The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 61
Secresy is Essential
Secresy is Essential
To carrying out this system effectively; secresy, as I have before said, can only be secured by so confusing and complicating the rates and charges that nobody can understand them.* That it is the wish and intention of the Department to bring about this stale of things here as speedily and completely as possible, let Mr. Maxwell's own words testify. This is what he says in his report for 1884:—
* During Mr. Richardson's term of office he has added at least 50 per cent to the complication, and a reference to his Public Works Statement will show that he prides himself on the performance.
Imagine what would be the effect of giving power like this to a man of Mr. Maxwell's stamp, who does not hesitate to tell users of the railways that it is his business to take the utmost advantage he can of their necessities. The Colony has not "recognised" that the differential rating principle is desirable, nor has it given the power to enforce it, but the Department has seized the power, and they now favour one district and oppress another, just as they please. To prove the truth of this assertion, I will give a few examples.
A farmer living at Southbridge, in Canterbury, 31 miles from Christchurch, could have 1½ cwt. of butter delivered in that city for is. An Auckland man, for the same service rendered, would have to pay 3s. 6d., and an Otago man 2s.
The Southbridge farmer could send 3 cwt. of "loose" bacon the 31 miles for is. 10d. The Auckland man must pay 4S. 11d., and the Otago man 3s. 5d.
A ton of cheese, packed, can be sent the 31 miles in Canterbury for 8s. 6d. In Auckland the charge would be 16s. 7d., in Otago 16 s.
It is easy to understand how it is that Canterbury dairy produce floods all the centres of population in New Zealand.*
* I trust my Canterbury friends will not think that I seek to deprive them of any of these advantages. I only seek to secure greater ones for every part of the Colony.
On what principle can charges like these be justified? Why should an Auckland or Wellington man pay double, or more than double, the charge to a Christchurch man? The department says that where there is a large quantity of work to do, they ought to charge a less price; then, why are four of the larger centres charged more than three of the smaller ones? The fact is, justice or right principle is never considered in the slightest degree. The only question asked is, What district will stand most plundering quietly? Let me try and describe how the