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The Hon. James Allen, though up to his eyes in work, granted a ‘ Star ’ reporter an interview this morning. As to recruiting in Otago, Air Allen, said that the quota system was unsatisfactory, since it demanded a certain number of men from each province without taking into account the \axying circumstances. Otago suffered by the quota system, m that its young population was shifting to come extent, the sons of our settlers looking about in an enterprising way for openings further afield, also in that the population here was not so large as in otherdistricts, and. further, it Had to be remembered that as the Medical School was hero wo had sent away a large number of ambulance and hospital men. Otago had also furnished strength to the aitilkiy corps. The quota system was introduced in the initial stages of our expeditionary arrangements as a ready means of each district to supply a proportion or the men required. It was not a carefullyconsidered scheme, and he did not think it sound. Certainly it was not working satisfactorily, and he thought that some better and fairer plan would have to be evolved. Mr Allen added that the men who had left our shores were well. That was all that he could say about them. In answer to another question, Air Allen said ho considered that there was now nothing to prevent letters being addicfscd direct to the members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Egypt, and he added that letters so addressed would be forwarded, despite the fact that there had been no cancellation of the official intimation that such correspondence had to be addressed to the General Post Office at Wellington, hy was forwarded cn to its destinnton.

The Minister further said that arrangements had now been made by which the friends of the New Zealand troops in Egypt could eend Christmas (meetings cables at a cheap rate. The Hon. Air Rhodes had advised him to that effect. Asked about the prospects of a war tax being imposed, the Alinister said : Nothing can be done of courre, until Parliament meets and gives the necessary- authority. The position is that we have alreadv borrowed two millions, and the interest on that sum is now being found out of the Consolidated Fund. That means an extra charge on that fund that will diminish the surplus at the end of the rear. The proper thing to do, I think, is to keep the war loan in a_ separate account, and as soon as Parliament meets make provision for interest and sinking fund to provide for this Ilian, coverino a. rceo-mhle number of years. But all this derends upon what, Parliament may say. It is not possible as yet to say anything definite about an early- meeting of Parliament line must know more about the result of the recounts before expressing an opinion on that subject. As to Dominion finance, so far the Customs revenue has kept up better than I ant Vim ted. I ouitc expected that it would fall off materially as a consequence of the war. Of course, if there had been no war this revenue would have bom greater—T expect it wou l d : but even witb the war it is approximately the same as last year up to the end of November, which to mv mind is very satisfactory. Yon mav add that the railways revenue bee improved hv comparison with that of the same period last year. That is as i'”-eh as f can say about the finance until the present quarter's returns come in and enable a full comparison to be made. Mr Allen further ca'd that he proposed to remain in Otago for the Christmas and Vow Year. He had arranged to go to Lawrence for the show on Boxing Dav, and might be going to Beaumont for the sports on New Year’s Day. but- as to that hj« was not quite sure. Hi* original intention was to return to Wellington on {be 10th .Tanuarv. but now be would have to go sooner, for he iust had word from Mr Massey that a meeting of the Fxecutive was summoned for the fltb or sth.

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HON. JAMES ALLEN, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914

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HON. JAMES ALLEN Issue 15684, 24 December 1914

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