Committee on Finance. - Milk (Regulation of Supply and Price)(Amendment) Bill, 1939—Committee.

Section 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 2.
References in the Principal Act and this Act to the sale of milk shall be construed as not including references to—
(b) any milk sold by a person who does not in any one day sell more than two gallons of milk, or
(d) any milk sold to a person who is the registered proprietor, within the meaning of the Dairy Produce Acts, 1924 to 1934, of premises registered under the said Acts, or the holder of a licence from the Minister under the Creamery Act, 1928 (No. 26 of 1928), or

I move amendment

To delete paragraph (b) and substitute the following paragraph:—

(b) any milk of his own production sold by a person who does not in any one day sell more than two gallons of such milk, or

As the paragraph stands a retailer selling not more than two gallons of any milk would come within the scope of the Bill. This is to make clear that the milk must be of his own production.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In paragraph (d), page 2, line 35, to delete the figures "1934" and substitute the figures "1941".

The object of this amendment is to bring the Dairy Produce Acts, including the Bill that is now going through the Dáil, into line. The Bill now going through would not be brought into line if this amendment were not passed.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In paragraph (d), page 2, line 37, to insert before the word "or" the following words: "except in so far as such milk is mainly marketed within the Dublin Sale Area when the Chairman of the Dublin District Milk Board may impose such conditions with regard to the purchase of such milk as he may consider necessary to regulate the milk supply or price within the Dublin Sale Area".

This amendment is designed to bring under control certain privileged institutions, notably Edenderry creamery. I understand, of course, that Edenderry creamery is operating under a special licence of the Minister. There is a licence to buy milk in the old creamery area in Edenderry but Deputies should bear in mind that there is no price fixed. The creamery can buy milk at their own price and send it to the city. While the Minister can at any time withdraw the licence, we suggest that the chairman of the board should have some control in that respect. If at any time this institution desired to expand its operations by buying milk in other districts, and sending on more milk than it is at present sending, it might not be desirable. I suggest, therefore, that this control should be vested in the chairman of the board.

I think that the case of Edenderry creamery, which the Deputy wants to deal with in this amendment, would not be covered by this section because this deals with registered creameries. As far as registered creameries are concerned, as I explained here on Second Reading, I gave an undertaking to certain creameries who supplied the city during the fall of 1939 when the strike was on here that they would be permitted to continue to supply milk to Dublin. I do not think that I could agree to give the chairman of the board any discretion with regard to the removal of those creameries from the list. This amendment would give him that power.

The amendment says that it is applicable to a creamery that markets its milk mainly within the Dublin sale area.

The amendment would not cover the Deputy's point because it is not a registered creamery.

Will the Minister say what control is in operation at the present time to restrict this creamery in expanding its operations? Could it not attempt to increase its supply to the Dublin sale area and is that desirable? The Minister agrees that the price at which they purchase milk is not a fixed price and is it not desirable to have that creamery under control?

That particular creamery is confined to suppliers of the old creamery area. That is the only limitation there is there at the moment. If the Deputy will remember, when we were dealing with the Principal Act, we discussed this particular case very fully. There are two sides to the question. There is the side of the suppliers who had this market and we did not think it fair to deprive them of the market. There was the other point of view, that milk was coming from outside the scheduled area. I do not think the arrangement has been abused in any way, as far as I know.

We are only trying to provide against the possibility of abuse. We have no objection to the suppliers of that creamery preserving their market here, but in the event of any desire on the part of that institution to expand its operations here, I take it from what the Minister said that they will have no power to expand, that they are operating under a licence and that they can only buy in the old creamery area?

That is right.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Section 3 agreed to.
SECTION 4.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

Why is the Minister making provision to scrap the board? Is he afraid of another strike?

That is one reason.

Is there any other reason?

Suppose the board just got tired and did not carry on business, I would have no power to interfere. If the board did strike, I could do nothing.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 6.
Sub-section (1) of Section 12 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the deletion in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the said sub-section of the words "from amongst their number", and the said sub-section shall be construed and have effect accordingly.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In page 5, lines 34 and 35, to delete the words "and the said sub-section shall be construed and have effect accordingly" and substitute the following words: "and by the insertion at the end of the said sub-section of the following paragraph, that is to say:—

(d) provided always that nothing in this section shall preclude any class of members, producers, retailers and/or wholesalers from electing from amongst their number their appropriate number or any part thereof as ordinary members of a board.

