The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas et Prevalebit. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1882. An Odious Comparison.
The Wellington Post a short time back made some comparisons between the railways in the Wellington Provinciai District and those of the Middle Island. The railways in Wellington were, of course, all that could be desired, and, according to the Post, were bound to prove the most remunerative in the colony. We presume our contemporary was quite right in advocating its own interests and that of Wellington, but we certainly object to the mode it has of making comparisons, which, in this case are doubly odious. Indeed, ic is about the most illjudged time for a Wellington paper to adopt, in Wellington interests, a comparison between the Wellington Provincial District and the Middle Island, as regards the results of the Public Works expenditure. The Wellington and Masterton Railway cost and only paid during the first year 163 in the hundred pounds ! This was for the year ending 31st March, tBBi. Although showing a better return this year, it is now positively the least productive of any railway made at such a cost in the colony. Such being the case, we have not much trouble in pointing out to our contemporary the fallacy of making a comparison with the Middle Island railways, unless it is to show how far Wellington is behind, and is likely to be, in having reproductive railways. We all know thac Wellington is making frantic efforts to secure the trade of Wanganui, by attempting the construction of the Wellington and Foxton line, and is throwing all her weight into the effort to secure the extension of the trunk line from the Hurunui to Blenheim. With this view she strives to set at rest the ever-recurring question of the removal of the seat of Government from Wellington to Christchurch. Of course this is a very laudable view as far as Wellington is concerned, but fortunately there are other places than that Windy City to be considered, and which have equally strong claims in affording a suitable site for the seat of Government. With regard to the Mount Somers Railway, a matter upon which our contemporary the Post shows profound ignorance, we need do very little more than point out that only so soon as the line is completedandopened for traffic can the returns be made out, and until this is done we can hardly see how it is possible, even for the allwise Post to calculate with fairness the working expenses and receipts. Two daily trips twice a week on an unfinished line are hardly sufficient to allow a fair estimate to be made for working the line, nor is it fair to call it an opened line of railway. When the line is finished we fully believe it will pay a good interest over and above its working expenses, and then our contemporary will see that no “ smuggling” process is required, nor will it be necessary to have the returns “merged” from their present position excepting to inquisitive persons who want to find out how much better the Mount Somers line of railway pays than some of the lines which cost millions of money to make in the North Island. We have only to add, that if the one object to be gained, by Wellington in securing the seat of Government, is to sacrifice every proposed branch railway in the Middle Island in order to squander the funds instead upon an utterly useless trunk line to Blenheim, it is quite time the colony should seriously consider whether it is worth while to retain the seat of Government at Wellington, if its retention is to be purchased at such a price.