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John Key’s patchwork ‘job machine’: user pays

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, December 28th, 2013 - 47 comments
Categories: brand key, cycleway, jobs, john key, Minister for Photo-ops, Public Private Partnerships, same old national - Tags:

Remember Key’s great innovative cycleway project that was his great idea for creating more jobs?  Well it seems it’s been limping along with some pretty poor planning, and inadequate government oversight: if they really cared about it, they wouldn’t be suddenly needing to look for more money to pay for it. The Weekend Herald reports:

One of the operators of the Prime Minister’s $50 million cycleway will charge mountain bikers for using public land to pay for the maintenance of the network of trails.

Bike Taupo will charge $40 for an annual membership to ride the Craters of the Moon tracks from January 1, using the money raised to fund the upkeep of the 90km stretch of New Zealand Cycle Trail it looks after.

The funding gap has emerged at other parts of the cycle network across the country after money was put forward to build the trails – but not to maintain it.

The Government is aware of the problem and says money will be sought to cover the gap in the Budget this year.

The trail came out of Mr Key’s jobs summit in February 2010.[*]

Originally devised as a Cape Reinga-Bluff track, it instead became a series of “Great Rides” the length of the country.

Bike Taupo chairman Rowan Sapsford said the organisation was among trail operators under financial pressure because of the cost of maintenance.

“Some tracks just can’t maintain the level they are built at,” he said. “The Prime Minister’s budget is for the establishment of them but not the ongoing maintenance.

The cycleways were built by contractors who failed to plan for maintenance costs:

The Weekend Herald understands the patchwork way in which the trail was constructed has created patchy need for assistance. In some areas, council partnerships cover maintenance costs while in others the Department of Conservation does the maintenance when trails pass land they administer.

Green Party cycling spokesman Kevin Hague – who has been closely involved in developing the trail – said operators were meant to have considered maintenance when pitching for the contracts.

And exactly how many jobs has it created?


Estimates for the quick-start projects estimate that each might occupy approximately 40 people in the initial construction period.[25] Prime Minister John Key noted that he expected about 500 jobs to be provided in construction of the cycleways in total, with up to 4,000 eventually created through tourism benefits the trails would bring.[20] In mid-2011, the newsletter of the New Zealand Cycle Trail reported 511 people employed on trail construction.[15] Job experiences from the Far North District were also positive – among other effects, it was reported that of 110 formerly unemployed young people who worked on the project for half a year as part of a government subsidy scheme, 80 had gone on to other work, rather than returning to the dole.[26]

So, some limited long term benefits for employment.

And the employment situation generally (following John Key’s one-big-idea cycleway project).  I previously posted about the findings of the 2013 census.

Unemployment has increased since 2006, and is back to 2001 level. It’s particularly bad for the 15-24 age group, with 18.4% unemployed (an increase from 13.3% in 2006).  These are percentages of the workforce (those in work, available for work and actively seeking work).

Those not in the labour force will include those recorded in the census as being on zero income.  This will include students, individuals supported by family or a partner: ie. some people wanting work but not eligible for benefits.  The proportion of people on zero income has increased significantly since 2006. About one third of people over 15 years are not in the labour force – up 10% since 2006.

So, the government’s hastily cobbled together cycleway proposal, while producing some benefits, has not been the magic bullet of job creation.  Meanwhile Key has continued to hop from cloud to cloud, smiling, waving…..

 [*] David Fisher, author of the above quoted NZ Herald article, put the job summit in 2010.  As the link under the typepad-liberation cartoon shows, the job summit was in February 2009.  Well spotted Tracey!


47 comments on “John Key’s patchwork ‘job machine’: user pays”

  1. Tracey 1

    Wasnt the job summit in 2009. The do fest not the talk fest

    • karol 1.1

      Good point, Tracey. I missed that. Will add a note – shonkey work by David Fisher. The typepad-liberation link under the cartoon image definitely puts the job summit as Feb 2009.

      Will add a note to the post.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        “Shonkey work”? A minor error in the piece which should have been picked up in the editing process. Let’s not slag a week or twos good work from a journalist for no proper reason. The Left is pretty crappy at its media relations to begin with.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Pretty sure it was to be a “rolling maul of on-going initiatives”. Can anyone cite a single thing that came out of this “do-fest, not talk-fest” other than talk and this watered-down cycleway?

    • thechangeling 1.3

      That was when Bill English proudly declared that: “in excess of 100,000 new jobs are being forecasted by treasury in the coming year”.
      Nothing happened at all as the unemployed figure in 2013 still sits at between 150,000 to 250,000 depending on whose stats and category you want/can/are deluded to believe.

