The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 1889 THE PUBLIC WORKS STATEMENT.
In these days of abstention from borrowing the Public Works Statement is not looked forward to with the keen interest of the times when loan money was being spread broadcast over the country in the carrying out of schemes, many of which more recently acquired experience has taught us to consider extravagant. The proposals of Government, as set forth in the present statement, seemed to be so framed as to do as little as possible, and that more to prevent the machinery of this great moneyspending department from stopping altogether, than for any material or immediate good which is to be derived from the expenditure. Having an unexpended balance of something under a million and a half sterling remaining from the last loan, of which balance the sum of £8G8,639 was already appropriated to various works iu progress or /or which tenders had been accepted, the Minister proposes new works which he estimates will bring the total expenditure for the year up to £574,191, leaving a balance of £871,509 for appropriation in a future statement/ Even this email expenditure is not likely to be paid in full during the year, and whoever frames the next Public Works Statement will probably have nearly or guite a million sterling to deal with. The Ashburtm district is immediately interested in the Statement to a very small extent, the only item being the completion of the railway to Springburn, for which an additional sum of £1171 is scheduled — the sum previously appropriated for the purpose having been insufficient by the amount i (Sit asked. The main features of the Statement are the announcement of tho Government's intentions with reference to the North Island Trunk line of railway and the Otago Central Railway. 'J he intention to acquire a large area of Native lands along the route of the JS T orth Island Central lino before proceeding further with its construction, and to defray the erst of construction as far as possible with the proceeds of tho sale of those lands and others which are already pur chased, will meet with general approval, The construction of the WoodvilloPalmerston North line, which may be tuken as part of the North Island main lines scheme, is to be proceeded with. On the Otago Central line construction to Middlemarch is the present limit of Ministerial intentions, and tho future is left to provide for itself, A very welcome indication of tha present state of the labor market is afforded by the allocation of only £8000 this year, as against an [expenditure of £34,631 last year, for work by (he unemployed, This amount is to be applied as far as possible to forming country roads, tho work to be let in small contracts. Immigration is to be jfaiicouraged only bo far as to reunite presently divided? families and to effect this and pay off some small liabilities £1000 is deemed sufficient. The statement can hardly excite much criticism, in the House or out of it, and its most remarkable, and under p.fjent circumstances its most satisfactory feature, is that it proposes no new schemes. The Public Works Statement of 1889 may in future bo looked back lo as marking a point at which the necessities of the Colony were for the time being provided for, and it is to be hoped that further developments of the Public Works scheme may be concurrent with increased population and public wealth.