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Dated 11/7/1941. Letter to the Editor from W. B. Tennant answering criticism of him doing nothing further about the E.P.S. (Emergency Precautions Scheme) since the recent elections.

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Correspondence
Digitisation ID
2009Pa_WARBURTON-S12_2876
Title
Newspaper article: E. P. S. Matters
Relation
Community Archives
Format
Paper
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IMCA Digital Archive
Archive
C. E. Warburton Papers

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Place
Palmerston North
Date
July 11, 1941

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Credit Line
Ian Matheson City Archives

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Tags
world war two,
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11/7/41

CORRESPONDENCE

E.P.S. MATTERS.
(To the Editor.)
Sir,—It has come to my knowledge
that I am being criticized for doing
nothing further about E.P.S. since the
recent elections. I would therefore
esteem it a favour if you would publish
the following: As I had been appointed
chairman of the E.P.S. while a coun-
cillor I felt in honour bound after my
defeat at the elections to give the
council an opportunity of confirming
my position or otherwise as they
thought fit. Therefore on May 26th I
wrote as follows:—
“The Town Clerk,—Sir, now that I am no
longer a member of the City Council, I
would esteem it a favour if you would re-
quest the Mayor and council to define my
position as chairman of the Emergency Pre-
cautions System. As most of the commit-
tees have practically completed their re-
ports a meeting of the general committee
should be called in the very near future to
finalise these matters. I consider that in
order to avoid unnecessary delay it would
be advisable to deal with this matter on
Wednesday if that could be so arranged.
I wish to make it quite clear that I am
quite prepared to carry on this work if they
council desire me to do so—but if they
do not then please accept this letter as my
resignation. I desire to set out very briefly
what has been done to date in this organi-
sation since my appointment some three months ago.
“Medical public health.—Arrangements
have been completed re the establishment
and 4 first-aid posts at the Public Hospital
outpatients' department, Central School,
West End, and College Street Schools, also
the establishment of the necessary emer-
gency hospitals. Arrangements have been
made so that within two days 630 extra
hospital beds could be set up and within
two further days an extra 200. At present
a committee is working out the allocation
of the individual personnel for these de-
partments. When this is done this depart-
ment will be able to function as a complete
unit.
“Civic engineering works and service.—
This committee under the chairmanship of
Cr Heatley has held several meetings an
is now at the stage of presenting its com-
plete report at the next meeting. This
committee embraces electricity, gas, tele-
phones, water, sewers, streets, etc., rescue
parties, access clearing and buildings, de-
contamination, oil and petrol storage, and
much work has been put into it. This com-
mittee will require a fairly large recruit-
ment of skilled and unskilled labour for its
ranks.
“Transport.—This committee under the
chairmanship of Cr Smillie has been very
busy and has made excellent progress so
far. This work is divided into several sub-
sections as follows: (1) Private cars, taxis,
caravans, motor-cycles; (2) trucks and lor-
ries; (3) ambulances; (4) buses and service
cars; (5) break-down trucks. All sections
except (2) have been fully organised. The
reason why the lorries are not ready is
because some arrangement has been enter-
ed into between the Government and those
owners, through their Dominion organisa-
tion, to set up a separate unit, the author-
ity of which is not yet defined. The mat-
ter has been taken up with the Commis-
sioner of Transport by Cr Smillie and he
has promised to set out the exact position
after consultation with the Ministers in-
terested. Private car owners have already
commenced parades and it is hoped to have
them on the road training within the next
few weeks. Much valuable help has been
received from Messrs S. I. McKenzie, B.
L. Ebbett and W.H. Brown in the or-
ganisation of this work for which I should
like to express to them my thanks.
“Fire.—This committee under Cr Grigor
has also made excellent progress with its
organisation. Mr C. V. Day and the super-
intendent divided the city into 59 areas. To
date they have recruited and completed the
personnel for 34 of them, while that of the
remaining 25 is nearing completion.
“Re Auxiliary Firemen.—The number
required is 50 and to date 28 have been
medically examined and are in training,
while further recruits are awaiting medical
