The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit MONDAY, DEOEMBER 3, 1888. MAKING A BILLET.
Seeing that the present Government claim to be par excellence the Ministry of Retrenchment the news wired on Saturday of the creation of an entirely new, highly paid, and, as it seems to us, wholly unnecessary billet, is matter for surprise and for not a little dissatisfaction. At first we could not credit the story, but it seems from what appears in the Wellington papers to be quite correct that Mr G. V. Shannon, who is a partner in the wholesale soft goods firm of Thomson, Shannon and Co, and a Major of Volunteers, has been appointed expert adviser to the Customs Department in connection with the class of goods in wbich he has been accustomed to deal, and that to thin uen vcnva the very handsome salary of £800 a year has been attached. How is it, we want to know, that an, expert adviser in soft goodß has never before been found necessary, and if the discovery has now been made that such an adviser is wanted in relation to this class of goods, why are not expert advisers also wanted in connection with what is known as hardware, the goods of the so-called Italian warehouseman, and a number of other classes of merchandise in connection with which none but experts are expected to be au fait la all the details of qualities and values ? The precedent sec should indeed be followed by at least half-a-dozen other similar appointments and no doubt this will presently involve the further appointment of deputy or assistant experts, Then again if a soft-goods ex-" pert at £800 a year is wanted at Wellington, why not at all the other chief ports of the colony, and if this sort of thing is to go on we wonder where the benefits of the retrenchment policy are to be found. It is true that in appointing Mr Shannon, Ministers have not shown favor to a political supporter, for that gentleman has been for years an active opponent of Major Atkinson, but it will no doubt be unkindly said by other opponents of the Government that perhaps they were glad to take a step which will result in their having one opponent the less. We will not, however, attribute any such motive to Ministers, but we dp ' thjnk that they have made a serious mistake, not only in the appointment itself, but, also in the , very high salary attached to it. If expert advice in soft goods, or any other class of goods, was wanted it could have been got in abundance for half the money, and it is nothing short of absurdly extravagant to pay to the new appointee to this very comfortable billet a salary equal to that of the heads of important departments, nay, even equal to the pay of a Minister of the Crown.