We were told on the Second Reading of the Bill that the purpose of this section was to give representation to a limited company. My interpretation of the section, as it is worded, is that the Minister will have power, for instance, to nominate a panel of his own choice—simply to produce a panel to the producers and say: "You must elect from that panel." I think it is necessary to preserve their right to elect members of the board from their own number. While I do not believe it is the intention of the Minister to deprive them of that right, as the section is worded at present he has power to do it. If the Minister would accept the amendment, it would clarify his intention to preserve the rights of producers to elect a board from a panel nominated by themselves.

In this section we are amending Section 12 of the Principal Act by removing these words, "from amongst their number". As I explained on Second Reading this is being done to give an opportunity to partners in a firm or members of a private company to be elected. Paragraph (a) of Section 12, sub-section (1) of the Principal Act states:

"There shall be elected to be ordinary members from amongst their number by the persons who are registered on the qualifying date in the register of producers kept by such board, the appropriate number of producer members."

If we leave out the deletion of the words "from amongst their number", I do not see how it can be argued that the Minister comes into the matter at all because the paragraph would then read:

"There shall be elected to be ordinary members by the persons who are registered on the qualifying date... the appropriate number of producer members."

It says plainly that the board would be elected by the producer members. The same thing would be applied to the retailer.

It does not say how they would be nominated?

That is just my point. The Minister has power to make regulations. Supposing the Minister makes a regulation and nominates a panel from which the producers would elect the board? The Minister may hand them a panel and say: "You must elect from that panel."

No. The Deputy will find that the Minister can only make regulations with regard to the carrying out of the election. He cannot interfere further than that. It is quite plain that they are elected by the producer members.

And they can elect a man from outside?

Yes. That is the only difference it will make—that they can elect anybody they like.

Why should they be permitted to do that?

Of course it applies principally to wholesalers, where you have companies and partners and so on.

But does the Minister think it desirable to permit them to go outside? Supposing the board agreed to nominate a candidate outside their own membership?

If you take the wholesalers panel, for instance, where you have, as we have in this case, two or three big companies——

I see the Minister's point. But it widens out the field.

If the producers are foolish enough, if you like, to elect outside people to represent them, I think it is their own look-out.

Does the Minister accept the amendment?

Well, the amendment gets back to the same position as regards companies, I am afraid. I think we ought to leave that to themselves anyway.

I suggest that the Minister should be able to bring in companies without excluding the condition that they should elect from their own members.

I admit it could be done in a longer way.

I think it is only right that that should remain in—that they should elect from their own members. If the Minister does not accept my amendment, perhaps he might word it in some other way that would bring in the companies.

If the Deputy is interested in the producers only, it does not matter in that case.

I am interested only in the producers.

We could leave it out in that case and let the other stand. That would mean that the producer part of the section would stand as it was in the original Act, and the other two would be changed. We could settle that on Report Stage.

Very good.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 put and agreed to.
SECTION 10.
Question proposed: "That Section 10 stand part of the Bill."

The board has no power to co-opt a member, and it seems to me very strange that the Minister reserves the right to nominate and fill the vacancy. It is a departure from the normal procedure; where a vacancy occurs in a board, the board has the right to co-opt a member. Why is that done?

For instance, if you take the Agricultural Wages Board, where you have different interests represented, the board itself cannot co-opt a member. Whoever put on the original members must do the filling of the vacancy. Otherwise, it is possible that the wholesalers and retailers, if the producer members are absent, might have a majority. They could put in anyone who would be in their pocket as it were—a producer who would side with them. I think it would be a bad thing to do.

Where a vacancy does occur, the Minister always nominates a man to represent the particular interest?

