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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Colonial Treasurer's Department

The Colonial Treasurer's Department.

The Colonial Treasurer's Department, dealing as it does with the whole of the finance of the Colony, is the most important in the Service. The public revenue is derived from Customs and excise, succession and stamp duties, land and income-tax, the post and telegraph services, territorial revenue, including the rents, tithes, and fees for mining, rents of pastoral runs, income from deferred payment land sales, cash sales of land, registration fees, and miscellaneous items. The revenue is also supplemented by direct loans, Treasury bills, debentures, and sinking funds set free, and the total estimate for the current year ending the 31st of March, 1896, is £4,977,548 2s. 4d., which includes a balance brought forward from the previous year of £290,238 6s. 5d., a truly astonishing amount to be raised by a population of 720,000 souls. The revenue of the Colony is classed broadly under three heads, (1) ordinary revenue or taxes, (2) territorial revenue, and (3) proceeds of loans or debentures. In the first class is, however, included the railway revenue, which cannot be properly called a tax, although it is placed under the heading of ordinary revenue. The financial year ends on the 31st of March, and the Treasurer makes his annual statement to Parliament as soon after its meeting as possible, showing the income, expenditure, and national indebtedness, and this is called the Budget. This is the all-important statement of the session, and is always looked for, listened to and read with the greatest interest by members of the House and the general public. In the Budget is also set forth a résume of the operations in the department for the year, the fluctuations of commerce, the progress of the Colony, and a forecast of the revenue, with proposals for alteration in taxation for the ensuing year. Upon the results of these and the maintenance of the credit of the State, with due regard to the ability of the taxpayers to meet his wants, the reputation of the Treasurer as a financier depends. The position of the Treasurer is the most responsible and onerous in the Cabinet, requiring tact, energy, a thorough knowledge of finance, felicity of description in dealing with figures, and good debating power to meet attack. The brightest intellects on the roll of New Zealand statesmen have held the position in the various Ministries since the establishment of Responsible Government. Mr. (Sir) Francis D. Bell was the first Treasurer in 1856, but by the time the year closed Mr. Chas. Brown, Mr. (Sir) E. W. Stafford, and Mr. C. W. (Judge) Richmond all held the position. Then followed Reader Wood, Dillon Bell again, these two changing places twice afterwards, followed by Messrs. Wm. Fitzherbert, E. W. Stafford, Fitzherbert, Vogel, T. B. Gillies, Vogel in three successive Ministries from 1872 to 1875, then Major Atkinson, Vogel, Atkinson, Sir George Grey, Mr. Larnach in the same Ministry; Major Atkinson again in the three successive administrations of Sir John Hall, Mr. Whitaker, and Major Atkinson himself. Sir Julius Vogel followed in the Stout-Vogel Government; then Major Atkinson again in the Government which lasted for six days, when the Stout-Vogel Government again came in, with Sir Julius as a matter of course at the head of the Treasury for the last time, followed by Sir H. Atkinson, also in his last Ministry, for nearly three and a half years, retiring on the 24th of January, 1891, to give place to Mr. Ballance, and when that true statesman died on the 27th of April, 1893, his place was filled by the present holder of the portfolio, the Hon. J. G. Ward, who took office on the 1st of May following. Under his Administration very extensive conversions of our loans, with a view of reducing the amount of interest have been effected; a new departure has been taken in borrowing money with a view of assisting farmers and others under the Advances to page 127 Settlers Act, 1894; the Colony came to the rescue of the Bank of New Zealand when in peril; and in many ways Mr. Ward has departed from the beaten paths followed by previous Treasurers. Whether these bold divergencies will be for the welfare of the people remains yet to be proved by time and experience. The number of officers in the Treasury Department is thirty-two, and the salaries amount to £6760.

Hon. J. G. Ward, Colonial Treasurer, who presides over this Department, is referred to at length on page 47.

