Tv1 has revealed that our daydreamer PM had much much bigger plans for the cycleway. Like excited schoolkids, he and good mate Mark Weldon of the NZX drew up plans for a grand cycle race to be called the Sir Edmund Hillary tour that would go the length of New Zealand along the cycleway.
They slapped a $50 million price-tag on building the cycleway – apparently just made up off the tops of their heads (I’m told Key’s office could not provide any source for the costing in response to written questions). Key forced Bill English to allocate that exact amount to the cycleway in the Budget, which shows that no formal costing had been done – the budget was $50 million because that was what Key had said it would be, not because of any economic rationale.
But eventually reality came budging in. TV1 puts the cost at $33,000 to $500,000 per km. Major works like clip-ons for the harbour bridge would run into millions. $50 million, if it is all spent on construction, which it won’t be, might get you 100km of cycleway. A cycleway the length of the country could cost a billion dollars. The Standard, of course, revealed within an hour of the cycleway idea being announced that the $50 million budget was complete fantasy.
Yet Key still seems to think that the national cycleway and the grand tour raced on it will eventually be a reality. He doesn’t even seem to get that you don’t race a cycle tour on a narrow cycleway.
Labour’s Chris Hipkins was in the report calling the cycleway a joke. It certainly is (Eddie cracks up at the slightest mention) but the scary thing is it’s also the biggest idea this over-promise and under-deliver Key government has managed to come with.
For the tens of thousands of Kiwis who are losing their livelihoods, that’s no laughing matter.