Yes. What we do in practice is, we consult the interest, whatever it may be, and get a nominee from them.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 put and agreed to.
SECTION 15.
(1) Any person who—
(a) is the owner of premises which are situate outside the Dublin Production District and are registered in any of the registers kept under the Dairy Produce Act, 1924 (No. 58 of 1924), and
(b) is certified by the Minister to have, during the period commencing on the 18th day of November, 1939, and ending on the 2nd day of December, 1939, complied with any direction given by the Minister or any person authorised by the Minister, to deliver milk for re-sale in the Dublin Sale District, and
(c) is registered in respect of such premises in the register of dairymen kept by a sanitary authority in pursuance of Part II of the Milk and Dairies Act, 1935 (No. 22 of 1935), may apply to the board for the joint district which includes the Dublin Sale District to be registered in the register of producers in respect of such premises, and on receipt of such application such board shall enter in the said register of producers the name and address of the applicant and particulars of such premises.
(2) It shall not be lawful for any person, who is registered, in pursuance of sub-section (1) of this section, in the register of producers kept by the board for the joint district which includes the Dublin Sale District, to sell, in the Dublin Sale District, in any period of twelve months commencing on the date on which such person was so registered or commencing on any anniversary of that date, a quantity of milk exceeding the quantity fixed by the Minister in respect of that person.
(3) If any person acts in contravention of sub-section (2) of this section such person shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to the penalties mentioned in the Schedule to the Principal Act.
(4) In this section—
the expression "the Dublin Production District" means the area consisting of the county borough of Dublin, and the administrative counties of Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth;
the expression "the Dublin Sale District" means the area consisting of the county borough of Dublin and the urban district of Bray.

I move amendment No. 5:—

In sub-section (1) (b), page 6, line 60, and page 7, lines 1 and 2, to delete the words "complied with any direction given by the Minister or any person authorised by the Minister to deliver milk" and substitute therefor the words "strictly and completely complied with the directions given by the Minister or any person authorised by the Minister and delivered milk for the entire period."

I understand that some of the creameries only partly complied with the instructions of the Minister at that time, and this is to ensure that those creameries are excluded.

They are excluded.

Creameries which have not fulfilled the regulations issued by the Minister are excluded?

That is right.

My information is that some of them are supplying.

I am not saying that the creameries delivered milk every day, because some of them could deliver milk only every two or three days, but as long as they complied with the Minister's instructions it is all right as far as this goes. Those that did not fully comply are not on the list.

I take it then, that no creamery which has not fulfilled the instructions is supplying?

That is right.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 6:—

In sub-section 1 (c), page 7, line 4, to delete the words "is registered" and substitute therefor the words "was before the 1st July, 1939, registered" and in line 7 to insert before the word "apply" the words "within a period of two months after the passing of this Act".

I understand that at the termination of the strike the Minister gave an undertaking to the Milk Producers' Association that any creamery which had not put in equipment prior to 1st July would be excluded. As a matter of fact I have a copy of the letter to that effect. That is the reason why we suggest that that date should be fixed. It may be argued by the Minister that the war conditions have upset the possibility of the creameries putting in the necessary equipment, but even at that time it was considered that the period up to July was a considerable period of time. Those who were interested pointed out to the Minister that a long period of time was given. The plea was made that it was difficult to obtain equipment, and it was for that reason that 1st July was fixed. I do not think the Minister should depart from that now. I think he should agree to this amendment, and fix the date which he undertook, by letter to the Milk Producers' Association, to fix, namely, 1st July.

I am not denying what the Deputy says. I may have given that undertaking. I would like to plead that we may have been a bit slack in the Department of Agriculture in impressing that fact on the creameries. The Deputy does not mean 1st July, 1939; he probably means a somewhat later date. Of course, that was before the strike took place.

I should have said 1940.

I think the Deputy should withdraw the amendment. It is not going to make any difference, except in the case of one creamery, which was a bit unfortunate about getting the equipment. There should be some finality about this and I am prepared to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage giving them two months in which to register. I am not sure about the registration part, but they will be given that period in which to get the necessary equipment and make application.

Two months from the passing of the Act?

That is what the Deputy has down in his amendment. I am prepared to meet the Deputy as regards the second part of the amendment, but not the first.

What about the Minister's promise to the producers?

We were not sufficiently insistent with the creameries. There are only seven creameries concerned.

And six of them are equipped.

Six are equipped and registered, and everything is right there. This will make a difference in one case only, and that creamery was a bit unfortunate in regard to its equipment.

Does the Minister realise that every 20 gallons of milk coming from that area means knocking out a producer? The average production in the Dublin area is 20 gallons, and if that quantity comes in it means knocking out a potential producer. What is the best the Minister can do?

I will bring in an amendment on the Report Stage limiting the period to two months after the passing of the Act.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
The following amendment was agreed to:—
7. In sub-section (4), page 7, line 28, to insert after the word "Dublin" the words ", the administrative county of Dublin".— (Aire Talmhaidheachta; Deputy Hughes.)
Section 15, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 16, 17 and 18 agreed to.
SECTION 19.

