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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 13 July 5, 1939

N.Z. under Labour

N.Z. under Labour

It may be of interest to the readers of "Salient" to make a review of the effect of the policy of Labour in New Zealand. As Labour at the present time is at the cross-roads, it may lead either to far-reaching changes in that policy, or to the eclipse of the Labour Party.

One of the most discussed results of Labour policy has been the disappearance of the overseas funds. Labour has stated that this is mainly due to "unpatriotic Capitalists" removing their moneys from the country. The opposition stated that this "flight" was due to the heavy spending of the Labour Party on unnecessary public works. In the writer's opinion, what Labour has given as the cause is really only one of the effects, and the Nationalist contention cannot account for the complete drop in funds. It seems curious that very few at this time remember some figures which were published at the time of the recent elections, and were, it is believed, compiled from the New Zealand Year Book.

These figures showed that out of the total population of New Zealand, one-third was supported by the remaining two-thirds, or that approximately only one million of New Zealanders are engaged in productive work. In a small country such as ours, such a state of affairs must mean economic instability. It appears to the writer that even had Labour successfully evaded the present situation, a crash would have come sooner or later.

Turning to the effect of the Labour Policy on the workers themselves, it can be reasonably stated that the indebtedness of the average worker has increased in proportion to the rise in both wages and costs. It is admitted that an article generally costs him more, but his increased wages have also given a false sense of security, with the result that the hire-purchase system of buying goods has grown out of all proportion to the worker's wealth. The average worker will be able to keep his head above water if the present standard of wages is maintained, but a country such as ours cannot hope for ever to hold its wages higher than those of the countries which are in competition with us.

An effect of the increased buying, as well as of the recent social laws, has been to decrease the amount put aside for old age and dependants, which means that the average worker to-day has no reserve to fall back upon in case of depression, or if the present social laws, for any reason, do not come into operation. As a result, though the workers at the present are better off. Labour's policy may lead them to disaster.