Mr. James Barnes Heywood, Secretary, to the Treasury, Receiver-General, Paymaster-General, Begistrar of New Zealand Consols, and member of the Government Advances to Settlers Board, was born in London in 1840. Mr. Heywood was educated in London and in Germany; he came to the Colony at the end of 1859 per ship “Steadfast,” landing in Lyttelton. On arrival he entered the office of his brother, Mr. J. M. Heywood, merchant, and subsequently joined the Bank of New South Wales as accountant at Christchurch, under Mr. C. W. Turner, afterwards opening the Lyttelton branch. For ten years he was an officer of the bank at Dunedin, Invercargill, Kaiapoi (agent for three years), and Wanganui. He joined the Government service as clerk of the session of 1871, and passed on to the Public Works Department, and was afterwards appointed accountant to the Resident Minister for the Middle Island at Christchurch. Mr. Heywood was subsequently transferred to the Treasury in Wellington as a senior clerk. He was appointed accountant to the Treasury in 1878, and attained his present position in 1890, on the retirement of Mr. J. C. Gavin, the present Assistant-controller and Auditor. As a member of the Masonic fraternity, Mr. Heywood was one of the founders of the Kaiapoi Lodge, and held the position of Grand Organist of the Canterbury Grand Lodge. He has taken much interest in sports of various kinds. He is a member of the Thorndon Bowling Club. In 1865 he was married to Miss Cuff, daughter of Mr. John Cuff, an old settler, who was a member of the House of Representatives for the Akaroa district in the second Parliament. His family consists of four sons and three daughters.

Mr. Robert Joseph Collins, Accountant to the Treasury, Deputy Registrar of Inscribed Consols and Secretary to the Government Officers Guarantee Board, has been an officer in the Government service for over thirty years. His father, the late Captain Collins, N.Z.M., was formerly in the Imperial Army, and served through the Crimean War, and in India and New Zealand. Mr. Collins was born in Ireland, and educated in his native land, in India, and in New Zealand. In 1861 he landed in New Plymouth with his parents from the steamer “Prince Arthur” from Bombay. Here at the age of fifteen he entered the Government service as a clerk in the Militia and Volunteer Office. After a short time Mr. Collins was promoted to a clerkship in the Stores Department, and when but nineteen years old was appointed sergeant-major on the Volunteer Staff, which position he held till 1877. In this year he was promoted to the Store Audit Department in Wellington, and in 1878 was transferred to the Treasury. In the following year, he was appointed Clerk in charge of the Paymaster-Generals' Branch, and in 1885 to the office of Clerk in charge of the Revenue and Pay branches combined, and five years later he became Accountant to the Treasury. Mr. Collins has for nearly a quarter-of-a-century been a prominent Mr. Robert Joseph Collins page 128 member of the Volunteer Force of New Zealand, and holds the silver medal for long and efficient service. He is now connected with the Wellington City Rifles, of which he was elected lieutenant in 1885, and captain the succeeding year. Captain Collins has been clever as a marksman and holds a number of trophies, besides winning the Taranaki Rifle Championship in 1874 and 1875. He has been very active in connection with the New Zealand Rifle Association, and has given much attention to shooting matters in Wellington. From 1879 to 1883 he represented Taranaki on its Council, and since 1883 has been honorary treasurer of the Association. He was a member and secretary of the Societies of Oddfellows and Foresters while living in New Plymouth, also president of the Taranaki Rifle Association, and member and honorary secretary of the Board of Trustees for Public Recreation, and on leaving for Wellington he was presented with a valuable gold watch. In 1875 Mr. Collins married Miss Annie Cocks, daughter of Mr. Richard Cocks, of New Plymouth, and has two daughters and three sons.

Mr. Charles Edward Chittey, Cashier to the Treasury, was born in Wellington, and educated at Mr. J. H. Brann's school. Mr. Chittey's father, the late Mr. John Chittey, was for about eighteen years an officer of the Customs; his mother, a sister of Mr. Holmes, of the Land Office, came to New Zealand in 1841 per ship “Clifton;” The subject of this notice entered the Civil Service as a cadet in the Treasury in February, 1878. Three years later he was appointed clerk; about 1883 he became assistant cashier, which position he held till 1893, when he was promoted to the office he now occupies. Mr. Chittey has taken an active part in the volunteer movement, having been a member of the Mr. Charles Edward Chittey Wellington Navals for five years. In 1886 he was married to Miss Annie Randell, sister of Miss Randell so well known in musical circles. Mr. Chittey's family consists of three daughters.

