The Evening Star. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1914.
hj .deeds prove equal to intentions —a result that is rather Public Works, rare in tiie political ' sphere —the Government will have earth'd a good measure of oo’u uieirda tr•; r t for then 1 I’rddio Works Folic V. whiili. in it s general lea Hires and aims, is undeniably sound. It is only against its srope that most people will • omplarn. hut, this defect ot limitation is
.hie more, tu the (hanging circumstances ~f fin-am e and the t % er-itu leasing needs of
the nation its refin'd,' developmental works rather tfi;i ll lo tii!' administrative character cl the Massey ( bjvermnent. The hast uud to many people, perhaps, tiio only commendable leature ot’ t)’.e (*>ovcnnueiit's polity is the provision it contains Cor advancing the material development of tlm country. This provision is not conlmed to mere optimistic political vaporing* and specious promises. Their ream I is satisfactory. Much work has heeu done. The expenditure on public works by the State last year totalled £2,949,992, ■ including a sum of £125,466 <-Ikuc'('(l against t!v Consolidated Fund. This was the largest expenditure on pubic works during any single year for over' 30 years—a. Ministerial statement which will doubtless serve as an attractive subject for political candidates before the dciictal Flection in the Hrst, week of December. Tiie greatest portion of the total sum was spent rm railway construction and. roads iu tlm harkblocits. Over £600,000 was spent on new lines; £498,449 mi additions to open lines; and £377.979 mi mads. Tim total expenditure on railway construction and improvement dining the- financial year ended March 31 last was £1,144,459. This represents a large outlay, and yet it only serves to indicate wider aVenues for expenditure; in the same direction. The needs of imaty settlers iu productive areas have still to be served if tho Dominion is to maintain its industrial, agricultural, and commercial prosperity. The Public ■Works Statement, which was presented b.v tho Minister (Hon. \V. Fraser) to tho House of Representatives last night, shows clearly that the (lovcrnment arc cognisant of those needs, and propose, through the Minister, to .make reasonable provision tor meeting a fair proportion of them. Ihc Minister seeks a parliamentary vote ot £1,460,000 for new railway construction and additions to open lines. Kveu if financial circumstances permit of the expenditure of the total amount proposed (and there is no immediate prospect of an easy money market in the Old World). .many of the claims of neglected settlers in different parts of the Dominion will remain nm-emd. Xor is it likely that tho (lovemment’s experimental encouragement of railway construction by local bodies (Railway Bbards) will accomplish much during tho next three year,?.
The public -will note with satisfaction, however, that the Minister of Public Works, who is generally disconcertingly frank on matters -of finance, makes no attempt, to fool the country into a belief that the rate of progress achieved last year is pertain of accomplishment flu 4
financial year. The preface to his annual Statement is a nolo of warning against undue public optimism : Events that have happened have rendered it doubtful whether money can now bo borrowed on advantageous • terms, ami on the satisfactory determination of that question must, of course, depend the carrying out of any extensive public works proposals. The Statement ami Estimates submitted to the House this evening have been prepared on the assumption that the r*»quLsito funds will be procured when needed; but if, unfortunately, Unit proves to be erroneous, then, of course, [he programme will necessarily have to be curtailed, so as to keep our expenditure within om - means.
the pubiie must in the meantime accept the will for the deed, and tin,! f-atmi'aclion in the equitable manner in which the Minister has prepared his Estimates of Expenniture on Public Works. It is true that tho allocations for the North Island rather dwaif those for tho ,South Island, but this need not raise bitter jealousy or chagrin. 'lho North Island must receive adequate, aids to its development, and the aim of the people of the South, who have not by cuy means yet obtained all tho facilities required by them, muse be in the direction of heartily supporting a. fair proportional expenditure in both islands. *\s a. matter of, fact, this is precisely the aim of the Minister of Public Works, and no lorm of criticism will distort Ids aim.
As regards the -Ministerial treatment of Otago, we have nn complaints to make. It might have been better, but ,U also might have been worse. There is a. broad foundation for satisfaction ru the knowledge that the Minister ami bis colleagues recognise the potentialities of Otago Central, and are determined, with "unco" caution, it is true, but without a grudge, to provide means for full development, lu addition to tho modest but encouraging votes lor the Clyde-Cromwcll extension, tho Catlins-Wainiahaka line, and an appropriation of £IO,OOO for the construction of a line from Balciulha to Tuaptka Mouth, the Irovernment intend to advance the l.awrencc-Roxburgh Railway. All cuvumfclances considered, tho Minister's proposals ate very satisfactory, A vote of £40,000 is also proposed I-. i irrigation works. Here let us all hone that no time will be wasted in advancing the muchneeded schemes of irrigation in Central Otago.
Tlie Statement us ;i whoU' i< n ivcoiil of < i-eclitablc iudtu'iiistiativo activity, and an <.i(ine&t, jviseotiiilily favorable ihumcial condition.-, of tin* Miniver's «m;l tin' li'uViTiimentV <lctprn:it>;iti<;it to int'iiiis fur developing the iw<.mree.s ut the .l.ltiininiuii.
Permanent link to this item
The Evening Star. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1914., Evening Star, Issue 15629, 21 October 1914