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FACILITIES FOR RECRUITING

PAY ASKED FROM DAY OF ACCEPTANCE. PENSIONS FOiTdEPENBENTS. DEPUTATION TO THE PRIME MINISTER. A deputation from the just-formed Recruiting Committee, set up to work for the removal of obstacles considered to bo at present hindering recruiting in Dunedin and Otago, waited on the Prime Minister this morning at the Railway Station, upon the arrival of the south train. The Mayor (Mr J. B. Shaddock) said that this committee had been appointed to consider the question of helping the Government in the matter of obtaining recruits. They realised that it was a difficult problem for any Government, and did not approach the matter in any faultfinding spirit. But they were of opinion that the Government were not giving sufficient encouragement to their own employees to enlist if they felt so Mr Massey ; “ I do not agree with that. The hon. gentleman said he would explain the position later. The Mayor went on that there was the matter of .providing for the dependents of soldiers. Did the Government intend to adhere to the Defence Act, because the citizens thought that something more should bo done than the Act allowed. Again, they felt that recruits should be paid from the day of their acceptance, which did not seem to be so in the meantime. An instance had com© directly under his notice, in the case of a man who was accepted, but who had to get his teeth attended to. This man cam© to him, and he at once instructed the city engineer to employ the man. Many men could not afford to lose even a week’s pay in this way. Then, again, more recruiting facilities were required. One man from Mosgiel spent all day trying to find the right place at which to hand in his name. Ho was sent from one place to another without obtaining satisfactory information, and finally went back to Mosgiel to his work without enlisting or taking any of the necessary steps to enlist. Lieutenant-colonel Stoneham said that they learned that the reinforcements left here on the 14th December for Wellington, and they wanted to know when these men were expected to leave their situations. Many of them could ill afford to lose a week’s pay. Would it be necessary for them to leave work before the 12th if they were going on the 14th? • The Prime Minister: Why should they?

Colonel Btaneham passed on to tho medical test. It was understood, ho said, that men had been rejected here who went North and were there accepted. The medical test was a matter in which they did not wish to appear to interfere .but there should bo uniformity. If anything could be done in regard to pensions it would materially assist recruiting here, and again the department was not doing tho necessary advertising to secure recruits. There should be a standing advertisement in a prominent place in the dailies, and, moreover, a central recruiting office, open day and evening, should be established.

THE PRIME MINISTER EXPLAINS. The. Prune Minister, in reply, .harked the committee and the citizens of Dunedin for the offer of assistance m ‘.he way of recruiting. Up to the present tho Government had not had the slightest difficulty in recruiting. Indeed, the difficulty had been that a far larger number were offering than were required, and preference, of course, had to be given to Territorials. The Government realised, nevertheless, that the door would Lave to be opened wider in the future. The nest contingent was ready in Wellington now, and would go about the middle cf fsxt month, and 3,000 more would go two months later. He had not tho slightest doubt that they would obtain He men. What might he'required in Hie future ho did not know. Nobody knew, Lecaupo there was a feeling (and, ndeed, there were indications) that tho Imperial Government would ask the Dominions and dependencies to assist her in putting into the field in the early European spring a force sufficient to bring tho war to a conclusion. Then there would ho furtuer (p----portunities, and he had no doubt but that New Zealand would send hor proportion, and even more. Aew, as. to th.’e complaint about Government employees i ofc having had facilities to join, it was a new complaint to him. The Government had. se.ut many of their men (or allowed them to gc), and'in tho sending of future contingents others perhaps would be allowed to go. But the Government could no„ allow the railway service to be interfered with. They must keep a (sufficient number of men to run tlic railways of tho country. Mr Cohen : And the Post mid Telojiaph Department, too. Mr Massey: Yes, the Post and 1 olegraph, too. * Trained men are required in run these services properly, and wc will follow the course adopted. _ Now, as to pensions, the Pensions Act is not a now one. It was passed at tho end of the Boer War. The Government will go into tho whole position, and if tho pensions are not adequate (and I believe they are not, at any rate in tho case of the rank and file and of non-commissioned officers), then more will he done. Hie Government, and I think I can say the Parliament too. are both of that way of thinking.” Passing to the question ‘of a standing advertisement, Mr Massey said that ho would put the matter before the Minister of Defence that very day. As to tho idea of a central recruiting station, ho would reiterate that the man who had had the experience must be given preference, and so long as these men were offering he did not think it would be wise to go outside. They would all have noted that Lord Kitchener was against tho sending of raw recruits, and if men had not had the training they must got it here or at Homo. In conclusion, he thanked tho citizens for the interest (hey were taking, and felt certain that the Government would be glad to accept the assistance of the people of Dunedin and other centres to assure the sending of adequate forces, however largo they might have to be. (Hear, hear.)

Before hoarding the train, tho Prime Minister was heartily cheered.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141124.2.44

Bibliographic details

FACILITIES FOR RECRUITING, Evening Star, Issue 15658, 24 November 1914

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1,043

FACILITIES FOR RECRUITING Evening Star, Issue 15658, 24 November 1914

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