      • David H 1.3.1

        “That was when Bill English proudly declared that: “in excess of 100,000 new jobs are being forecasted by treasury in the coming year”.

        And all that was heard was hysterical laughter all over the land.

  2. millsy 2

    This is what happens when you rely on private sector governance models, and from what I understand, John Key’s cycleway network is largely administered by private sector organisations.

    The cycle trail network should really be administerd by DOC. Then you wouldnt have all this user pays crap. Or something equivalent to the “Walkways Commssion” that existed in the 70s and 80s.

  3. Tracey 3

    This was the evil ctu contribution prior to the summit. Note the lack of employer negativity.

    The Council of Trade Unions has today released a discussion document for the forthcoming government Jobs Summit (27 February). The document focuses on stimulating the economy, retaining jobs and worker transition, including support for those made redundant.Helen Kelly, CTU President, said that the union movement welcomes the Summit as a shared opportunity to discuss proposals which will limit the effects of the recession on jobs. It is crucial that the labour market is supported in order to capitalise on the intended benefits of interest rate cuts and tax incentives.‘It is clear that a lot of work is going into the Summit and numerous organisations and individuals are making suggestions,’ said Helen Kelly. ‘We want to make sure that concrete proposals emerge which can then be implemented. The CTU proposals are intended to be a constructive contribution.’The CTU initiatives in the discussion document include:  – Expand and bring forward infrastructure projects including regional initiatives- Implement a major jobs programme addressing environmental and social needs – Offer training subsidies and support for other options as alternatives to redundancy- Significantly expand support services for workers made redundant.The CTU also suggests the establishment of an Employment Commission or similar organisation which would support the creation and retention of jobs and support training and transitional support alongside existing programmes. The Commission could act as an effective ‘clearing house’ for generic and tailored forms of support for firms and workers.Unions want ongoing engagement after the Summit on implementation.The full discussion document can be accessed ”


  4. MrSmith 4

    Not only that Karol the Cycle-way is killing some walkways, what used to be a walking track now will become part of the Cycle-way and then be tagged as a Cycle track, people will no longer bother walking it because it will be promoted as a Cycle-way! Bikes and walkers don’t mix you can put all the spin on it you like, things moving at different speeds in the same direction don’t mix, then throw in some moving in the other direction chaos , Johnny’s Cycle-way is starting to get some push back as people start to complain and reality sets in with less walkers as they have been around here, as usual with this government they just jump on an idea (picking winners) without any research or evaluation to the outcomes.

    Walkers are generally high value tourists that come to interact with the natural environment, Bikers are adrenaline junkies out for a race and some exercise, as far as I’m concerned they can piss off, let them find there own tracks not steal existing ones.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      It’s a reality that walkers and cyclists will finish up sharing the same space.

      Did it occur to you that a spot of ordinary courtesy and mutual consideration might be the easy answer here?

      • MrSmith 4.1.1

        That might be your idea of reality Red but realistically that’s just not going to happen is it as we see tracks closed to cycles now for parts of the year (I wonder why), oil and water don’t mix Red, you will be all for giving cars and bikes the same rights to the road then, lets just get rid of all those pesky Cycle lanes and then a few cyclists with them.

        • RedLogix

          Given that my sister-in-law was killed by a truck riding her bike near Taupo in March this year I’d like to suggest that you’ve just made a complete dolt of yourself. On the other hand you were not to know.

          I would ask however if you know how many cyclist’s killed and seriously injured by vehicles in the last ten years, compared to how many walkers were killed and seriously injured by cyclists?

          Given how adamantly you insist that ‘oil and water’ cannot mix I’d imagine you must have the answer immediately to hand.

          • MrSmith

            That’s right Red I wasn’t to know so why even bring it up, oh thats right it was to show me I made an ass of myself?

            Anyway Red this discussion is going Know-where, you’re obviously all pissed off the long haired beard one didn’t show up again, keep the faith and have a good night.

          • tinfoilhat

            I terribly sorry to hear that.

            My daughter works with Tina and said she was utterly devastated when her sister was killed. I really do think we would be better served having similar legislation to that in the Netherlands where the automobile is always thought to be in the wrong which may have led to the far better attitudes that drivers in that part of the world have in relation to cyclists.

            • RedLogix

              I was pretty mean to Mr Smith. He probably made a thoughtless, throw-away comment and what I said wasn’t particularly fair.

              A few weeks after Jane was killed I had a ‘manager’ walk into the office ranting about how some ‘road rat’ cyclist had held him up for all of 15 seconds on a narrow bridge where there was no room for both. Short of standing up and taking a swing at him – all I could do was stare blankly across the room and pretend I wasn’t hearing.

