this Order, was the next interviewed, and the questions were answered as follows; Reporter: Have you read Registrar Mason’s report ? Mr Reid : Yes, all excepting the tables, which I have glanced through. Do you consider his strictures justified by the knowledge of the finance of friendly societies that your long oonncqtion with them has enabled you to gain ?—I do, most emphatically. I have been studying tho
valuations for the past seven or eight years, and think they disclose a state of matters which quite justifies what the Registrar says. No doubt, as Mr Black has told you, a few of the leading societies of New Zealand have adopted graduated and adequate scales of contributions, which is of course the only true basis on which friendly societies can be established; but I think that the valuations of the past seven or eight years, so far as I have read them, reveal the fact that the majority of societies still retain the low uniform scales.
To what causes do you consider the state of affairs disclosed in the report to be due i —To what I have said: the low uniform scales in place of graduated scales which our ’ society and others have adopted. What steps has your Order taken to improve its financial position ?—ln 1878 wo introduced the graduated adequate scales, and since then we have had our scales revised by another actuary, who says that they are no more than adequate, although, I may say, the highest in New Zealand. The adoption of these scales has handicapped us so far as our numerical strength is concerned ; what I mean is that other societies trading on low uniform rates have had an advantage over us—have been underselling us, in fact. How far have these remedial measures answered expectations? They have answered thoroughly. We have only three lodges out of thirty which show deficiencies of any moment, and these are by the valuer attributed laigely to the fact that large number of old members are still in the lodges and paying according to thcold uniform scales that were previously in force. No doubt exists in my mind that the remedial measures we have adopted are the very thing to keep a lodge safe, and under this arrangement a lodge must be safe unless there is mismanagement, I may tell you that eighteen lodges out of tbkty-nine which the Registrar speaks of—l am referring to the Independent Order of Oddfellows—are showing a surplus, while our funeral fund is the one distinguished in the Registrar’s report as showing a surplus. What iu your opinion should be the course of action in order to bring upto a safe position lodges that are financially weak ?To do what wo have done: to adopt the graduated adequate scales, A uniform adequate scale might be adopted, but that would be unfair to young members. The adequate graduated scale is the only fair one. Should the Government appoint independent auditors to inspect the books of lodges? —My own opinion is that they should. In towns it is right enough to do without this prov's'on, for competent auditorscan be there engaged ; but in the country, owing to lack of material, the audit in many cases is a complete farce, It is within my personal knowledge that this is so. Ourcenlral body has appointed one of the Government auditors to audit its books. Seeing that your Order has approved of a graduated scale of contributions, would you recommend its adoption by other friendly societies ?—Most decidedly. It is the only fair and safe thing to do. I could, if necessary, give you instances of societies that have been valued twice, the second valuation showing an enormous and increasing deficiency, and yet steps have been taken to improve their position. a matter of fact, such societies are simply drifting into hopeless insolvency. How far has f e Registrar’s depi r ment assisted the improvement of matters relating to friendly societies, and in what way, if any, could it be made of further use iu that direction?—l think it has done us considerable good, from the fact that districts and lodges have to send in returns showing their position as from year to year, and it is a check upon lodges overdrawing their benefit funds to pay the expenses of management ; besides which, the department is tabulating the experience of sickness and mortality, which will be of the greatest use in checking the dues in regard to the benefits offered by societies, the present tables being based on the experience of the M.U.1.0.0.F. in England, while the conditions here may be found to be such as to admit of a modification thereof. TEMPERANCE ORGANISATIONS
Wo understand that the Rechabitea and the Sons and Daughters of Temperance ha\ 0 adopted a graduated scale of contributions. These bodies are both represented in Dunedin, but only by local branches, and we are unable at present to obtain official information from headquarters. We have, however, communicated with the Grand Scribe of the Sons and Daughters of Temperance and the secretary of the central district of Rechabitea, and hope to hear from these officers in a few days.
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THE POSITION OF FRIENDLY SOCIETIES., Evening Star, Issue 7953, 8 July 1889
THE POSITION OF FRIENDLY SOCIETIES. Evening Star, Issue 7953, 8 July 1889
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