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The annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce was hold at 3 p.m. to-day. Mr J. Robi-r's (president) occupied tho chair, and about thirty members weie present. THE CITAIRUAN'B ADDRESS. Tho Chairman, in moving the adaption of the report and balance fheet, said: — You have before you tho Committee's report for the yoir ending 80th Juiie, which will furnish you with oil details as to the work that has been done during the past year. It is customary for the chairman, when moving the adoption of the report, to make a few romarkß on tho commerce cf our own immediate neighborhood, as well as on commercial matters (ronerally. I now avail myself of thi* custom, and desire to ask your indulgence for a few minutes until I exnrts? myself on several points of general interest. A | tie lost quarterly meeting I addressed the Chamber at some length on many matters then engaging public attention and on the general commercial out'ook. On referring to my address then undo I find that tbeie are sonic mattois which again require notice. TUB GRAIN M Alt ROTS. I counselled grain-producers to secure, if possible, the boneflt ol the good prices then current, and thus secure for themselves a satisfactory result for the year's work. I regret much that some of the leading newspapers cf the colony thought fit to advise an opposite oourso of action to onr f Arm. rs. The couree cf tho wheat market during the past few months bas shown that thsse who sold it the prices then current have feted wisely ; on the other hand, those who thought they oculd compel buyers to give enhanced prices have found themselves somewhat grievously In error. You aio all aware that the grain season here opened with the best of prospects in the Sydney markot, and it looked at ono time as if tho benefit accruirg therefrom was to be secured by our New Zaaland pioducers. I confidently believe that this end would havo been attained had our farmers continuously fed theSjdney market and realised at the bast possiblo values, so as to keep tho market entirely to themselves, rather than holding out I >t somewhat exooesivo values, and thereby the Sydney consumers to look elsewhere fcr supplies. The importation of grain cargoes from California has so hroken the markot in Sydney that it is now in a thoroughly disorganised state. Prospscts at the present moment are eomewhit tetter than they were a few woo lis ago, and tho probable out-turn to shippers may yet bo more satisfactory than it has been of late; stilt, all those who havo boon watching tho development of the Sydney market must have come to tho conclusion that a serious lobs has been sustained by New Zealand producers' action in not seeking to exclude foreign markets from competition with them. The price of wheat must be to a largo extent rosulated by the values in London, and as a rise has recently been quoted there, I trust that the co onial markot will immediately respond and to a certain extent regain the ground which has already been lobt. Producers should, I think, ns a rule (especially if there is a profit), rea ise promptly on the spot, keeping themselves free from the distraotlon of speculating and watching markets.

COMMERCIAL COKOBRSB. _ In referenco to tbo proposal to hnld a commercial congress in this City during the curroncy of the Exhibition, I desire to express the hope th t this will be arranged, as I am sure that very considerable benefit will be derived from such a gathering. If It is found impracticable by the succeeding committee to secure the attendance of delegates from the chambers In the Australian colonies, I Bolieve that considerable benefit would be derived from a congress of the New Zealand chambers alone, as thero are many nnttors ,'ffectlog commerce of a purely nature Which can with advantage bo discussed at such a mocking. I trust, therefore, that a congress on a oolonlal or New Zealand basis will be arranged fur as suggested. THR EXHIBITION. You are, I am sure, pleased that the Exhibition has assumed euch a tangible shape as is now to be seen on the site Bet apart for it. The movement seems to have been respouded to very heartily by our own province, and the support which haß been received from otber provinces cf New Zealand and some of the Australian colonies is very cordial. The result of this support will be an exposition of matters colonial on a eealo never I eforo attempted in New Zealand. Much a movement must of nocestity have a marked influence for good, especially so in view of the lines on which it has been started. The people ot Dunedln have oome forward, and to a large extent guaranteed the whole venture, and the only assistance whioh has been afked from the Government is a vote of LIO.OOO, which sum was estimated to be the cost of displaying the Government's own exhll.its. It is much better that an enterprise of this sort should be stored on a self-reliant batis tbau that it should be carried out by the spending of money entirely found by the Government. My position of obairman to your Chamber this year has been the raoans of cam-

