Fascinating time at the Auckland election special of BackBenches this year. I was at the filming in 2011 and it was a very different beast. I remember in 2011 a sea of blue. Team Key acolytes were everywhere, there was a pride and an energy. It was a rude awakening that 2011 would be a crushing victory for National.
Compare that to last nights filming and it was incredible how small a presence for National was there. I am hearing from many door knockers that the contempt for National from National supporters and everyone else disgusted by what Nicky Hager has revealed in Dirty Politics is genuinely hurting Key right now. The lack of people wanting to be openly identified in Central Auckland as ‘Team Key’ was very interesting.
Paula Bennett did her best to sound relevant, but the tax cut has been seen as sick joke by most. Metiria was brilliant as per usual, oh to wake in a country where she is Deputy PM and Russell is Finance Minister. Tracey Martin reminded us all that she’s the only NZ First MP with any actual talent, Laila was a pocket battleship who won the debate hands down. David Parker was his usual calm self which didn’t really work for the bear pit of BackBenches, but he did have the funniest quips and come backs and there was a sizeable Labour presence on hand. Jamie Whyte decided that ACT hated Maui Dolphins and wanted to leave them to the free market, which generated the loudest boos of the night.
But then again Jamie managed to generate boos every time he lifted his head.
The lack of visible National support should alarm Party strategists. It makes me think Jacinda has a shot at winning back the electorate.
The Leaders Debate on TV3 was excellent. John Campbell was the winner followed by Cunliffe because David had an actual vision for NZ, unlike Key who seemed to have all the vision of a blind cyclops. Key’s constant attempt to scare monger over minimum wage has to be seen to be believed.
When Key says transitioning people from welfare into work he’s really saying dumping people off benefits into cold homes with empty fridges. It is an obscenity that Key wants to blow $500m on tax cuts when it costs $100m to feed every hungry kid in every poor school. Key’s mantra was ‘At the end of the day it’s about mums and dads’.
At least Key seemed sober in this debate.
Cunliffe went to the mountain for children in poverty and that moment of passion was difficult to top.
It’s 9 days till the election.