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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Railway Charges

Railway Charges

The Conference next proceeded to deal with the question of railway charges. The remarks of the Sub-Committee were as follows :—"Reduction of railway charges on stock and all kinds of agricultural produce and manures: The cheap carriage of agricultural produce is of such importance to the colony, that the Conference will be asked to make suggestions which it is hoped will lead up to a better condition of things. The rates charged for the carriage of live stock are so much in excess of the cost of driving, that the freight on a large portion of such stock which would be sent by rail if the rates were more reasonable, is now lost to the Department. A large amount of wool and other produce is still brought to the markets by the use of waggons and traction engines, thereby creating another loss of revenue to the lines. It may also be stated that much of the land in New Zealand would be greatly benefited by the application of lime and manufactured manures, but the cost of railage renders their use limited, especially that of lime. By increasing the fertility of the soil, the work of our lines would also be vastly increased."

Mr Sinclair moved—"That the following recommendations be forwarded to the Railway Commissioners :—(a) A reduction on the railway charges for carrying live stock, lime and artificial manures, (b) That steps be taken to induce the Commissioners to introduce a better description of truck for the transport of cattle and sheep, (c) The necessity for insulated railway vans for carrying dairy produce on certain days each week."

Mr Gough seconded the motion.

Mr Olson suggested that a request to Harbour Boards to provide cool chambers for dairy produce at the ports of shipment be added to the resolution.

Mr Cuningham Smith said he would like to inquire from Mr Olson whether the Taranaki Harbour Board would be in a position to erect the cool chambers. (Laughter.)

Mr Sinclair would not accept the suggestion made by Mr Olson.

After some discussion, the motion was put and carried.

Mr Borrie moved—"That it be a further recommendation to the Railway Commissioners to reduce the charge for the carriage of grain over short distances." They felt that roads should not be allowed to compete with the railways. As the railways were for the public convenience those having the management of them should try and catch the traffic at any cost. They had to tax themselves to keep up the roads, and yet, though the road ran alongside the railway, people would hot send their produce by rail on account of the cost.

Mr McIntyre seconded the motion, and called attention to the necessity for including wool and timber in the resolution.

Mr D. Thomas spoke against the resolution, as he felt sure that they would not achieve what was intended.

The resolution was then put, and lost on the voices.

Mr Olson mentioned that Mr Ritchie had informed him that the Government intended to draft a Bill subsidising Harbour Boards in the direction of erecting cool chambers at the various ports, so as to encourage the dairy industry.