(Prom our own Correspondent!) There is one paper I would have liked to have sent you this time, of which, however, only a very few copies were (I would be apt to 'suspect purposely) printed, that is — the Actuary's Report on the Civil Service Annuities, and as all those have been taken up, I r.egret that I cannot send you one— a copy, not an annuity — but it may be interesting for you to know that the present value of these annuities is L 296,000, which is due to the civil servants now, if their right to a pension is cancelled. This is not a bad reward for enjoying lucrative sinecures for many years ; amongst them I may refer to the case of the Hon. F. D. Bell, Iwho took last year about half a day of the House's time up by advocating his personal claim to a pension 1 Ido not comment on the good taste of the hon* gentleman, but the results to himself cannot but be gratifying, seeing that he is to receive L 4750 as his share of the spoil, according to the Actuary's Report, He also, I saw, drew his salary as Minister at the rate of a thousand pounds a year, besides travelling allowance, up to the very day he was appointed Speaker. The common question here now is — What is your P.V. ? (present value), meaning the value of your pension in the Actuary's Report. I may mention that aMr Elliot Elliott's P.V. is about L 4500, and he has now retired from office, and you may judge of the importance of his services when I tell you that Mr Gray, the Chief Postmaster, does not only his own work, as before, but without inconvenience performs also the duties of the late Mr Hagarth, Chief Postmaster in the city, and also the duties— whatever they may have been — of the said Mr Elliott Elliot. This reform results from the pressure brought to bear on Government last year, and is only one instance of very numerous cases where the pruning-knife might be properly applied. Unfortunately members have not always facilities for learning of these cases, and the Government keeps them as much as possible in the dark, while they (the Government) are not favorable to anything savouring of economy, reduction, or reform if it would weaken their power of patronage and influence. In pursuance of his old game the Colonial Treasurer — the Government — a week before the Assembly met — let contracts for the making of railways by Messrs Brogden to the extent of, I do not know how many hundreds of thousands of pounds, as they, Brogden and Sons, are to be paid for so many extras ; but this I know, that the contracts, are considerably over the Engineer's estimate, and very much over what other contractors are now doing similar works lor on the Clutha railway. This, also, in the faoe of offers from several responsible firms to construct all the railways at the Engineer's estimate, and, in one or two cases, near 10 per cent under estimated cost; to begin work in three months to ; make 2v)o miles of railway every year ; to deposit 2£ per cent at the beginning of each year on the cost of such 200 miles, and to take payment either in cash or colonial debentures at par bearing interest at 5| por cent, with a small commission in the latter case of 1 per cent. For reasons, which do not appear, Mr Brogden's offer seems to have been preferred by Government, and they make a formal start this day upon the Wairarapa railway, la premier pas gui contc } and unless carried all the way the money which this section will cost will be simply lost, for the traffic and the difficulties of the route will be as if we had to take a railway at a great cost some 30 miles to convey to Dunedin the agricultural produce of the North East Valley ; and then before we could get any further to have to tunnel through or go over a range of mountains twice as high, and more than twice as precipitous, as Mount Cargill, and that for some 15 miles. Now, the Government has let some eight miles of by far the easiest part of it for L 4.952 per mile, or within LlB of the authorised limit for constructing the whole line. What margin is there thus left to complete the railway over the, I may say, impracticable Remutaka ; and this eight miles about the beginning of which there is to-day to such gun-firing, such ministerial, civilian, military, and Brogdenite display, is simply throwing up a mound of sea sand along the beach, and laying a few birch sleepers on it to cany some light trumpery single-headed rails ; and unless a very large expense is incurred to form sea walls by Vogel's very immediate successors, the first heavy sea will leave no trace of the railway but the rails, and the considerable addition to our debt. But the Government must have a great flourish of trumpets to show members what a great work they are carrying on ; and if they never make the railway, they hope to make some political capital to work upon in opposing Mr Stafford's motion, which ib to be made on Wednesday, and of which you will have received particulars. It is making the Government very funky. And now for the contest — the Government; whip, M'Glash-m, is industrious, and I hear that members of doubtful politics and principles could get J.P. added to every name on their electoral-roll. It is said that the Financial Statement will be made to-morrow, and we know how deceptive figures are under Julius' manifestations. The Public works Statement has only been made in such a way as to show to the advantage of Government, and the objectionable parts left out on the plea, ao I am told, that the clerks have been so busy that they have not yet had time to complete the statement. It is ready I believe for ail that. A great many i lfluences are bearing on the result of the resolution, and I may add that b,efy3 ars offered to members, to any against
cases of men betting against, their own horse, and the more heavily if the acceptors of thji bets are the jockeys riding the^opj^ng horses. You may like to hear 7 wlioHrumor saith are'likely to'be the coming men if Government is defeated and goes out — Stafford No. 1, Reid No. 2, a minister from Auckland (Gillies will not take office), Wood or Creighton, then Curtis, Holmes, Waterhouse, Sewel, Calder. Rolleston, Whitmore, Sir D. Monro, Donald Maclean, and Fitzherberfc, are all spoken of, but as there are only to be 5 ministers if there is a change, the best men will only be selected. The second reading of the Drainage Bill was postponed at the request of Government, and as there is a Public Trust Bill being passed, it is desired to use its machinery. The amount formerly voted for the Milton Post-office not being sufficient, the Government, I believe, have promised your member to take a sufficient vote this year.
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Wellington., Bruce Herald, Volume VI, Issue 433, 28 August 1872
Wellington. Bruce Herald, Volume VI, Issue 433, 28 August 1872
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