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NEW ZEALAND MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION., Issue 7984, 13 August 1889
NEW ZEALAND MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION.
A special meeting of the members of the New Zealand Manufacturers' Association was held yesterday evening in their rooms, Exchange Const, to consider the roport of tho conference of tho Industrial Protection Societies of New Zealaud, held in Christchurch in June last.
After routine business had been transacted, MrT. YV. Kempthokne, president of the Association, from the chair, addressed the meeting as follows :—Gentlemen,— As this is the fir3t meeting at which I have had the honor to preside, I will with your permission make a few remark?. The chief object of this meeting is to discuss the changes proposed in the tariff by the various branches of the Industrial Protection Leagues of New Zealand, agreed to at the Conference held in June last at Christchurch. You will see from the printed report before you that many important changes were agreed upott and adopted, and that such proposed changes will be shortly submitted to Parliament. From the newspaper reports you will have noticed that the Government have Stated that it is not intended to interfere with the tariff during the present session. This decision may, however, be changed in the event of the Protectionist section of the House pressing forward their views that changes are immediately required. It is a very important matter that the various manufacturers connected with this Association should fully look into these proposed alterations, and separately givo their opinions, so that changes may not be made without full discussion. 1 think that the manufacturers' associations throughout the colony should endeavor to work harmoniously with the Protection leagues, nnd that each should help the other to bring about, through tariff imposition, a satisfactory condition of industrial life within the colony. Having recently visited New South Wales and Victoria, perhaps I may be permitted to say a word or two on impressions gained by the visit. In New South Wale?, Sir Henry Parkes having regained power, the political factions of Freetrade and Protection are again strongly combating each other's views. There cannot be a doubt that the Protectionist party are fast gaining ground in New South Wales, and it is merely a' question of a comparatively short time before it gains the ascendancy. Business in New South Wales was fairly brisk, and the building trade particularly active ; but you all know that in that colony they have been selling their land at a great pace, and have borrowed very largely during recent years, and the raising of so much capital for distribution amongst a comparatively small population could not fail, while the scattering is going on, to make things lively. It is four years since I last visited Victoria, and, after having a good look round I was simply amazed at the wonderful advancement of that colony, brought chiefly a! out through tho encouragement given to her producers of manufactured articles within her borders. Being an old Victorian, having landed there in the early fifties, it is always a pleasure to go back to Melbourne and to see her marvellous growth, but the stiides of the past four years in that great city exceeds tho preceding ten, and she will continue to grow at a wonderful pace. Pe&plc at a distance reading about tho boom in land and the collapse would almost imagine that the colony had received a blow from which it would be difficult for a course of years to recover, and that trade and everything else were completely upset there. My impression is that the land boom will do very little injury to Victoria, and that her general trade is scarcely affected by it at all. There has not been any withdrawal of capital from the colony, and her industrial life i 3 as active as ever. With regard to Protection in Victoria many of its strongest advocates are making big efforts to bring about intercolonial Freetrade based on a Customs union with a uniform tariff amongst the Australasian colonies, and that the duties collected on outside imports should be divided between the contracting colonies pro rata according to population. Three intercolonial Freetrade conferences have now been held the first in October, 1887, at Adelaide, the second in June, 1887, at Sydney, and the third at the last Melbourne Exhibition. Ineach case they decided unanimously for a uniform tariff. The New South Wales Chamber of Commerce, however, demurred to intercolonial Freetrade if restrictions were put on imports from the Mother Country and other nations. From what I could gather in Sydney there was a feeling that, as Melbourne was so much ahead of them in industrial enterprise and mechanical appliances, they would not for a considerable time be in a position to compite for their own requirements, and thus their shrewd friends across the border would cut them out in their own markets. The feeling in New South Wales undoubtedly is that they would first like to try Protection on their own account. There cannot be a doubt, I think, that if all the colonieshad tried Protection there would have come the glorious time of intercolonial free and unfettered trade, and reciprocity in its fullest and widest sense ; and what a blessing it would be for all if it could be brought about to-morrow. New Zealand would have nothing to fear and much to gain by this free interchange. However, whilst some colonies give their people Protection, others, if they desire to keep pace, must follow suit or they will drop into the rear in the race. Protection, whatever its drawbacks, has