CSO issues National Appeal against austerity measures

In March 1932 a commission into national expenditure recommended a further 10 per cent salary cut for government employees, prompting the CSO to seek an urgent interview with Prime Minister Forbes. Forbes, however, was determined to implement this recommendation.

In response the CSO issued a National Appeal, calling for farmers, businessmen, manufacturers and professionals to get together and oppose reduced wages.  Reduced wages, the CSO argued, led to reduced spending power, which in turn impacted on business prosperity.  The CSO instead proposed import controls, the establishment of a national central bank and the immediate issue of Treasury Bills to balance the budget.

The CSO distributed one hundred thousand copies of the appeal, together with petition forms.  339 petition forms with 41,494 individual signatures were returned, and subsequently presented to Parliament.  Regardless, in April the government introduced a National Expenditure Adjustment Bill, proposing graduated salary cuts for government employees.

(Source: Bert Roth, Remedy for Present Evils: A history of the New Zealand Public Service Association from 1890, New Zealand Public Service Association, 1987)

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