lng mo to assume the presidency of the Exhibition, and, whiie the duties attaching to this new position are extremely onerous, I trust that my modest endeavor to mike tbs venture a success will be productive of (food to our City in particular, and tu the colony at large. PROGRESS OF THE COLOXT. The general progress ot the colony Is, I l.elieve, satisfactory, although during the past year a considerable amount of llannciul disturbince has been experienced, and many linns and individuals have, during tint time, been compelled to seek refuge in the Insolvent Court. This prcc sa is fast altering the position of private indebtedness in the colony, and while it is a most painful experience on the part of those Immediately concerned, still it cannot fill to work good in the long run. Population has not increased to the extent that It ought to have done during the past year, as we find that the increase has only been 6,212, including tho natural increase ly births. We have lost close on 10,000 of our population by emigration during 188S, who seem to hive gone lo other countries to siek employment. Under the circumstances It cannot be wondered at that this should happen, seeir.g that the Public Works expenditure has to a very large extent ceased. During many years past, when large Bums of money have been Bpent on railways and other works, there fcas been a considerable papulation employed in the {.rusecutioc of these workß. Immediately the stoppage in bonowing took place It was to be expected that a very considerable number of our laborers must either find work in other pursuits or leave the colony. It could not be expected that outlets could bo found in private enterprises which would absorb suddenly this labor which was thrown on tho market, and the exodus which has taken place during the past two yeats is nothing more than eoulJ have been reasonably expected under the circumstances. As we have time to gather our energies together again, I hope ere long to see a return of many cf those who i have already left our shores, to pursuits of a more permanent nature than the occupations found by the I Public Works policy. It is very satufactory to note I from the agricultural statistics that production is maintained, this conclusively showing tbat our producers, at any rate, have not left us. LAND SETTLEMENT. It Is extremely gratifying to note the Increased settlement of land, and I trust that the improvement in tliH direction may be continued, as, without this taking t lace, no substantial Increase of our prosperity oin be looked for. THE FRO7.BS NEAT TRADE. The export of frozen meat Is also making very satisfactory progress, and the quantity seems to be on a steady increase. The prices during the past quarter for frozen mutton in the London market have been very fluctuating, and a few weeks ago it was recorded that as high as CJI per pound had been realised in London. lam not prepared to say that this Tory great increase of value was accompanied with the best of reeults. It was no doubt a very pleasant experience for those who bad mutton in London for sale during the currency of these high prices, but naturally tbe (Sect of extreme- values is to curtail consumption. This would, I am sure, be a most undesirable development. It Is very much more in tbe interest of tbo trudo that prices should rule at a uniformly remunerative level rather than at one part of the year ruinous prices should be secured, while at other times a more than handsome profit should be realised.

