The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1890. COST OF GOVERNMENT.
A most instructive return was laid upon the table of the House, on the motion of Major Steward, on the 20th August. The return dealt with the sums drawn by each member of the several Executive Governments of the Colony, beginning with the financial year 1869-70 and extending to the period 1888-89. This return shows that m the years when the Colony was progressing by " leaps and bounds " the cost of Executive Government proceeded at the same rate. In 1869-70. Ministerial salaries, house allowances, and travelling expenses amounted to the modest sum of £0146 2s 3d, but the following year the amount rose to £9650 13,;. 'In 1873-74 the cost of an Executive Government rose to £11,017 Us, and proceeded to increase until m 1885-86 a sum of £12,455 7s 4d was recorded, thus more than doubling the amount for 1869-70. From this period—the perihelion of Ministerial extravagance — the Ministerial wings were clipped. In 1887-88 salaries, allowances, and travelling expenses dropped to £9770 12s 4d, and m 1888-9 (the last financial year with which the return deals) only reached the modest sum of £7677 9s 9d, or £1531 7s 3d m excess of the charge for 1869-70. In 1887-88 the people of the Colony made a united and determined stand, demanding retrenchment m every direction, and. especially m the direction of Ministerial salaries and allowances. The demand was complied with, and the result has been a saving to the Colony of between £5000 and £6000 a year. Just so long as the people remained passive Ministerial extravagance went on increasing, and would no doubt hare continued to do so until the present time, had not the electors made a determined stand. The Ministry who carried out the behests of the House and country took to themselves a great deal of credit for the act, and there is no doubt that, when inspired with newborn fervor, the members of the Cabinet really deserved praise for the manner m which the State ship was put m order ; but it must not be forgotten that the demand for retrenchment originated with the people, and not with the Ministry, and that m order that further economies may be enforced (this time among the. heads of department m the Civil Service, some of whom draw higher pay than Ministers), the voice of the electors must be again distinctly heard afc the forthcoming elections. Another interesting fact drawn out by the return we are dealing with, is the respective amounts paid by the colony to its loading politicians during the periods named. The return gives the amount drawn by every Minister of the Crown %m 1869-70 up to 1888-89. We have picked out the names of four of the more prominent Premiers and Colonial Treasurers, and deduce the following interesting facts:—During twenty years Sir Julius Yogel drew as Ministerial salaries and allowances the sum of £16,172 7s 6d ; Sir H. A. Atkinson, during 15 years, is credited with receipt of £14,478 4s 4d ; Sir R. Stout, during 14years, £8335 11s lid; and the Hon J. Ballance, during the same term, £7570 15s lid. These figures would seem to prove that if the gentlemen referred to have done the colony good service, they have been well paid for their labors, and m the earlier years at all events, at a rate which the colony could not afford.