I HAVE enjoyed writing this book. World War II, which is central to it, is unique in New Zealand's economic history because of a massive diversion of resources to war purposes. This in itself was a challenge. But in setting the stage, the book has had to span wider. It takes in thirty of the most momentous years in New Zealand's development from a predominantly farming community to a mixed economy. Moreover, these were the years when New Zealand emerged as a welfare state. The nature of the war effort was influenced significantly by these economic changes. It, in its turn, influenced them.
Outstanding among those who have assisted me has been Mr S. G. Elmer, whose painstaking research has extended over more than four years. The enthusiasm and thoroughness with which he has gone about this work have been a tremendous encouragement to me in completing a task which has been much more difficult, and has extended over a far longer period, than any of us anticipated. Mr Elmer has also prepared most of the statistical tables and helped me with planning the charts, chronologies and illustrations. I am grateful also to Mr L. G. Melville, who drew the charts, and to Mrs L. S. Aitken who typed the manuscript and frequently gave me valuable advice on presentation and layout. Mr Elmer, Mr Melville, and Mrs Aitken are all colleagues in the Department of Statistics.
Valuable assistance and advice on portions of the manuscript have been received from Mr H. G. Lang of the Treasury, Mr W. D. Rose, until recently on the staff of the Department of Statistics, the late Mr V. G. Boivin of the Marine Department, the Rev. A. A. Ross of Papatoetoe, Mr C. W. G. Bearman of the State Electricity Department, Mr P. W. Smallfield, until recently Director-General of Agriculture, Mr A. T. Fussell of the Railways Department, Mr R. J. Polaschek, Commissioner of Transport, and Mr J. F. Robertson of the State Services Commission. I acknowledge also the unfailing courtesy of the Editor and staff of the War History Branch, now the Historical Publications Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs.
I have been fortunate to have the advice of Professor F. W. Holmes as technical editor. Through his guidance many improvements have been made.page vi
To all these people I am most grateful; but I have not always followed their advice, and I take full responsibility for any shortcomings in this book. Except where otherwise stated, all opinions expressed are my own.
WELLINGTON AUGUST 1964