Once upon a time Aucklanders were musing on the merits of a private-sector proposal aimed at satisfying the demands from the lycra lobby for a tolled pedestrian and cycle path across Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Orewa-based Hopper Developments – with pioneering projects such as canal housing and marina schemes at Pauanui, Whitianga and Marsden Pt under its belt – had signed a heads of agreement to work with a walking and cycling charitable trust on a $16 million pathway over the bridge.
This differed from a proposal by Transport Agency consultants, rejected by the agency’s board in 2008, for separate paths to be cantilevered at road level off each edge of the bridge for up to $43 million.
The SkyPath project since then has become, first, a privately funded project underwritten by the Auckland Council, and then a project to be paid for by taxpayers – and the costs have burgeoned.
Today we learn of plans for a $685 million dedicated cycle bridge to replace SkyPath, proudly announced by Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Wood.
That statement was followed by another announcement that Continue reading “How to get pedallers and walkers off the Auckland Harbour Bridge – by giving them their own bridge (and it will only cost $685m)”
We haven’t had time to add up the sums involved, but the Government has made several announcements in the past 24 hours or so involving the spending or investment of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mind you, most of the population has been deemed ineligible on race grounds to benefit directly from some of that spending – you could say much of it. But the government does insist that if Maori do well, we all do well, which means we will all benefit in the long run.
The aviation industry is one beneficiary where ethnicity (so far as we can tell) has not been a consideration in the government’s decision-making. An additional $170 million is being provided for the Maintaining International Air Connectivity scheme to October 2021.
Another announcement – for regional grants and loans promised before the election – transforms the Provincial Growth Fund and continues its work in developing regional projects, but with less money and a new name, the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund.
Even so, there’s $200 million to be distributed to worthy causes (and Maori projects are being given the inside running).
Maori medium schools are the beneficiaries of $77 million in new capital and Maori communities are the beneficiaries of 15 initiatives to receive $2.8m of funding for renewable energy projects. This is just a first helping: in total $14 million will go to renewable energy projects for Māori housing over the next four years.
Our observations are that five of the fresh press statements from the Beehive can be characterised as … Continue reading “The PGF makes way for the RSPF – there’s not so much money and Maori projects will have the inside running”
On yer bikes, readers – and you don’t have to pedal. You could do it with a company called On Yer Bike Adventures, operating out of Greymouth, which is the sort of option we at Point of Order might consider because no pedal power (it seems) is required. The company’s services involve off road quad biking and buggies
Then there’s an outfit called On Yer Bike Winery Tours with the much greater appeal of linking its customers with wine producers and (again getting rid of the need to pedal) hiring out e-bikes.
But the Government seems to be more inclined to direct your taxes to more physically demanding forms of cycling – and/or walking.
Cycle trails and cycle and walking tourism are more popular than ever, with nearly two million trips on the country’s Great Rides in one year, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash brayed in a statement prompted by the release of new stats.
“New analysis of data from the 22 trails which form the Great Rides shows an increase of nearly 700,000 trips in the year to February, compared to 2015,” said Nash.
Having done with the publication of new figures, Nash became an unabashed publicist. Continue reading “Nash becomes a publicist for the pedalling caper – taxpayers are tapped to help pave the pathways”