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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 11 (June 1, 1930)

Commercial and Developmental Factors

Commercial and Developmental Factors.

Railways stood in the commercial life of the Dominion as a two-fold organisation—firstly as a commercial institution, and secondly as a developmental institution. It had been a curious psychology that had been developed within the last decade that very often the standards of the one were applied without reference to the standards of the other. What he meant by that was that there was becoming undoubtedly a tendency in modern times to judge the railways of this country from an exclusively commercial standpoint, when it must be very well known, on the slightest reflection, that they were being run, and must indeed be run, from quite a different standpoint wherein the developmental aspect, if not uppermost, was at least a very potent factor.

It was said that the railways were not “paying,” that the railways were “losing” such and such an amount, generally the amount that represented the difference between revenue and expenditure as shown in the figures of the revenue and expenditure account that was contained in the Annual Railways Statement, but he just wondered if, on reflection, anyone would dare to say dogmatically that those amounts fairly and squarely enabled anyone to say that the railways of this country, when regarded in the two aspects he had mentioned, did not pay. He thought that was a very difficult matter, as he would endeavour to elucidate.