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When people resolve to do an impudent thing it is generally good policy to do it as impudently as possible, for, as m the game of bluff, boldness not infrequently insures success. Yet there are times when such a policy defeats itself, and such should be the case m regard to the remarkably cool proposals with reference to the frozen meat trade of which we were advised by cable on Thursday last. This, it will be remembered, was the pretty little scheme .—- --" The New Zealand shipping Company, Shaw, Savill, and Albion Shipping Company, Nelson Bros, and certain Insurance Companies, have combined to improve the frozen meat trade. New Zealand growers, under the new arrangement, will be guaranteed 2£d net. The freight has been fixed at l^d between 3d and 3f d ; between 3£d and 4£d the proceeds will go to the combi nation ; between 4£d and sd, the pro ceeds will go to the growers, who will receive 40 per cent, and the combina tion 60 per cent. When prices realise beyond 5d the growers will receive 80 per cent, and the combination 20 per cent." How uncommonly nice for the " ring I" how remarkably generous to the growers i ! The fact is that during the past few years hundreds of thousands j of pounds which ought to have gone ■ into the pockets of the exporters of frozen meat m this colony have stuck to the fingers of those at the other side of the sea through whose hands it has been passing. All sorts of manoeuvring has been carried on. Now the condition m which it reached England was declared to be faulty — it was too fat, it was too lean, it was faulty m color, it did not keep, it thawed out damp, the carcases were too big, they were too small; again, the market was overstocked, the supplies were too irregular — anything and everything that could be invented was said to account for miserable account sales And all the while lots of New Zealand mutton was being sold at tip-top prices aB prime Scotch, while worn-out old English ewes, River Plate, and such like rubbishing or inferior meat toas being palmed off as the produce of New Zealand pastures. Thousands upon thousands of pounds _ ._werojh»i»g finietly raked m by those m the know, and the New Zealand eheepowner was as effectually and closely shorn as ever his sheep had been. But enquiry had revealed all this to the suffering exporter, and there were indications that this sort of thing wou^d be no longer submitted to, whereupon the situation is faced m a fashion so impudent as almost to challenge admira- j tion for its very audacity, and the cool proposal is made that those who have I been profiting so long without permission shall now hare full permission to continue to take the biggest share of the cake, leaving the crumbs only to those who have the right to be first considered. The bait offered is a guarantee of 2£d nett, and as this means for a 721 b sheep 13s 6d, besides the value of the pelt, it looks tempting enough to entice the unwary, but the further proposal that m addition to a freight of l|d per lb the " combination " shall take all proceeds above 3|d per lb up to 4£d, 60 per cent, of any surplus over 4£d up to sd, and 20 per cent, of any proceeds m excesß of 5d per lb lets the cat out of the bag, and shows that the ring are seeking to establish a state of things only one stage removed from that described by the formula, if heads, I win, tails, you lose," The fact is that the rate of freight asked, l£d per lb, is ample, and should pay the carriers well, and they have thus no right whatever to put forward a demand to share m the proceeds of sales. Ag the " Lyttelton Times " well puts it m an article m its issue of Saturday, if the ship- ; ping monopoly is to have a share m the profits of the mutton it carries, " What is there to prevent its extension of the principle to every thing it carries both ways ? If the carrier is entitled to » share m the profits of mutton, he is also entitled to a share m the profits of wool, and grain, and dairy produce ; he can claim a share of the prices realised for potatoes, peas, beans ; he can levy toll over and above his freight on every article of manufacture he takes to London, on every log of the forest, on every ounce of gold, on every ton of coal, on every pound that comes from the miner ; there is nothing that is marketable m earth, sea, or air that he cannot insist on claiming a share of ; bird, beast, fish, and red herring, are all his property. Nor is this all. If he can assert his claim on the goods that he carries Home, the carrier can do the same with all that he brings to the Colony. There is, m short, nothing to prevent him from being a sleeping partner m every business that he i supplies from Auckland to Invercargill. There is absolutely no limit to his profits. He has only to be Napoleonic m his demands to realise that a shipping monopoly is better than the Comatock, i the Broken Hill, and Mount Morgan all ! rolled into one. Of course this is an extravagant absurdity. But the absurdity results from supposing that the \ carrier has any right to participate m ', tjxe profits of anything that he carries." We agree with our contemporary m the view that it is high time for the sheep owners of Canterbury to meet together and take counsel about this, which it is pointed out could be conveniently done on the occasion of the approaching Metropolitan Sbow,

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Bibliographic details

THE FROZEN MEAT TRADE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1977, 23 October 1888

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THE FROZEN MEAT TRADE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1977, 23 October 1888