Spin cycle

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 28th, 2009 - 16 comments
Categories: economy - Tags: ,

Normally, $9 million in government spending is such a puny amount it’s not worth covering but as Key has nailed his crediblity to the success of his cycleways, let’s crunch some numbers.

These seven tracks will supposedly cost $9 million to build and create 280 jobs (only 140 in the near future). Other details, including how much length of actual new cycleway (ie. not just putting up signs beside a road) will be built are thin, in typical Key style.

So, $9 million. Let’s be conservative and take just half of that for materials, equipment etc. Leaves $4.5 million for wages. $16K per worker? Hmm, either these are very low pay jobs or they’re not going to last long. Most likely, both.

Also, how the hell do you buy any decent length corridors of land with just $9 million? Oh, you don’t. See, most of it is going to be built on DoC land. The conservation estate turned over for Key’s daydream. DoC will probably be lumped with the maintance costs too (where’s the money going to come from? Not budgeted?). A couple of the cycleways are described as ‘rail trails’, does this mean the land is owned by Ontrack? That’s an SOE. Is it supposed to simply give away all that land? Maybe they’ll take a peppercorn. Whatever happens there’ll be a huge hidden cost.

Having failed to deliver the thousands of jobs he promised for building the cycleways, Key’s now promising they’ll deliver thousands once they’re built on maintanence and supporting businesses. Rubbish. The Otago Rail Trail apparently supports 75 jobs (only during the high season, shhh, don’t say that too loudly) and is worth $7.5 million a year but you can’t simply up-scale those numbers.

New cycleway won’t suddenly generate lots of new cyclists out of the blue, anymore than me opening a new dairy would create more demand in the dairy market. For the most part, the new cycleways will take part of the existing market, either from the Otago rail trail or other tourism activities. Laying down some gravel and putting up some signs is not going to create an industry generating hundreds of millions of dollars and employing thousands. Sorry.

Key has completely overegged this whole project. Rather than doing anything substantive about the recession, he’s been spending his time on this and the result is typical Key – all promise, no delivery.

16 comments on “Spin cycle”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    I don’t think anybody, including Mr Key, said that the cycleway was the silver bullet that would end the recession. He said that it was an example of one of the things the Government would do that would have some effect. The only people taking it to ridiculous extremes are some of the writers here at the Standard and Chris Hipkins.

    • IrishBill 1.1

      Problem is it’s one of only two things the government are doing and these two things combined are saving less jobs than we are currently losing every week.

    • BLiP 1.2

      So far, the only cycling your beloved Johhny-boy is doing is some serious back-pedalling.

    • snoozer 1.3

      Give it up Tim. Key overpromised and underdelivered.

      He promised thousands of jobs by now. We actually have 2.. bureaucrats!

      Eventually, we’ll get a few short-term, low-pay jobs.

      And this is his flagship policy. There isn’t anything else.

      • Swampy 1.3.1

        Rubbish, there is money going into roading, there is money going into broadband (fibre), there is a lot that hasn’t yet been announced.

        • BLiP

          there is a lot that hasn’t yet been announced.

          That’s because there isn’t any.

          As far as the roads are concerned, the John Key National Government wants to sell them to foreign multinationals so that we can lease them back, what a wonderful idea! As to the broadband, the nice Mr Key has already started back-pedalling on that big time, don’t you recall when he told his farmer mates to go and get fucked?

          Carry on trolling . . .

    • exbrethren 1.4

      I’d say Key took it to ridiculous extremes by saying it would create 3700 jobs at the “do-fest not talk-fest”.

      This has proved to be a wildly inaccurate prediction.

      The jobs announced so far are about the same as the amount of jobs being lost EACH day.

      John Key – fiddling while Rome burns.

  2. Jono 2

    Just a quick comment on the route I am most familiar with, the “Hokianga to Russell” trail.