Mr. Henry Blundell, Corresponding Clerk to the Treasury, is a son of Captain Francis H. Blundell, who served for many years in India, where he married a daughter of the late Major General Kennedy. Born in 1846, in Bath, Somersetshire, the subject of this notice came out to the Colony with his parents per ship “Maori,” arriving on Christmas Day in 1851 at Nelson, where Captain Blundell settled on a farm at Waimea West. There Mr Blundell was brought up with a thorough practical knowledge of farming, for which he had a strong liking. It was his earnest desire to gain his livelihood in this manner, but it was willed otherwise, as after passing through Nelson College, he was placed in the Union Bank of Australia, subsequently joining the Bank of New Zealand. While in the service of the latter, he met with two adventures. One day he was showing to a friend a self-cocking revolver which belonged to him, when the former, levelling the revolver in front of him, and thoughtlessly pressing the trigger, discharged the piece, and Mr. Blundell, who had turned his head for a moment, suddenly facing round received the bullet in the centre of his throat. The wound was at first thought to be fatal, but it eventually healed up and the bullet was supposed to have glanced off. Some months after, however, when Mr. Blundell was suffering from an affection of the throat, the bullet came out through his mouth during a violent fit of coughing. The ball had lodged in his throat, slightly projecting into the gullet, which had festered, and thus allowed it to come through. The other adventure befell him in Westland in 1866, when he was instrumental in preventing one of the agents of the bank from being robbed of the page 129 gold purchased at Ross. During a short stay as relieving teller at Okarito, he had the unusual experience of a run on the bank, caused by a false rumour, and this extended through a whole day, when the report was discovered to he false. Mr. Blundell eventually left the service of the bank on account of ill health. He was a sessional clerk in the Legislative Council in 1869, and again in 1870, becoming extra clerk to the Treasury in 1873, and soon after Chief Clerk of the Record Branch in the same office, a position he at present holds. On Major Atkinson becoming Colonial Treasurer in 1879, he engaged Mr. Blundell as private secretary, a post he held in addition to his regular duties, until his chief, then Premier, went out of office in 1884. Mr. Blundell is one of the ministers of the Catholic Apostolic Church, Webb Street, having taken an active part in church work for nearly twenty years. In 1877 he was married to Mary, youngest daughter of Dr. Thomas Shearman Ralph, of Kew, Victoria, and formerly of Wellington, New Zealand, well known for his microscopical researches.
Other Officers

Private Secretary and Shorthand Writer to the Colonial Treasurer—F. Hyde.

Clerks—C. Meacham, R, B. Vincent, W. E. Cooper, J. Driscoll, J. R. Duncan, E. L. Mowbray, A. O. Gibbes, T. H. Burnett, J. Radcliffe, J. Holmes, H. N. W. Church, J. Emanuel Smith, A. J. Morgan, T. J. Davis, F. H. Tuckey. H. Hawthorne.

Cadets—W. Wilson, F. Davies, W. P. Hayes, G. A. Fraser

The Friendly Societies' Registry Office.

The Friendly Societies' Registry Office is under the control of the Colonial Treasurer, the staff consisting of the Registrar and Actuary, Mr. Edmund Mason, the revising barrister (who is also assistant law officer), and a clerk; there are extra expenses incurred in the office for the cost of valuations, returns, etc. All friendly societies are bound by law to furnish the registrar with a statement showing a list of their branches, made up to the end of the year, setting forth the place in which each is established, the date of its establishment, the number of members, the total assets of the branch, the amount of the sick and funeral funds, and of the management fund, and the surplus or deficiency per member in each branch. District accounts have also to be furnished giving particulars of the numerical progress, mortality and sickness during the year. Another table has to be supplied showing the receipts and disbursements of the sick and funeral funds, and a comparative statement of the balances year by year; this information has also to be supplied with respect to the receipts and expenditure of the medical and management funds. Another annual statement has also to be furnished showing how the funds of each district are disposed of—how much respectively in investments at interest, in land and buildings, in cash not bearing interest, and in furniture, regalia, etc. Lastly, a statement has to be made out giving the particulars of where and how the funds are placed, and the interest being earned; and from this it appears that the total number of members of friendly societies in the Colony on the 31st. of December, 1894, was 29,768, with a total worth of £530,586 19s. 11d., of which sum £383,599 was invested at interest, chiefly on mortgages of freehold property. Besides the friendly societies, the trades unions are also registered in this department, there being thirty-nine on the list. The annual report published by the Registrar is a valuable guide to societies, showing members, as it does, the financial aspect of each branch of the society they belong to, and giving much information regarding the working of and laws relating to cognate societies in other countries. It is by the strict system of compulsory annual returns that members are secured from loss by mismanagement or dishonesty, and without State control such as exists in the Registrar's Department it would be impossible for friendly societies to be so useful or popular as they are. The total cost of this department to the Colony is £1120 per annum.

