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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 60

[Dunedin Chamber of Commerce Annual Report 1885]

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Dunedin Chamber of Commerce

The Annual Meeting of the Chamber will be held in the large Hall of the Chamber on Thursday, 3rd September, at 2.80 p.m. Business: To receive the retiring Committee's Report and Balance-sheet; to elect a Committee for the ensuing year; and for such other business as may then be brought forward.

Nominations for Committee and Notices of Motions should be sent to the Secretary prior to the hour of meeting.

E. B. Cargill

, Chairman. Dunedin,
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Dunedin Chamber of Commerce.

Annual Report.

The retiring Committee beg to lay before the Chamber the following report of matters which have engaged their attention during their period of office.

Five General Meetings of the Chamber have been held in the course of the twelve months—three quarterly and two special—at which the following subjects were, after discussion, dealt with by resolutions of the Chamber:—

Anomalies of Customs Tariff.—Copy of the Report of a Sub-Committee appointed to consider this question was forwarded to the Minister of Trade and Customs, and was afterwards the subject of conference with the Minister, who promised to give due consideration to the representation of the Chamber.

Telephone Charges.—A resolution urging a reduction in the scale of charges was adopted and forwarded to Government. The annual subscription has since been reduced to £8. There are now 384 instruments in use in Dunedin.

Harbour Hoard Works at Heads and in Channel.—A resolution was adopted strongly urging the vigorous prosecution of these works.

Trade Reciprocity with the Neighboring Colonies.—This subject was introduced by Mr Robert Gillies, who moved the following resolution—

"That the Government of New Zealand be respectfully urged to take such steps as they may deem necessary for extending to this Colony the Provisional Agreement entered into between the representatives of Victoria and Tasmania, for establishing a Reciprocity of Trade between those Colonies, by which natural products and articles of purely colonial manufacture be admitted into either Colony free from Customs Duties."

A lengthened discussion followed, and the debate was adjourned for further consideration; but owing to the illness of the mover, the meeting was allowed to lapse.

Bank Circulation.—This subject was brought before the Chamber by Hon. John Bathgate, and after it had been referred to a Sub-committee and reported on, was discussed at some length, and the following resolution at length adopted by the Chamber:— page 4

"That the Chamber memoralise the Government in order that a Parliamentary Committee may be appointed to investigate the whole subject of the currency, and the practice of Banking within the Colony."

Alterations in Customs Tariff proposed at present Session of Parliament.—This question, after discussion, was the subject of the following resolution:—

"That this Chamber, having carefully examined the Customs Tariff proposals by the Hon. the Treasurer, consider that the duties imposed on goods imported should be levied for revenue purposes only, and therefore object to any increase that bears unfairly on special classes; that the additions proposed to be made on the produce of several industries already established in the Colony are unnecessary, unwise in principle, and if operative will unfairly burden consumers."

The proposals of Government have since been largely modified, and many of the alterations objected to withdrawn.

Increase of Postage on letters via Brindisi.—The Committee regret that the Government has not seen fit to make any modification of the proposal of the Honble the Postmaster-General. The rate of postage on letters via Brindisi was raised to 1s. per half-ounce, and continues so to this day. The Committee adopted the following resolution, and forwarded the same to the Hon. the Treasurer and Members for the City:—

"That this Committee view with concern the proposal of Sir Julius Vogel to increase the rate of postage on letters via Brindisi to one shilling per half ounce, as in their opinion such a step will practically close this route to the general community, and so deprive them of the mail communication with Home which they now enjoy.

"That great value is attached to the existing frequent facilities for communication; but while appreciating the advantages which the Direct Steam Service and the San Francisco Mail Route confer, the Committee are of opinion that it would be an unwise and retrograde step to curtail the present facilities."

San Francisco Mail Service.

East and West Coast Railway.

Transfer of Port Chalmers Dock Trust from the Harbour Board to Corporation of Port Chalmers.

The following resolutions on above subjects were adopted by the Chamber at their meeting on July 27th, and forwarded to Government:—

"That it does not appear desirable to put an end to the San Francisco service, but in the opinion of this Chamber the page 5 price proposed to be paid is too high, and ought to be rednced to mail-money only; also that it should not be for a longer term than three years. Further, the Chamber express a strong disapproval of the prohibitive postage established by the Government via Brindisi."

"That this Chamber desire to place on record their strong objection to the extraordinary concessions proposed to be granted to Messrs Meiggs and Sons, and enter their emphatic protest against any alteration of the East and West Coast and Nelson Railway Act, 1884, or of the contract already entered into by the Governor for the construction of the aforesaid railway, which would in any way directly or indirectly pledge the revenues of the Colony, either by further concessions of laud or guarantee of interest, or which would in any way whatsoever impose any burden or liability on the public exchequer." "That this Chamber express their strong disapproval of the proposal by the Government to transfer the Dock Trust from the Harbour Board to the Port Chalmers or other Corporation, and of the methods adopted in connection therewith."

