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Re:Cycle (re-run)

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, February 27th, 2010 - 18 comments
Categories: cycleway, jobs, summer re-run, unemployment - Tags:

We received this guest post about half an hour after John Key announced his cycleway. At the time, the very sensible criticisms it raises were ignored by an enamoured media. How prescient it looks now, on the anniversary of the Prime Minister’s Jobs Summit.

According to Stuff: “Another idea on the table [at the Jobs Summit] is a $50 million cycleway built the length of the country. It would provide 3700 jobs and would take two years to build. The government is keen on it for its tourist potential.”

A summit attendee writes:
“Oh dear. Less than four months in and the National Government is already bereft of ideas. How to solve unemployment? Let’s build a $50m cycleway the length of New Zealand! Whoopee! Somehow, we’re going to build this thing for just $25k per kilometre! Somehow, we’re going to expect that a $50m investment – just $12 per New Zealander – is just the boost that this country needs to arrest the slide towards high unemployment levels and a deeper recession! And over the two-year course of this project, if the workers received the entirety of the $50m in their pockets, they’d get paid $6756 per annum for all their hard work and toil! Oh, how in ten years time we’re going to be swimming in gold coins like Uncle Scrooge, crying ‘Mercy, it was that blessed cycleway that was the turning point!’

I realise this is just an idea at this stage. But it’s not even a half baked idea. It’s one of those demented ideas that crosses your mind during a daydream then you keep your mouth shut when you realise that whichever way you look at it, everyone’s gonna think you’re either unbelievably stupid or that you must be joking.

And there you have your answer. It IS a joke. The media who reported it clearly have no sense of humour or irony. Not even a subtle one. After all, National building a cycleway? You’ve got to be joking. They’d rather invest $50m on a rat and stoat breeding programme in the Karori Wildlife sanctuary. Actually, best not give them ideas….”

The number of jobless Kiwis is now 80,000 higher than when Key entered office. 250,000 people are out of work. The cycleway was reduced to a series of ‘great rides’ (which, frankly, always put me more in mind of sex tourism than cycle holidays). Just $3 million of the $50 million has been allocated. To a cycleway that was being built anyway. No jobs have been created as a result of John Key’s cycleway apart from a couple of public servants administering the money.

18 comments on “Re:Cycle (re-run) ”

  1. Monty 1

    you also failed to report from the article “The bigger benefits are expected in the long term, if the network attracts more overseas tourists and encourages them to spend longer stays in smaller towns.”

    • Marty G 1.1

      “you also failed to report”?

      this is a guest post from day the cycleway was announced. what are you quoting?

  2. r0b 2

    Huh – and today in The Herald:

    Cycle track plan moves at snail’s pace

    A year after John Key announced plans for a national cycle trail, not one metre of trail has been built using money from the new cycleway fund.

  3. Jellytussle 3

    I rather like the idea of a national cycleway and am sure that the existence of one would be reasonably well used in parts and add to the attractions of many areas. However it’s promotion as a major response to a financial crisis left me absolutely gobsmacked. That the blatant lies re financial outcomes and job creation were essentially unchallenged by a compliant media was astounding. When are the main news distributors in this country going to stop suppressing their analytical skills?

  4. Riddle me this…What looks like a cycle way through a national park but is actually a road to a mine ?

    • Rex Widerstrom 4.1

      “…you were lucky! We used t’ carry coal oot t’ road in our knapsacks. We were allowed t’ lick soot off one piece for our dinner, then it was back doon track…”

  5. RedLogix 5

    A national network of cycleways is an idea whose time had come… it has broad cross-party support and is well supported in the community. It’s a good idea.

    The idea of using the building of them as an economic stimulus to help people during an major downturn is an even better idea….relatively low cost, labour intensive and if executed with vigour and commitment could be up and running fairly quickly.

    And it is of course on this last point Key has failed. It’s his idea, it’s got his fingerprints on it and so far a year later…. not one meter built.


    • Marty G 5.1

      Agreed. It’s not the idea of cycleways that is bad. It is the idea of them as an economic stimulus, indeed the best idea the nats and the assembled minds of business could come up with

    • bill brown 5.2

      Hmm, I wonder if he’ll manage a marquee on Queen’s wharf? – after all that’s got the Key Kiss ‘O Death now too.

    • Lanthanide 5.3

      With the puny 50m budget, it was never going to happen, especially not any great speed. If they’d put up something more like 250-300m, it would have been much more reasonable and actually a worthy job-creation scheme.

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    The difficulty for the media was surely that it was the best of the options that our highly paid, well respected, intelligent, innovative, well educated, proactive, in demand overseas so we have to pay them exorbitant wages here in New Zealand businessmen could come up with.

    They should have got a group of woman together cause as a representation of male thinking I was frankly ashamed and went and hid.

  7. greenfly 7

    Suits have seams, linings, pockets and cuffs, but do they have brains?

    There’s a lovely symmetry between the cycleway and ‘Party Central’, the common factor being …Key’s mouth.

    Hey! My anti-spam word was ‘waste’!!

  8. SD 8

    I agree that a network of cycleways is better then nothing, although as far as economic stimulus goes, it won’t do much in the short term. But as others have noted on this page, in the long term it may have an effect if it is marketed properly overseas.

    What I find funny is the original plan for a cycleway, all the way from Cape Reinga to Bluff.!

    I knew from day one that it wasn’t a goer. Then the government finally woke up and realised it wont work either, so they opted for a network of cycleways around the country.

    I remember a post on this webpage about a month after the cycleway was announced “Jobs created 0” and a year later as we are coming out of recesion it is still “Jobs created 0”


  9. Blue 9

    When Key first announced his vision for a national cycleway the length of the entire country I thought it was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard and wondered if he could possibly be serious.

    Then it all got even stranger when the media actually reported it as if it wasn’t the dumbest thing they’d ever heard out of a PM’s mouth.

    Now, Key is planning to put GST up to 15%, an instant price rise on everything, and there is barely a whimper of protest from anyone. It’ll all be on in a few short months and people don’t seem to care even as much as they did about the Electoral Finance Act.

    The only possible explanation is that we have all entered the John Key Zone.

  10. SPC 10

    They cannot even organise and implement the quick building of cycle ways. The “key” word is quick – for if the idea was part of a job creation programme it presumably was to be done quickly.

    Given that there appears to have been no emphasis on getting quick results, one can only presume National is supportive of a jobless recovery – and expects to operate with higher levels of unemployment throughout its term/terms in office.

  11. Red Rosa 11

    The cycle way is a great idea, but a big undertaking. $50m will go nowhere. If the Greens had proposed it, the ‘cost-conscious’ Nats would have rubbished it!

    As for the tax cuts, there must be plenty of Telecom customers furious at Paul Reynolds and his bumbling bunch, yet the tax cuts to these Telecom executives alone must run into the $m’s.

    Now that JK is going to leave the pensioners better off after GST goes up, the only losers (by definition) must be middle NZ. And why do this anyway? The top tax rates in the US and Oz are already higher than ours, and they both have capital gains taxes.

    I must be missing something.

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