examination. This is the highest percentage
of any district in New Zealand.
“Communications.—This committee has
completed an exhaustive preliminary re-
port, and has recruited the whole of its
personnel for E.P. work, with the excep-
tion of runners whom it will require from
the various schools. When the committee
has been informed regarding the respective
location of the various committees it will
have its work finalised.
“Law and order.—This committee is
awaiting suitable personnel and still re-
quires a large number of men for its
ranks. I accept a large proportion of the
blame for this because at the time when
Inspector Scott made known his require-
ments I asked him to withhold his request
to recruit these men from the Home Guard
because I feared it was going to clash
with the interests of the Home Guard,
something which I was anxious to avoid. I
feel sure that the relationships between the
Home Guard and E.P.S. are now on
such a footing that this committee will
soon be able to muster its full quota.
“Women’s work.—This is under the con-
trol of the Women’s War Service Auxili-
ary with Mrs Mansford, patroness, and
Miss Warburton chairman. Their registra-
tions to date number 440, and all are be-
ing drafted into their various departments
for training. All the other committees are
well on their way to completion of their
arrangements.
“General.—I have tried to keep this
work well before the public. I have ad-
dressed three public meetings, have given
four talks over the air, and have twice ad-
dressed members of the Home Guard. I
have striven to maintain the most friendly
relationship with the Home Guard. In
all cases I have kept the broad issue be-
fore us and was very pleased when a com-
mittee to control both Home Guard and
E.P.S. personnel was formed on April
18. This should promote still further co-
operation between both organisations and
be a distinct help towards the progress of
them both. I also saw the need for co-
operation between the city and the various
local bodies adjacent to our city. A con-
ference of all these bodies was held and a
co-operating committee formed comprising
the chairman of all the E.P.S. in those
counties with the Mayor of Palmerston
North as chairman.
“Personnel.—Three months ago the per-
sonnel available was negligible. To-day the
total personnel registered and/or available
is 1545 made up as follows: Communica-
tions 151, works 96, first-aid 55, wardens 96,
police 49, fire patrols 127, E.F.S. 32, trans-
port 155, traffic 19, St. John Ambulance
(not including large class at present training)
100, Red Cross 227, Women’s War Service
Auxiliary 440.
“I should like to express my thanks to
all chairmen, secretaries and members of
the various committees for their very loyal
support and co-operation, without which
these results could not have been obtain-
ed; to Mr McDavitt (the secretary) and
to 2ZA for allowing me to broadcast the
work of various committees. Particularly
do I desire to thank Lieut. Ciochetto, the
area commander, Major Mewett, and offi-
cers and men of the Home Guard for their
most ready co-operation and support in all
matters. In conclusion, I would like to
point out that much detail work still re-
quires to be done; most other cities have
been working on their schemes for any-
thing from one to two years before hold-
ing their trials, but I am confident of this:
that within another month we will be able
to try out various sections of the work
and with regular practice we will develop
a perfect organisation.”
On July 1 I received a note from
the town clerk enclosing a copy of the
resolution passed at the council meet-
ing the previous evening, as follows:
“That the report be received and that
Mr Tennent be congratulated upon the
results achieved, and he be advised
that the previous resolution of the
council appointing him chairman had
been ultra vires as the E.P.S. regula-
tions provide that the Mayor be chair-
man, and that, accordingly, his resig-
nation be accepted with regret, and
that the matter of the appointment of
Mr Tennent to any position in the
E.P. organisation be referred to the
Executive committee of the scheme.”
As nothing of this matter appeared
in the Press I presume this was the
discussion which took place in commit-
tee.
The Mayor called a meeting of the
E.P.S. for Thursday, July 10, the re-
port of which appeared in your paper
the following evening, but even though
I am still chairman of one of the
sub-committees I was not notified of
the meeting, nor was I invited to
attend. Once I had asked the council
to define my position I could not do
anything further until they had given
their decision. I therefore leave it to
your readers after reading the above
if I have been dilatory in my duty
as chairman of the E.P.S.—Yours, etc.,
W. B. TENNENT.

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