Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

The Press. MONDAY, MAY 23, 1864. THE QUARTER'S ACCOUNTS.

A PaovrxciAii ' Gazette ' was issued on Saturday, containing the accounts of the quarter ending the 31st March last. It appears from these accounts that the total revenue received by the Provincial Government during the quarter amounted to £107,152 (wo omit shillings and pence throughout), but of this, £15,000 was raised by loan under the Lyttelton and Christchurch Railway Loan Ordinance, so that tho actual revenue raised was £62,152. Attention ought to be called, as it has been called before, to the most unsatisfactory form of these accounts as regards the loans. It would appear that £45,000 has been raised under the Railway Loan. But on tho other side of the account it would seem that only £22,125 has been expended during tho quarter on tho railway, and as only an insignificant balance remains in the chest — £237, —these accounts establish, the fact that about £Z'Z,ZOO i'uiwiti under Tlie Ifciilwav Loan *ias boen spent on other work?, or the ordinary expenses of government. This is not only a great financial blunder, but we believe contrary to law ; the Railway Loan being restricted to the purposes of the raihvav itself. "We are quite aware that we shall be told the fact is not so in reality ; that the Pro vines has advanced largely to the Railway Loan out of current revenue, and that in a full account it would be found, not only that no part of the lonn has been expended in other works, but, on the contrary, that a considerable part of the railway works have been paid for out of current revenue. It may be so ; but then it ought to appear so in the accounts. The accounts as they stand tell a vjry different story. The blunder has always been in bringing the Loan Account into the General Account at all. Where a loan is raised for a special purpose, and appropriated by law to that purpose, it is quite wrong that its accounts should be mixed up with the General Account at all. The Loan Account should be published separately, shewing all the receipts, and disbursements on both sides. If any part of the railway bo paid for out of current revenue, such advances should be en . tercd as receipts on the account of tlie loan ; and when they are repaid to tho Provincial chest, they should appear as disbursements out of the loan. Unless this system be adopted it will be impossible at any time to ascertain how the account stands as between the railway and the Province, without going back through a mass of papers, and extracting the items from the general balance sheets. This becomes the more necessary when we remember that we have several loans;--the "Thirty Thousand Pound Loan" which was raised and expended ; the Railway Loan, now raising ; and the Half Million Loan also in the course of being raised. But there is another more important reason for these separate accounts. Unless we insist on seeing separate accounts of the loans every quar. ter, there can be no check on the tendency of the Government to muddle away the boi-rowed money in current expenses, and so lo deprive us of the means of completing those great public works on which we are about to enter, aud on which the progress of the Province so largely depends. To the Government itself, however anxious they may be to adopt the policy of rigidly devoting the borrowed money to tlie reproductive uses for which it is borrowed, — and tliat policy was distinctly adopted by them in the last ses.-.ion of the Council—the maintenance of that course will be difficult unless they keep before ihcnisch-e.', n* well as the pul-li.-, the whole f-u-tf of the '---.-a, by exhibitinj;- separata and distinct aerousvt-s «>f ali ilu- i'-;vis.i'.:ii'.'"l* •v:";"i.:tuiz iu<: separate loans. _l~he public as well as the Government ought

