HC Deb 18 June 1896 vol 41 cc1309-10

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether a parcel sent from Cape Colony to New Zealand is first carried to England and then sent back via the Cape to its destination, instead of being put on board the first New Zealand mail steamship calling at Capetown, the articles sent, whether of a perishable nature or not, having to cross the Equator twice, and being delivered only after many weeks delay; whether parcels sent from Hong Kong to New Zealand must in like manner first go to England and be sent from thence to New Zealand; whether this system is generally applied in the case of parcels dispatched by British mail steamships from one British Colony to another; whether he will take steps, by arrangement with the Colonial Post Offices, to obviate such delays for the future, and to secure the dispatch of parcels, equally with letters, by the most direct route. And, whether parcels from England for Japan still go to Hamburg and are carried back to England, en route for Japan, in German ships.


Parcels from the Cape of Good Hope and Hong Kong for New Zealand are sent by the Colonial Post Offices to this country to be included in the parcel mails made up in England for New Zealand; and the ships which carry them to New Zealand, and which are not under contract with the Postmaster General, touch at the Cape on the outward voyage. No such system is generally applied to parcels dispatched by British mail ships from one British Colony to another. On the contrary, the Postmaster General has afforded facilities for direct inter-colonial Parcel Posts on Imperial Mail Lines. There are, however, no British mail ships either between the Cape and New Zealand or between Hong Kong and New Zealand. Even the Colonial mail ships which touch at the Cape on the outward voyage do not do so on the homeward voyage; so that even if the two Colonies wished to avoid sending their parcels to England they could only arrange for a direct service in one direction. The matter is one which is for the Colonial Post Offices to determine, and in which it is not the Postmaster General's province to interfere.