this good effect on producers -it stimulates the intellect and brings it into action. "X ou exclude a manufactured article by tariff imposition, and you must produce something similar because it is required, and you set about to do it with a determination to succeed, and your next designer or partial copier tries to produce an improvement on your effort, and the competition widens; and it is by this competitive influence that the Americans have attained such perfection in mechanical skill, and which could never have been achieved had they been mere vendors of other people's goods. Our coming Exhibition will doubtless give us an insight as to what other people can do; and thi3 Exhibition cannot fail to bo highly educational to all classes of workers. It is to be hoped that local manufacturers will do their beat to show not only our own people, but all visitors, that wo aro capable of respectful recognition in operative skill. Y\ e will now tako up for consideration tho proposed changes in the tariff as passed by tho Protectionist Conference held in June at Christchurch. Mr John Mitchell thought that before proceeding to the business indicated by the chairman, reference to these opening remarks would not be out of place. It was with pleasure and interest that ho hud listened to Mr Kempthorne's impressions gathered during his recent visit to Victoria and New South Wales. There was, of course, debateablo matter in the opinions expressed, but on one point there seemed to belittle doubt, and that was concerning the crowing feeling in favor of intercolonial Freetrade. This was a matter which would likely be the subject of a conference during the course of the Exhibition, and he thought it would be well if members would give the subject their careful consideration. Mr Alexander Burt said he had listened with very great pleasure to Mr Kempthorne's remarks. Ho had all along held the opinion that tho colonies which ; had adopted a protectivo policy would ultimately move in the direction of an amalgamation for intercolonial Freetrade. As a I manufacturer desirous of entering every known market ho would hail the adoption of a uniform Customs tariff. Ho felt able, and was quite willing to compete against all comers under such conditions. Competition meant the developing of the genius of a country, and in proportion as they had the means of comparison would they advance in manufacturing. A stimulus was afforded to our workmen when they were called upon to compete with the neighboring colonies, and the employer naturally made every effort to compete successfully. As regards the proposed tariff alterations, he should like to see exemptions on tho lists done away with altogether. The beneficial results of recent alterations were undoubted 80 far as manufacturing interests concerned, but the vexatious trouble over items exempted and over others not clearly enumerated or defined was endless, _ If exemptions were done away with and articles more clearly defined, matters.would be more pleasant for the Customs Department, and
attempts at evasions would be less frequent, if not impossible. He had not hail t : .me to look into the printed list on the tabic ; possibly some provision was made for mr/ving in the directions which he had indicated. Mr G. P. Fauquiiau concurred in the sentiments generally expressed by the chairman in his opening remarks. He had noted a few items for comment, but on looking through the list of proposed tariff alterations ho had found subjects for serious consideration, and so would confine himself to these proposals generally. Firat, he questioned if it would be possible for the Government to touch the tariff at all this session. No doubt the recent alterations had been beneficial in some directions, and there was still room for improvement in others; yet he hardly thongYit it likely that some of t\\o proposed alterations could be entsvtaincd. At any rate it behoved members to be deliberate in their consideration, and not too hastily to decide upon matter j which affected so closely the manufacturing interests. Perhaps the tariff were beat let alone for a little time and attention directed to matters of vital importance to manufacturers. The present system of taxation and the question of freights seemed worthy of consideration. Both militated against the establishing of new industries in these colonies, and pressed very heavily upon existing manufacturers. At somo future time he should like to see these the subjects of the Association's deliberations. He would suggest that the proposed alterations should be considered seriatim. _ After a lengthy and spirited discussion over the printed list of the proposed tariff alterations, it was resolved that each manufacturer should deliberately consider these and report in the usual manner. Mr Burt asked if it was the intention to tako any action as an association in connection with the Conference on Intercolonial Freetrade to be held during the couree of tho Exhibition.
Mr Kemptiiorne understood that the Chamber of Commerce had taken the initial 3teps in the matter. He noted that Mr Stienficld, writing from San Francisco to the ' Manufacturer,' urged upon members of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures the importance of being well represented at the proposed Conference. Mr Hallenstein moved, and it was agreed—"That Messrs Burt, KempthorF.e, Mitchell, Farquhar, Thomson, and the mover be a committea ti vat upon the Executive of the Chamber of Commerce and confer with them re the said Conference."
NEW ZEALAND MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION., Issue 7984, 13 August 1889
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