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War Economy

Review of Defence Construction Work

Review of Defence Construction Work

During the war more than £50 million of defence work was completed, equivalent to some seven times the annual pre-war outlay for state and private housing. The Ministry of Works in its 1946 report3 said:

‘It has been estimated that the provision of the whole of the accommodation which was constructed for New Zealand and Allied Forces during the war has involved in all a programme equivalent to the building of seventeen new towns, complete with all services, each with a population of some 10,000. This impressive fact combined with a realization that, apart altogether from the provision of this accommodation, there was a great volume of work done on tank traps, gun emplacements, and other defensive works will serve to give some indication of the great magnitude of the task which was carried out during the war by New Zealand's building and constructional industries.’

The principal value of such comparisons is to give an impression of the extent to which resources were diverted from civilian work and from normal government work, and of the immense backlog of such construction work which accumulated while defence work was receiving top priority.

3 Parliamentary Paper D–3.