Provinces initially used their land funds – money from the sale of crown land in their territory – to promote immigration and public works. When land revenue fell away, borrowing was another means to the same end and all provinces resorted to it. This cartoon captures a moment when Canterbury had successfully gained some funds, to the envy of other provinces, notably the tartan-clad figures representing Otago and Southland, which had borrowed far beyond their capacity to repay – hence the train ‘for sale’. The map in the window suggests correctly that Australian colonies were also eager borrowers. It was the colonial government which had the last word, however – needing to service the £3 million loan (as per the rolled document held by the figure in the doorway) it had raised to fight the war in the north, it put a stop to provincial borrowing in 1867.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.