Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Public Debt

Public Debt.

The public debt of the colony on 31st December, 1888, deducting the accrued sinking funds, was £36,971,771, bearing an annual charge for interest of £1,750,751.

A large portion of this amount of liability has been expended in reproductive works, or works of expediency, so as to render the country habitable for persons accustomed to the wants of civilisation. At the end of the Maori War, though the Middle Island was tolerably provided in some portions with ordinary roads, it was almost deficient in railways, while the North Island was deficient in both roads and railways, and wanted moreover the special means for making them in the lack of public land to supply the funds. A large portion of the colony was difficult to open—perhaps three times as difficult and expensive as any of the Australian colonies. Even in the open country which prevails in Otago and Canterbury railway and road construction have been difficult and costly, from the bridging of the many wide and rapid rivers with which the land abounded; while in the other districts of the colony great difficulties are encountered from the density of the vegetation, and the uneven contour of the country. In 1870 the public debt was £7,841,891, bearing the annual charge of £479,761. It would be hardly possible at the present time, without a very large amount of research, coupled with the assistance of the officers of the Treasury, to learn how the loans before 1870 were expended. But from 1870 onwards a large amount of the public debt can be shown to have been disbursed fa the following purposes:—
Railways, 1777 miles £14,875,187
Telegraph—miles of line, 4790 558,343
Lighthouses, Harbour Works, and Defences 620,216
Public Buildings 1,469,716
Departmental Expenditure on Public Works 309,068
Water Supply on Gold fields 496,788
Immigration 2,019,972
Roads 2,847,558
Land Purchases 1,113,680
Purchase of District Railways 361,688
Contingent Defence 435,970
Thermal Springs development 11,254
Rates on Native Lands 42,334
Miscellaneous Public Works 557,273
Expenditure in Raising Loans 1,023,073
Transfer under Roads and Bridges Construction Act to Main and District Roads, and River Works Accounts 224,677
Loan money expended in aid of revenue 3,822,58
Total £30,752,926

The above details are from official figures published at various times, and are to be found in the Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives, and in the volume of Statistics for the year 1888; while the loan money expended in aid of revenue is from a return moved for by Mr. Barron, on 27th June, 1889, "That there be laid upon the table a return showing the amount of loan money expended in aid of revenue is each year since 1875.'