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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Relief, Prevention, and Regulation of Poverty

Relief, Prevention, and Regulation of Poverty.

I do not wish my audience to conclude, from what I have stated, that there are no destitute poor in New Zealand. There are many poor invalids who have to make a living for themselves, many deserted wives with families, and many educated men who have lost their positions at home through intemperance or other vices. There are no workhouses or casual wards as yet, but for all really necessitous cases there is plenty of outdoor relief, wisely and kindly administered by Government officials, who work in co-operation with the benevolent societies of each city, and the hospital and charitable-aid boards of each county. Refuges are provided for the incurable sick and hopelessly infirm. There is nothing in New Zealand, thank God, at all approaching to the dense weight of pauperism (" the submerged tenth ") which exists in Britain. In fact, there is no "pauper class" in the colony, and I devoutly hope that there never will be. "Work for all, and everyone able and willing to work," is the colonial motto. It is true that hundreds of families in the colony are just earning sufficient for the necessaries of life, and are unable to lay by for a rainy day, owing to the uncertain state of the labour-market, compulsory strikes, &c., but no man, woman, or child need starve in New Zealand so long as there page 33 are oysters on the rocks, fish in the sea, and kauri gum to be dug up from the ground.