The Customs Department.
Wellington, Oct. 13.
It was decided at a meeting of the Cabinet that the intended redactions in the Customs expenditure, which were announced in Parliament by the Colonial Treasurer, should be put in force at once. Under the 12th section of the Customs Tariff Act of last session the Commissioner of Customs may, under certain conditions and suitable restrictions, appoint bonded warehouses at ports which are not regular ports of entry. Acting on this authority it has been decided to remove the Customs offices from five of the smaller ports which have no “ foreign ” trade, and to appoint bonded warehouses, which will answer all the practical purposes of the home and coastal trade. These bonded warehouses will be under the charge of the particular merchant or tradesman v.'hose property they may be, or who will be responsible for the due collection and payment of all duties, and who will have to enter into the usual bonds. It is considered that by this alteration public convenience will not suffer, while the expense of separate customs establishments will be saved. The saving on the five ports of entry which are to be closed will be about L 2,000 a year, and will enable six officers to be relieved of their duties. The five ports first to be closed are Foxton, Whangerei, Tauranga, Havelock, and Kaikoura. Should the experiment prove successful probably others of the smaller ports will be similarly dealt with. The Secretary for Customs will make a visit of inspection shortly, and report on the various places and the best mode of treating them. Further reductions in other branches of the Customs department are in progress, and eight officers (in addition to the six above mentioned) are to be dispensed with. This will effect altogether an annual saving of nearly L 4,000.
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