The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, JUNE 1, 1880.
Civil servants, over -whom a cloud was hanging in the report of the Royal Commission on the Civil Service, are likely to have the evil day put off for a time. It is said that the Commission having in March last sent Home to the Imperial Government for information as to the Civil Service in the old country, they will be unable to submit their report until they receive a reply, and meanwhile, there is a probability that the question of re-or-ganisation will be postponed, and only such officers dispensed with as can palpably be done without, but in this direction, with other retrenchments, Government will be able to effect a reduction of over £IOO,OOO.
We do not know if the Timaru breakwater is in any danger of demolition from the report on the Timaru Harbor Works by Mr. Blackett, Colonial Marine Engineer, laid before Parliament, but wc should say Mr. Blackett himself will be in great danger should he ever again dare to
cross the boundaries of Timaru. This is how, in his report above mentioned, he dares discourse about the darling of the Timaruvian heart:—“My recommendation, therefore, is this, to stop the building of the breakwater at once, and afterwards to remove and break it up. so as to lesson the prejudicial effect on the beach adjoining the lands and railway on the north. The damage to the Main Southern line through the diversion of the sea by the breakwater is stated to be very extensive, and certain to increase enormously in a progressive ratio. This is an unsatisfactory result of the heavy expenditure already incurred, but both Mr. Carruthers and Sir John Goode gave distinct warning of the danger.” Mr. Blackett’s reason for thus advising is his belief that the breakwater is causing incalcu’able damage t; the railway line, which must in the end require the expenditure of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Amongst the intended legislation of the session just commenced is a measure to facilitate the transmission of telegraphic messages to the press in the event of a temporary interruption. The present regulation is that all messages must be forwarded according to the order in which they are received, whether they can bo delivered or not at their destination immediately after their receipt at the office to which they have been sent. By this rule, ivlieu the telegraph line is blocked late in the evening, private messages that by no possibility can reach the person they are intended for till after the resumption of business next morning are sent on to the office they are intended for, where they must lie till the messenger resumes duty at nine o’clock. While these messages occupy the wires, simply because of their priority in sending in, press messages, that can be delivered where they are addressed, are kept back until the line is clear, and are consequently too late to be of any use to the newspapers. Should the new Bill pass this state of things will be altered, the private messages that would not and could not be delivered until the following morning will be delayed, and the press messages forwarded as long as there is a chance of their delivery, which is up till onea.m. Press messages will, under the new Bill, obtain precedence after a stoppage, but care will be taken that the private telegrams will not suffer delay in actual delivery. This new arrangement will be a decided improvement, inasmuch as the general public will not be inconvenienced, while the press will enjoy a benefit in the removal of what has always been an annoyance and a grievance.
Opposition papers are making an outcry over a somewhat reticent passage in the Governor’s speech—namely, that “public works already constructed must be made more reproductive. ” One newspaper correspondent has found a mare’s nest, making the discovery that this increase in reproductiveness refers to intended increase in the passenger and goods tariff on the railways ; and it is alleged that should this increase eventuate the provinces where there is the greatest extent of railway mileage will suffer in consequence. This would be only natural, for where the most railway traffic is done, there would surely be the greatest extra contribution to the revenue of the railway. But Government have as yet given no sound whatever on the subject, beyond the single line in His Excellency’s speech, and until they have announced what they really intend to do, surmises either one way or other, unless some more tangible authority is given than the imagination of a newspaper correspondent not in the Government confidence, are only laughed at. Is it not just as likely that instead of raising the tariff in the hope of bringing in more money without any extra outlay, Government may see _it to be advantageous, with a view to increasing both passenger and goods traffic, to reduce the tariff in a very great degree. The railway companies at Home and in America, when they find their receipts are falling off, do not increase the tariff but reduce it, and the result is usually perfectly satisfactory. There can be no doubt whatever that were the fares charged on our railway lines reduced to figures within the roach of the million a far larger proportion of the population would travel, and a greater extent of carrying trade would be done were the goods rates lowered. For instance, would not the parcel traffic between Christchurch and Ashburton be very much added to if the fares were low enough to be in no case higher than the value of the parcel sent, as they sometimes are at this moment; and would not quite a rush of travellers visit the city every week if a day’s sojourn in Christchurch did not include in its expense to a family man a too heavy item for railway fares. Wo do not pretend to know any more of the Governmental mind than those who circulate idle rumors of what Government intends to do. John Hall keeps his own counsel until the proper time comes, and does not babble to every man he meets what he intends to do. But we have sufficient faith in his good sense, and the good sense of his colleagues, to believe that he will go about his increase of productiveness in the most businesslike way possible, and not adopt a course on the face of which non-success and disaster are plainly written.