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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Other Protective Taxes

Other Protective Taxes.

Returning to the protective duty on other local industry than that of food growing, the following articles are all of any consequence:—

Apparel and stops, bags and sacks (except cornsacks), baskets and wickerware, boots and shoes, brushware and brooms, buckets and tubs, candles, carriages and carts; confectionery, boiled sugars (2d. a lb.), cordage, doors and sashes, drapery, ear then ware, furniture, grindery, leather, millinery, saddlery and harness, soap timber, twine, watches and clocks, woodware, blankets and other woollens.

The chief local industries affected by the duties on the above things are:—

Clothing factories of all kinds, including those of boots and shoes, and woollen goods; rope-making shops; candle and soap works: coach factories; working confectioners' shops; door and window-sash, and woodware factories; saddlers' workshops; and those of watch and clock-makers.

Most of these are really independent of any protective duty. The few woollen manufactures of New Zealand being "all wool," are protected by their better quality against the mass of those adulterated with "shoddy" which are imported. The greater portion of the imported candles are of other kinds than tallow, and cannot yet be made in the colony; colonial soap is inferior and cheaper, and would pro- page 18 bably continue to be both, even if the paltry £112 collected on imported soap were given up. New Zealand rope will maintain its price for certain purposes, whether £1517 be collected from imported rope or not. The imported timber is of kinds which do not exist in New Zealand. The abolition of all taxes on furniture and woodware, which amounted to about £7000 in 1876, would not ruin the colonial factories of such articles; nor would saddlers, harness-makers, and boot and shoe makers be swept from the list of our master manufacturers and working men, even if all duties on leather, whether made-up or not, were swept from the tariff. The same argument applies to the other trades slightly affected.

In fact the only industries protected to any large extent by the present duties, because they are really large industries, are those employed in the growth of food and the production of beer and spirits; but whatever protection the State thus affords them is more than balanced by the railway mismanagement, which makes fuel for all producing purposes, and the carriage of food and all other produce of industry dearer than it should be; while the enhancement of the price of all necessaries, including food, fuel, and building materials, keeps up wages at a high money rate. If taxes on all necessaries were abolished, and fuel and all other necessaries were rendered cheaper by railway reform, the producer would earn larger profits, without having to reduce wages below the standard at which all industrious workmen might earn ample necessaries without difficulty, and also a surplus which they could either save or spend in taxed superfluities at their own option.