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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Auckland and Wellington Ports

Auckland and Wellington Ports

will lose control of their harbours, and their revenues will be taken to support Oamaru, Timaru, etc. This is one of the penalties we shall have to pay for our mad worship of a secret, irresponsible railway commission, and it shows the enormous powers the controllers of such a system wield. Such things could not be done under the stage system that I propose, which is a simple system of fixed charges which everyone could understand. It is impossible to believe that our Railway Commissioners really think that they are benefiting the colony by ruining its coastal and river traffic. The fact is, all they consider is what they can get for the railway, and get now. There is no consideration for general public interests, nor for the future. They are paid to work the railways, and they work them, regardless of consequences.

I hope it will not be thought that I accuse the rating experts of being dishonest men. Most of them really believe that no other but their own system can work; they have been trained up in it, and they contend that it fosters trade. It is the system, and not the men, that is dishonest. It is only natural that they should cling to the great power that it gives them.