Is that it? John Key says there is a lot more yet to come. But yesterday’s announcement of the first sections of what is intended to add up one day to a national cycleway from North Cape to Bluff is slightly underwhelming – especially given a prime function of the project was to be a relatively cheap, easy and quick method of soaking up unemployment.
On that score, yesterday’s unveiling of just seven “potential” routes where construction “could” start this summer failed to live up to the high expectations that Key himself raised when he first mooted the project at his Job Summit back in February.
I’ve never been convinced that the cycleway was going to make a major impact economically or in terms of jobs. In fact it will be interesting to see the exact cost-benefit analysis done for each route.
However what I have noticed is that recreational cyclists are absolutely enthused about it. One I know is almost apolitical – does not follow politics much at all. And he said that he and his mates now see Key as God (pardon the blasphemy) because they are fanatical about having more cycling routes.
Whether the national cycleway will be a plus or minus for Key politically depends on how much actually gets built in the two years before the next election.
But, tellingly, Key’s “vision” of a national cycleway is now being pitched in terms of the environmental, health and longer-term job-generation benefits of the project.
The shift is admission that Key’s high hopes of the national cycleway being a stunningly successful stop-gap job-creation scheme have foundered.
Yeah as the costs were more fully done, it became clear it would incredibly expensive.