Railways and the remaking of settler orders: Brett André, ‘Dreaming on a railway track: public works and the demise of New Zealand’s provinces’, The Journal of Transport History, 36, 1, 2015, pp. 77-96
Abstract: The demise of New Zealand’ s provinces in 1876 demands explanation. I argue that public works policy undermined the provinces and that railway development provided the impetus for abolition. The failure of the six original provinces to meet hinterland settler demands for public works led to the creation of new provinces in 1858, destabilising the system. Reckless investment in railways in the 1860s robbed the provinces of popular support and led to a prohibition on borrowing. This created a developmental vacuum until the central government acquired public works policy in 1870. The provinces thus lost their primary reason for existence. New Zealand’s provinces are a valuable case study in how railways and other forms of transportation can shape political systems.
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