The Press Leaders Debate – proof a newspaper can kill the internet


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No more beersies for you Mr Key. Seriously – was the Prime Minister drunk during this debate?

I am so sickened by what passed as a Leaders debate, I will make this review short and vicious.

Everyone involved in putting it on, especially the moderators should all hang their heads in shame. From the pathetic moderation to the pathetic streaming quality, this was disaster journalism from a city being devoured by disaster capitalism.

When one is longing for Mike Hosking as a moderator, you know we have become a post ironic culture.

After watching this terrible debate, if Key ever came to my place for a BBQ, I’d hide the booze.

Key’s drunk arsehole routine was as sad as the weak moderation & as appalling as the streaming quality – this was a mud wrestle not a debate. I truly hope the PM was drunk, because if he’s this much of an aggressive bullying arsehole sober, NZ’s in far more trouble than I thought.

It was a debacle,  we’ve been reduced to enduring an ill moderated shouting match between someone acting like a pissed bully and someone wanting better for us – ugly. So very ugly.

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This sad spectacle of a debate should embarrass us – it’s intellectually cringe worthy & cheapens NZ. People claiming Key won are really saying “I like aggressive arseholes shouting” – I imagine book burning turns them on as well.

Worst. Debate. Ever.



  1. When Dishonest John bullied John Campbell over GCSB the crowd seemed to believe he “won” that too.
    In the end, we earn the governance we endure.

  2. I definitely thought Key was quite overly aggressive and rude in the first half and wondered what he was on.

  3. I absolutely agree . It WAS cringe worthy . It WAS awful to watch . It was depressing . Poor David Cunliffe having to endure such an embarrassing display from a pathetic , rich , spoiled , little brat-man . I was hoping to see Cunliffe throw a punch at jonky but jonky wasn’t even worthy of such an honour . And the streaming was fucking absurdly slow .

    Was jonky on P ? It was as though he was high . He was like a jabbering monkey , he even called Cunliffe ‘ Buddy ‘ . Ugh .
    There is one good thing about tonights debacle though . jonky is exactly the little cunt I knew he was . Thanks jonky .

  4. At the end of the day John Key focused on issues that matter to New Zealanders. He wasn’t swayed by allegations of dirty politics, which are clearly part of a left wing smear campaign. I think it is time that we trust John Key, his PR team that truthfully and honestly construct his image, and leave our capacity for critical thinking at the door.

  5. Hi Martyn, my expectations were set even lower than yours before the debate even started. During the first half, it almost seemed as if they had turned Cunliffe’s mic off. There was no moderation, and I could hardly hear them anyway. The second half was great. Cunliffe changed tack and dominated the debate, and his message started to really resonate with the crowd. He won over that audience in the end!

  6. I thought the sound was terrible, Key’s mike seemed too loud, David’s to low and the moderator/questioners well they should have had the same mikes as the speakers. Online the sync with sound and picture was to annoying to watch. Bloody Key still pissing on Labour instead of promoting Nationals policies.

    • Key’s mike seemed too loud, David’s to low

      Sounds similar to the trick where a supporting band’s sound mix is made deliberately poor by the main act’s sound crew.

    • The production was amateurish all round. Sound was poor and out of sync, my video feed often jumped back a couple of seconds, camera shook (from people walking past) when focusing on Stuff logo during breaks (they couldn’t do a graphic overlay?!?), and a reporter came on with a mic to do a segment at the half-time break… and then went off again without saying a thing.

      Quite apart from the rubbish moderation, last night was just embarrassing from a media quality point of view. The Press/Stuff should give up on video and stick to words and pictures. Time to hire back their subeditors and focus on getting get their core product right.

  7. NO wonder it was not televised. He may get away with it at his “home crowd”, sort of. Why did the Press want to own this totally, they could have promoted their paper much better by going with TV One or TV3 and having it broadcast live, repeatedly mentioning their own paper. Oh no, competition, I suppose, ownership rights and more, we cannot have that.

    So the live stream I tried was a shambles also, it did NOT work, what a disgrace. So I saw nothing, and am totally unimpressed by ALL involved. Do NEVER bother to whip up expectations ever again, as you failed abysmally, dear The Press and!

  8. I think that the moderators were out of their depth rather than bad. The whole thing had obvious technical problems and the streaming quality was fairly poor, but that aside the audience questions were quite good. Cunliffe’s suggestion that Key stop acting like the schoolyard larrikin was appropriate. A couple of times I wondered how many whiskey and coke’s Key had drunk before the debate. He acted like a stand up comedian with all the sensitivity of Homer Simpson. If I was a Nat supporter I would be crawling away to die of embarrassment right now. In short David Cunliffe looked and spoke like a Prime Minister, John Key acted like a buffoon.

