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WHEAT AND FLOUR, Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
WHEAT AND FLOUR
THE QUESTION OF TRICES,
EXPLANATION BY PRIME MINISTER,
The following statement regarding the price of wheat and flour in New Zealand has been made by the Prime Minister:— “The facts seem to bo misunderstood in some quarters. First of all, it is necessary to remind the public that there is no parallel, so far as the supply of wheat and flour is concerned, between Now Zealand and Austialia. For example, a cable message • from Sydney on November 4 stated : ‘ln the Legislative Assembly the Attorney-General said that reports indicated that New South Wales will have sufficient wheat to carry her through to next year, and provide seed for the following crop in Australia. There is more than sufficient for the present year, but owing to the drought which prevailed over most of the Commonwealth until a few weeks ago it is expected that the prosonfc crop will bo very much below the average, and Australia is providing for a considerable shortage next year. The real trouble in New Zealand is that there is undoubtedly a shortage of wheat for the present year—that is to say that the supplies on hand will not last until the new crop is available. What the Government have been doing to remedy the difficulty is this: When it became .obvious that there might be a deficiency, I telegraphed to Australia an authority to purchase 250,000 bushels on behalf of the New Zealand Government. But just at this time the Australians became alive to the position in which they stood and the price of wheat, and consequently of flour, went up with a bound. In consequence, those who were acting for us in Australia were able to purchase only 45.000 bushels. The next step was the appointment of a commission in the same way as was done in Australia, to make recommendations with regard to food prices. Their first recommendation was that wheat in Now Zealand should bo 5s 3d per bushel and flour £l3 per ton. Before this could be acted upon, however, the Commission met again and reconsidered the position, with the result that their second recommendation was that wheat should be 4s 9d per bushel and flour £ll 13s per tor.. After being given a few weeks' trial these prices were found to be unworkable, and the Commission again met, but could not make, a unanimous recommendation as to the prices of wheat and flour. The opinions of the several members of the Commission were forwarded to the Government, and the Government went back to the first recommendation of the Commission, making ! wheat 5s 3d a bushel and flour £l3 a ton. j These are. tho prices at which they stand | to-day at the three distributing centres — 1 viz., Oamaru, Timaru, and Lyttelton. It should also he stated here that during the ! early days of the war, teeing that there ! would be a difficulty in regard to tho supply of foodstuffs, and being anxious that. Now Zealand should supply its requirements, I appealed to the farmers throughout the Dominion who had laud suitable tor growing cereals, especially wheat, to glow ns much as they possibly j could. The result in the wheat-growing 1 districts was very eatisfactory. and a. con- ! siderablo area was sown in wheat in ad- I dition to what was originally intended by , farmers. This, of course, is very satisfac- j tory from the point of view of supplies | for the coming war. Unfortunately, the ' season up to the present has not been 1 favorable, owing to the insufficient rain- j fall, and in consequence the, crops will ; probably be below the average per acre, j Having ascertained by careful inquiry by j the Agricultural and Commerce Departments that there was not a sufficient sup- I ply for the present year, I communicated by telegraph with the Governments of '■ Australia, Canada, and India as to the possibility of obtaining shipments of wheat or flour from those countries. The. result up to the present has been the placing of an order in Canada for 250.000 bushels ; of wheat. The Indian Government have ; also intimated their willingness to supply | 250.000 bushels it required. The Aus- ; tralian Government, however, being afraid of a. shortage in their own country, have not up to the present intimated theii willingness to supply what has been adted for, but they have taken off the restrie- : nans so far as contracts for the supply of wheat and Hour made before the declaration of war are concerned. This is a veiv important, concession, and considerable quantities of both articles are in eonsequence being forwarded hv the Commonwealth to this country. The Government also removed the duty on importations of wheat and flour from October 21 until the new i-rop in the Dominion is available. . The above is a sum in any of the position up to the present. It will be seen, that the Government have done everything possible to meet the enierg’m y whiGi has arisen, and it is an unquastionab'e tntHi that, where the country is depending for part of its requirements on mitdde source* the price of such requirements must defend to it very great extent upon the price at which they are imported.'’
WHEAT AND FLOUR, Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
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