My thoughts on leaders debate #2

Before I look around for other reactions I’ll give my own.

Both Jacinda Ardern and Bill English were feistier and debated a lot more than in the first debate.

English had a significantly stronger performance. He has some weak moments, for example when asked whether politicians lie, and on the Barclay related texts, and on housing, and he was occasionally hesitant. But he frequently stated examples of things he and National have done and are doing to address issues. And he often contested what Ardern said.

English’s best moment was actually when he was questioned by the panel afterwards. Morgan Godfrey thought he was putting on the spot on National’s ‘boot camp’ policy. English responded strongly and with an unusual degree of passion, saying that the military style academy was for the 150 worst of youth offenders, and it was a better option than the alternative for them, prison.

Ardern was a bit better perhaps but she often revealed her and Labour’s shortcomings. She speaks well, and engaged in debate with English, but she relied too much on claiming she had ‘vision’ but backed it up with too little details or substance.

Having a goal of eliminating child poverty and homelessness is a laudable vision, but it hardly sets her apart. It could be shared by just about all MPs and just about every New Zealander. But the reality is that it sounds like waving magic wand sort of stuff. She lacked credible details about how she would achieve it.

And English countered by saying that he and National already had legislation in place that would lift 50,000 kids out of poverty, and he planned to lift 50,000 more in 2-3 years if the economy allowed.

When pushed by Patrick Gower to quantify a target Ardern suggested a goal of a 10% reduction, which was weak in comparison, and was far from eliminating it.

Ardern stuck to her ‘wait for the tax working group’ on CGT and got hammered for that, and it left her vulnerable to ongoing criticism unless she finds a better way of addressing this.

In my view English was easily more impressive, he has risen to the occasion,  and looked a far better prospect for being Prime Minister.

English actually showed more determination and passion than Ardern.

Ardern has obvious potential but may need three years to hone her skills and develop and present some more policy detail.

There are a couple more debates to go, with one in Christchurch on Thursday night. Ardern has surprised many, including myself, by how well she stepped up to the Labour leadership at very short notice, but needs to find another gear if she is going to compete with English.

On other aspects of the debate – Patrick Gower pushed them both with some hard questions but overdid some things, especially pushing his obsession with Peters being significant. The post-debate panel was very disappointing.

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18 Comments

  1. Tipene

     /  September 5, 2017

    Ardern is having visions alright.

    They are hallucinations masquerading as policy.

    Her version of the Labour Party seems to be one of faux-compassionate pillage.

    No thanks.

    Reply
  2. adamsmith1922

     /  September 5, 2017

    The panel were, with possible exception of Hooton, a Ardern fan club. The debate they watched was in another reality and not the one broadcast. Panel was hopeless.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  September 5, 2017

      “with the possible exception of Hooten”
      Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
      Oh,that’s good, Adam; possible exception!
      Made my day.

      Reply
  3. David

     /  September 5, 2017

    Agree with the woeful panel but enjoyed English schooling dripping wet Morgan Godfrey which represented much of the debate, Ardern with her flowery vision and English with practical solutions but both passionate.
    The debate does highlight how ill prepared Labour will be if they win to actually do anything more than throw money at stuff.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  September 5, 2017

      I missed the practical solutions to homelessness.It wasn’t sell state houses cheaply to their mates and buy motels ,was…it?

      Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  September 5, 2017

    English had a significantly stronger performance. He has some weak moments, for example … on the Barclay related texts, and on housing

    Your impressions largely mirror mine, PG. Except that his response to the Barclay affair – that he knew both people personally & was simply saddened at what happened, & that it needed to be resolved – I think came across well to anyone who is not vehemently opposed to them or aligned to any opposition party. To me it had always been largely a media beat up.

    Reply
    • Maggy Wassilieff

       /  September 5, 2017

      Yep, this Barclay was a catcha question… and I’m still wondering what the dickens was the importance of the Barclay “affair” out here in the wops.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  September 5, 2017

        its about leadership,sacking incompetent members.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  September 5, 2017

          Well then Bill probably scores ok on that one as well. Barclay had no chance to prove his competence or otherwise, & his departure simply reflected the realisation by Bill &/or the party hierarchy that he would likely be an ongoing media & opposition target – thus a liability.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  September 5, 2017

            what about Nick Smith then?

            Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  September 5, 2017

            It’s not Barclay’s taping that’s the problem. It’s the tapes.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  September 5, 2017

            what about Nick Smith then?
            I found myself wondering yesterday what the reaction of the media & the public would be to a statue of Jacinda in the same state of undress & debasement.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  September 5, 2017

              she does not have Smiths shameful record regarding protecting the environment.Surprised the Natz haven’t squashed any publicity about the statue.They prevented the ‘Planet Key’ video from being played in the election lead up.

            • Gezza

               /  September 5, 2017

              To be fair she doesn’t have a record of anything except not being her four predecessors, & being a much younger, somewhat more appealing-looking person, & far better communicator for the Party.

            • Pete Kane

               /  September 5, 2017

              G, it will (unfortunately) backfire on the marginal voters of Nelson. It’s not only a ;taste’ issue , but a common fairness one. The E Can campaign is a different beast. They don’t understand the ;winning’ of the :eclectic’ Nelson vote.

            • PDB

               /  September 5, 2017

              The statue seemed a bit of a non-event possibly because its effect was dimmed somewhat by the fact Smith was just recently assaulted by some environmentalists.

        • Wouldn’t be many left in Labour if that was the rule…

          Reply

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