I’ve been watching a bit of the first election debate (yeah, months away) being held at the University of Auckland.
I don’t think it’s going to swing the polls much at this early stage.
The most notable thing about it is Patrick Gower grandstanding and trying to sound like ‘the man’ in front of the student audience.
Gower is trying to be funny, but he isn’t being very fair to the participating MPs and Hone.
And Gower is taking every opportunity to run down Bill English as boring.
It’s far from an impartial performance.
So far six of those party representatives in attendance say they have smoked cannabis – some emphasising when they were young. Hone fudged. Only one said they have never smoked it. Probably a fairly representative sample of the population.
Chris Bishop (National) supports heading down the decriminalise path. Same for Chris Hipkins. Both say it needs to be seen as a health issue. Hone is similar.
David Seymour has a different stance and wants prohibition ended. He then gets into very iffy territory suggesting protesters setting themselves on fire on the steps of Parliament.
Marama Fox doesn’t want to change except for medical but supports ‘a conversation’.
James Shaw says he agrees with the ACT Party. But also talks about alcohol, and points to tobacco and treat it as harm reduction without criminalising.
Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First) supports medical cannabis but otherwise says support the will of the people.
Shaw yes in certain circumstances. Sovereignty over their own bodies when terminal.
Harawira speaks in Maori and won’t explain in English.
Fox says kaupapa Maori is against it. Not their way – and at least she was open to everyone.
Seymour talks of his bill in the ballot with specific support. Proper consent and choice. Doesn’t ‘support euthanasia’, he supports choice.
Hipkins – yes he does support it if a bill was drafted properly. Gives personal examples (neighbours). Spoke with a bit of passion on it. Currently inhumane and wrong.
Bishop – all about choice as a libertarian. Same personal experience as Hipkins that strengthens his resolve.
Super – Gower asks Bishop then tries to bring the audience in against National’s proposal. Interfering again.
In fairness he also challenges Hipkins on Labour’s flip flop (in the opposite way to National).
Fox says the age should go down. She says not everyone gets the same because hard labouring people and Maori males on average barely get to the retirement age. She supports the United Future Flexi-super.
Seymour staunch on raising the age soon to be fairer to millennials.
Harawira – also talks about Maori males losing out with the current age due to low life expectancy. Also women who have worked harder than their men.
This is a fair point, a very tricky problem. He wants to lower the age to 60 for his constituency.
Fox reiterates and says that on her marae there are no older men.
Shaw – don’t mess with super without cross party consultation and slams English for dropping the issue into the election campaign, and he says this is more important than his party policy.
Shaw emphasises there are a range of options, not just age.
Tabuteau says everyone in the audience is going to work 45 years and then will deserve a pension.