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OCEAN MAILS.

A FIGHT FOR 'FRISCO. . AUCKLAND DELEGATES AT THE COMMERCE CONFERENCE. ! (By COtresponaent) WELLINGTON, this day. When oceah' mail services were discussed at the Chamber of Commerce Conference yesterday* the Auckland delegates made a strong fight for acceptance by their colleagues of a motion favouring the San - Francisco Service •being revived. They had 'too heavy odds, one of them aptly summing up the position by declaring that too many i-ed funnels were popping up all round. ■< Mr. Dugald McPherson (Dunedin), Who introduced the subject, said the points in considering the mail route between New Zealand and London were the shortest route and quickest means of transport between connecting points, the possibility of reciprocal trade,, the amount which the country could afford to pay for the service, the dependence upon its regularity, and the confidence that legislation Would not interfere with its continuance. Applying the first of these conditions to the choice of a mail route, no one could doubt that the direct service via San Francisco and thence across America and the Atlantic to Liverpool would be ideal; but they could pay too dearly for a service, and under the existing conditions of American law the earning power of a British or colonial steamer would be confined to freight and passengers between New Zealand and San Francisco, the revenue from which would provide but a small proportion of the cost of "the voyage. The vessel would be shut out from the most remunerative portion of the trade, and this loss would have to be made up by New Zealand. He reviewed the'various existing services, and concluding by advocating the All Red route via Vancouver with a New Zealand port of call. The agreement between the Canadian and Australian Governments, which provided for the steamer calling at Brisbane, was near its termination, and the time was ripe for New Zealand to offer a substantial inducement to bring about the substitution of a New Zealand port for the port of Brisbane. SUBPORT FOR VANCOUVER. Mr. H. J. Marrincr (Christchurch) said that it would mean coming 250 miles south of the route if the steamer had to call at Auckland and leave out Brisbane, so that it would be bettor, in his opinion, to provide for the New Zealand connection at Fiji. There was also tke disadvantage of the increased liability of trains being snow-bound on the longer train, journey across Canada, though he knew the journey was not often broken in that way. A strong point in favour of the Canadian« Pacific service was the selfishness of the American navigation laws. For New Zealand to subsidise the San Francisco service, and help to give the Americans more of a handle to the Pacific, would be wrong. He believed in the Vancouver service, because it was "All Red," because we were likely to get more justice, and we would be opening up a service ivith our own friends and blood relations. He moved — "That the Government be asked to subsidise the Vancouver route as a mail service, so that New Zealand will have the "first inward and the last outward port of call." Mr. J. A. Wateon (liivercargill) seconded tlie motion, thinking it would be a wrong thing for the Dominion to pay a subsidy to a service running to American ports end from which vessels flying the British flag were excluded. Aβ a matter Of duty Britishers everywhere should support the shipping companies that were British owned and flying the Union Jack. He was satisfied that it was only a question oi time when the service would be as quick ond ac regular as was the old San Francisco service. Mr. McCallum (Auckland) said he desired to say something in favour of the 6an Francisco service. There -was no doubt that o. fact service with American ports was urgently required, e-pecially in view of the great amount of business dene with them. He was satisfied that the Sprcckels' service was the best New Zealand had ever had. "No , . No." chorused several delego tee. THAT FETCHED THEM. "Yes,' ! rejoined Mr. McCallum, "although I know I am in a minority here to-day, I can see the red funnels popping up all over the place; the Union Company seem to have lots of brief holders here just now." He then moved as an amendment "That this Conference urges the Government to take immediate steps to arrange for the reinetatement of a fast mail and passenger service between San Francisco and New Zealand with Auckland as a port of call." Loud laughter greeted the last clause in the amendment, Mr. McCallum remarking, "1 knew that would fetch you." '.itie amendment was seconded by Mr. Robertson (Auckland), who pointed out the disadvantages of a transhipment service such as the Suez one was. He upheld the 'San Francisco line as the best one for New Zealand's purposes, and expressed the hope that the trade which could be done by it would not be lost sight of. On this , last point, the possibilities of trade with the United States, he laid particular stress. THE PORT OF CALL. The advantages of Wellington as a port of call were stated by Mr. J. N. Jchnston (Palmerston North). He urged that from every point of view Wellington was far more siiitable, being •much more central. It was necessary in such a matter to consult the convenience of the greatest number, and he held that if this were done Wellington would have to 'be selected. As for the Spreckels' service, he declared that it was not worth having, and they should have nothing to do with it. He supported the Vancouver service, provided that it was made to run to suit the convenience of the greatest number of people. Wellington would serve the whole of the Dominion much tetter and with much less delay than did Auckland. Another delegate who did not approve I of the San Francisco service was Mr. J. Maitland Jones' (Oamarii). He hoped that arrangements 'for a Vancouver service could be made, saying that no patriotic member of the Conference should vote for a service other than an "All-Red" one, even thoiigh it might be a little slower. Deep appreciation to the writer of the paper was expressed by Mr. J. G. Harkness (Wellington). He had never been able, he said, to understand why they laid such stress upon a fast service ot twenty-five days, for practically the whole of the business nowadays was done by cable. ' ! Oh, no!" said several.. "Yes, it is," said Mr. Harkness. He further appealed to the patriotism of the delegates, and urged them to support no line that did not fly the British flag. He thought the motion was. quite right, and heartily supported it, though he held that the mails should come to

some central portj-from which they could . <be distributed to 'both ends of the Dβ-. minion with the leaet.deiajh. ' "~-'\ : Mr.'-H.-.C. Tewsley , (Wellington) remarked that the .-inferior vessels which. Carried on .the San Francisco service after the' Alameda: ; and. Mariposa 1 were taken: off, most at the ' trouble. The- outward San Francisco vessels -always carried r1,200 to l; 500 tons of cargo •from the Dominion. He was strongly of opinion that if; we could get inside information about that mysterious service to , Tahiti from Wellington -we would find that it was probably on, the cards that the Spreckels vessels would, be> acquired by the Union, Steamship .Compony; wnieh would then run an ""AllRed" line, touching at one intermediate port. BECULARITY OR SPEED? ' Mr. G. H. Shirtcliffe (Wellington) considered that as business.was mainly done by cable, the mails were only used for confirmatory purposes. He put regularity far beyond speed, and cohsidered that the weekly service via Sydney : wa3 excellent. However, we a disadvantage in communicating, with. America, and it was a calamity that the convenient service to that gfeafc and growing country came to an end. If we could bo certain that the American navigation laws would exempt Honolulu and place British shipowners on an equal footing with the Americans, he would , support a San Francisco service. Mr. McCalhwn withdrew his amendment so that he could put it again as a separate motion. The Vancouver resolution was carried on the voices, and Mr. McCallum's motion was defeated.

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OCEAN MAILS. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 89, 15 April 1909

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