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IMPORTANT STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER. DUTY TO BE "TEMPORARILY REMITTED. [From Our Pabuamentaby Repobter.] WELLINGTON, October 20. An important statement regarding the price of wheat and Hour was made by the Hon. W. F. Massey in the House this afternoon. When war was declared, said the Prime Minister, and when it was discovered that there was the possibility of a shortage in New Zealand, the Government at once prohibited the export of wheat. They also purchased a quantity of wheat in Australia. But now the Government were faced with the fact that there was undoubtedly going to be a shortage so far as our requirements were concerned between the present date and the new crop becoming available. The Government had applied to the Australian Government to be allowed to purchase a quarter of a million bushels. The. Government had also communicated with Canada and America with a view to bringing flour from those countries to New Zealand. "We propose," continued Mr .Massey, "to remit the duty on flour and wheat brought to this country by merchants or traders between the present date and next harvest. The anomalous position we have got into is shown by the fact that so-called fowl wheat- is ■ belling at auction at 7s 9d per bushel, while milling wheat is supposed to be valued at 4s 9cl. Applications have come to me within the last two days from 21 mills, which say they are short of supplies, and the wheat I purchased from Australia is being distributed amongst them in proportion to the urgency of their requirements. - The Price of Food Commission have sat and considered the position and taken a lot of evidence, but unfortunately they are not unanimous in regard to their recommendations. The Government, however, are fixing the price at 5s 3d per bushel for whei'.t. and £l3 ]>or ton for (lour. It is to be hoped it will be unnecessary to again raise the price until the new crop comes in. The Government are assured that this price will do away to a very great extent with the difficulty that exists at the present moment. Several large millers have sufficient supplies to last them until the New Year. The difficulty' is that most of the small mills work, so to speak, from hand to mouth. Some of them have stopped already. There is comparatively little wheat held by farmers. Not one farmer in the North Island, so far as we have been able to discover, is in possession of wheat. In the South Island the estimate is that approximately 25,000 sacks _ remain to be threshed out. This will, of course, be made available within the next few weeks. But this 25,000 sacks would not keep the population of New Zealand going for more than a week. There is a difficulty, and the Government will do everything possible to meet it. I feel confident that we shall be able to keep supplies going."

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Bibliographic details

WHEAT AND FLOUR, Evening Star, Issue 15628, 20 October 1914

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WHEAT AND FLOUR Evening Star, Issue 15628, 20 October 1914