This is your election ‘moderator’ – just one more reason an incoming Government need to sack everyone at TVNZ and reform it into an actual public broadcaster.
The first leaders debate happens this Thursday, 7pm on TV One. I have been invited to be part of the Green Party’s ‘Green Room’ to commentate on the debate as it happens so I will be live tweeting my thoughts during that, but before we get to there, let’s look at what winning and losing looks like for Key and Cunliffe.
What does winning for Key look like? It has to be a total knock out. Key is one of the most confident, laid back leaders of our lifetime. His ability to appeal to NZs deep anti-intellectual streak makes him seem far more affable than he really is, but it works a treat on TV. He beat Helen Clark and he beat Phil Goff, the expectation is that a win for him means he needs to crucify Cunliffe and with Key’s best mate Mike Hosking as the ‘moderator’ there is no excuse for Key not to knock Cunliffe out. A win for Key has to be total shock and awe by Key, anything less than that will be a big loss, especially with his mate moderating it.
What does winning for Cunliffe look like? After a vicious character assassination by the mainstream media that included false stories about $150 000 donations, false stories about $15 000 books, false stories about $100 000 bottles of wine, bullshit stories about what colour scarf he wears and a constant sewer of filth published on whaleoil, Cunliffe is blessed to just make it to the podium for the debate. All Cunliffe needs to do to win here is draw even. He doesn’t need big swings and misses, he just needs to calmly front foot it and look like a possible PM in waiting. If he draws even, Cunliffe wins. Cunliffe comes in as the total under dog here and if he manages to show who he really is to NZ, their mainstream media perception of him will be challenged and they will start wondering, ‘why am I not voting for him again’.
Key’s weakness: Those who watch Parliament TV know Key is s smug vicious monster at times. Those who watch the mainstream media think he’s a laid back chap you want to have a beer with over a BBQ. If Key’s real nature comes blurting out in all its snarling glory, the mums and dads at home will suddenly realise Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics isn’t a work of fiction after all.
Cunliffe’s weakness: If Key lands a knock out, it’s all over rover.
UPDATE: John Armstrong says today in the Herald that Key has less to lose in tonights debate. That simply isn’t true. Key destroyed Cullen, Clark and Goff, anything less than that for Key gives Cunliffe momentum and oxygen. Key has the most to prove tonight, Cunliffe just has to remain standing.
First Leaders Debate – 7pm Thursday TVOne.