Three strikes and you’re out they say.
But in government, you can go out in one strike. If you have two strikes against you and still have your job, then you should consider yourself the most blessed politician ever.
Phil Twyford has had a rotten run. First the manifest failure that is KiwiBuild.
Now this morning he gave notice that Auckland’s Light Rail process had “ended”. He said: “Despite extensive cross-party consultation, Government parties were unable to reach agreement on a preferred proposal,”
Two strikes. Two fails. He’s not out. In fact, he’s still in. Big time. He’s number four on their list.
The future of the project will now be decided by the government following September’s general election. So it’s dead for now and whether it will be resurrected or not is anyone’s guess.
The reasons for the termination are murky.
One theory is that New Zealand First stopped it. Doing their tail wagging the dog trick again to prove that they haven’t been subsumed by the Labour Party. It’s happened before this election year. It’s a good trick for both New Zealand First and Labour.
At the end of the day Labour needs New Zealand First to get through the September election because it’s a fool who hasn’t realised yet that governance in New Zealand is dependent on coalitions and coalition partners. That means getting votes from you supporters.
The other theory is that consensus on the two competing tenders can’t be found. One plan is the original plan from the NZTA. The other is the Johnny-come-lately bid called NZ Infra which is made up of the Super Fund and a Canadian pension fund. This is Phil Twyford’s preference. The fact he couldn’t get that across the line is another slap in the face for the Minister.
But all the complicated stuff doesn’t really matter. It’s the broken promises and the failure to deliver. And that’s a noose that Phil Twyford put around his own neck.
With KiwiBuild he promised 100,000 houses in 10 years. At the rate they went at Kiwibuild would take over 400 years to reach that target. It’s a massive fail.
But in September three years ago, he also promised that that the Light Rail would be built from the Auckland CBD to Mount Roskill by 2021, which is just next year.
Chris Bishop from National was livid. “After three years of work, millions of dollars to consultants and lawyers and policy advice, back and forth, we have no route, no consent, no business case, we have no plan, we have no estimate of the cost.”
It’s a massive fail. And it infuriates me because we all told Phil he was dreaming with his goals from Day 1.
Shane Jones saying he could spend $3 billion in three years and then yesterday coming on the show moaning that he couldn’t because things take time infuriated me too.
I’m sick of these politicians making grand promises that we can all see are completely unachievable.
Thinking we believe them means two things. They’re either deluded and incompetent. Or they think we’re all stupid and we’ll never notice. It’s probably a bit of both.