0 be able to seehow and whou the dobtsare incurred md what becomes of the mon:*y. ' Passing now to tho other items of the account we . 'md that the total Ordinary Revenues, that is to say omitting the receipts from Crown Lands, I j md Church Building Grant Account, amount to -.uly £17,645 : whilst the total ordinary expenditure, , that is to s:iy all the expenses except those for interest jn debts, immigration, land and works, church building, and some miscellaneous items of a nonrecurrent character —amounts fo £18,642. The interest on the debts is an annual and current charge, but it is one which is legitimately chargeable on the Land Fund; we, therefore, include it in that account. It would appear, therefore, that the ordinary expenses of Government, exceed the ordinary income during fhe quarter, by £1000. And if this were maintained for the year, the excess of expenditure over income would not be very alarming. At the same time there ought to be no such excess at all; and wo are fully persuaded that ordinary care and watchfulness on the part of the Executive would very shortly reduce the current expenditure within the income. The cost of our Government is extravagantly great. The , annual expense, taking the average of this quarter, is at the rate of nearly £75,000 a year, to which must be added our contribution to tho Government, or about £16,000 a year more. That is to say, it costs £120,000 a year to govern 30,000 souls, or £4 a head on the population. The Government of England costs only £2 10s., or including the County expenditure, about £3 a head, and this embraces the charge for her national debt, which is nearly £1 a head, and her Army and Navy, (as well as we remember), about 15s. a head. Not counting the national debt, and the military and navy expenditure, the whole cost of Government in England is something like 255. or 30s. a head of the population. Here iv New Zealand it costs 80s. The cost of our Provincial establishment alone is at the rate of 50s. a head, or double that of the whole expenditure of Government in Englaud. It is absurd to say that the Province cannot be governed at a cheaper rate than this. Take one item alone in this quarter's accounts, "Contingencies £4 M) 9," there are £140 D spent in three months in little matters, so insignificant that they cannot be put under any special head. " Trifles"—£l7,ooo a year. Wo do not accuse the present Government of this waste. Year after year we have lifted up our voice against it, and we well know it cannot be obtained in a day. It is a heritage from the past; but we do look to a marked change in the appearance of the estimates in another year in this respect. The extraordinary revenue during the quarter amounted to £41,507. The extraordinary expenditure, to £57,860, cutting out the loan on one side and the railway and bank charges on it, on the other. Of this expenditure £31,053 was on public works alone. We are woefully at a loss to understand how the impression can have got abroad that the present Government have been doing nothing in public works when we see that they have actually over exceeded the current revenue by £13,000 during the single quarter. Fo;* the accounts do not specify whether any of the public works are those authorised to be executed out of loans —nothing can show more strongly the extravagant temper of the public mind than this idea. It seems to us that the time has arrived when the same principles which we have propounded as applicable to loans should be adopted as to the other revenues of the Province, and that the accounts should be divided into two heads, as they are in the accounts of the General Government; showing the ordinary and National Revenues separately. Nothing we are persuaded would prove so effective in curtailing the expenditure a3 calling on the Provincial Council to pass separate Estimates for the expenditure of the Ordinary Revenue and the Land Revenue. It would t.ien be forced on the attention of the Council whether the Province was living over or under its means. These j Estimates would thus come before the public—First, 1 the sums to be borrowed, and the manner in which the money sliould be spent. Secondly, the Land Revenues, and the manner in which they should be spent, Thirdly, the Ordinary Revenue, and per contra, the ordinary cost of Government. If the latter charges exceeded the estimated Revenue, there would appear amongst tho Receipts an item, " Brought from the Land Revenue," which would exactly measure the amount by which the Province was living over its means. The quarterly statements at present published are too ill arranged and too meagre to be of much practical service in controlling tho public expenditure.

From private letters we learn that the new Provincial Engineer, Mr. George Aicken, sailed from Gravesend in the Amoor, on the Ist April. He has received his appointment from Mr. G. R. Stephenson* who has a high opinion of his abilities and experience. By the same ship, Mr. Theophilua Varley, also sailed to take the place of Mr. Sheath as Telegraph Supertendent of this Province. By the British Empire, to sail on the 15th May, we may expect Mr. Robert Speedily, who has been appointed Resident Architect for the Cathedral, with a salary of £250 a year, for four years. The Harbor Comnission were hard at work, "Stephenson, M'Lean, Abernef'ir, Admiral _*iizfoy, Admiral Lord Stokes, Captain "Cirslall, Evans, tl'O Hydivj'r.ii.her, and Bray," appear to be the gentlemen cmpioycd. so that we nvj expect ..It the advin* which engineering anil rjruitk-al science lias at it? disposal.

The Recent MaoisTKAcr.-Tho of Mr. Joseph Hrittun, «* Kcsuient Mcgistrtito of I .«v H.urch, will be learned with much regret by » the tutors in th it Oourr. So Mturi-.tr.ite h.w y.t .. upon the bench who combined 50 many ot the SfI MJ . -Liable it. the holder of such an o heo Hi. ..-..{.v... i-ottrtesv. and painstaking and patent x-. r = '..fin-/ the -I*o3 which cam-! before hhnV-nth,^^^^ of the counsel pra-ti-mg v. the Court. Ho k ..id, however, the labor, of the niHee wen* greater th-.n tit could sustain without injury, ».y.l » ™; i * nt iilnes* induced him to r*,i_ii. Mr Charles .hou.., who liars been appointed his successor, « ii gentleman whose long employment in tlie puUfcc service dating almost from the commencement of the settlement, and including several important nnd responsible offices, is a sufficient recommendation lor the ohtce. Mr. Bowen has for some years sat on the bench as a magistrate, and will bring experience as well ns ability to the service of the public in his new otltce. But he must make a very good Resident Magistrate to obliterate tlie memory of, or at least regret for, Ins predecessor. . TilK Messuit.—We call attention to the rehearsal of the Messiah by the Musical Society, which is to tuke place at Mr. Bonnington's rooms to-mg t. Rumours from those who hnve been admitted to the rehearsals lead us to expect that this will be the greatest musical treat which the dwellers in Canterbury have yet enjoyed.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP18640523.2.9

Bibliographic details

The Press. MONDAY, MAY 23, 1864. THE QUARTER'S ACCOUNTS., Press, Volume IV, Issue 488, 23 May 1864

Word Count
1,863

The Press. MONDAY, MAY 23, 1864. THE QUARTER'S ACCOUNTS. Press, Volume IV, Issue 488, 23 May 1864

Working