[At the outset of this, let me restate, once again, I’m all for cycleways. Indeed, I wish the Key government hadn’t cut millions from urban cycling in the Budget. What I object to is the overhyping of a few possible cycleways as if they constitute some kind of economic recovery plan]
Key has identified seven regional cycleways that may be built, subject to technical investigations and feasibility studies.
No word from him on the total cost. No word on likely economic benefits. No word on projected start dates, length of construction period, or finish dates. No word on what kind of cycleways we’ll be getting either.
Key estimates that 280 jobs may be created but doesn’t say whether these are full time or part time, if these are low skill/low wage jobs or not, or how long they will last. The number on the dole is increasing by 335 a day.
You know, I was thinking the other day about this whole cycleway thing. How Key and Weldon had got together like excited school-boys, pulled out a figure of $50 million from who knows where (Key’s office has refused to release the source, so I think he just made it up), and then began dreaming of a ‘Tour de New Zealand’ to be raced along this cycleway.
They had even come up with a grand name the Sir Edmund Hillary Explorator, intended to co-opt the memory of Sir Ed to give legitimacy to their project. They had gone that far on the spin but had put no effort into working out if a cycleway the length of the country was actually viable, how much it would cost, and whether you could actually race a cycle tour on a cycleway (answer: no). This cart before the horse approach where the PR comes first and the reality is dragged along behind has, of course, typified the Key government.
Even its reduced form, the ‘Great Rides’, is still more spin than substance. Nothing has been decided, no costings done, we don’t even know if the routes Key has announced are feasible and yet from the tone of the announcements you would think the things were built already.
While the PM occupies himself with this PR stunt that may create some jobs sometime in the future, he’s failing to address issues of substance.