    • I watched the debate and wondered if he’d imbibed a jug or three of Dutch courage beforehand and when I looked at comments on various sites saw that a lot of people felt the same way. Perhaps a pre-debate sobriety test was needed?

      It was definitely an odd performance. Cunliffe was reduced to almost shouting just to make himself heard over Key’s continual buffoonery. The only other option was to exit stage left and leave the clown to it because the so-called moderator was never going to tell him to put a sock in it.

      So Key finally shows that his lovingly crafted image as a nice guy, the smiling, urbane gentleman you’d just love to attend your BBQ, is a front. In fact, he looked a dumb, nasty, sneering, loud-mouthed jackass you’d fear serving more than one glass of wine at the same barbie and who you’d probably need to steer well away from the women. Obnoxious and juvenile, with the teenage slang to match. This is what we want in our PM?

      What with his impersonation of a booze-sodden loudmouth, plus an apparent microphone issue for Cunliffe, Key pretty much won the first round by default. But in the second stanza Cunliffe decided he had to fight fire with fire, decibel-wise, and to me he took it by a bigger margin than Key won the first half.

      The best part, though, was that Key slid a boning knife into the belly of the whale. Because it’s now going to be interesting to see whether Slater dares to give double back.

      • Kate,

        You saw it too, I thought I was watching parliamentary debates and they have been made so caustic by Key Buffoonery.

        Where the hell is dignity?

        Key has dragged us down to his gutter world.

        • If this was the US, media commentators would be slaying Key for being un-presidential and crass. Instead, they (in the shape of the NZ Herald at least) are saying Key won, based on a few narrow points of policy.

          With luck most NZers will have the decency to see past such obvious bias and be as revolted as TdB commenters at Key’s antics. The man is well past his use-by date.

          Tell everyone you know, it’s time for a change.

  9. OMG did Key think he was in parliament with his posse gang behind him cheering at his every stupid jeering joke? He didn’t seem to notice he looked and sounded ridiculous and no one was cheering at his “whatever…” comments. Planet Key, what a corny one trick pony, they are finally being seen through at last. Also the Stuff is biased to the right, I hope under a Cunliffe government he boots them all to the curb.

  10. Agree. Has teflon-John been taking charm lessons from his mate Cam ?
    At times half expected him to morph into CS and start calling the audience scumbags and ferals.

  11. You are so right Martyn. Key’s anti-intellectual buffoonery was/is shocking. And when he claimed that the state house that he grew up in was free of mold and cracked ceilings because his mum and him took care of it… and it’s a lack of personal responsibility (implied) that is lacking in people nowadays – I felt physical sick.

  12. God Martyn, it was horrible and childish of the PM to attack like a fox terrier ball the time.

    John Key does not have a nice manner at all and what he revelled tonight was a very nasty side we seldom see outside parliament.

    Prime Ministers are supposed to look like a clear warm firm and confident person, and David looked very Prime Ministerial not Key.

    What appeared was the audience was stacked with young NatZ and shouted to forcefully like Key did.

    Truly a sad sight, where is the dignity in us any more with a leader that sounds like Adolf Hitler in a Munich beer hall.

    • agree the venue and audience was stacked against Cunliffe….(but Cunliffe still won)…and the debate was organised by ‘The Press’

      ….imo ‘The Press’ will continue to lose readership until it starts to truly represent the people of Christchurch and not just be a compliant editorial mouthpiece of the National Party….(which is no longer National but Nactional under John Key…and does not represent the interests of New Zealnders)

  13. Total bloody FARCE. If that is our “primeminister”, and if over 40 percent of the population still ADORE that asshole, then all I can say is, NZ is in DESPERATE straits. We are stuffed, and certainly will be, if this BUFFOON is reelected!

  14. Thank you for reassuring me I did the right thing when it became unbearable to watch and I switched off to do some work instead.

  15. First time I have commented on a blog, have been keeping an eye on a few lately. Just watched the debate and my impression was that Cunliffe was by far the most polished and of more substance. I thought Key was acting like an idiot. Certainly not like a Prime Minister. Funny you should compare him to a drunk. I have heard others say the same ))).

    What surprised me is that 4 NZH people gave it to Key. I know they tend to favour National, but really? Corrin Dan, too, but you could have bet $20 on that.

