The Press/Stuff Leaders Debate

The Press/stuff leaders debate Between Bill English and Jacinda Ardern is at 6 pm tonight:

How to watch the Stuff Leaders Debate

It’s the third of four to be held around the country before the election and will be streamed live on Stuff and Facebook from 6pm, Thursday.

You can watch the stream directly from the home page on the Stuff website, or through Facebook Live on Stuff’s Facebook page, or at the Stuff YouTube channel.

A strong opening speech from English.

Ok but more subdued and routine from Ardern.

Ardern has warmed up well, but doesn’t get a crowd response when she says her whole front bench is ‘exceptional’.

English names his front bench and a groan follows ‘Steven Joyce’.

Too much bull from both sides.

A late half time.

English has been dogged but has had some difficult issues to deal with. Ardern has been strong in attacking and digging away at 9 years of not enough.

To turn things around English has to have ripper and he needs Ardern to stuff up, neither are happening.

I have half listened to the rest. Must be getting campaign fatigue.

I don’t think this debate will have changed much. English has to find something else to lift himself, National has to sort out it’s appalling campaign, or we’re likely to cruise to a change of government.


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.

Election Aotearoa Leaders’ Debate

Oriini Kaipara and Heta Gardiner lead the Election Aotearoa Leaders’ Debate.

Tuesday 22 August, 8.00pm
On Maori TV, and streamed live on Mā and

Kelvin Davis (Labour)
Te Ururoa Flavell (Māori Party)
James Shaw (Greens)
Gareth Morgan (Opportunities Party)
Hone Harawira (Mana)

See: Maori poll semi interesting

NZ First refused to take part in a debate with Gareth Morgan.

A disappointing start – someone sang a song, then a ‘game’ that was fairly lightweight, then to the first break with virtually no debate so far.

The first proper segment was on housing. Mostly vague same old waffle. The one who stood apart and stood out was Morgan, he sounded like he knew what he was talking about and had actual suggested solutions. he got the best response from the crowd.

So far the rest have all been disappointing, notably Davis and Shaw. Harawira began by taking an off topic swipe at Morgan, to the silence it deserved.

It revved up a bit later with a few heated exchanges but I can’t see many votes being won out of that debate.

Shaw repeated the point that National weren’t represented, but it was never explained why National were not there.

Stuff – raw, uncut, and error ridden

The Christchurch leader’s debate should be good. It is being promoted by Stuff:

‘Raw, uncut’ election debate to hit Christchurch

Organisers of Christchurch’s party leaders’ debate are guaranteeing it will be the “grittiest” of them all.

The debate on September 7 – one of four to be held around the country before the election – will feature Prime Minister Bill English facing off against Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

The Press Leaders’ Debate has emerged as the most hard-nosed of the election debates because of its traditional soapbox style in front of a heckling audience.

But the Press could do with being less raw and uncut in their self promotional blurb.

Press editor-in-chief Joanna Norris, who will moderate the debate along with Stuff political editor Tracy Watkins, said it would be the toughest of them all.


Cunliffe participated in the 2014 debate.

The Christchurch debate between John Key and Phil Goff in 2008 went down in political history, Norris said.

“There was a real turning point in the debate when John Key said to Goff ‘show me the money’ and basically the debate descended from there where Phil Goff couldn’t get traction back because Key just kept saying that over and over again.

 “It was pretty powerful, dramatic moment which became a bit of a turning point in the whole electoral campaign.”

The debate between John Key and Phil Goff was in 2011.

“This debate is not about the personality of the hosts and that sets it apart again from the TV debates. It’s about the leaders themselves and we’re very careful to provide a neutral platform and ask hard questions from both leaders,” she said.

Norris should ask hard questions of her writers and editors about their accuracy.

Greens want in on Key-Cunliffe debates

Radio NZ reports that the Greens have asked TV1 and TV3 to include them in the main leaders debates in this year’s leadership debate.

The Green Party wants television networks to include one of its party leaders in the main leaders’ debates in the lead-up to the election – alongside John Key and David Cunliffe.

The Greens have made a formal request to TV One and TV3 for a co-leader to join the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition, rather than take part in the minor parties debate – which has been the typical election format.

The Greens say their 12 percent polling position puts them in a different league to the other smaller parties which are polling around 5 percent or less.

The timing isn’t the best for the poll claim, today’s One News/Colmar Brunton poll has greens down from 14 to 8%. That may be a one-off aberration or temporary, although they might not bounce right back up.

But that’s a side issue.

Should Turei or Norman join in with the main leader’s debates? There’s some justification. While Greens are polling about 1/3 of Labour levels they have been as active in opposition, probably more active. And Greens have ambitions of being a major player.

But there are things against this too, including:

  • Media like the presidential two opponent format.
  • If they let the Greens step up to the big time in debates Winston Peters is certain to claim a right as well.

But perhaps the biggest issue that requires some careful thought – it would effectively mean that Key was up against double barrelled opponents of Cunliffe plus either Turei or Norman.

Would two against one be a fair contest?