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THE COST OF LIVING

WHEAT AND FLOUR, FRIME MINISTER'S VIEW, [SrEciAr. to the Star.] WELLINGTON. January 20. Time is not hanging heavily on tho hands of the Prime Minister just now. what with the war, tho disturbance of trade, the aftermath of the elections, and the clamor over the increase in the cost of living. His day's work dooa not end with th« discharge of his mora administrative duties, and all through the holiday season he has been tied to his ofilce bv' scores of matters demanding his prompt personal attention. But it must bo said for Mr Massey that amidst all his worries ho cheerfully* spares two minutes to the newspaper reporter, who knows what he wants, and is satisfied when he gets it; Yesterday afternoon, in scarcely more time than this, a Press representative waa told all there was to tell about tho arrangements being made between the Government and the millers in regard to the sale of flour manufactured from the wheat importod by the State. " Yon have to remember," the Minister said, "that wo are dealing with an entirely new set, of circumstances so far as this country is concerned, and making anexperiment that has never been tried here before. Our first object was to realise the. scarcity as promptly and as effectually as possible, and with the early shipments we made no stipulation as to price. That omission, however, is now being repaired, and whenever we sell wheat to a miller we fiTT q. price at Wliich |lour i& to t>& sold. This is not such an easy matter as it may appear to some of the people who are criticising us. Probably -a dozen experts would give a dozen diSeront estimates of the number of bushels of a certain parcel of wheat it would take to make a ton of dour. Their estimates might vary from 45 to 50 bushels, and every one would be sure that his estimate was right." While speaking Mr Massey produced a sample of Canadian wheat, which, he remarked cjuite truly, would look very poor stuff beside an. average sample of Canterbury grain, but it had been proved to be a great flour producer, and was finding much favor with the millers who understood its treatment. " We have had to do our best in a very difficult position," he continued; " much more difficult than anyone unacquainted with the facts can imagine. We do not pretend to be infallible, but we claim to have dealt with the crisis to the utmost of our ability and in the best interests of the public. We have not been thinking of the miller, or the speculator, or the monopolist, but of the consumer, who would have suffered much more severely than he is suffering now if we had allowed matters merely to drift. We want all the information we can get, and we don't mind advice, but people who start off with the assumption that we are conspiring to exploit the worker, and end up by asserting that we are starving women and children, are contributing nothing to the solution of a very grave problem, which ought not to be mixed up with party politics in any shape or form." Yesterday a number of experts and others saw* 51 r Massey and several of his colleagues in regard to the wheat and flour question, and it is understood that further steps are to bo taken to ensure supplies reaching the consumer at as low a price as possible.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150120.2.73

Bibliographic details

THE COST OF LIVING, Evening Star, Issue 15705, 20 January 1915

Word Count
585

THE COST OF LIVING Evening Star, Issue 15705, 20 January 1915

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