The prime minister’s promise that isn’t a promise

Photoshopped image credit: Technomage

When is a promise not a promise? According to Phil Twyford, a promise Ardern made before she became prime minister doesn’t count as one.

Why is that, you ask? Well, silly, Ardern wasn’t prime minister at the time was she?

Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH (National) to the Minister of Transport: Is he committed to building light rail from the city to the airport in Auckland and if so, when will work begin?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD (Minister of Transport): Yes. Light rail will be a game-changer for Auckland. It will be a magnet for private investment in urban renewal, and each line will be able to carry 11,000 commuters per hour, the equivalent of four lanes of motorway. The light rail project will extend Auckland’s rapid transit network, a core part of our plan to build a modern transport system for the city. There is a procurement process under way now, so work has already started.

Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH: Is the Government on track to have built light rail from Wynyard Quarter to Mount Roskill within four years of becoming Government, as promised by Jacinda Ardern in August 2017?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: At that point, Jacinda Ardern was not the Prime Minister.

Oral Question No.8 Parliament 13 February 2019

This is a doozy of an excuse from dear ol’ Phil, who would do his public persona a huge favour by putting a sock in his mouth. 

And is there a reason Ardern’s minders keep running interference for her whenever pressure is applied over her non-delivery? Quote.

The first promise Ardern made as Labour leader looks to have gone up in smoke.

During her first big public outing as leader during the election, she promised rail for all – including a line from the Auckland waterfront to Dominion Rd to Mount Roskill, all to be completed by 2021.” End of quote.


That promise could have been sidelined because Labour was already assured of votes from the fast growing immigrant communities found at the Dominion Road end of Mt Roskill.

This part of Auckland is its Bible belt, so could this promise have been a desperate attempt to soothe and secure votes from disgruntled Mt Roskill residents unhappy about their non-integrating, halal-eating neighbours? Quote. 

The promise was part of a $15 billion package and came with a plea from Ms Ardern – she needed cash to fund it.

That part of the promise did come true: Aucklanders are paying the 10 cents a litre more at the pump.

“You can call a regional fuel tax ‘crowd-sourcing’ if you like,” she told the public.

But Labour hasn’t done the rail part. End of quote.

Doesn’t matter, because, on the whole, Labour voters are a forgiving lot. Their heroine can do no wrong, and voters are undeterred by a poor performance so will keep voting Labour until the cows come home.

So much for Ardern’s claim of transparency. So much for the CoL trying to weasel out of being held accountable. So much for 2019 being this government’s “year of delivery”. Quote.

On Wednesday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford admitted the Government would fail to build light rail down Dominion Rd by 2021. Instead, he only expects work to start on it next year.

end of quote.

The notion of discounting a promise on the basis of not being in government is novel and new, but not credible.

Full marks for originality, but this government gets a fail for performance and another fail for such a ridiculous excuse.