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William Rolleston : a New Zealand statesman



Everyone admits that New Zealand is still seriously under-populated. Moreover, in some parts of the country the rural population is actually diminishing, and there is a steady drift to the town. This may be partly explained by the fact that farm labour is being replaced by modern machinery; but there are other causes, and the trend towards urban life is world-wide. Hence the prospects of rapid expansion of rural population are negligible, even if such expansion took the form of peasant farmers who would accept a lower standard of living than at present obtains.

When we turn to the industrial population, the sources of supply of skilled labour are more restricted than is popularly supposed. And so long as there remains any substantial body of unemployed workers the problem of any large-scale importation of migrants remains politically thorny and difficult.

If, however, the time ever comes when New Zealand can resume a vigorous policy of immigration, her rulers might well pay regard to the principles and policy laid down by Rolleston.