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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Government Printing Office

page 122

Government Printing Office.

Among the Parliamentary Papers for the year is the Annual Report of the Printing and Stationery Department, by Mr G. Didsbury, the Government Printer. The following is the text of the Report, to which, in the Paper itself, half-a-dozen tables are appended:

Wellington, 2nd July, 1890.

In submitting my annual report on the department for the year 1889 I have much pleasure in stating that the result of the year's operations shows a marked improvement in many respects over those of previous years. The period covered by the last report included only four months' occupancy of the new premises. A considerable portion of that time was necessarily taken up in removing and re-arranging the plant and machinery, so that barely more than two months of that year may be regarded as the period during which all the inconveniences and drawbacks incident to removal were overcome, and the reorganization of the office accomplished. Now that a complete period under the new order of things is presented for review, the increased productiveness of the department is apparent. The number of orders received last year was 3,336 as compared with 2,292 for the previous year, showing an increase of 1,044; the number of copies printed, 29,404,737 as against 20,940,491; the number of pages, 20,455 as against 17,500; and the total value of work done, £28,758 12s 11d as compared with £24,043 1s 3d of the previous year; showing an increase of £4,715 lis 7d. On reference to the balance-sheet it will be found that this result has been achieved at a less outlay for wages and overtime than that paid during the previous year, the respective amounts for 1888 and 1889 being £16,642 3s 5d as against £16,309 4s 1d, showing a reduction of £332 9s 4d. The working expenses account also comes out very satisfactorily. The items fuel and gas, which cost £551 5s 3d in 1887, and £451 4s 9d in 1888, only cost £168 4s 3d for fuel during the past year, for which latter sum, with the addition of salary of engine-driver (£140), the office is heated, lighted, and the whole of the motive-power for the machinery obtained. The comparison is greatly in favor of the present mode of heating and lighting when the size of the respective buildings—the old and the new—are considered, as it is estimated that fully one-third more heat and light are required in the present premises, while the motive-power needed to drive the additional machinery now in use is also much greater. Again referring to the balance-sheet, it will be found on turning to the profit and loss account, that after making all necessary allowances for interest and depreciation on building and plant, ground-rent, &c, the result shows a profit to the credit of the Colony of £7,240 11s 11d. The number and classification of employés is shown in Table No. 3. The largest staff of hands employed was during the months of June and July, when it reached 163, while in November following the number dropped to 120. The return of work performed by the audit-branch of the department—where all accounts for printing and advertising undergo examination before payment—shows that during the year 3,030 separate accounts were scrutinized, from which deductions were made to the amount of £100 14s 7d—the total amount passed for payment being £8,431 9s 1Od.

The new publications issued during the past year comprise, among others, Vol. xxii of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, Vol. vi of White's Ancient History of the Maori, and the New Zealand Law Reports in monthly parts. The following works are now in the press, and will be issued shortly: Part ii of the Manual of Grasses and Forage Plants useful to New Zealand, by T. Mackay; an introductory Class-book of Botany for use in New Zealand schools, by G. M. Thompson, F.L.S.; and the Official Eecord of the Dunedin and South Seas Exhibition.

Having been requested by the Government to take over the control of the Stamp-printing Branch of the Stamp Department, the necessary preparations for doing so are now being made. The printing-plant will be modernised by the introduction of new and efficient machinery for the various operations of printing, gumming, and perforating; and the old hand-presses now in use, which are both slow and costly, will be practically superseded. The present method of production, even with the staff working overtime, barely suffices to keep pace with the demands; but with the new machinery ordered,—comprising one of Napier and Son's double-platen machines, and an American Colts's Armory press,—it is hoped that the output will be largely augmented, and any prospective increase in the demand amply provided for. For gumming and perforating the sheets one of Newsum's gumming machines, and a couple of Blackhall's rotary perforating machines have been ordered; and steam-heated cupboards will be provided for drying the sheets. These improved methods will result in a saving of nearly £400 per annum in expenditure on labor, and obviate the necessity of resorting to overtime to keep up the stocks as at present. A new series of stamps for the use of the Government Insurance Department will shortly be issued, the steel dies for which, are being executed locally. They consist of six denominations—from a halfpenny to one shilling. The two dies already completed are artistically designed and creditably executed. Electrotypes from them are now in course of preparation in this department. A new series of stamps for the Railway Department, to be used for the carriage of newspapers by train, are among the productions issued from this office during the past year.

The number of stereotype plates cast last year was 1,176; of electrotypes, 2,566 (included in which are 5 plates of postage stamps, 240 heads in each). The number of rubber stamps manufactured for Government departments was 294. The railway-ticket printing executed by this branch during the year was as follows: Railway tickets, 2,331,010; season tickets, 10,698; flag-station tickets, 344,500; luggage tickets, 64,000; parcels tickets, 48,950; weighbridge tickets, 18,600.

The number of requisitions received and complied with by the Stationery Office during the year ending the 31st December last was 9,876, or at the rate of 32 per day. The number of separate items in the requisitions was 45,157. The quantity of waste paper shipped was 47¼ tons, representing in value £136 4s 9d. The local paper-mills purchase all waste material of this description.