Cycleway gets the cash

Written By: - Date published: 3:31 pm, May 14th, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: cycleway - Tags:

John Key has overruled Bill English and got the money for his beloved cycleway (now a group of “Great Rides”), $50 million spread over three years.

I won’t waste too much time on the substance.The argument’s the same as it always was. Cycle tracks are neat but spending $50 million on them over three years isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference to the economy. I note that Key doesn’t claim 4000 jobs will be created any more, and the media don’t hold him on that.

Instead, I want to critique this article reporting the announcement.

I loved this quote:

“His initial claim of a $50 million price tag for what was originally pitched as a national cycleway from Cape Reinga to Bluff was thought by many to be unrealistic.”

No. Every professional political commentator lapped it up without a moment’s critical analysis. There was only one person who ripped his price and jobs estimates to pieces, they did it within within half an hour of Key’s initial cycleway announcement and it was published on The Standard.

Finally, this quote, which was first in one of the weekend papers months back has been bugging me:

“Tourism Ministry figures show fewer than 2 per cent of visitors take part in cycling, but they stay more than twice as long as the average tourist and spend 1.6 times as much.”

I might have to check with Marty G but I’m pretty sure if they are staying twice as long and spending 1.6 times as much as average that means they spend only 80% of the average per day in NZ. So I guess they’re staying in cheaper accommodation and doing free stuff (like cycling) more than other activites. I thought we were trying to attract big spenders, to get a better return for our investment in tourism infrastructure.

Cycling’s cool but it’s not a winner for tourism, jobs, or the economy.

22 comments on “Cycleway gets the cash”

  1. Setting aside the politicking for a minute, this is actually pretty cool. The more cycleways the better I reckon.

  2. edoze 2

    I dont like what you say Eddie, but i love the fact that you say it.

    Can we move on from bleating about it being built to other relevant issues.

    Will private operators on the network have to pay the govt to use the cycleway for commercial purposes?

    Which departmental budget is this money going to come from?

    Can i ride a motorised bathtub down the tracks or is it pedal power only?

    Thanks Eddie xx

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Whoever thought up the name “Great Rides” obviously has little understanding of the mindset of the average Kiwi male.

    *adolescent snigger*

    • calltoaccount 3.1

      Pitch it as “Great Rides of New Zealand” and we could make a play for a whole new tourism market!

      *adolescent hysterics*

  4. gingercrush 4

    I might have to check with Marty G but I’m pretty sure if they are staying twice as long and spending 1.6 times as much as average that means they spend only 80% of the average per day in NZ. So I guess they’re staying in cheaper accommodation and doing free stuff (like cycling) more than other activites. I thought we were trying to attract big spenders, to get a better return for our investment in tourism infrastructure.

    They’re still staying longer which means they’re spending more money than the average tourist. You want a mixture of tourists. Some big-spenders but backpacking tourists are very important to the tourist sector. All countries want the big-spenders but they don’t forget about the backpacking crowd etc either.

    Cycling’s cool but it’s not a winner for tourism, jobs, or the economy.

    So you don’t think people will come to this country to cycle? You don’t think cycling is a winner for tourism? You don’t think it provides job? Even though the Tourism Industry is job-heavy. And you don’t think it will add to the economy?

    I would have thought the left would welcome cycling. If someone is cycling rather than using a rental car etc then surely that uses less greenhouse emissions which puts a stop to a global warming? Eco-tourism is important or isn’t it? I would have thought so.

    • Eddie 4.1

      I do welcome cycling. I just don’t think it should be the cornerstone of a counter-recession policy.

    • burt 4.2

      gingercrush

      If the Green party had come up with this idea it would have been a great idea.

      Becasue it was National idea it’s bad.

      This really is how simple partisan people are.

      • jarbury 4.2.1

        Hey I’m an ardent National opponent yet I give them credit for this. Certainly one of the better ways to spend $50 million.

        However, I also agree with Eddie that it shouldn’t be sold as a major part of fixing up the economy. Let’s just leave it as a good project for money to be spent on.

      • felix 4.2.2

        Nah burt, there are plenty of us who think cycleways are great. The more cycleways the better.

        More or less irrelevant as economic stimulus but a good project nonetheless. Credit where it’s due and all that.

        You still biking to work?

      • Eddie 4.2.3

        It’s a fine idea. yay cycleways.

        The only objections to it that I’ve seen on the Standard is that it wasn’t going to be as cheap as Key promised, it wouldn’t generate the jobs Key promised, and it wouldn’t have the economic effect Key promised.

        You’re the one running strawman arguments, Burt.

        • Maynard J 4.2.3.1

          And that it was the marquee idea to come out of the jobs summit. Not criticising the idea, but the idea that the idea is such a big idea. It is not ideal.

  5. Paul Robeson 5

    Knowing this government they did think about the name, and with breathtaking hypocrisy in the same week as they appointed Christine Rankin as Families what ever she is, are selling the cycle way to the world as a great place to go cruising.

    and more mana enhancement courtesy of Audrey Young at the Herald:

    ‘The Government invited trouble on itself on Tuesday when it appointed the polarising Christine Rankin to the Families Commission, which has had an interesting sequel.

    The response of Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia on Tuesday was negative.

    “I possibly would have thought of somebody else. I’m surprised that anybody who supports the use of force on children would then be on the Families Commission,” she told reporters.

    It transpired that Turia was not only at the cabinet committee that made the appointment, she made no comment about it.

    She has since changed her position to publicly support the Rankin appointment, her press secretary has confirmed and is accepting “collective responsibility.”

    “You will be aware that once Cabinet makes a decision, all ministers must support it regardless of their personal views.

    “Minister Turia was unable to use the ‘agree to disagree’ provisions in the cabinet manual because she is on the cabinet committee that recommended the appointment.”‘

  6. Jono 6

    But is it new spending or another re-allocation? Is DOC going to be asked to fund “Great Rides” (cf DOC Great Walks) out its existing Visitor Assets capex budget? Are Councils and Ontrack going to be squeezed on their unused rail corridors?

  7. Gareth 7

    Tourism budget isn’t increasing so the $500m is taking from somewhere. Which even further waters down it’s status as recession buster.

    But sounds like it could be rather cool.

  8. Gareth 8

    $50m. Not $500m.

  9. serpico 9

    Will the fucking keystone feds have speed cameras on the cycleways?

  10. outofbed 10

    If the Green party had come up with this idea it would have been a great idea.

    Becasue it was National idea it’s bad.
    No i think you will find that if the Greens had come up with this idea
    they would have been dismissed as luddites and ridiculed
    with a few quotes about morris dancing dope and singing kumbiyah

    • burt 10.1

      I think you are probably right. Partisan hacks always find something to shoot an idea down with when it wasn’t an idea from their party.

  11. jarbury 11

    Just hope it’s not used as an excuse to close down some of the rail network….

  12. Hilary 12

    Key confirmed cycleways will be built in rail corridors on On Track land. That means land which would be better used for railways, but now won’t.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Compliance strengthened for property speculation
    Inland Revenue is to gain greater oversight of land transfer information to ensure those buying and selling properties are complying with tax rules on property speculation. Cabinet has agreed to implement recommendation 99 of the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) final ...
    1 week ago
  • Plan to expand protection for Maui and Hector’s dolphins
    The Government is taking action to expand and strengthen the protection for Māui and Hector’s dolphins with an updated plan to deal with threats to these native marine mammals. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash ...
    1 week ago