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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 6 (October 1, 1930)

General Manager's Message — The Need for Economy

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General Manager's Message
The Need for Economy.

I desire once again to impress upon every member of the staff the paramount need which exists in the matter of effecting every possible saving in expenditure.

The economy proposals which have been adopted involve a very drastic curtailment of our services. The problems with which the Department is confronted have been realised by the public, and the reduction in services has been accepted philosophically, and with a general feeling of sympathy towards us in our difficulties. It is very essential, therefore, that we should respond to this public sentiment by doing our part in that side of the business (the curtailment of the expenditure) that lies more particularly within our control.

I am very gratified to notice that the effect of our economy campaign is now beginning to make itself felt. The reduction in expenditure for the August period as compared with the corresponding period of last year is no less than £42,100. From this there has to be deducted the increased amount of £6,276, which has been paid on account of depreciation, making a net cash saving of £35,824.

But we are still a long way from our objective, and it will require the concentrated efforts of all concerned to achieve the reduction aimed at by the end of the financial year.

The curtailment of services and the economy efforts connected therewith are, however, only part of the field over which our efforts may extend. There is considerable scope for effecting savings—especially on the small items, which, in the aggregate, constitute a substantial and ever recurring expenditure—if everybody bends his energies towards the elimination of unnecessary waste. For instance, it costs no effort to switch off a light that is not wanted; it is certainly better than leaving it until it is wanted again. In many places, also, we have to pay for the water we use: it is better and just as easy, to turn off the tap than to leave it running. Similarly, with the use of stores in general, it is the little saving that can make the difference between profit and loss. There is both urgent need and opportunity to cut costs to the minimum of bare necessity by the practice of economy in the use of stationery and in many other ways that will occur to every practical railwayman.

This is a matter in which our results are almost entirely in the hands of individual members of the staff. We know that Public Service salaries and conditions only too readily come under early scrutiny in times of general financial depression. What we can do, therefore, in the way of effecting economies, is directly relevant to the economic position of every member of the staff. It is pertinent here to repeat that waste and wages come from the same fund, and that the more waste there is the less there is left for wages. The greatest danger in matters of this kind is for each of us to regard the question of economy in small things as the other man's job. We are apt to substitute for positive activity on our own part, a hope that the other fellow is doing his bit.

I make no apology for again appealing to every member of the staff to supplement the efforts that are embodied in the arrangements that have already been made towards curtailment of expenditure. This ideal may be realised by alertness and initiative in stopping financial leaks, however small they may be, and in scrutinising items of expenditure, large and small, in order to see that every penny spent is justified and that a good pennyworth will be obtained in return.

General Manager.