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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Rice for Example

Rice for Example.

Sir Julius Vogel, the author of this tax, has, in a recent lettter to Fraser's Magazine in England, stated that during the years 1873, 1874, and 1875, New Zealand imported £437,209 worth of grain and flour of all kinds except rice, and exported £707,400 worth of the same articles. But this exclusion of rice is very disingenuous and delusive. Official returns before me show that in 1876 New Zealand imported £38,890 worth of rice, and exported only £846 worth, the whole importation of grain, pulse, &c., being valued at £151,918, and the exceptionally largo exportation at £368,287. Allowing the same proportion of rice for each of the former three years, £146,075 must be added to the imports as given by the shrewd financier. Thus the corrected statement of all grain, flour, &c., will be:—
Value Exported. Value Imported.
For his three years £707,400 £583,284
For 1876 368,287 151,918
For four years, 1873-6 inclusive £1,075,687 £735,202

Rice was taxed at a specially high rate, with the nominal object of collecting special revenue from a large influx of Chinese gold-diggers, which was expected, but has not occurred. Practically, the consumption of rice, chiefly by British colonists, during four years, valued at £184,119, has enabled an equal amount of other farinaceous food to be exported. The tax paid by its importers, at the very high rate of one halfpenny per pound, about 25 per cent, on the value of Bengal rice landed in New Zealand, must thus have amounted in four years to about £46,000! The tax on flour, at an average price of £13 10s. free of duty, has been 7.4 per cent. Allowing for the higher rate of duty on biscuits and other farinaceous things besides rice and flour, the importers of all such food besides rice have paid, during four years, about £41,700. Total duty collected on all imported farinaceous food for four years, £90,700, equal to 12£ per cent, on the whole importation.