The Ashburton Guardian. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1880. “Take Care of Dowb.”
During the short history of this colony, it has seen many changes of Ministries, but it is only now seeing a Ministry in office that has dared to lay a rude hand upon the Civil Service. Successive Governments have assumed and dropped the reins of power, but their tendency was ever to increase and not to reduce the number of people in receipt of Government pay; and to even suggest the advisableness of reducing the amount of pay was considered a sort of treason to all the traditions of the colony’s political history. The memorable “Take care ofDowb” memo, that set Great Britain in atitter, had no effect in killing the power of men in British high places to take care of creatures whom it pleased them to provide for, any more than it prevented them from exercising that power, and the example set by the old statesmen at Home was only too readily copied by the statesmen of the younger countries amongst the southern dependencies of Britain. To the loyalty of this colony’s statesmen to the political <£ institutions ” of the mother country — that one at least of which “ Take care of Dowb ” is an expressive motto —and to the closeness with which they have followed these institutions, and the “ Dowb ” one in particular, we owe the growth to the dimensions it has reached of our Civil Service. It may be quite true that in the ranks of the Civil Service there may be many men who have waxed fat and kicked, entertaining the notion that their situations were their birthright, and that having once stepped into them they are a sort of civil servants of an order like that of which Melchisedec was a priest—for ever and ever; men who, riding on the top of their commission, carry things with a high hand, and “ dressed in a little brief authority play such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make angels weep but the pampered puppy, though he is a common specimen, is not to be taken as a sample of the whole. There are many, very many, good men and true amongst the Government servants ; men who do their work, and good work too, loyally and faithfully, and of whom the colony has no reason to be other than proud. They may, or they may not have ridden into place on a “Dowb” memo., but whether they did or not is no matter —they are valuable men, and the colony can only part with them with regret. That many good men must go from their positions in the present vigorous churning up the Civil Service is experiencing is undeniable, and it is to them a hardship to be thus sacrificed. Still, their sympathisers will always have the consolation of knowing that a good man’s merits in any position will be recognised, and capable civil servants will soon find a place, less cosy perhaps, but still a place amongst the workers for less exalted employers than the New Zealand Government, while the butterflies whose sole recommendation for the Civil Service was a “ Dowb ” memo, and whose work was, figuratively speaking, to tie red tape, will find that the Government “ stroke ” and the “stroke” of men in private business are awfully different. That there have been many sinecures in the Government service is apparent from the thorough sweeping out that is now being made by the powers that be, and when bn every side we hear of this officer and the next officer being dispensed with, we naturally think that if the colony’s work can be done without all these now, and done as well, their employment all through must have been a gross waste of money. Quite a troop of high salaried men are taking their last farewell of comfortable Government billets, and making room for men who are to do more and be paid less, while we are assured that the various departments will not only be far less costly, by the changes, but they will be vastly more efficient and give more general satisfaction to the public. Are we to assume from this assurance that the glut of officials have been in each other’s way, to the hindrance of work, and consequent waste of time and money, and with the inevitable result of spoiling the broth that follows upon the ministrations of too many cooks ? we fear this- is the conclusion the public will come to. Evidently Government has come to it, and having done so, have set about a weeding out that will give the fittest who have survived room to work successfully, and to the colony’s
profit. If the present is the beginning of an era in which the Government are to employ no more servants than the business of the colony actually requires, and in which “ Take care of Dowb ” will cease to be maxim for the guidance of those who are entrusted with public affairs, then the colony will have reason to be thankful, but if it is only a sweeping and garnishing of the house pre ceding the entrance with another breeze of prosperity ot seven devils more wicked than the “my friend Dowb ” devil of the past, then we would rather be content to bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of. The terrible report of the terrible Civil Service Commission, will, however, act as a charm for some time to come against the demoniacal “ Dowb ” possession of which the colony has now to a certain extent been exorcised.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 165, 13 October 1880
The Ashburton Guardian. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1880. “Take Care of Dowb.” Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 165, 13 October 1880
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