The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1888. OUR PUBLIC DEBT.
In Part IV of the statistics of the Colony just to hand from the office of tho Registrar-N'enerol is an interesting table showing the growth of the Public Debt of the colony from December 1870 to December 18S7, and the amoufit of debt per head of population m each of the 18 years to which the return relates. It should be explained that the loans raised by tho various local govening bodies are included as far back as it has been possible to get the figures, and those of the Harbor Boards m the totals for 1881 to 1887 inclusive. As there is, however, a foot no to intimating that there is "no precise account of sinking funds to certain Canterbury loans under the 'Lyttelton and Christchurch Railway Loan Act, 1860' and the ' Canterbury Loan Ordinance, 1862'" it must be understood that tho figures given are merely approximately correct and not precisely exact. Premising this then, the following is what the return discloses. On the 81st December 1870 the nett total debt of the colony (i.e. after dodncting accrued sinking funds) stood at £7,884,547 being £29 14s 7d per head of population. In . tho following year it was increased by a million and thirteen thousand pounds,* the rate perhead having gone up to £31 9s Id. Using round figures, the total rose by a million m 1872, three-quarters of a million m 1873, 2\ millions m 1874, 8 millions m 1875, a million m 1876, 2 millions m 1877, f of a million m 1878, 1£ million m 1879, 4£ millions m 1880, a million m 1881, ] a quarter of a million m 1882, a million ! m 1883, a million m 1884, 2f millions \ m 1885, 2£ millipns m 1886, and $of '■ a million m 1887, the total nett debt | on tho 31st December m that year ; being £34,954,035. The amount per t head of population went up with great 1 rapidity, being m 1872, £83 7s 4d ; m 1 1873, £34 3s 2d ; m 1874, £86 6s ; ! m *87J?, #43 7s 4d • m }876, £M U* \
5d ; m 1877, £46 2s ; iv 1878, £48 7s ! lOd ; m 1879, £47 15s 5d ; m 1880, £54 16b 6d ; m 1881, £54 16a 3d ; m 1882, £53 12s lid ; m 1883, £53 Os 2rf ; m 1884, £52 18s lid ; m 1885, £56 12s 6tl ; m 1886, £57 17s 9d ; m. 1887, £57 18s Bd. If to the total for 1887 we add the two millions raised this year we have a total debt of, m round figures, £37,000,000 which fora population of 645,000 represents £57 7s 3d per head. Large as the sum of our gross debt is, and large as- is the amount per head ot population, there is comfort to be found m tho fact that vrhilo tho gross Tiebt has been multiplied by five m seventeen years the amount per hood o( population has only doubled m the same period, showing that if only wo abstain from borrowing for a fevr yeart* tho natural increase of our population, aided by accretions from without, will speedily have tho effect of reducing the indebtedness per head, and of the consequent taxation, to a more reasonable figure.