With regard to Section 19, does the levy which is payable have to be paid, say, by Fry-Cadbury's? Some of these people can arrange to have the milk processed in the creameries and brought in as a finished article. I understand that is being done by some of them.

I did not quite get the Deputy's point.

Is the levy paid by the manufacturers?

Milk for manufacturing purposes is not subject to the levy.

Sections 19, 20 and 21 agreed to.
SECTION 22.
(3) Section 43 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion therein of the following sub-section in lieu of sub-section (5) now contained therein, and the said section shall be construed and have effect accordingly, that is to say:—
"(5) If any person (in this sub-section referred to as the vendor) who is a registered retailer or a registered wholesaler in respect of a joint district sells milk to another person (in this sub-section referred to as the purchaser) who is a registered retailer or a registered wholesaler in respect of such district at a price less than the price which would, if the vendor were a registered producer in respect of such district, be the appropriate statutory minimum price, each of them, the vendor and the purchaser, shall be severally guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to the penalties mentioned in the Schedule to this Act."

I move amendment No. 8:—

In sub-section (3), page 10, at the end of line 36, to add the following words:—

"or if any person who is a registered producer, retailer or wholesaler, attempts to buy or attempts to sell milk at a price below the appropriate statutory minimum price such person shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof, to the penalties mentioned in the Schedule to this Act."

I understand one of the greatest difficulties in the administration of the old Act was that it was necessary to be in a position to prove a person sold or bought the milk at less than the minimum price before there could be a prosecution. It was insufficient for the board to prove that attempts were made to sell at less than the fixed price. This amendment is put down for the purpose of making even an attempt to sell at less than the fixed price, an offence.

I am told by lawyers that an attempt to commit an offence is actually an offence under the common law. Where we lay down anything to be an offence, it is triable under the Act, but the other aspects come under a Conspiracy Act, or something of that nature, where one conspires to commit an offence, and it would be triable in that way. I am told it is unusual to put in the ordinary laws anything about attempting to commit an offence. That is covered generally under the heading of conspiracy.

Is the Minister aware that the board has never brought a prosecution in respect of an attempted offence? In fact, the board were of the opinion that they could not do so.

They might find it extremely difficult to prove it.

I have been informed that the board had evidence to prove that an attempt was made, but they believed that unless they were able to prove that an offence was committed they had no power to prosecute. If the Minister assures me that an attempted offence is covered, I shall be satisfied.

I am talking about the common law as it was pointed out to me. I believe that they can deal with an offence of that kind—an attempt to commit an offence. Unfortunately, I am not a lawyer.

Has the Minister been advised on the matter?

Yes, we got advice.

So there is no necessity to cover an attempt?

I am advised that it should not be brought into this legislation.

Mr. Brennan

The position does not seem to be too satisfactory.

It is one of those difficult things where you are relying on the advice of a lawyer or some other technical person. I would be inclined to agree with Deputy Hughes that it would be more satisfactory if it were dealt with in this Bill. If the Deputy wishes, I shall look into the matter further between this and the Report Stage.

Mr. Brennan

That would be the best thing to do.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 22 agreed to.
SECTION 23.

I move amendment No. 9:—

Before Section 23 to insert the following new section:—

If any person (in this section referred to as the vendor) who is a registered producer in respect of a joint district makes to another person (in this section referred to as the purchaser), who is a registered retailer or a registered wholesaler in respect of such district and to whom the vendor has sold milk, any payment, by way of rebate, refund, discount or allowance howsoever in relation to the sale of such milk, which would have the effect of reducing the price of such milk below the appropriate statutory minimum price, each of them, the vendor and the purchaser, shall be severally guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to the penalties mentioned in the Schedule to the Principal Act.

This sets out to deal with an offence that is alleged to be rather common— where a purchaser agrees in a contract to give the minimum price, but there is a secret agreement that the purchaser will get a hand-back from the seller. This sets out to make it more illegal still. I think the Principal Act covers this point, but the intention is to lay particular emphasis on it, so that the section can be quoted if anybody is doing that sort of thing.

