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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62



In both New Zealand and Victoria very elaborate returns of manufactures are obtained, and if we can trust the figures we may get a very accurate idea of our relative positions. The commonest objection to the comparison is that we include numbers of small establishments which would be excluded in Victoria. All the information that I could obtain from the Registrar-general's department went to show that this is not the case; that the class of establishments is the same as in Victoria. The comparison, however, made out such a good case for the manufactures of this colony, that I could hardly believe it to be correct; so I tested the returns in various ways, examining the nature of the industries, the number of hands in particular works, and the horse power employed. The result was that I concluded the comparison is a perfectly fair one, and the best illustration of this is the page 6 amount of power employed in comparison with the number of the establishments. We employ 19,315 horse-power in our 2268 establishments, while Victoria employs 20,160 horse-power in 2813; so that relatively our power is the greater. The comparison, however, is not quite fair until we exclude mines, which are put in a separate table by the Victorian statist; if we do this we reduce the horse power to 15,615 and the establishments to 1961, which gives an average of just under eight horse-power to each establishment, against just over seven horse-power in Victoria; even this is not quite conclusive, because some of our power is manual, &c., whereas only engine power is reckoned in Victoria, so I will compare the number of establishments using engines. In Victoria there were in 1886 1409, and in New Zealand 815 using steam, 281 using water, 66 using gas, and 44 using other motive powers. If we compare the number of hands per establishment we find hands in New Zealand against 17 in Victoria; which, allowing for the very large works in Victoria, seems to show that the comparison is fair. With our widely separated centres of industry we have naturally smaller works, and more of them. If more shops where some industry is carried on had been included, our average number of workers to each establishment would be far smaller than this. Another reason for beliving that our returns represent real industries, aided by machinery, is the high average produce per head, and yet another is that thinking over particular branches of production, such as dyesinking, I find they are considered too small to be taken into account, although we know that they exist in numbers which must make the total produce worth consideration.

For these reasons, the comparison seems to me to be fair, and accordingly I show the results in the subjoined table. If you compare it with the statistics you will find I put down our total production at a smaller amount than is given in them; the reason is that I have deducted mines because they are not included in the Victorian tables. The value of raw material is generally given in the returns of both colonies; but our returns appear to be less perfect, and in the case of "animal matters" and sawmilling I have had to estimate the value, which I did by taking the same proportion as obtains in similar industries in Victoria and adding over £70,000 to the total to represent the probable excess in the value of our raw material in animal matters. In any case the value of raw materials given can only be regarded as roughly approximate. The value of the net produce in New Zealand is very high, but on account of the uncertainty about the value of raw material I cannot regard it as anything like exact. It will be seen, however, from a later table that it agrees fairly well with average production in other industries.