Forms of Assistance
Housing. Loans are available for the purchase of existing dwellings or the erection of new homes, always provided that the standard of construction and materials used conform to the requirements of State lending and that the home will be adequate for the permanent housing of the ex-serviceman and his family. The rate of interest up to the various limits prescribed from time to time is 3 per cent. Up to 31 March 1965, 66,107 loans have been approved involving a sum of £103,861,891.
State Rental Housing. Until 1957, 50 per cent of State rental houses available for letting were reserved for eligible ex-servicemen who could satisfy the allocation committee that their need for housing was urgent. By 31 March 1961, 18,321 ex-servicemen had been housed under this scheme (no later figures).
Furniture Loans. Loans of up to £100 free of interest are available for the provision of necessary furniture to ex-servicemen who are setting up homes for the first time.
These three forms of assistance are also available to the widows of deceased ex-servicemen who have dependent children.
Business Loans. Until 31 March 1958, loans of up to a maximum of £1,500 were available to set men up in an economic one-man type of business. Generally it was required that the applicant should be experienced or have had some background or training in that field. Interest was charged at the rate of 4 per cent. As at 31 March 1965, 11,525 loans have been approved involving a sum of £7,531,000.
Trade Training. The Board conducted several schemes of training as under:
A. Class: Full-time training in the building trades; e.g., carpentry, joinery, bricklaying, plastering, and painting and paperhanging. An initial period was spent in schools studying theory, and the men then went into the field for periods of up to two years and worked under their instructors on actual housing building. In all, 7,448 men have been trained in this manner.
B. Class: This scheme was operated by subsidising the wages of men trained in various trades by private employers who were approved by the Board. It proved of great value in the smaller towns or in trades where the demand was not large enough to warrant commencing a full-time school. In all, 4,312 men were so trained.
C. Class: This made provision for the resumption of apprenticeship with former employers for those men whose training was interrupted by mobilisation. By way of subsidy the Board ensured that all men resuming employment were given a wage they would have been receiving had their military service not intervened. Assisted in this way were 3,409 men.
D. Class: The Disabled Servicemen's Re-establishment League (Inc.) was formed in 1931 to provide sheltered employment and training for men of the First World War. The Board appointed this body its agent to provide training for men who were 40 per cent or more disabled during the Second World War and who by reason of their disabilities were unable to undertake their former employment. It also provides sheltered employment for disabled men who are unable to hold their place in industry. The wages of those being trained or employed is subsidised by the Board. To date, 533 disabled men have been taught new trades under this scheme.
E. Class: This was a scheme under which men were employed on a wage subsidy by local bodies at such tasks as gardening until their war neurosis had improved and they were able to undertake their normal employment.
F. Class: This provided for the training of blinded ex-servicemen at “St. Dunstans”, Auckland. As the bulk of the training has now been accomplished, the main work is concentrated on the after-care of some 60 men located throughout New Zealand.
Assistance in trade training has now ceased with the exception of “D” and “F” Classes, but provision exists to supplement the wages of the children of deceased ex-servicemen who are commencing apprenticeships, and to assist them in acquiring suitable tools.
Education Assistance. Provision is made by bursaries, payment of fees and book allowances, either for study overseas or for full- or part-time study in New Zealand. Such assistance is granted for career training only and not for purely cultural studies.
Children of Deceased Ex-servicemen. This form of assistance is also available not only to the children of deceased ex-servicemen whose deaths have been the result of war service but also to the children of men totally incapacitated for work. The Board's assistance is available after the children have completed secondary schooling, provided their academic ability justifies further assistance towards a worth-while qualification.
Farming Assistance. The approach to farming was to settle only those men who were fully experienced on farms that were considered economic. Applicants were initially examined by a committee of practical farmers and graded. Those who needed further training were placed with approved farmers and their wages subsidised. When a man reached “A” grade, he was issued with a Grading Certificate and was then able either to seek his own farm or to enter into a ballot for land developed and offered by the Crown for settlement. All types of farming were approved, but the main emphasis was on either sheep or dairy, with the interest rates at 3 per cent for loans up to £6,250 and 5,000 respectively.
Any additional finance necessary was provided at current civilian rates. In view of the demand, applications for this form of assistance closed on 31 March 1951. By 31 March 1965, 12,201 men had been settled on their own farms, involving loans amounting to £79,244,660.
Disabled Ex-servicemen. Although closing dates have been fixed for all forms of assistance, except housing and furniture loans, for men from the Second World War, the Board has reserved the right for men in receipt of a permanent war pension of 40 per cent or more to lodge an application for special assistance. Such cases will be sympathetically considered, having regard to the applicants' disabilities and the need for further rehabilitation.
Emergency Forces. Under the Emergency Forces Rehabilitation Act 1953, regulations have been made for the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen who served overseas in connection with any emergency under the United Nations Charter or otherwise.
The Board has fixed the minimum service qualifications and the type of assistance available in respect of the zones of service. Any Emergency Force personnel who can meet these requirements may apply and receive the assistance applicable to his particular period and zone of service.
by James Colin Dow, Director of Rehabilitation, Social Security Department, Wellington.