The Auckland Star: WITH WHICH ARE INCORPORATED The Evening News, Morning News and The Echo.
SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 1909. DEPARTMENT ECONOMICS.
For Vie cause that lacks assistance. For the xorong that needs resistance, For tlie future in the distance. And the good that ioo can do.
The particulars of the proposed reorganisation of our public services which. Sir Joseph Ward explained at the Upper Hutt last night will be read with great interest throughout the Dominion, it is difficult at short notice to criticise the Premier's scheme dn detail, but the general principles on which it is baaed are obvious enough. Sir Joseph Ward has convinced himself that in many respects our various Government Departmente are overlapping each other, and that their work is •consequently being carried on at unnecessary expense. He therefore proposes to reduce the thirty-seven existing Departments to sixteen, by amalgamating together several of the minor administrative offices which have hitherto been kept separate. The Premier points out that the constant increase in our public expenditure, and the relath-e falling-off in our revenue has made it necessary to consider carefully the details of our public finance, and to effect economies -wherever this can justifiably be done. Two provisions must, of course, be kept carefully in view—that no public servant shall be loaded witih an undue share of work or responsibility, and that the efficiency of our administrative Departments shall under no circumstances toe impaired. But if proper precautions arc taken in these respects, Sir Joseph Ward holds that the proposed changes will be generally beneficial, and they will certainly result in the saving of a large amount of public money—according to the Premier's estimate, about a quarter of a million sterling a year. It may be pointed out that the present is a favourable juncture for the inauguration of the new system, on account of the retirement of a large number of senior officials who have reached the statutory age-limit. The saving effected in the case of senior officials no longer required will be in itself considerable, but this will be a small item compared with the reduction in the administrative expenditure now rendered necessary by the overlapping of work and the duplication of services which even a casual inspection of the existing departinentaJ system reveals. We have always approved of the policy adopted by our successive Liberal Governments of establishing special departments to deal with the varied duties assumed from time to time by the State. We need hardly add that in our opinion these repeated extensions of the functions of Government are thoroughly consistent with the principles of Liberal Democracy, and that in this country their expediency has been fully justified by their results. The work done by our departmental officials has been in many cases of great and permanent public value,.and the system as a whole has been remarkably successful. But merely as an outcome of this process of growth and accretion, it was inevitable that there should gradually arise the defects which Government now feels compelled to remedy. The time has manifestly come for a complete reorganisation of the system, and, considering the amount that Sir Joseph Ward expects to save annually, it is remarkable that no attempt has been made in this direction before. So long as no hardship or injustice is inflicted upon deserving public servants, and so long as our administrative work can be carried out as efficiently as beforej the country -will have nothing but. praise and approval for the Premier's well-meant scheme of (financial reform.