    In my time I have voted for all types and I have no party affiliation but I am crying for a Royal Commission, totally divorced from Key & Co and with very wide terms of reference. We need to stop the rot!

    Did anyone see the allegations on another blog linking Cactus Kate to international organised crime?

        • Thanks Lara. The articles describe corruption on a truly huge scale and, unfortunately, NZ is playing a part. I wouldn’t go as far as blaming the Companies Office. They merely provide a very efficient service of which organised crime has been able to take advantage.

          What is more concerning is the apparent complicity of local accountancy and/or law firms. And Catherine Odgers seems to know a bit about it?

          Bells are ringing in my old head. I cannot recall if it has something to do with the Wine Box or the greater corruption scandals over the ditch in the ’80s. It all sounds very familiar. Can anyone shed any more light on this?

          It may be something a Royal Commission may need to look into along with the current filth.

      • It was linked by Rob Oram. It was the Naked Capitalism site. I don’t think Rob Oram is a crazy Left-wing conspiracy theorist ))).
        Some of the material on that site rings bells in my old head. There are similarities with scandals in the ’80s. I can’t remember if it was the Wine Box or something in Australia. Someone else here may know.

    • Yes, i did see the allegations on cactus Kate.That and the rest of the dirt on Kate, slatter and the others in national are coming from Whaledump on twitter.:-)

    • The four Herald writers giving it to Key was a total joke. Maybe on one or two fine points of policy (and a Cunliffe memory slip) but overall? Seriously?

      Just in case we needed reminding, this shows the depth of entrenched bias and opposition the progressive parties are up against.

  16. I thought both Key and Cunliffe were true to form…no surprises in this debate for me…in fact half way through I turned it off when Key was talking about Christchurch…Key was too boring and unbelievable ( and why did they hold the debate at St Margarets, in a private school hall?…surely a more neutral venue would have been appropriate?…where the audience wouldn’t have been so stacked)

    I just wished Cunliffe had floored Key like the old time politicians …. taken it to Key over Whale Oil and corruption….but I guess it isnt in Cunliffe’s nature to be pugnacious and deal truth on a shovel like lawyer Winnie

    ….nevertheless I thought David Cunliffe came out Prime Ministerial and he seemed to gain in confidence and power as the encounter progressed …and Key will be out the door imo….towards the end he was looking like the dying days of Muldoon

    • Classy performance from David Cunliffe in that debate.
      He wasn’t the one yelling “Whatever, whatever, whatever, 5 more taxes” constantly.

  17. I managed five minutes; this was all so very old-fashioned and embarrassing. Surely Mr Cunliffe doesn’t like Key? So why all that “John” nonsense? Why make it seem as if they are mates before and after “the show”? And are there any adults at all in the Herald and the Standard? Who “won” the debate?! Surely to the gods it is not a sporting event?
    I was deeply embarrassed, squirming as I watched – until I remembered the off switch and that there are other, more modern parties who argue from a higher moral ground than “Look John/David, under your watch….”

  18. Fairfax’s leaders debate was exactly the one-sided farce one would expect from this appallingly partisan media corporation.
    Hosted by notoriously pro-Key “journalists”, Watkins threw loaded questions at Cunliffe and patsy inquiries at Key.
    Front of hall loaded with loud Nats, and Key – with his mic turned up louder – was permitted to make wild, unanswered statements, and interject every time Cunliffe made a strong point.
    It stunk of desperately trying to even things up for Fairfax’s beloved Prime Minister, and I actually thought Key and Watkins were going to pash when he put his arm around her at the end.

    • the moderators were NOT up to the job….an indication of where the main stream media is at the moment?….pathetic?

      where was a moderator with intellect and courage to ask the hard questions and truly moderate ?… Kim Hill

      • Yes. Kim Hill wouldn’t stand for the kind of nonsense that John Key was vomiting forth. She would have said something cutting like “Mr Key, this is a leaders debate, not parliamentary questions and answers time”. Nobody! but nobody! gets the better of Kim Hill.

  19. “This sad spectacle of a debate should embarrass us – it’s intellectually cringe worthy & cheapens NZ.”

    What? Excuse me? This is a country which accepts a Minister of Justice whose behaviour suggests she wouldn’t recognise integrity if it was ‘Oravida’ printed on a boxing glove glove whacking her in the face.

    This is a country which has a Prime Minister who each time he shows he’s worthy of less trust, people give him more.

    This is a country where the Prime Minister deals with and uses as a mouthpiece, Cameron Slater. That is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest territory.