I understand that during the flush period of the year the producer, in order to ensure that all his milk will be taken by the wholesaler, makes a private arrangement with the wholesaler that he will give a hand-back at the end of the month. A man honourable enough not to stoop to that sort of thing finds that the wholesaler's car passes by his gate and leaves the milk there, while the man who gives the hand-back and evades the law by secretly agreeing to do so gets his milk collected every day.

Mr. Brennan

The hand-back will be so well covered that perhaps this will not remedy the situation.

New section agreed to.

Section 23 agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 10 and 11 not moved.
Section 24 agreed to.
SECTION 25.
(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to whom this section applies who is registered in the register of producers kept by the board for a joint district to sell in the associated sale district in any sale year a quantity of milk exceeding the quantity of milk sold by such person in the area included in such associated sale district in whichever one of the standard years such person sold in such area the greatest quantity of milk.
Amendment No. 12 not moved.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In sub-section (1), to add after the word "milk" in line 33, the words "provided always that during the period commencing on the 1st day of May and ending on the 31st day of July in any year the board for the joint district may prohibit in whole or in part the sales of such persons where such restriction is considered by that board to be necessary to regulate the supply of milk within a sale area".

The purpose of this amendment is to restrict sales during the months of May, June and July, the flush period. The Minister may suggest that the board can control the position, by requesting the creameries to reduce supplies during these months. That would be more or less in their own interest, seeing that the price then is not attractive, and that there is the risk of the milk turning sour. But representations might be made by some local interests that might have a strong pull, asking the Minister to allow supplies to be brought in from particular areas during that period, and it might be difficult for the Minister to regulate supplies, or to effect a sufficient reduction to provide for the sale of milk from the production area. Perhaps the Minister would agree to let the chairman decide the matter.

I can only repeat what I said on amendment No. 2. Under the Principal Act certain creameries supplying milk to Dublin city were safeguarded by being allowed to continue doing so. Then there was a second list of creameries which supplied during the strike period, and they got an undertaking that they would be permitted to enter the Dublin market. The amendment would be entirely against the understanding come to with the original creameries, and also with the second group that came along since the strike. It should be possible to come to some agreement with the creameries. It is fairly obvious that there is practically no profit whatever for them during this period, as the amount they would get by sending milk to Dublin then would hardly cover their expenses. It certainly would not give any profit. There was also the great risk of the milk going sour during those months. On the other hand the creameries would be anxious to get back to the market about the end of July. That is why I think there will have to be some sort of an arrangement between the parties so that the creameries would be safeguarded, provided they agreed to keep off the market during the flush months. This year that question will not arise.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 25 agreed to.
SECTION 26.
(d) on receipt of the said documents, the said chairman shall approve of such contract if, but only if, the quantity of milk to be delivered thereunder is specified in terms of either daily or weekly deliveries;

I move amendment No. 14:—

In paragraph (d), to delete all words from and including the words "the quantity" in line 39, page 12, to the end of the paragraph and substitute—

"(i) the price per gallon is stated and that the contract provides for payment at the statutory price for all milk bought in excess of the gallonage stated in the contract, and

(ii) the quantity of milk to be delivered is set out in terms of either weekly or monthly deliveries."

The price should be stated so that producers would know what they were to get. Prices vary over a long period and producers might be defrauded out of the full prices if they were fixed at a time when no one knew what feeding stuffs would cost during the winter. The price should be fixed at a period when people then are in a position to forecast the cost of production.

The price as set out in the contract is the minimum price and people when making contracts do not know whether it will last or will change during the year. If it is not set out then the minimum price will be paid. I do not see what advantage there would be in putting down a price. At present the contract is a daily or a weekly one. It would be a great mistake to put in a monthly period, because if the purchaser found it more convenient to buy a good deal of milk for three weeks and less milk for the fourth week it would be bad for the producer. At least the quantities should be stated per day or per week. The Deputy does not mean that the farmer should supply 300 gallons a month. It would be better that he should supply 75 gallons a week or ten gallons a day. The shorter the period the better it would be. Otherwise the purchaser could put the supplier to great inconvenience. In my opinion it is not necessary to state the price.

In entering into a contract the quantity of milk to be supplied for a week or a month could be mentioned.

Very often contracts are made for 200 gallons a week, and that is given some flexibility, so that a person might want more milk on five days of the week than on Saturday and Sunday.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 15 not moved.
Sections 26 and 27 agreed to.
SECTION 28.