The Committee further dealt with the following questions:—

Facilities for discharging Home Ships at Dunedin.—Several conferences have been held with a Committee of the Harbour Board, with the result of bringing about arrangements satisfactory to consignees of vessels and cargo.

Draft Bills introduced to Parliament on subjects touching Commercial Interests.—The request of the Committee that these should be forwarded has been favourably met by the Treasurer, by whose directions copies of such Bills are now forwarded as printed.

Defences of Dunedin.—In response to a requisition by some members of the Committee, the following resolution of the Committee was forwarded to His Worship the Mayor of Dunedin, on March 14:—

"The Committee are of opinion that the question will be more effectively dealt with by the Mayor of the City, and that it be suggested to His Worship that he bring the matter before the Council, and seek the co-operation of the Councils of surrounding Municipalities, with the view of urging upon Government the propriety of taking immediate steps for utilizing the materials in guns, etc., now in hand, and promoting the efficiency of the Volunteer force, and of calling a public meeting for discussion of the question."

Trade with Rio de Janeiro.—A letter was addressed, on 16th October, to the British Consul General, requesting information as to Markets for New Zealand produce, Customs Tariff, Port Regulation, etc., but no reply has yet been received.

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Steamers Bills of Lading.—A good deal of correspondence in reference to clauses winch have been objected to has passed between the London Chamber of Commerce and some of the Colonial Chambers, and with Mr John Ewen and Mr John Ross, London, who have given much time and attention to the subject but no result has yet come of it.

High School Medals were presented as usual by the Chairman at the annual distribution of prizes.

Reduction of Charges for Cable Messages between New Zealand and the Neighbouring Colonies.—This subject has been brought before the Government by a letter addressed to the Colonial Treasurer, and also in the Assembly by Mr W. D. Stewart, without however eliciting any favourable reply, the Treasurer stating that instead of being high compared with other cables all over the world, the charges were by far the lowest, taking into account the length of the line; and that instead of getting lower rates for private messages, there was much more liability to an increase of rates.

The Committee desire to press upon Members of the Chamber and upon such of the mercantile community as have not joined its membership the propriety of according to it their hearty support It is unnecessary to urge the value of the Chamber as the only recognised and readily available mouthpiece of the mercantile community, affording the ready means of calling the attention of the public or the authorities to any matter of interest, it is desired to bring forward for discussion, or to point to the good service it has rendered in the past. It is maintained at a very moderate expense, and yet it has been the somewhat painful experience of successive Committees that great difficulty is found in obtaining the moderate sum required for its support. This Committee, by a special canvass, succeeded in obtaining contributions, apart from ordinary subscriptions to the amount of £106, which helped to put the Chamber's Bank account in a better position, but the Committee feel that they leave to their successors in this part of their duty, a matter which will call for their most careful attention.

The Annual Statistics referring to the trade of the Colony—compiled chiefly from reports of the Registrar-General, the Department of Trade and Customs, and other official sources—will be found in the appendix to this report.

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Dr. Receipts. £ s. d. £ s. d. To cash in hand from last year ... 1 11 6 To Waste Paper ... ... ... 3 10 5 To Sale of Reports.. ... ... 5 7 0 To Use of Hall ... ... ... 41 6 6 To Stock Exchange ... ... 31 10 0 To Rents ... ... ... ... 350 0 0 To Donations ... ... ... 106 1 0 To Subscriptions ... ... ... 357 0 0 894 14 11 Balance ... ... 132 10 6 £1028 16 11 Expenditure. Cr. £ s. d. £ s. d. By Balance from last year ... ... 111 3 4 By Rates and Taxes ... ... 43 12 6 By Interest on Mortgage ... ... 315 0 0 By Interest to Exchange Company ... 206 12 5 By Bank Interest ... ... ... 15 17 9 By High School Medals ... ... 9 17 6 By Cleaning Offices... ... ... 32 13 9 By Printing, Advertising, and Stationery 25 1 9 By Printing Annual Report... ... ... 15 12 0 By Petty Disbursements ... ... 23 16 8 By Books and Newspapers ... ... 41 1 6 By Secretary ... ... ... 150 0 0 By Telephone ... ... ... 9 2 6 By Insurance on Building 14 0 0 By Insurance on Furniture 0 10 0 14 10 0 By Corn Exchange Expenses ... 8 10 10 By Repairs 5 0 0 916 9 2 By Cash in Hand .. ... ... 1 4 5 £1028 16 11 By Balance ... ... ... £132 10 6 Henry Houghton, Secretary. Examined and found correct—Dunedin, July 1, 1885. John Davie.

Dunedin Chamber of Commerce.

Cash Account from 1st July, 1884, to 30th June, 1885.