Saturday, February 27, 2010

Key's big idea fails

A year ago today, John Key came up with a big idea to save the New Zealand economy: a cycleway the length of New Zealand, costing $50 million and creating 3,700 jobs. A year on, the reality is a bit different: the cycleway has been reduced to a collection of local tracks, and not one cent of the money appropriated has been spent:

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.

The New Zealand Cycle Trail Project has given a preliminary nod to 13 new stretches of trail, and agreed to give money to six others that were nominated for quick start funding to get the project off the ground.

A spokeswoman said none of the money had yet been paid.

As for the jobs, not one has been created.

A cycleway, or even a collection of them, isn't a bad thing to have. But as a response to the recession, it was just a joke, a flashy piece of PR designed to make it look like the government was doing something, while in reality they sat on their hands and left the market to sort itself out. The consequence of that can be seen in the unemployment statistics: there are now 59,000 more people out of work than when National came to power. Rather than protecting jobs, National has just abandoned us to the market.