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Object: Poster, ’War Finance Campaign’

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Title Poster, ’War Finance Campaign’
Production E. V. Paul, Government Printer (printing firm), October 1940, Wellington
N.Z. National Savings Committee (commissioner), October 1940, Wellington
Medium summary Three colour block printed text with offset lithographic image (screened) on paper
Materials printing ink, paper
Classification political posters
Technique offset lithography
Dimensions Overall: 573mm (Height) x 442mm (Width)
Credit line Gift of Mr C H Andrews, 1967
Registration number GH015509

The National Savings Act was enacted in October 1940 to encourage the habit of saving among New Zealanders. This was the first poster to be produced in support of the National Savings scheme and is unusual among New Zealand's war posters because of the prominence of the nation's flag. The flag represents freedom, but the motto 'Lend to defend the right to be free!' clearly links freedom with the ability to pay for it.

The New Zealand government financed the country's contribution to World War II from internal resources, raising substantial amounts through taxation, internal loans, and encouraging people to put money into National Savings accounts. Posters played a significant part in the associated fund-raising campaigns, making intense appeals to New Zealanders' sense of patriotism and sacrifice.

National Savings
National Savings became a constant feature of everyday life during the war years, attracting small weekly investments from a wide cross-section of the public. Contributions could be made either individually or through workplace groups, where employees could authorise their employers to transfer regular amounts from their wages into National Savings Accounts. Savings bonds and accounts bore interest at 3 per cent, and the money invested into National Savings was paid into the War Expenses Account. The scheme was advertised to the public as a way for everyone to make a contribution, no matter how small, and to encourage saving for the post-war period when goods would become more plentiful. Public support was generally very positive, with most New Zealanders willing to cut back or postpone spending on consumables, and to save more of their incomes.

Several posters were published and issued by the National Savings Office during the war, and seen in public places such as post offices, savings banks, and railway stations. Posters such as this one had the potential for long display lives as the scheme remained at 3 per cent throughout the war.

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