First World War loans

"Liberty loan. Men and money. Both are needed to win the war. War loan certificates enable all to do this."

From the outset New Zealand was determined to bear the cost of participating in the First World War itself. Between the beginning and end of the war the government debt doubled to £201 million, half of which was held overseas. Of this, more than £80 million consisted of war loans. Minister of Finance Sir Joseph Ward had turned to the local scene as a source of funds quite early on, as interest rates and borrowing constraints were applied.

While there were legislative provisions allowing compulsory loans, these were generally not needed, with the war loan schemes usually being over-subscribed, despite the low 0.5 percent interest rate.


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