I move amendment No. 16:—

Before Section 28, page 13, to insert a new section as follows:—

Whenever a board considers that it is desirable to do so they may make such payments, as may be determined by them from time to time but not exceeding in the aggregate in any calendar year the sum of £1,000 or such other sum as may be sanctioned from time to time by the Minister, for the purpose of enabling public contracts, Army and similar contracts within the production area to be secured by contractors who fulfil such contracts with milk supplies produced within the production area.

A board may attach such conditions or regulations governing any payments made or to be made by them under this section and may make payments to assist in placing milk for manufacturing purposes where they consider it desirable to do so for the purpose of regulating supplies within a sale area.

With the permission of the Chair, I should like to say that I think amendment No. 19 covers this amendment. Amendment No. 19 is wider in that the changing of the principal section gives the board power to contribute to a scheme for the greater utilisation of milk produced in the production area. That covers practically anything.

The point of this amendment was to empower them to pay a subsidy out of their own funds.

So they can.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 17:—

Before Section 28, to insert a new section as follows:—

A board may, on being satisfied that deliveries of milk under any contract have fallen short of, or exceeded the basic contract figure by an unreasonable amount and that no reasonable excuse exists for the variation, impose on the person responsible for such increased or reduced deliveries a levy not exceeding 2d. per gallon on the amount by which the deliveries varied from the basic contract figure and may pay such levy in whole or in part to the aggrieved other party as compensation.

The decision of a board as to the offending party shall be final, and where, in their opinion, the responsibility for the unreasonable departure from the contract is shared by both buyer and seller, they may impose such levy on both parties to the contract.

I understand that it has been the practice of some wholesalers to enter into a contract for an amount far below the normal amount of milk taken from the producer. If a producer can supply, say, 50 gallons, the wholesaler agrees to take 50 gallons, but enters into a contract for 20 gallons. He takes the 50 gallons during a certain period of the year, but, when the flush period comes along, he pushes the producer down to the 20 gallons in the contract, or less, so that there may be a wide variation over most of the year between the contract figure and the amount taken by the wholesaler. It is to prevent that sort of practice that I move the amendment.

My information on that point is that it did take place when the Act came into force at first, but not for the past couple of years, because the producers' association itself stopped it. That, of course, is the only way in which it can be effectively stopped. If a producer is willing to do what the Deputy says, that is, to make a contract for 20 gallons, to take 50 gallons during the scarce season, but to take only 20 gallons during the summer months, he is not the type of person who is likely to report it, and nothing can be done about it. If he goes to his own association, however, I think they will make things right for him. They have kept things straight for the past couple of years. In the first year, as I say, there was quite a lot of trouble of the kind the Deputy speaks of, but I have it on the authority of the association itself that they have not allowed it to happen for the past couple of years, and I think it is only the association could stop it.

The association have informed me that it is happening still, and I put down this amendment at their request. They complain that that type of case, of a nominal contract and the producer being tied down to that contract when there is a surplus of milk, is still occurring. If that is so, it is wrong to permit it.

I think it is very hard to cover it by law, and unless the producers can fight their own corner, I am afraid we cannot help them.

The Minister understands that what gives rise to the problem is the surplus milk in the flush period?

I hope that we shall be able to deal with that in other ways.

Would the Minister think of covering it in any other way?

I do not think you can cover it by a penal clause of this kind, because I am afraid the producer who accepts such a contract is not the type who will have the matter brought before a court. He will probably put up with it, and it is only the producers' organisation which can give a bit of backbone to such people, and get them to report it to the organisation and have it settled by them. We are trying to see what we can do about the surplus milk period. It is not going to arise this year, I am almost certain, and I think we are, even still, asking more milk from the creameries than they usually supply. It looks as if we shall have another 12 months in which to think about the problem.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 28 agreed to.
Amendment No. 18 not moved.
Section 29 agreed to.
SECTION 30.

I move amendment No. 19:—

Before Section 30 to insert the following new section:—

Section 51 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the deletion of the words "consumption of milk in the associated sale district" now contained therein and the substitution therefor of the words "utilisation of milk produced in the associated production district" and the said section shall be construed and have effect accordingly.

I have already mentioned this amendment. It gives the board very wide powers for dealing with surplus milk. They can bring in any subsidy or other system in order to get rid of it.

Amendment agreed to.
Sections 30, 31, 32 and 33 and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 14th May.