TUB WOOL INDUSTRY. Prices of wool are f<drly maintained, and can bo estimated as being, on the average, about 6 to 7i per oent. better than they were at this time last year. As our wool-producing Industry is undoubtedly the largest, it is a matter for congratulation that we are able to note this improvement in value ; and I think we are justified, as far as we can gauge the probabilities of the coming year, in assuming that at all events no reduction in values will take place. GOLD MINISO. It is satisfactory to bo able to record that the gold mining industry seems to be a growing one in our province. The late discoveries at Nenthorn, together with the Improved returns from the Shotover district, seem to point to a new development, which will, I trust, result in something permanent and good. The reeling at the former plaoa seems to be now bojoi.d doubt an established industry, and I confidently look forward to the location in that district of a large and flourishing mining population. It is to be hoped that tho benefit to be derived from the proper development of the reefing will not be marred by the watering and floating of companies on an unfair basis, as this is too often acootupinicd by very serious results to those who are the dupes of unprinoipled speculators. IMPORTS AKD IXPORTB. The enormous exoess of exports over imports (two and a-quarter ratUVns) during the past year, while it might be looked upon by political economists as a somewhat retrograde movement in some respect! l , at any rate, demonstrates that we aro trying to live within our means and paying our w«y, and that we are abstaining from taking on loan other people's xn-mey so long a* there la an uncertainly about employing it to advantage. There Is no harm In accepting the use of toreixa money, so long as we cun make a proper and remunerative use of it. If wn cannot rfo thi«, it is surely ruinous to acquire It. Ills bcttsr to have publio woks and private enterprises (for \vh:oh foreign money Is required) suspended, ruber than to stimulate our commerce artificially. It seems evident that wc have sufficient power within ourselvrs for large development of present resources, and I trust that the public appetite for bor: owed money will not in a hurry be whetted,

but that we ahull progress toberly and steadily towards the development of our country in a quiet and becoming manner. It is a pity that the undue ha?te at which we have been of late going has resulted in tho Bomewhat heavy taxation which wo are now enduring, and although the Property Tax at tho present time oannot well be done without, still I hope that ere lonir the Government will see its way to altogether abolishing it, as I am very certain Mint it is a oonstant and permanent scarecrow to a'l outside investors. Were this tax abolished, and other taxation made more reasonable, we should, I am sure, ere long secure an influx of population of the right kiid. TUB UARBOR. A discussion has been of late going on between the underwriters and tho Harbor Board with reference to our harbor, and, without presuming to settle whether the former or tho latter is right, I would just remirk that it is a matter of the highest importance to the oommerce of this port that it should not have the reputation cf being either expensive or cf doubtful safety tor the largest vessels. Tho effeot of the erection of tho north mole at the Heads has undoubtedly resulted in a substantial deepening of the water en the bar, and although complaints are made about the difficulty of navigating the larger vessels inside, I am sure that the Harbor Board will make it their constant oire to see that by dredging or o'her works the channel Is kept in a fit state for traffic. The Heads works, only having been a short tlmo In existence, may now be causing a change in the channel which is steadily developing, and I believe the tendency of the somovhat altered currents will be towards securing for us in every rorpeot an improved entrance. Time, however, is necessary to show what will be the full effect cf this operation.

THE OTAQO CBNTKAIi. The extension of the Otago Central Railway to Eweburn is a matter of very vital importance to our oity and province, and I sincerely trust that the measure now before the House of Iteprfsen'atives will beoome law, and enable this most essential work to be completed. There may be, and doubtless are, amongst us differences of opinion as to tho wisdom of having: ever begun this railway, but all are now agreed that it will be folly to leave the terminus at Middlemarch. The railway mint by some means be pushed on to the Maniototo, opening up our great interior phins, and thus tiff irding sufficient and proper means of coairannioition to our Inland settlerc It Is anticipated that tho line to Middlemsrch will be < pen for trnfflo about the end of June next. With these remarks 1 beg to movo the rdoptlon of the report and balance-sheet, which is now in jour hands. Mr G. L. DttNN STON seconded the. motion, which was cmied nem. eon. A question as to the taking of fresh offices was referred to the incoming committee to deal w : .th. Tho election of office-bearers for tho ensuing twelve months replied as follows:—President, Mr J. M. Ritchie; vice-president, Mr T. R. Fisher; committee—Messrs A. Bartleman, J. M. Gallaway. W. Gow, J. F. Harper, J. H. Morrison, J. T, Mackerras, and A, 8. Paterson; auditor, Mr J. Davie. On the motion of Mr G. L. Dennistgn a hoatty vote of thanks to the office-bearers was parsed, and the compliment was duly acknowledged by the chairman.

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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE., Issue 7963, 19 July 1889

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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. Issue 7963, 19 July 1889

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