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DISTRIBUTION OF CHARITABLE AID., Issue 8044, 22 October 1889
DISTRIBUTION OF CHARITABLE AID.
Mr A. Solomon, chairman of the Benevolent Institution Trustees, visited Milton yesterday, and met the Borough Council in order to inquire into the matters which had caused friction between the Borough Council and the Trustees. The Mayor etated that Mr Solomon called upon him that morniug. He declined to discuss the matter, as he considered it taken out of his hands by the resolution of the Council, which absolved him from all blame. Mr Solomon asked the mayor how the Council arrived at the conclusion that the case was a deserving one. The Mayor replied that he presumed it w<>B from his report. He was asked for an explanation and gave it. They were different here from what they were in Dunedin. If family were destitute it was soon known. They did not look upon everybody with suspicion as they did in larger communities. Mr Solomon said that the Trustees were desirous that there should be no friction between themselves and local bodies, But
they were in a responsible position, They had the distribution of the funds of the contributing bodies, and unless great care were taken the subscriptions would be increased. He had a long interview with the woman, and had no hesitation in saying that hers was not a case he should look upon as urgent. It was not what her position was now ; she said she was not in need now. She said that when the mayor went to see nor, her two boys were earning 30s and the girl 4s a week. There was a family with 348 a week, out of which 6s went for rent. They were not starving, or in need of charitable aid at all. Suppose her husband, instead of being ill, had been a laboring man earning 6s a day—36s a week—nobody would Bay they needed help then. As it was, their income was within 2s of that. If the Institution gave aid to all families in that position, the cost would be enormous. Mr Moore's action was bona fide ; he had no trumpery notion of profit, but he thought he had been misled. (He read from Mr Moore's letter to the effect that the income of the family had not averaged LI a week for some weeks.) Mr Moore said that when he saw the woman she stated that she had one boy earning 8s and a girl 4s, and she was in hopes of getting another into work shortly. Mr Solomon said she told him that at the time when they saw the mayor they were earning 36a. Mr Moore replied that if that had been so, and he had known it, he should not have regarded the case aa urgent. Cr Bastings said if Mr Moore was misled, so was he. The husband told him there was no food in the house.
Mr Solomon said the man had worked at 6s a day for thirteen or fourteen years and made no provision for a time of need. Cr King said he could not have made much provision with a family of ten children.
Cr Grant said the inspector reported that they were earning about L 3. Mr Solomon said the inspector was a gentleman as high minded and honorable as anybody in that room, and was incapable of making a misstatement. He reported that there wos a boy earning 30s a week, and another boy 6s a day, but there was some misunderstanding with regard to the latter; another 18s a week, and that there were eight other children. The report stated that they were earning sufficient to maintain the family and relief was not required. The Mayor said that what led up to the trouble more than anything else was the objectionable tone of the Trustees' meeting. Mr Solomon said they attached more importance to that than it deserved. The question before them was whether it was desirable that mayors and chairmen of county councils should supply goods themselves. The Act stated distinctly that no person connected with the distribution of aid should have any dealings with the Institution. That seemed to him to apply as much to gentlemen up country as to the Trustees in town.
The Mayor did not quite 6ce this. He did not seek tho supply of the goods. Mr Solomon did not say he did. He need say no more. The Committee decided that the woman was not in need of relief. She admitted that herself. She had made her case out worse than it was. He was not blaming tho mayor. Cr Taylor remarked that the woman had made many statements differing from each othor. Which could they rely on ? Tho Major said he had got another statement. After tho report of the Trustees' meeting appeared, the woman assured him that her whole income for several weekß had been only 12a—8s the boy, and 4s tho girl. Cr Taylor said that it ws.a a mistake to spy that so much a week was earned at the flax mill. They often only worked half the week, and were paid accordingly. Cr Grant said that at the time the mayor went to the woman it was a case of necessity. Mr Solomon said it was if they were of opinion that 34s a week was a uase of necessity. She misled the mayor. Cr Taylor: She might have misled you today. Mr Solomon doubted it. There were a large number in that district who had to contribute to charitable aid who did not get 34s a week themselves.
Cr Taylor remarked that in this case there were ten of a family, and the husband doing nothing. Mr Solomon thought there was no use discussing the matter further. Cr Taylor said they were right in being annoyed by the report in the Star. What displeased him was that one after another the Trustees gave them a slap in the face. Mr Solomon said he did not think they had any Bnch intention. Cr Taylor said perhaps not. Mr Solomon said it was a common thing for gentlemen to recommend cases they thought indigent. The Trustees made inquiries and found they were not. The Mayor quite understood that anyone could be misled, but he found special fault with such a report being allowed to go forth. Mr Solomon said that neither his colleagues nor himself had the slightest intention of hurting the feelings of the mayor or the Council.
The Mayor thought they should have tried to get the matter amicably settled before making it public. Mr Solomon said they never went into committee; all they said was open to the Press.
The Mayor said the Press did not report the other side so fully. His letter was not reported. There was only one other thing. Would Mr Solomon, with some representatives of the Council, visit the woman ? It was strange that Mr Solomon and the inspector should get such different accounts from theirs. He was not satisfied. Mr Solomon said she told him she was not receiving those wages at the time, but they became payable the next week. Cr Taylor asked Mr Solomon if he had investigated for himself as Mr Moore did, and with the same result, would he have thought aid was required, and received an answer that she wilfully misled the mayor. Cr King knew the woman, and did not believe that of her. Mr Solomon said that she stated, in reply to a distinct question, that when Mr Moore called she was gettiDg 34s week. A little more conversation of a similar character took place, but nothing fresh was elicited, and to all appearance the matter was left exactly as it was before.—' Bruce Herald.'
DISTRIBUTION OF CHARITABLE AID., Issue 8044, 22 October 1889
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