11 Mar 2010

Few unemployed getting work on cycle project

4:24 pm on 11 March 2010

Only a small number of people registered as unemployed are getting work on the National Cycle Trail project, documents reveal.

Documents released to Radio New Zealand under the Official Information Act show the Ministry of Social Development has allocated 25 unemployed people to work on each of the 20 trails.

Seven trails have been approved and feasibility studies are being conducted on another 13 possible trails.

So far only 20 people are working on the Waikato trail and 12 are employed on the Mountains to the Sea trail in the Central North Island.

Weekly reports on the project, prepared on behalf of Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key, show the project team is in discussions with the Ministry of Social Development to ensure employment opportunities are maximised.

Mr Key says the Government's target of 500 unemployed getting work on the trails will be reached in time and he says there will be other spinoffs too.

"One of the important bits about this cycleway is it's an ongoing project. There'll be businesses established around if it's anything like the Otago Central Rail Trail. So from Government's perspective creating jobs was one part of the cycleway but it was actually part of a broader inititiative for tourism in New Zealand."

So far, $50 million has been set aside for the project.