RETAIL FRUIT TRADE.
CHINESE COMPETITION FEARED.
RETURNED SOLDIERS PROTEST. Apparently, regulations for whieli the Efficiency Board were responsible, making it necessary to obtain permission before starting in, or extending, a business, are still in force. A report to that effect was made to the Canterbury Repatriation Board last evening in connection # with a matter which had previously arisen concerning Chinese competition in the fruit and vegetable business aganst two soldiers who had been given assistance by the board in opening shops in Sydenham. The matter was reported upon by Mr P. W. Hobbs, on behalf of the Trades, Tools and Equipment Committee. The report stated that Order-in-Council No. 115, dated August 27, 1918, existed which was entitled "War Regulations for the Protection of Soldiers' Businesses." By clause 24, no person can start in a new business or extend one already existing without first obtaining the permission of the Efficiency Board. The executive officer of the latter board had stated that this regulation was still operative. The committee had, therefore asked the District Repatriation Officer to apply to the Efficiency Board to deal with the case of Chinamen starting in the fruit and vegetable business at Sydenham. The committee recommended that, in vie"w of the possibility of the above regulations being annulled, the attention of the Ministerial Board be called to the necessity of a similar regulation being made, in order to protect the interests of the returned soldiers who were being established in business under the Repatriation Act.
Mr Hobbs stated that he had visited Sydenham. The two returned soldiers who had made the complaint had shops J about 300 yards apart. In this space there were seven shops selling fruit and vegetables, and Chinamen were opening an eighth shop. The secretary of the Christchurch Returned Soldiers' Association wrote, forwarding a copy of a letter from the two returned men in Sydenham conceraed, which had been considered by his executive. The executive had decided to request the board to take immediate steps to prevent the Chinamen referred to opening a new business in the district. The letter runs as follows: —"We desire to bring under your notice a serious matter affecting the fruiterers' business which we have recently established in Colombo Street, Sydenham. The two shops are about 300 yards apart. A new fruit shop is about to be opened this week on the opposite side of the street, between our two shops, by some Chinamen who have assumed the name of ' You-ng Bros.' The opening of this new shop is bound to have a very detrimental effect on our businesses. There is really no room for another shop in the vicinity, and the probabilities are that one or the other of us will have to close his business and lose the money he has invested, as it is a well-known fact that it is impossible for Europeans to compete successfully against Chinamen." In addition, a petition was received from 12 returned soldiers, who had been assisted by the board in _ commencing in business as retail fruit and vegetable suppliers. This was as follows: —"We, the undersigned, being returned soldiers, engaged in the retail fruit and vegetable business in and around Christchurch, respectfully desire to bring under your notice thef fact that certain Chinamen from outside Christchurch are endeavouring to capture the retail fruit and vegetable business of this city. If Chinamen are allowed to compete with us, there is no doubt that they will in time capture the whole of the trade in this city, as they have already done in Auckland and Wellington. We are confident that the public is being well served under the present conditions. Unless something is done to protect us it will mean that we will have to go out of the business and lose, not only the money we have ourselves put into our respective businesses, but the board will be faced with the possibility of Jseing losers, also." Mr W. E. Leadley remarked that the Chinamen referred to had opened in business in Sydenham that day. A member: Without a permit? On the suggestion of the chairman (Mr A. W. Jamieson) it was decided that copies of the petition, and also of the letter from the Christchurch Returned Soldiers' Association, should be sent on to the Efficiency Officer, with n notification that the board accords them its full support.
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