    And you talk about being embarrassed and things that are intellectually cringe making?

  20. Two debates and so far I cannot recall any discussion of the TPPA.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is raised at some point.

    If I’m wrong and someone can point to when it was discussed it would be appreciated.

    • David Cunliffe did ask John Key why he wasn’t releasing the text of the TPPA at one point of the debate, as an interjection, but it wasn’t part of any questions or discussion points.

  21. I don’t understand how people can’t be embarrassed about our PM, a fully grown man, behaving like that.Key was so aggressive, verging on abusive, it was shocking. Unfortunately, that impresses some people.

    Cunliffe did very well to remain as unruffled as he did.

    In addition to being allowed to be openly aggressive, Johnkey also got a lot more speaking time I thought. But what do you expect from a debate run by Fairfax, who openly admit to wanting to retain johnkey as PM?

  22. I didn’t see the second debate. Couldn’t get it to work online. So I can only comment on what I have been reading about it.

    The debate must have been awful, when Martyn and a few others ask for the return of Hosking as moderator! Pleased I missed it then.

    Going through one msm and another blog site this morning, several comments have referred to the point that FJK might have been drinking, prior to going into the debate with Cunliffe. Not only the opinion of TDB posters then.

    So along with the possibility that the PM needs a bit of ‘substance’ to enhance his debate performance, perhaps FJK can now add a new word to his ‘eloquent’ repertoire – ‘WHATEVA”. Really classy FJK, real classy!!

    Now will FJK respond to a point put forward by his good mate Obama, by shouting “WHATEVA BUDDY WHATEVA”?

    The worst aspect of this is that there are people out there who will consider FJK’s ‘whateva’ responses as a sign of strength, power and control and will vote for him accordingly! Now that is really alarming!

  23. When JK pointed out that family homes held in trust would be subject to CGT, DC should have replied that if that would be the law then Labour would simply change the law when the CGT legislation was introduced. He could the have advised JK not to make silly inconsequential remarks.

  24. Johnny’s Mum cleaned the inside of their State provided house and good son Johnny painted the house, as a State house dweller in the same era I can assure you if johnny painted anything inside or out they would have had their tenancy terminated, its against the rules Johnny, just another throw away lie from the $lime Minister.

  25. Ok, first we couldn’t vote online but the rich could text(great for JK).Then the live stream keep cutting out(Great for JK). Just strange how people cant see this on T.V . I still cant understand how JK & DC had a close debate? ?? …At the end of the day DC hit the ball out of the park!

  26. @ Seagull and @ Annie .
    I would never use the cunt word to describe a womans lady garden ? Who would , for Gods sake ? That would be vulgar and crass in the extreme surely ? I imagine in bed , In flagrante delicto and I wisper … ” Oh , my darling , you have a wonderful ‘ etc ‘ … ?
    I’ll stick with common vernaculars thanks .
    And yes , jonky is a little prick and a cock . I’m sure he has a little prick . He’s also a complete and total cunt .

    • Well regardless of whether you would use it in that way or not, the fact is that an accepted meaning of ‘cunt’ is lady parts :

      noun, Slang: Vulgar.
      the vulva or vagina.
      a contemptuous term used to refer to a woman.
      a term used to refer to a contemptible person.
      sexual intercourse with a woman.

      Taken from online dictionary. As a woman, I find the use of ‘cunt’ to describe jonky as derogatory, and quite unnecessary given the multitude of possible words that could be used.

      • @ Annie, I used to get annoyed at that word being bandied about, but then I decided many years ago to OWN it, I dare you to scream “CUNT!” out at the top of your lungs it is actually a great awesome word, especially effective in arguments….ha ha. Just own it, slut is now another word to own…..*@ Countryboy I reckon John Key has a tiny, little, weeny that is why he is such big dork.

  27. Was I dreaming when I thought this debate was the second of three leaders debates? Where was John Campbell?

    Wasn’t he supposed to be the moderator for the second debate?

    Did Key corrupt this use of Campbell as a balance to the right wing moderators process also?

  28. Hey everybody! Don’t forget – we are on the cusp of something special! You heard it from the horse’s mouth last night! I am positively quivering with anticipation! “I had a dreeeeem……..” (song by Abba)

  29. Interesting re the suspicion that Key may have been under the influence.

    I recall reading an article in NBR where Key mentioned that he had given up alcohol for the election campaign, and how he hadn’t noticed any of the “supposed” health benefits from being alcohol free.

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