Election 2017 – Finance debate

Tonight there us an election finance debate in Queenstown from 7.00 – 8.30pm. The change of mind by one person to participate has increased media interest (it shouldn’t have made any difference). Those taking part:

  • Steven Joyce (National)
  • Grant Robertson (Labour)
  • James Shaw (Greens)
  • David Seymour (ACT)
  • Winston Peters (NZ First)

Topics: immigration, housing, tourism, the retirement age, inequality, employment and water.

Time: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The debate will be broadcast with live video on the RadioLIVE and Newshub Facebook pages:

The ASB Great Debate is being hosted in Queenstown, with Newshub’s Patrick Gower as the MC.

There will be a catch-up audio broadcast on RadioLIVE beginning at 8:30pm.

Stuff will be live blogging and have a preview: Live: The big finance debate

We’re going to be live blogging through the night on this one and also bringing you some live stand-ups because what makes this particularly interesting tonight is that Peters is showing up. It’s understood Peters wasn’t going to be here because he refuses to debate Seymour but the leak of his superannuation overpayment has changed all that.

Being here gives Peters the opportunity to debate Joyce (remember Peters is blaming the National Party for leaking his overpayment and doesn’t believe Joyce that he didn’t know about it). So in short, expect some fireworks.

No doubt Seymour will do his best to wind up Peters over the course of the evening as well. They were on the same plane down to Queenstown and some of us on that flight were slightly alarmed about how that might turn out (for the record they didn’t speak to each other).


It was advertised to start at 7 pm. Live streaming started just after 7:10, to a peech by someone from the ASB. And the last 10 minutes the mayor of Queenstown has been speaking. He has just now finally stopped at 7:25 pm.

Starting with an opening statement from each MP.

James Shaw first. He says government should be solving the great problems of the time, and new Zealand has been run by grey administrators. He is giving a very general election speech, going through the three key Green policies. He got to the second, fixing a busted system of poverty. Then he ran out of time.

Winston Peters starts by saying how much the others in the campaign are throwing money around like 8 arm octopusses, without a hint of irony. He says we need a dramatic change of direction with economic and social change required.

Steven Joyce starts by positively promoting how well business is doing. He is targeting business but also mentions families. National’s main thrust. A fairly good speech for a business audience.

Grant Robertson talks about ‘the opportunity facing New Zealand”. “If we invest properly in our people…we will be able to seize those opportunities”. He claims New Zealand is in a “productivity recession”.  He pushes the three years free education not just for university but also trades.

David Seymour says we are heading towards bankruptcy and if the election doesn’t get here soon the country will run out of money. Not just financial bankruptcy but also intellectual bankruptcy. A few swipes at National. “We have to fix our RMA”. He’s got a few facts and figures. He claims to be 16 points ahead in the Epsom electorate so says a part vote won’t be wasted.

Then a diversion to the Super leak.

Joyce categorically denies any Minister leaked.

Shaw says he it is very said we are going through a series of scandals. Big cheer.

Robertson agrees and says that is not what this debate is about to bigger cheers.

Peters goers over all the claims he has made over the last few days. He has been allowed to hijack the finance debate. Major accusations. Polite shot applause. Nothing gained by letting him rehash.

Now something key to Queenstown – housing. But each MP is allowed to give a speech which is saying nothing much new.

Robertson carefully talks about cracking down on speculators to a Queenstown audience.

Peters gives his usual spiel, subdued applause.

Shaw gives a reasonable speech, promotes CGT, reasonable applause.

Seymour gives one of the strongest speeches and criticises National more than Labour, strong on reforming the RMA. He promotes half GST on construction to local government. His speech gets strong applause and laughter.

Peters then attacks Seymour saying he is giving a valedictory speech.

Robertson is asked to rule out CGT on businesses and farms – he defers to ‘getting the best advice possible’. Joyce slams him for not being up front, Robertson has a response ready – back to national raising GST, but that’s risky territory promoting the idea of a post election somersault.

Peters sounds very whiny about how bad things are, but he won’t commit to any policy positions. Asked about stopping Labour imposing a CGT and he says he was a Treasurer once.

Robertson again asked on CGT on businesses – he again avoids it. Audience groans.

Seymour and Peters going hammer and tongs again, Seymour digging on peters not deciding if he would stop a CGT or not, or whether he would go left or right, and saying businesses want certainty. Peters bites and rants and says Seymour won’t be back in Parliament after the election.