Mr. Edmund Mason, B.A., Registrar and Actuary for Friendly Societies, Registrar of Trade Unions, Registrar under the Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and Registrar of Copyrights, is a Cornishman by birth. He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated, taking his B.A. degree in 1860. After a residence of nearly twenty years in England, the subject of this notice came out to the colonies by a steamer of the Mr. Edmund Mason page 130 Orient line. Arriving in New Zealand in 1879, he decided to remain if any suitable opening offered. Early in 1881 Mr. Mason entered the Government service as clerk in the Registrar-General's Department, from which he was subsequently transferred as clerk to that branch of the service over which he now presides. Mr. Mason possesses a mathematical knowledge which is of the greatest value in fulfilling the responsible duties of his office as Actuary of Friendly Societies. He was promoted to the position of Registrar in 1885.

Mr. L. G. Reid, Revising Barrister for Friendly Societies and Trades Unions is more fully described under “Crown Law Office.”

Mr. Charles Thomas Benzoni of the Friendly Societies' Registry Office, Treasury Department, was born in London, Middlesex, and educated at a private school in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. He was placed with a firm (T. and T. Gates, Bát à d'or, et Fabricants, de Baudruche Anglaise,) in Aldersgate Street, City, but Russian designs with regard to Constantinople indicating metal more attractive to his youthful ideas, he, at the instance of Mr. Sydney Herbert entered the Imperial Service during the Crimean War, being attached to the Army Medical Department. He acquired a knowledge of important details, and was specially commended for “general aptitude and perseverance” in the report on the Medical Staff Corps examinations at Fort Pitt, and then formed one of Lord Elgin's expedition to China, accompanying part of the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry, Captain (now Lord) Wolseley having a company therein, but was wrecked in H.M. s.s. “Transit” in the Straits of Sunda. Eventually reaching Singapore the force was diverted by Lord Elgin to the Bengal Presidency, consequent on the Indian Mutiny. Mr. Benzoni was subsequently employed in China in ordnance details for the bombardment of Canton and in other gunboat duties on the Canton River. He was afterwards attached to the Royal Mr. Charles Thomas Benzoni Engineers, and was present at the destruction of the forts at Taku, in the Gulf of Pi-tchi-li, and the Pei-ho river. Returning to England he obtained special authority to study in the General Surgery at Aldershot, and later performed the duties of compounder of medicines etc., with the Royal Artillery staff. He volunteered and proceeded to British North America when the Guards and Rifle Brigade were despatched to Canada owing to the United States sloop-of-war “San Jacinto” having taken the Confederate States Commissioners (Messrs. Mason and Slidell) from the English mail steamer “Trent.” Arriving Home he was detailed for the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, and attached to the consumption branch of the Military Purveyor's Department. On volunteering again at the War Office for active service, he was, on the recommendation of the Military Purveyor-in-Chief, sent to New Zealand and served with Lieut.-General Cameron's force in the Waikato campaign. Although it was intimated to Mr. Benzoni that he would receive substantial staff-preferment if he remained in the Imperial Service, he, on the departure of the troops for England, followed mining and journalistic pursuits in Auckland until 1870, when he was appointed Field Quarter-Master with charge of field commissariat in the expedition against Te Kooti in the Patatere district. He then accepted an appointment in the Store Department under Colonel Goring; was transferred in 1873 to the Public Works and Goldfields Departments as chief clerk, promoted assistant under-secretary in March, 1879; and was acting under-secretary for eighteen months. He was retrenched in 1885 when the department was re-constructed under a professional head. His subsequent appointment as the Clerk of the Friendly Societies' Registry Office, under section 3 of “The Civil Service Reform Act, Amendment Act, 1887,” and more recently as Deputy-Registrar of Friendly Societies under the statute of 1892, leaves this officer's services, during an eventful career, up to date. See “Wellington Ex-Councillors.”