The reality is the Waikato River Trail was being built anyway. In fact, it is already over half built. So this $3 million isn’t actually creating anything that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
$3 million for 41km. Works out at basically $75,000 per km -$75 a metre. And this is on publicly-owned land, so there’s no cost of land purchase. I don’t see how Key’s going to make the other 2500 or so km of his national cycle way for $47 million. Like we said right at the start while the media were still swooning, Key’s claim was always a con, another PR stunt.
Speaking of cons, where are the jobs? Key promised the national cycle way would create 3,700 jobs to keep people working through the recession. Of course, the recession’s over and the cycle way money is still mostly in the bank rather than employing people.
If the Waikato River Trail is employing 3,700 people they sure stayed well hidden when the camera crews were there. All I saw were half a dozen council employees who were working on the trail before Key came along for his photo op and would have continued working there regardless.
Meanwhile, there are now quarter of a million jobless people in New Zealand*. That number has increased by 200 every day John Key has been Prime Minister.
In many ways, the national cycle way has become the archetypal policy of this government – over-promised, under-planned, PR first – reality second, and, finally, under-deliver. Still, the Clown-in-chief got his photo op. Mission accomplished.
*(‘jobless’ is a wider measure that includes both the ‘unemployed’ who are actively looking for work but haven’t found it and those who would take a job if there were any going but have largely given up looking so don’t count as ‘unemployed’).