    1) The trail runs from Horeke (arse end of nowhere, arse end of the Hokianga, no public transport too/from, poor and angry locals, very dangerous swimming) to Opua (thirty minute/$20 ferry ride and drive to Russell).
    2) The lead section for establishment is from Okaihau to Kaikohe, ie from nowhere to nowhere, along an disused section of railway. Both places are on secondary tourist routes well away from the major destinations of the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga, Intercity might stop there but noone else does, and neither have anything going for them as destinations.
    3) The route passes by Moerewa and Kawakaka on the way to the coast at Opua, two of the least attractive stops in the North (aside form the Hunterwasser toilets and INdian takeaway at Kawakawa),

    They would have been better off leading with the Kawakawa-Opua route as it on SH1, tourists already stope there for the famous toilet, and the railway track to Opua is already used occasionally and reasonably successfully for organised walks. The rest of the route is laughable, but does run through Hone Harawira’s back yard. They would have been better off scoping a Donnelly’s Crossing to Dargaville route (which DOC has been considering for years) and which would link the major tourist draw of the Waipoua Forest/Trounson Forest Park with the major service centre at Dargahole.

    • Swampy 2.1

      Probably, Jono, the same was said about the Otago Central as it runs most of the way along a secondary highway route, or gravelled roads. You can say that Clyde is near the route to Queenstown, but the highway (87?) that follows much of the route is not used by any major tourist operators. It’s only since the trail opened that its tourist potential has been realised.

      Kawakawa to Opua is a working heritage railway that is not going to be pulled up anytime soon so no go there.

  3. Jono 3

    I would also be pretty POd if I was the Te Araroa Trust, having worked for years on a pittance to establish a national walking trail, working with Councils, DOC and landowners to agree routes etc only to have the wind (and $$) sucked out of your “National Route” sails by spandex-clad Johny-Come-Latelys on two wheels.

    • So Bored 3.1

      Well spotted Jono, I have taken the proverbial on this for ages but even so would have expected a modicum of planning if Jonkey really thought this was a real thing.
      It would appear that what Jonkeys lackeys have come up with is some existing tracks and planned dreams, said bugger the walkers and tried to cobble together a “concept” out of stuff all to stop us all taking the piss. Its pathetic really.

    • Swampy 3.2

      I bet nothing of the sort, who in their right mind would turn down the money just for political grandstanding.

  4. snoozer 4

    They’re not really going to make the road from Wanganui to Jerusalem a cycleway are they?

    It’s a narrow, rough, unsealed, two way road. There’s no room to build a separate cyclepath off to the side. Basically, they want tourists to cycle along a metal road on a cliff edge while cars go zooming past in both directions.

    Not many lattes going around those parts either.

  5. millsy 5

    At least they are not ripping up the railway lines….yet.

  6. Swampy 6

    And, as usual, the blog is the most negative possible. Surely you’d prefer none of this went ahead at all and 280 people weren’t employed, just to make some pathetic political point.

    DOC owns a huge amount of land in some parts of the country and it is quite reasonable to use some of it for tracks like this, in fact a lot of it is used for recreational purposes like these. If that wasn’t possible then people would not be able to see a lot of the interesting historical features of this country. DOC owns all the land under the Otago Central Rail Trail which they specifically purchased for that purpose and if they hadn’t done it, there would be no OCRT.

    And if you were informed instead of posting purile speculation, you’d know that most rail trails already built in this country are not on land owned by Ontrack, well there’s another silly argument shot down in flames.

    What these trails will do is take traffic off the roads, where people are cycling on the roads, they will go by these trails instead, not everyone wants to go all the way to Dunedin to get on the Otago Rail Trail and there is no sane reason to give Otago an exclusive run. Your attack is quite denigratory towards every group that has worked to establish different rail trails around the country, let alone historical access tracks and the like on DOC land, and DOC buying up land specifically for rail trails etc. It is just pathetic ill informed political posturing and a complete waste of space.

  7. Walt 7

    About half of the announced route from Walter Peak to Kingston already exists (it’s the Mavora Lakes ride described in the Kennett Brother’s “Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides”).

    The rest of the trail is supposed to “follow the Oreti River and, from Mossburn, along the old railway line to Lumsden and on to Kingston” (so possibly OnTrack land?).

    I suspect parts of the other announced trails already exist and I’m torn on that:

    * On one hand, if they’re only spending $50 million they’ll have to stretch that money out
    * On the other, if they claim to have “built” a trail from A to C via B when A to B already exists then they’re possibly trying to claim credit for something they haven’t really done

    Maybe the most effective way to spend a good chunk of the $50 million is to spend it on marketing/promoting existing trails, but is that spending going to create more jobs than if the funds went into something else?

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