              Setting aside the personal, it’s still true that our attitude to cycling in this country is still very immature, even compared to Australia – and certainly way behind much of Europe.

              As I suggested to Mr Smith at the outset some common courtesy and mutual respect would be the easy solution. Yet for some reason far too many New Zealanders seem incapable of even this anymore.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Yet for some reason far too many New Zealanders seem incapable of even this anymore.

                30 years of me me me society enforced by the governments can do that to even the most reasonable of people.

            • Murray Olsen

              On Norfolk Island if you hit a cow, it’s your fault. In Brisbane there’s a path along some parts of the river, which is used by both pedestrians and cyclists. Many of the lycra clad adrenaline junkies are not very considerate of the pedestrians. In Hamburg, cyclists will run into you on the paths, then abuse you for not knowing the local rules. In Auckland I found many car drivers had a shocking attitude to cyclists. I’ve seen enough bad behaviour on all sides that I think walking and cycling tracks should be kept separate.

  5. Philj 5

    As keen walkers, we find the footpath has been taken over by cyclists. This does create safety issues . Once upon a time, I remember feeling guilty about cycling on the footpath, expecting a police fine. Now it’s encouraged, putting walkers at risk from lycra clad speedsters. The ‘National’ cycleway was heralded as JK ‘s brilliant idea for jobs etc.. It’s been up to local ratepayers to fund a large part of it. Now we find out that maintenance is not budgeted for? The original size of the National cycle way has been scaled down to a chosen few around the country, and has resulted in a classic over promise and under deliver. I would rate a 2 out of 10 at this point of time. Is this your major achievement, your legacy John Key. Let’s not forget selling 7 billion of state assets for less than 5.

    • karol 5.1

      When I used to ride Auckland’s western cycleway, I found the opposite problem: walkers taking over the cycleway, ignoring the sings the keep left, walking in twos, threes and more stretching right across the path and glaring at me when I said politely “excuse me” so I could get passed.

      If everyone just paid attention to the keep left signs, and showed consideration for others, it’d be fine.

      Then there were people walking dogs not on leashes on the cycleway.

  6. QoT 6

    Paying to set things up and forgetting they continue to cost money is one of the defining characteristics of this government. (See also: everything they’re claiming to pay for from asset sales proceeds.)

    And yet somehow they keep trying to tell us they know how to run a business/balance a household budget!

    • adam 6.1

      God help you if you used this type of economics yourself – pay and walk away. 10 social workers, cyps, and the council would be banging on your door. Oh wait, is that what John key needs, a social worker to help him get over his lying addiction?

  7. Tracey 7

    Apparently the hobbit in auckland cost 18-24 bucks. Seens the taxpayers pay twice for this movie too

  8. tricledrown 8

    The new clutha cycleway is a complete flop as hardly anyone is using it everytime I Go by there is no one on it .

  9. Will@Welly 9

    I’m really sorry, but when these “cycleways” were announced, I was expecting something a bit more dramatic. The Otago cycle trail works because of it’s location, but you can’t expect to have 20 or 40 similar cycle trails dotted around the country performing to the same expectations. John Key, as the gambler we know he is, was hoping yet again these would be a winner.
    Having toured around the country, and met alot of overseas tourists, and fellow Kiwis, many of whom have been enthusiastic cyclists, the one thing missing on our roads is a safe network of cycleways, running from the Cape to the Bluff, and back again. Many is the time iI have shuddered at the way New Zealand drivers have approached cyclists on the open road – please do not let this descend into a debate over us verse them. What we could have done as well as building a few of these cycle trails, is implemented a proper cyclepath, which would have encouraged keen cyclists to vacation in other parts of our country. Instead, now we see the mantra of “user pays” rearing its ugly head, so instead of enjoying a convivial ride in the sunshine, enjoying fresh air, you’ll be forking out your hard earnt dosh to some unscrupulous gladfly, while the poor and the impoverished sit at home unable to ride along Mr Key’s cyclelane of national significance. Truly outstanding.

  10. TightyRighty 10

    Why don’t we see how many jobs the FTA with china, that labour negotiated, had created? That’s a cracker of a policy. Why on earth you don’t make more of that outstanding piece of work I don’t understand.

    • thechangeling 10.1

      It’s only benefited the dairy industry as FTA’s only seem to do. Manufacturing sector here contracts, more firm shut down and/or relocate offshore and unemployment/underemployment and couch camping (zero income people) groups grow. That’s neo liberal global economics as pushed and pursued by both Labour and National continuously since 1984.

  11. tricledrown 11

    Tighty almighty back peddling

  12. emergency mike 12

    These 600 odd temporary jobs are merely the first wave of the 170,000 that Key said they were going to create from 2011 to 2015. The job tsunami will be coming along any day now have some faith guys!

