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"DIGGER'S VIEWPOINT, Marlborough Express, Volume LIII, Issue 112, 13 May 1919
THE RETURNED1 MAN'S
THE LAND' LAWS
Comparison of those who iwe elitciblei under tho Dbehnrgecl BoiVdiers Settlement Act with t-hoso who come within the scope of the Repatriation Act discloses a curious ■weakness in the laws which, govern soldier settlement. Any man ''who has jsevi-od beyond iho soar; vi> in a cawp of military training :r> New Zealand; ns a member of nn Expedition ary Fiorco" is eligible for the benefits of the Repatriation Act, but the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act practically restricts prospective soldier settlors to those who have served beyond New Zealand in the present waV. A man who went into camp fit A and was discharged, say, four months afterwards on medical grounds is not within the pale of land swibtk'mont, yet it would be quite competent* for him t» apply under the IWatriation. Act for a Joan to estn.bii.v.li himself in a "tin-pot" business (to quote from Mr Pollard s "tn-Mieha-ut criticism.") It is clear that iho scope of the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act requires widening, and this is. one of the several <liserop.'ineics in tihe Act which could well receive the attention of the Member for the district. The. Blenheim Repatriation Lommitt'tro has drawn, attention to the fact that the system of advances to soldiers for the purchase of residential properties and the erection oi dwellings is not exactly on all fours, and it has recently had the Ministerial' limelight switched on to the Auckland practice: of eleventh-hour restriction of applicants for sections to married men. Whilst the Act is ■very clear on preference at ballots for married men (and rightly st> as a "broad principle) a good deal of misunderjifcanding and dissa.-tiis.fact.ion would be removed if these conditions were published in effect on all plans issued in connection with land ballots. . SOUND GRiTTICISM. Mr Pollard's latest protest against J4h© outstanding; neglect of MarlTwroiigh in the matter of providing land for soldiers is a. meritorious coiij tribution to the barrage of criticism to which the Land Purchase Board lias T>een subjected from Marlborough. M,r Pollard made a very effective point when lie compared the demands on this district's man-power for reinforcement drafts with, tho lack ot suitable land for soldier settlement He was sound in his reference to the -Government excuse that it could not purchase land at prices which would not enable the soldiers to pay the rent. "When the acquisition of the Hillersflen estate loomed .~© largely :\ few years ago there was no doubt as to'the 'nances of tiho prospective •settlers. And even when these settlers could not pay their rent at ''V oiit-r-et there was apparently no difficulty In assisting them with a. reduction. Mr Pol!arc! claimed, with no lack of ■omphai-is, that if this privilege w.as •good enough for the civilian it was, •at least, du-.> to the. soldier. REPATRIATION BENEFITS. As the repatriation of our soldiers 1* equally as important a duty as; was the despatch of iiroops to assist the ■Mother Country in the days of strife ■a good deal of publicity has been fg'iven to the Government's scheme of placinn- the discharged soldier back in •civilian life . without) disturbing •economic conditions1 and without •causing the man to suffer injustice. 'Still the public, and, indeed, some of ■the soldiers, do- not seem to know as TOuch about this important Government department ss they should. "While some employers regularly and loyally place their needs before the T>opaii-t-mcnti others do not, and it ■would seem that some enterprise is necessary to create some organisation which would bring the community's industrial requirements regularly and flutomaificaiTly before the Department for consideration. The Department's main oonsidera.tion is to find a- man a job in the shoirtest possible time, conditional on, of -course, whether he suite the job, whether ho will be happy there, and whether his employment in that capacity will represent his full civic value.
The es«mco of repatriation is, where possible, to return the soldier i«o his pre-service position at the earliest opportunity after discharge. Wenear much talk these times about the probability of many men bein^ unsettled by their war experiences and visits to the world's big cities. No tfcmbt the majority of the returning men realise the marked difference I?otwe<Mi the restful atmosphere of a Now Zealand township and the busy hum and gay attractions of the towered cities abroad. But the avernge colonial almost invariably says on his return: "Pig Island will do mo,' 3 and if there is any feeling of unrest an early return to pre-service work proves an admirable antidote. The men who apply to the Repatriation Department are classified broadly as follows: Those who require -employment forthwith at a wage; -those who, owing to war injuries, cannot follo-v their pre-war occupations, .or who cailif-trd while very young and wore so unable to learn a trade and who have now to nn<soa'g<> vocational training; those who require financial assistance in purchasing tools of •"trade furnitr.ro, and businesses; those who desire to' renew University ■courses or undertake correspondence classes, and those- —so1 numerously represented—who wish to go on the 'land. The returns of tHie work done by 'I he liepa.tiria.tion Department •throughout New Zealand up to April *3Gth make interesting reading. Two liundred and thirty-nine discharged eol'liors have been settled in bnsineasos and loans advanced in this connection -aggregate £51,500 7s Id. The Wellington district, which includes Marlboro ugh and Kelson, was more successful in finding employment for soldiers, and Canterbury s>aid -jut tJie greatest, amount in roister, an c a Altogether 1002 men Ji.av« applied for various forms of financial a-ssistanos, -in.d 531 of these cases woro approvod. During the past month approximately £20,000 was actually paid on behalf of soldiers in the way of furniture, took. business, sustenance, training fees, subsidised wages, assLstanco to apprentices, e)x\ MEDICAL TREATMENT. T'i appears that the complaints that wore ventilated at the last moetign of Iho Patriotic Association were caused primarily through ignorance of the system nov/ in vogue for the medical treatment of returned soldiers. It was only a short time n..co< that the Association joined issue w'Mx the Dofi'iico Department over tihe cost of transportation to iho Wairai; Hospital. The Departmcnti hoped to k)lvo this diffuui'ty by arrar^i:^ U>v
"sick parade' 'at the Drill Shed., but I'roiri a medical point of view this arrangement was i'oii'.'.d undesirable. It was rcali.-itxl tlia'j the returned men need the mirr-ing skill that is avail:ibb at the hospital, ;::ia tho Department accordingly a-rraiiL;; v that out>palients reporting at the D' i'fv.c 'Office should ho conveyed ilo the hospital. As in other centres, returned men requiring medical attention should report at tho hospital daily between 9 a.m. and II a.m., and j*ot at tho medical officer's surjioi'v.
"DIGGER'S VIEWPOINT, Marlborough Express, Volume LIII, Issue 112, 13 May 1919
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