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``We want more population in this country,'' said the Minister. ``After the war we will have an increased national debt of 100million and we will have a pension bill of about 2million annually. The proper way is to breed our own population. I have figures to show that if the birth rate in 1886 had been maintained, we would have had 240,000 more people in New Zealand today. The shrinking birth rate has two aspects, economic and moral. The moral aspect can be left to ministers of religion. As for other aspects, the State must realise that the population has its economic value. Then the State must assist by direct cash allowances every working man bringing up a family, If we are to have a healthy population we must arrange that no man or woman is too poor to get proper medical attention. I want to see a separate staff of doctors in all hospitals to attend to this.''
Shotguns in action
American forces in France are now equipped with a new weapon, the shotgun, which is said to be highly effective in stopping enemy rushes. An officer in Wellington has received a specimen of the cartridge used in this arm. In outward appearance it resembles the ordinary papercased cartridge familiar to all sportsmen, but instead of small shot it contains nine pellets of No. 00 buckshot, about the diameter of .32 calibre bullet (or of a lead pencil). The American gun sprays the contents over an area measuring nine feet horizontally by about three feet vertically. At 150 yards the pellets will penetrate a two-inch plank. The shotgun itself is comparatively short, and it is, of course, smooth-bored, and it will hold six cartridges in the magazine. Its weight is 8ľlb, complete with bayonet. To strengthen the thin barrel to carry the bayonet work, and at the same time to assist in cooling the weapon, a perforated outer jacket of steel is fitted over, but separated from, the barrel proper.
It has been brought to our attention that a Dunedin firm whose employees may be called on to attend the Kensington Drill Hall for medical examination, preparatory to ascertaining whether they are fit for active service, make a practice of deducting the time required to attend the Drill Hall from their weekly wages. Apparently the firm in question considers the men are paid for the time by the 5s granted to each man by the Defence Department. Seeing, however, that these employees are being called on to fight for their country, and, incidentally, for the firm referred to, it cannot by any stretch of the imagination be maintained that the firm is doing a very patriotic action.
Big trout caught
A very fine specimen of a male rainbow trout, caught in Lake Hawea, has been forwarded to the Otago Acclimatisation Society. Stripping for ova was being carried out at the lake, and the fish was caught in one of the traps. It is only about five years since rainbow trout fry was placed in Lake Hawea, and judging by the specimen which has been sent forward they must have thrived amazingly. The fish is beautifully marked, in perfect condition, and weighs about 16lb.
- ODT, 21.8.1918.