    • Will@Welly 12.1

      I’ve been holding my breath. Don’t know for how much longer. Someone told they saw pink elephants in the sky, and pigs that could fly, so maybe the miracle that John Key “promised” is about to eventuate. Meanwhile across the land, instead of turning water into wine, this Government’s managed to turn water into something more foul and less appealing, more in keeping with their noxious art of cheating, lying, stealing and thieving.
      So, we’ve got just over 730 days to “create” 170,000 f**ken jobs. I’ll been as keen as anyone to see what kind of daylight shines out of Mr Key’s back passage over this miracle.

  13. Ad 13

    Having just completed the Otago Rail Trail today, I am pretty confident that at least 10 Otago villages would no longer exist today without it. The Clutha Gold one will kick in – just you watch: cycling is the new golf.

    The next one to do is the Mt Cook to Oamaru five-day thing, starting by helicopter from the Hermitage.

    Almost everyone is over 40. What a relief!

    Still, Karol’s point for the other trails is answered easily thus: some cycle trails need a subsidy either from NZTA or local councils ie treated like any other road for vehicles. Key’s government was still too young at the time to re-write the GPS for transport and figure that out. Sad and dumb, sure.

    It’s time we tilted our subsidy levels away from car-focused roads towards cycling. Who knows, with a bit of sensible redistribution you might just save another of New Zealand’s regions.

    • karol 13.1

      Wouldn’t it be better to focus on everyday cycling around towns and cities? Not just the holiday special tours?

      • Ad 13.1.1

        Nope. The regions need transport support beyond petroleum too. Politically the initiative had regional mayors bowing and scraping before him. They weren’t just Nats: they understood the impact it would have economically.

        • karol

          Putting some cycleways in orto and from small towns in the regions would surely be catering to more of a need, and be more used daily, than some patchy scenic cycleways?

          • Ad

            Fatties from the city – like me – need to start somewhere safe.

            5% of NZ urban cyclists are urban heroes. Do it despite the risks.

            Another 25% the potentials – would do it if it was safe

            Another 15% would do it if it was safe and cool.

            The rest you’ll never convert.

            Stats from Cycle Action Auckland – their website will have it.

            You need to think of rural trails as conversion experiences for those beyond the 5%.
            Success occurs when more than Julie Ann Genter and Trevor Mallard are doing it.

            • karol

              Well I would have thought the 25%, who’d do it if safe in urban areas, would be a target to aim for: ie with safe urban cycling routes. Not all have the means to head to Arrow Town to get the experience.

              I know people who cycle only in off road cycleways in Auckland – sometimes means driving to get access.

              • Ad

                It’s not an either-or. Shift the Government Policy Statement to be less motorways and more cycling right across the country, urban and rural. Converting city folk is hard, but nothing to country folk, unless there’s practical benefit ie money in it. Everyone needs safe routes.

                • karol

                  I’m with that. More cycle and walkways (I can no longer cycle). More and better public transport, less focus on private cars on roads.

  14. The NZ Herald seemed less than impressed with this abrupt report on Dear Leader’s pet project, in December 2010; http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10692801

  15. ecossemaid 15

    Oh a National Cycle Way promoted by Mr Keys? Surely he will have to take advanatge of a photo opp/selfie to show off his latest intative and “Cycle” a part of said “New Network”? If so can, someone be on hand, to test him for “Lance Armstrong Drugs” aka “LyingDenialPoliticalSteroids”? If not, if Mr Keys manages to master cycling without his bike stablizers (huge ask)….any chance of him getting lost, using his on board “Prat Nav” ending up at the back of beyond and never coming back? Are You Thinking What I Am Hoping?” Yep, he loses his way and cycles into the sea and is never seen again, apart from being Harpooned by a passing Japanese “Research” Ship?…You have to have a dream to have a Non National Dream Come True! My Excuse & I am sticking to it!

  16. karol 16

    Meanwhile, Auckland’s the most dangerous place in the country to ride a bicycle – adds to the ACC bill. Surely a major effort for off road cycleways would be very beneficial to the economy?

  17. philj 17

    Karol, don’t make me laugh. Seems like we only do things in this mean little godzone if it is economic! Chris Hedges has some wise words for this type of thinking. Look him up on you tube.

  18. home help 18

    Last time the country needed and was capable of providing jobs that were directly able to define NZ and NZers was in the days of Think Big albeit with a few bad social consequences but a least we built things that everyone was able to benefit from .
    Now these bastards who run the country wouldnt know what a shovel is for other than pile up money in their vaults like Scrooge McDuck
    And sell our country down the fuckin drain

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    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
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