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HARBOR BOARD., Issue 7920, 30 May 1889
The Harbor Board met this afternoon; present Messrs J. B, Thomson (chairman), A. H. Ross, N. Wales, J. Carroll, J, T, Mackerras, A. Thomson, General Fulton, Captain Veal, and Captain Sinclair. FINANCIAL. The bank book, showing a debit balance of L 6.588 4s Id, was laid on the table. DUES. Correspondence was laid on the table showing that Mr J, Fox objected to pay an account for dues on certain spokes landed ex Mahinapua, and on timber ex Loch Naw for a contract in connection with Government works. Mr Wales moved that dims be charged r.n the whole cargo, but that on the consignee producing the Government receipt tno dues, on any amount up to 2,000 ft, be refunded. Mr Ross said that the clause re allowing Government material to come in free was inserted only with the intention of dealing with imports that were their property when shipped; contractors to the Government were expressly intended to be excluded from benefitting from its operation. It was resolved to instruct the secretary to take action to recover the dues on the cargo in the Loch Naw. TUE * FINANCIAL NEWS.’ The secretary submitted a copy of a letter which he had sent yesterday to the manager of the Colonial Bank, as follows : Dear Sir,—My attention has been directed to an article which appeared in the London ‘ Financial News ’ of Apiil I, where it is said : “Since his (Mr Gillies’,) letter appeared, we have made fuither itquity at the London agents of the Board, with the same negative result as before. These same agents, namely, the Colonial Bank of New Zealand, though they have not received proper accounts fiom the Board for several years pas L ” Without authority, I do not feel at liberty to criticise tbe article, if it is even worthy of tKit, but I think it is within the scope of roy rouiine duty as secretary and treasurer to the Board to draw your attention to the fact that all the accounts of the Board have been regularly published, and, with the exception of last year’s accounts, in pamphlet form for cbculation in i sue of from 800 to 500. Besides this, analyses of them and criticisms of them have appeared in the local prints. Last year’s account?, although published, have not yet been issued in pamphlet form as formerly pending the settlement of a difference of opinion between the auditor and the Board as to the interpolation of an Act _of the Assemb y as to the manner of stating the various special accounts, a question which in no way affects the solvency or insolvency of the Board. It has been the practice to furnish your office with as many copies of the printed annual reports containing the accounts for transmission to London as wanted, and I have no doubt that your London manager is regularly supplied with our local papers—at all everts I have repeatedly posted copies to him myse'f when there was any informal! >n in them likely to bo of service to him in connection with the Board’s affairs. I am loth to think there can be any teal foundation for the paragraph quoted. I shall be glad, if you think it desirable, and with the Board’s permission, to have pamphlet cop es of last year's accounts printed off, together with continued statement to the end of this month of revenue and Expenditure, a copy of which might be handed to the Board’s debenture-holders and to the editor of the ‘Financial News.’—l have, etc., J. L- Gxluss.
A letter from the bank, in reply, was read to the effect that copies of the Board’s accounts had been regularly forwarded, as received from the Board, to the bank’s London office, and agreeing that it would be advisable to carry out Mr Gillies's suggestion to have pamphlet copies of the Board’s accounts for 18S8 printed, together with statement up to the end of the month. Mr Mackerras said: I have read the article in the ‘ Financial JNews ’ referred to in the correspondence between the treasurer and the general manager of the Colonial Bank. There is not much in it, and I do not think we should trouble ourselves about the matter. It appears on the Ist of April, and is very much what we might expect from a paper which has made itself notorious for the way in which it writes against New Zealand and New Zealand financial institutions. We all remember the violent articles which appeared in it some time ago against the Bank of Now Zealand and the Loan and Mercantile Agency: happily, those institutions still survive, and have proved themselves sound and prosperous—and I have no doubt the Harbor Boards of New Zealand, which are now attacked, will be able to do so also. The article under review founds its charges on a Government return of 1886, and complains of the absence of Harbor Board accounts for more recent information. In my opinion, the writer in the ‘ Financial News ’ did not look for the information he desired. Our accounts have been printed in pamphlet form every year, and a number were sent Home regularly to our financial agents for distribution among bondholders. Besides, our accounts and position have been fully enough discussed and reported in our local papers; and the conclusion is forced on one that either our local papers are not much read in London, or the writers in the ‘ Financial News ’ have not access to, or are without general information on the New Zealand subjects on which they treat. I shall only refer to one paragraph in this article to show how misleading it is. After speaking of the Wellington Harbor Board, it goes on to say “It is much more difficult to discover how Otago contrived to make both ends meet on the basis of these official figures. It spent in works and maintenance L 38,872, on pilotage and harbor-mastering L 7.009, office L 1,460, and ‘other expenses’ (including, presumably, interest and sinking fund) L 39.987. Under these heads it disbursed a grand total of L 107.000, which had to be taken out of an income of leas than half as much namely, wharfage dues, rents, tolls, etc., L 39,571; other sources, LI 1,031 ; —total, L 50.602. In ‘receipts not revenue ’ Otago had a handsome windfall of L 150.000, but whether a gift from the gods, or only a new loan, is not hinted at in the most distant way.” The grand total of L 107.000 had not to be taken out of an income of less than half that amount, inasmuch as the greater part of the amount was expended on harbor improvement works in progress, for which the loan had been provided. All through our history interest on loan and departmental expenses have been met out of ordinary revenue, and not one penny of loan used except for harbor works. Contrariwise, works which were intended to have been executed out of loan only have been aided by revenue to a considerable extent. It may be as well, however, to authorise the treasurer to have last year’s accounts printed in pamphlet form, as usual, and to include in the statement the accounts up to the end of this month, and that the usual number be sent to the Board’s financial agents in London, and a copy specially addressed to the ‘ Financial News.’ On the motion of Mr Ross it was resolved to carry out the suggestion contained in the correspondence. LEGAL. Messrs Haggitt Bros, and Brent wrote re the Board v. the National Mortgage and Agency Company, suggesting a compromise in the reduction of the Board’s claim by one-half. It was agreed that, as it was a test case, the offer of a compromise should be accepted. A draft copy of the petition to bo presented to Parliament asking for compensation for land taken by the Government for railway purposes was laid on the table. The Chairman said that the draft petition had been approved by the Board's solicitors and by its Committee, and he would now ask the members to sign it. The members signed the petition inglyTHE ENGINEER 3 BOOKS. The matter of the taking away by Mr Barr of departmental books came up again, a’letter froip that gentleman being received in connection with them. It was resolved that Mr Barr be to meet a committee of the Board, consisting of the' chairman, General Fulton, and Mr Rosa, with a view of coming to an amicable arrangement. REPORTS, The Harbor-master reported that on the 22nd inst. the least depth of water at the entrance of the harbor and in the line of the leading beacons was 23ft. During the month sixty-two vessels, 26,919 tonnage, arrived at the port, and fifty-six vessels, 27,210 tonnage, sailed.—The report was adopted.
The Inspector’s report stated that about L 45 worth of metal was required for Jetty street, near the approach to the tongue wharf. The kauri decking of this wharf required a coating of tar, and that had been put on. In accordance with instructions the channel near the sandspit had been sounded as well as could be done during the unfavorable weather that had prevailed, and the results were forwarded. The contour line at the spit has advanced towards the southeast in a greater degree than the opposite line has receded, thereby reducing the distance between the two lines to about 530 ft. At the same time, a decided deepening process has been going on some distance inshore from No. 2 red buoy, where there is now a line with a minimum depth of 15ftat low water, which encourages a hope that the line will ultimately be available for navigation, and obviate the difficulty of the sharp bend in the channel. The report was adopted. The Works Committee reported as follows 1. Soundings at Heads: The inspector, with the assistance of Pilot Milne and boat’s crew, has taken a series of soundings at the Heads, near Point Harrington. These have been plotted upon a Sian side by side with previous sounding?, [e has been instructed to complete these over a larger area and to repeat them at intervals, so that any alterations may be noted under the present condition of the works there.—2. Tenants’ letter re drain at Rattray street: The Committee do not recommend any action. Cannot comply with request.—3. Triangle beacon in channel toppled over by scouring: Single pile, with barrel top, to be erected.—4. Bank of New Zealand’s letter re old claim of Dunedin Iron and Woodvvare Company and inspector’s report: Agreed to recommend a settlement by payment of one-half of claim, without prejudice.—s. Alterations to dumping press for dumping chaff: Consideration deferred for further inquiry.—6, Dredging berths in basin : Consideration has been deferred.—7. Prices of plant inquired about approved, and recommended for confirmation.—The report was adopted. The Finance Committee reported as follows:—!. Mr H. Guthrie’s request for refund of pilotage: Agreed to recommend refund of one-half—viz., L 5.—2. J, Kskdale, re dues : Agreed to recommend refund L 3 13s 9J.—3. Charles Warren, asking for reduction of rent: Agreed to add to lease an additional area to complete section, but decline reduction.—4. New Zealand Shipping Company’s case: Magistrate’s decision is that continuity of delivery from vessel’s side to vessel’s side is not broken, even if landed upon the wharf, provided the goods are conveyed to outward vessel by drays within a reasonable time. What is a reasonable time ? The decision requires the Board to consider the following positions (a) The necessity of additional staff to tally goods, as the cranemen cannot sufficiently for law do so and attend to their proper work. The Board, in that case, might as well take the whole work of receiving and delivering into its own hands; storage charges could then be got at. (hj) Abolish the by-law re transhipment rates altogether, (c) Revert to the former system. The consideration of this matter has been deferred to a future meeting. —5. Timber ex Brazileira, said to have been delivered to Government : Mr Ramsay writes that Messrs Cuff and Grahame will not contest the case, but asks to be treated in the same way as others. The same question arises in connection with some of the Loch Naw’s timber, and as Captain Pox declines to pay, authority is recommended to be given to sue him,—G. Surveys ; Recommend that the secretary be empowered to arrange with the Survey Department to put all the Board’s reserves in block plans or otherwise under the Land Transfer Act, and as far as possible facilitate the present lessees obtaining their leases,— 7. Mr Mackerras was reappointed chairman. —B. Accounts recommended for payment, L 724 19s.—The report was adopted with the exception of clause 6, which remitted to the Committee with instructions to advertise for tenders to survey the Board’s reclaimed property not already under the Land Transfer Act, so that the properties may be brought under the Lands Transfer Act. LEAVE OF ABSENCE. Leave of absence during the approaching session of Parliament was granted to Mr Ross, M.H.R.
HARBOR BOARD., Issue 7920, 30 May 1889
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