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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 26



The Committee recommend for the proper and vigorous carrying out of the proposed Harbour Improvements, the creation of a Harbour Trust, composed of nine members—three appointed by the Provincial Council, three by the Dunedin City Council, and three by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce.

It would be advisable that this Trust should also be put in charge of the whole Harbour Department, Lower as well as Upper, including the Pilot service and Towing.

The Committee are advised that it is necessary that this Harbour Trust should be constituted by the Superintendent and Provincial Council, and empowered by them so far as the "Harbour Boards Act, 1870" gives them authority; but, that afterwards application should be made by the Trust to the General Assembly for a special Act to enable them to borrow two hundred thousand pounds (£200,000) upon six per cent, debentures, secured on the Harbour Rates, and having the collateral guarantee of the Provincial Government.

From the Engineers' Reports referred to above it will be seen that £150,000 may safely be considered sufficient to construct the engineering and dredging works, but it would be desirable that the further sum of £50,000 should be within the reach of the Trust as provision for unforeseen contingencies.

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The Committee have not thought it necessary to take into their estimate of cost the question of Wharves, as these need only be proceeded with as required, and it is fair to assume that the cost of these would be more than recovered from the sale of the building sites gained by the necessary reclamation involved in their erection.

The annual expenditure of the Trust, exclusive of the Lower Harbour Department, the Committee after full consideration believe, may be estimated at £9000 for interest at 0 per cent on £150,000, and £6000 for maintenance and management after the works are completed; in all £15,000 per annum.

To provide a sufficient income for the Trust, the Committee suggest the levying of a rate on each ton of merchandise and produce exported, and on each ton of merchandise imported; the present jetty dues being of course abolished. In order to ascertain what rating would be required, the Committee have had statistics of the trade of the port extracted from the Custom House books, from which they learn that the quantity of merchandise of every kind which arrived in the year 1873 from all quarters was 200,000 tons, and that the quantity exported in the same year of wool, grain, and general merchandise equalled 110,000 tons. The Committee believe that when the rating comes to be fixed, a differential scale will be reasonable and necessary, but for the present purpose of estimating the income of the suggested Trust the Committee consider that a rate of 2s. per ton on imports, and of 1s. per ton on exports may be assumed, and in order to estimate the trade of the port within safe bounds, and to allow for such branches of that trade as may from various causes be exempted from the rates, they assume the inward trade to equal at present 160,000 tons per annum, and the outward trade 70,000 tons.

160,000 tons inwards, @ 2s., would yield £16,000
70,000 tons outwards, @ 1s. would yield 3,500
Making £19,500

Or a surplus over interest and cost of maintenance of £4500.

The Committee would also recommend that the main energies of the Trust should first be directed to the speedy, economical, and efficient dredging of a Ship Channel to Dunedin.

The Committee desire to point out, that should the whole Harbour Department be put under the management of the suggested Trust, there will be a considerable saving in salaries, and other branches of the expenditure estimated above. They would also observe that the expenditure of the Trust not being liable to increase, the scale of rates could be reduced from year to year as the trade of the port advanced. The progress of that trade in the future may be judged of by its progress in the past.

In 1868 the total register tonnage of vessels arriving in our port was 146,500 tons; in 1873 it was 175,000 tons. In like manner the export trade passing through Dunedin must increase as population and settlement proceed throughout the Province. Last year only some 5000 tons of grain were shipped from the port, but for this year 20,000 tons would be a moderate estimate; and within 10 years 50,000 tons is likely to be the annual export.

These Returns of Imports and Exports suggest the reflection that, could the 3s. per ton, which the Harbour Works now proposed will save for the future, have been saved for the last ten years upon the immense mass of page 11 merchandise and produce represented by these Returns, the Colonists of Otago would be some £200,000 richer than they now are. Or, looking at it in another light, judging the future from the past, and making no allowance for an accelerated rate of progress, the entire cost of the scheme now proposed to be carried out would be saved to the Province within the next ten years.

Robert Gillies,


Members of Sub-Committee.

John Davie

Hugh McNeill

Henry Tewsley

James Rattray

Keith Ramsay