Cable messages to the New Zealand papers are now forwarded direct from Wakapuaka instead of being, as formerly, first Bent to Wellington and there translated by the Press Agency. The result, therefore, is that every editor or sub-editor has now to fill m and translate for himself, and the outcome is occasionally not a little cartons. An example of a very glaring kind occurs m an important message relating to the harvest m New South. Wales, which as published by ourselves and by the two Ohristchurch morning papers presents very remarkable discrepancies. Following is the cable as it reached us; — " Sydney § Government statist yield only five decimal one bushels acre total million five forty thousand deficiency three three quarter million on average paat twenty eeyen years drought entails loss- m cereals nine hundred thousand," elc. This we printed as follows: — Bvimcbt. March 5. The Government statist gives the average wheat yield of the colony as only s*l bushels per acre. The total yield ib esti - mated at 1,540,000 bushels, a deficiency ot 3,250,000 bushels on the average of the past twenty- 6even years. The drought entails a loss m cereals of £900,0Qp, etc : The ?' Lyttelton Times "of this moraing prints it thus :— " The Government statist reports that the wheat yield *is 1 51 bushels to the acre, and the total for the colony, 1,540,000 bushels, being a deficiency of 8,750,000 bushels on the average for tho past twenty seven years. The drought has also caused an estimated Ipss m other cereals of 900,000 bushels." The "Press" gives the following version ? — " The Government statist reports that the wheat yield is 15*1 bushels to the acre, The total for the colony is 1,540,000 bushels, being a deficiency of three-quarters of a million on the average tor the past twenty-seven years. The droughts also caused an estimated loss m cereals of 900,000 bushels." The original text of the message as given above was unusually clear for a cablegram, and our rendering ;n print is manifestly correct (save that the de-r ficiency should have read 8,750,000 bushels, instead of 8,250,000) while thoße of our contemporaries are as manifestly wrong. For taking the " Times" figures it will be seen that if a yield of 1,540,000 bushels is equal to I'sl bußhelsto the acre (cay roundly 1£ bushel) then a yield of 5,290,000 ( 1,540,000 plus 3,750,000) given as the average for 27 years must be roundly 3£ times 1£ bushel or 5£ bushels to the acre, which is clearly absurd as representing the average yield of New South Wales for that period. Similarly treated the figures of the "Press" would make the average yield for that period over 52£ bushels to the acre which is as obviously incorrect. Our own figures bring out 171 bushels as the average j for 27 years which is probably right. The "Times" is also manifestly wrong m filling m the words " bushels " after the figures 900,000 and m insertthe words also before " caused " and other before " cereals " and the " Press" has fallen into very much the same errors. Our object m drawing attention to the matter is not m the least to critioiseour contemporaries, but merely to vindicate our own figures which we believe to be correct. The matter is one of very large importance and of great interest to New Zealand farmers, and information is worse than valueless if it be not accurate.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2080, 6 March 1889
MISTRANSLATED CABLEGRAMS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2080, 6 March 1889
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