The task of rehabilitation was tackled with determination and skill, but was made much easier by the continuance of full employment right through into the 1960s.
‘As in previous years the employment position of ex-servicemen has presented no problems to the Board or to the Department of Labour, which continues to act as the Board's agent in the employment field.’
Up to the end of March 1963 rehabilitation had cost £264 million, but £192 million of this was by way of loan,4 and some £90 million had been repaid by 1963. The larger loan authorisations were housing loans, £98 million; farm loans, £76 million; business loans, £7·5 million; and furniture loans, £6 million. The non- page 519 recoverable expenditure of £72 million included £1·8 million for education bursaries and allowances, £8·5 million for trade training, £41 million for farm training and settlement, and £20 million for interest concessions and other costs of loans.1
In 1964 the Minister of Rehabilitation forecast that most forms of assistance would come to an end in the following year.2
Perhaps the best summary of the effectiveness of rehabilitation is given by Condliffe, who wrote in 1959,3 ‘New Zealand did well by its returned soldiers’.
3 H–18, p. 4.
4 The Rehabilitation Board's summary of expenditure showed £212 million under loans, but this included £15 million of interest concessions and reserve fund contributions, and £5 million of suspensory loans, which, in general, were not recoverable. The balance of £192 million represented loans authorised and recoverable. However, some £20 million of these loans had not been taken up by March 1963, though the money had been transferred to a lending Department. To this extent, rehabilitation expenditure was overstated, (i.e., the money was still in Government hands). See also p. 519, note 1.
1 These totals refer mainly, but not exclusively, to World War II ex-servicemen. In its 1963 report the Board wrote: ‘… there are 217,179 ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen recorded with the Board. Of these, 144,566 served overseas during World War II, 67,011 had home service during World War II, 4,592 served overseas with the Emergency Forces since 23 August 1950, and 1,010 saw service both during World War II and with the Emergency Forces.’ (H–18, p. 4.) In particular a small proportion of the rehabilitation costs were incurred for men who had served with the Emergency Force in Korea. Most merchant seamen from World War II were regarded as ex-servicemen for rehabilitation purposes.