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The Evening Star THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1914.

ItePBESEVTATiTE merchants state definitely

that Dunedin is Should there be a threatened with a Bread Famine? bread famine, and that it ia impossible to procure milling wheat and flour at prices higher than those fixed by the Foodstuffs Commisaion who were appointed to give effect to the Government's vaunted and doubtless well-intentioned policy to smother unpatriotic exploitation in New Zealand during an Imperial state of war against a resourceful, desperate enemy. The hollow result of the Commission’s activities need not bo again discussed. The Commission doubtless did their best, and it is. not their fault that the result has become a byword for contempt among the people. The position in Dunedin is so serious that it is necessary to invito Ministerial attention, which must be strategically distributed these days, to the actual causes of the disquieting shortage of wheat and flour, the inability of millers ar.d bakers to buy supplies, the refusal of certain holders to sell, and the pressing need for remedial measures. It is stated by local commercial men that the alleged o car city of wheat in the Dominion has been exaggerated, and that a number of greedy, selfish farmers and wolfish speculators are wiilul'y holding on to stocks of wheat. As a matter of indisputable fact, one merchant in Dunedin has tried laboriously during the past fortnight to purchase from one holder 6,000 bags of velvet wheat at 6s a bushel—9d over the price determined and fixed by the Prevention of Exploitation Commission. This holder—a precious typo of British patriot, who doubtless will loudly advocate the need for sending more men to smash the Germans —refuses to sell. Three weeks before the outbreak of war the same individual would have fawned on any merchant who would have offered him 4s a bushel on trucke. Docs the Prime Minister know how much wheat is held by speculators between Lyttelton and Oamaru? And ia ho cognisant of the statements made by responsible men in that area that in some instances speculative wheat-purchasers, almost with a prescient thoroughness, purchased all the wheat they could buy three weeks before the declaration of war between Great Britain and Germany?

There are two (iireb methods of combating greedy speculators. One method is to seize every bushel of wheat in the Dominion and teach soulless men a sharp lesson in patriotism. The other method is to import supplies of wheat from every available source, and foil speculators with a .State-supported, overwhelming competition. The first method is less practicable than extensive importation, and much more costly (it would bo necessary to employ detectives to discover the hoarded wheat and the disloyal hoarders), and decidedly more unsatisfactory. It has been attempted in Australia without marked success. The Now Zealand Government, on the other hand, appear to be within sigfht of success as extensive importers of wheat. The Prime Minister informs us that he has arranged for a Dunedin allotment of Australian wheat to be delivered out of the first shipment, which leaves Australia to-morrow, and the Dunedin supply ought to be landed in less than 10 days. This will be milled in Dunedin, and should ease the present strained position us regards supplies of flour. In addition to the temporary relief sketched above, the Government, we an* tiexstand, determined te-jxbaust every

possible Source of supply, so thnt there can be no bread famine in any portion of the Dominion, and no famine prices for “the staff of'life." Arrangements have been made for a shipment of 250 : 000 bushels from Canada, the first instalment of which will bo shipped by the s.s. Waitemftta; and every effort will be made to increase supplies from abroad. If this method fail to serve the needs of the public the Government will have to adopt measures against speculators in wheat similar in effectiveness to those employed so successfully against a misguided section of extreme Labor last year, who, though very foolish, were not so culpable as speculators who hoard food supplies for big profit at a time when all the activities of the people should be exercised in complete co-operation against a stubborn foe. The remainder of our leading matter will be found on page 1 of this Issue.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141126.2.26

Bibliographic details

The Evening Star THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1914., Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

Word Count
706

The Evening Star THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1914. Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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