The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 61
Vast Expansion of Trade
Vast Expansion of Trade
must follow the adoption of my proposals. Numerous small industries, that cannot now be profitably carried on, could be made to pay well under the new order of things that would arise. Take one example. Large quantities of linseed and castor oil are imported. Both these articles could be manufactured here if the raw material could be produced cheaply enough.
If fares and freights were cut down as I propose, large numbers of shopmen, artisans, and labourers would be living out of town, on patches of from two to ten or more acres in extent. On these small plots, linseed, the castor oil bean, and numerous other things could and would be cultivated by the families while the men were working in the cities, and when they were out of work they would find employment on their own homesteads, instead of at once drifting away to other cities and other countries.
It is clearly to the advantage of the whole community to give these people an interest in the soil. As matters stand now, they have their deposit in the Savings Bank, their tools in their kit, and on the first little depression all they have to do is to lift these and be oft", perhaps only too glad to leave the wretched town tenement they have been forced to occupy. All this would be altered if they had homesteads worth holding, and where they could earn at least part of a living; they would not then be so ready to leave, but would stay and help to tide over the depression.
As people were located in the country so railway trade must expand; this, of course, would create a demand for rolling-stock, the construction of which would employ many hands. I believe that our railways alone could easily be made to find employment for at least four times as many as they do at present.
I have often been surprised at the little interest the artisan and working-classes appear to take in this railway question. At the numerous lectures I have given on the subject 1 have rarely seen any of them present; and yet no classes are so deeply interested.page 32
In these pages I have not thought it worth while to enter at any length into the many vagaries and absurdities of the present tariff. That part of the subject is, I think, pretty well understood now.
What we must guard against is being satisfied with small concessions. The Department just now is trying this plan extensively, and thus seeking to buy oft opposition and stifle the clamour for reform.
New Zealand is perhaps the most fortunate country in the world in its great natural beauty, and in the wonderful variety and healthiness of its climate. We have a