BIG HOLDINGS OFFICIALLY DENIED.
An interesting reference to the wheat question was made by the Prime Minister in the course of his address at Clevedon (Auckland) on Saturday night. " We have been blamed for not making the prices easier," Mr Massey said, "but I will tell you something. f have here a return showing the amount of wheat hold and by whom it is held. FarmeVs hold roughly 96.000 bushels, and I may mention hero that there is not a farmer in the North Island who holds more than .five sacks. Merchants havo roughly 133,000 bushels—a fact which adequately answers the Opposition's suggestion that one merchant in the South Island had been allowed to hold 200,000 bushels. The millers of tho country -hold roughly 960,000 bushels. To-day I received an interesting telegram from a business man in Timai'ii, who points out that in 1907 wheat was sold in Timaru at 6s 3d per bushel, and flour at £l4 per ton. The Government of the day, who are now in opposition, and are now crying out against the fact that prices have been fixed by tho Food Prices Commission at 5s 3d per bushel for wheat at southern ports and £l3 per ton for flour, did not lift a finger to relievo the position. There is nothing like that about us," concluded Mr Massey, amid loud applause.
In connection with tho above Mr Downie Stewart, who has been in communication with the Prime Minister on the subject, is in receipt of tho following telegram :
Re. wheat, I have nride inquiries, and have been informed by the head of the Friedlander firm that they have no wheat in hand, having sold out their stotk about the time of the declaration of war. I have just had a wheat census taken, and havo ascertained that tho total quantity of wheat held by merchants all over New Zealand in 133.000 bushels, or 31,000 sacks. On the other liand, miller* hold 961,000 bushels, and farmers 96,000 bushels.—W. F. Massey.
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ABOUT WHEAT, Evening Star, Issue 15669, 7 December 1914