After the jobs conference (see February 27th 2009) the Prime Minister, John Key, was very interested in the idea of cycle tracks from the north of the North Island to the south of the South Island, about 2,000km. As well as being Prime Minister, John Key is Minister of Tourism. He believes that cycle tracks will bring different kinds of tourists to New Zealand, especially Australians who love the New Zealand outdoors. Now it seems that 2,000km of cycle track would cost too much so John Key wants to see a number of shorter tracks in scenic areas. He told the Minister of Finance to give $50 million for this.
The Central Otago rail trail is very popular. This is inland from Dunedin. When the railway closed in 1990, 150km of railway lines were taken away and this became a popular walking and cycling track.
This morning, in Auckland, thousands of walkers and cyclists wanted to cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge to celebrate the 50th birthday of the bridge. However, the police said it would be too dangerous because it is a motorway. There were so many people, it was impossible for the police to stop them. This was a big protest about the rights of cyclists and walkers. An organisation called “GetAcross” says it has 10,000 members who all want to be able to get across the bridge on foot or by bike. They want a special lane on the bridge.