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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 1, 1928)

Message from the General Manager — To Public And Staff

page 4

Message from the General Manager
To Public And Staff

In taking over the General Management of the New Zealand Railways I desire to address a message to the Public, and to the Railway Staff, setting out some thoughts which I have on undertaking the duties of the important office that it has fallen to my lot to fill.

To The Public I would say that I am deeply sensible of the national character of the responsibility that rests upon me. I realise that this young nation not only has a tremendous sum invested in the railways, but that it looks for—indeed, must have for its adequate development—a service that will meet the needs of the people.

Consideration of the first factor—the aspect of the national investment—requires that, as well for the preservation of the credit of the Dominion as for the avoidance of undue burden on the taxpayer, the railways shall be worked so as to ensure the best financial return obtainable in the circumstances. On the other hand considerations inseparable from the second factor—the service aspect—will inevitably require at times the provision of services which, if regarded solely as abstract commercial propositions, would not be in themselves justifiable.

The task lies in getting the greatest measure of reconciliation between these two often conflicting principles. The task has always been difficult, but has in present times becomes infinitely more so by the introduction of new factors—principally that of competition.

Of this I may have more to say at a future time. At present I would say that while the ideal of complete reconciliation may not be possible of attainment we may adopt as a sound practical rule tending towards it—the principle of service to meet the public need at the lowest possible cost. I fully realise that service to meet the public need is the surest road to a healthy revenue which, combined with an unremitting attention to the expenditure side so as to keep costs down to a minimum, will bring us to what we apprehend to be the real test of success—the greatest measure of public satisfaction.

To The Staff I would say that the attainment of the object as above defined cannot be the work of any one person. It can only be achieved by the combined effort of every member of the staff, directed to the common end. We—all of us—must manifest the personal touch both in our relationships with one another within the Department (thus ensuring the maximum collective effort) and in our relationships with the public. Particularly with the latter that little added piece of personal interest will often bring a considerable accession of public goodwill—a factor which tends to become more and more decisive as the other features of competition tend to equalise.

Given a good will to do on the part of the staff I believe the goodwill of the public will follow. It will be my constant effort to co-operate with the staff—in the literal sense “work together”—and in the belief that that feeling will be reciprocated by the staff I look to the future with confidence.