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‘‘They told me,’’ he says, ‘‘among other things, that in their country margarine was an unknown food; a population of a million people consumes more than 14,000 tons of butter in a year — which means that the average family of five persons gets from two and a-half to three pounds per week, in addition to a full ration of wholesome milk. This does not prevent them from placing on the English market (and also on the Irish) an equal amount of butter, as well as a vast supply of cheese. New Zealand is one of the most remote countries in the world, but in technical skill and contentment of living, I fancy that it comes second to none. One of the details which go to make up this pleasant picture is very significant; every national school in New Zealand, urban as well as rural, has its own garden attached to it for the purpose of practical training, and prizes are given annually for the schools whose gardens are best kept and most successful. There are a few schools in Ireland — in rural districts — which have such gardens, and there is plenty of evidence that they have produced a marked effect on farming practice in their neighbourhood. Cannot we learn a lesson from the Antipodes, and convert the casual exception into a general rule?’’
Tobacco price gouging
Dunedin wholesale merchants report that their stocks of tobacco are very short, and that only small quantities are arriving in the dominion. On the other hand, it is understood that a few of the local retailers have been building up considerable stocks, so much so that one wholesale merchant states that these particular retailers hold larger stocks than the merchants themselves.
There appears to be no doubt, however, that the prices of all tobaccos will shortly be increased, though certainly not to the extent suggested in a Christchurch newspaper. The increase named in this paper was in the vicinity of 100 per cent.
As showing, however, the trend of the tobacco market, recent advices from America state that the price of the raw material has considerably advanced, the figures now quoted being about equal to the price the manufactured article is selling in the dominion at the present time.
The published statement that the price of tobacco was likely to be increased 100 per cent, caused a retailer in a seaside suburb not many miles from Dunedin to take a rather remarkable action. Considering the statement to be an actual fact, he at once advanced the price of his cigarettes from 8d per packet to 1s 4d.
Notwithstanding the shortage, however, smokers do not appear to be suffering any serious inconvenience in securing their particular brands of tobacco. The main reason for the shortage is stated to be a general increase in smoking and the inability of growers to proportionably increase their output.
All is not rosy in Sydney
Sydney, December 31. Distant fields are always the greenest. In some parts of Australia — and perhaps in New Zealand, too — Sydney is pictured as pleasantly jazzing and supping through life without a care — as a place where, in one long, intoxicating round of pleasure, people simply sit beneath the lotus tree and eat prodigally of the fruit that brings dreamy content and ease. It is wrong.
Sydney has its troubles — its street bands for one thing, and its telephones for another. America claims that if all its railway tracks were placed end on end they would girdle the earth about 19 times. Sydney can beat that. It claims that if all its protests about its telephonic service were linked together in one loud protesting blast they would make more noise than ever Theodore Roosevelt did, and he was reckoned to have made more noise in the world than any other man.
If anyone can point to a worse telephonic service in the world than this city, Sydney will be delighted to hear of it. Morning, afternoon, and night it damns its telephones up hill and down dale. But it’s like water running off a duck's back. Fat people are losing weight through the worry of it.
Thin people are becoming veritable shadows through it. Faces scored with worried wrinkles and crowned with heads of grey hairs are another of its legacies.
Long-suffering Sydney, in fact, is becoming peripatetic. It is learning the wisdom of doing its business by walking rather than run the risk any longer of being worried by the telephones into a state of hopeless idiocy.
— ODT, 8.1.1920
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