SITTING AT INVERCARGILL.
(By Telegraph.-Press Association.)
INVERCARGILL, this day. The Timber Commission sat to-day to take evidence. " Mr. E. : A. Leary, secretary of-Otago and Southland SavvmiUers' -Association, said the association was formed in 1907 with fifteen members, representing 21 mills out of a total 73 nulls in the district. One of the objects ot the Association was to maintain uniform prices. There were now eighteen members. There were no penalties for breaches of the rules. The Association never asked outside mills to join. There had been resolutions limiting the output, which lately had been cut down one-third or more, the mills being overstocked. This was not done with the purpose of raising prices. The Association did not work in concert with northern bodies.
Mr. J. Hensley, managing director of the Southland Timber Company, said the cost of production varied accordingly to the nature of the country. The cost would average about 8/- to 8/6; 50 per cent, representing wages. The difficulty was the life of the bush area was 6hort and depreciation considerable. The average life was six years with the area allowed. The cost of a mill to cut 100,000 feet a month was £4,000, and the value of the plant £700 after six years' use.
Discounts varied, contended Mr Hensley. Timbered delivered at Invcrcargill sold at 7/9 net. This was, rough firstclass. The average net selling price was 9/ to 9/6 net, including timber of all classes. The gTeat bulk of timber in tho Western District was birch, and it was difficult to sell owing to the duty mv posed in the Commonwealth. His company had paid fair interest. Since 1907 there had been an average increase of 9d per lOOfi'. or 10 par cent. Wages rose higher in proportion. The price was raised because of the increased cost of production. Wages was the main item. Oregon pine did not affect Southland appreciably. Inactivity of the building trade was largely due to the tightness nf the money market. Millers got a profit of 1/ per, 100 ft, which was not sufficient considering the risk run. Timber was brought from the Baltic at the sama freight as that carried from Riverton to Mosgiel.
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