The Finance Leaders Political Debate – James Shaw clear winner


The Finance Leaders Political Debate was held last night and it was far more insightful and interesting than anything we’ve seen so far.

First off, I have to congratulate Patrick Gower. Whatever you think of his bloodsport style to reporting politics, he was an excellent host who worked hard to give everyone a fair hearing while wrangling some of the most rambunctious egos in politics.

Best burn of the night was Patrick Gower smacking down an overtly friendly David Seymour who suggested the two of them get a drink after the debate, “I don’t think so” replied Gower with all the dead pan delivery f Hannibal Lecter ordering room service.

The event was set in Queenstown, so lots of new money with no wisdom or compassion. Think rich racists who believe climate change is a Greenpeace hoax and who hand on heart would tell you current Labour Party policy is actual literal socialism.  Home advantage was to Joyce and Seymour.

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The debate was however incredibly surprising.

Steven Joyce – polished

Whatever you want to say about Joyce, he is as smooth as silk and as confident as a porn star at a pissing contest. His delivery of the facts as National see them is dangerously sophisticated and terrifyingly reassuring. He is a National Party battleship and if you had only been listening for him you would believe all is well in NZ and that we don’t realise how lucky we are.


David Seymour – entertaining and charismatic 

I know, I can’t believe I wrote those two words to describe Rimmer as well.  One things that annoyed the hell out of me about the Right is that they do manage to capture charismatic arseholes to be their leader (except for Jamie Whyte). Seymour was funny, engaging and entertaining. Sure I despise his politics, but he had a great night during the debate. If that David Seymour keeps popping up there is a real chance ACT could get a second MP in off their list, the problem for Seymour is that National’s new power faction, the ‘Blue Dragons’ (Chinese-New Zealanders) view euthanasia as an obscenity and there is real pressure to euthanise ACT. If Labour were smart, they would start playing this angle up, it could be enough to cost Seymour his seat in Epsom.


Grant Robertson – passionate

Grant was cautious, as someone who might actually become the finance Minister shortly, he wasn’t going to get painted into a technical corner, so not a hell of a lot in terms of detail, but where he did shine was when he unleashed on the values he believes should shape economic policy. Robertson went to the mountain top in very credible ways by clearly stated to the powers that be that he intended to inject a very different set of values into place because those on the bottom were suffering. Grant gets a lot of stick on the left for not articulating our revolutionary anger at the current system, I think he’s learned that you catch the money by speaking softly, not screaming revolutionary intent. His performance didn’t spook any horses, that was the point.


James Shaw – hands down winner

I say this as someone who has spent the last 3 years knocking Shaw, but since Metiria’s courageous admission, his mana and personal integrity has only climbed. At the debate he absolutely shone. He had answers, he had solutions, he articulated the current problems, he was incredibly polite, showed manners, even ticked Gower off for not giving ACT the same amount of time to speak on an issue. His performance was master class and he managed to rise above the squabbling that the debate sometimes descended into. That debate alone is enough to get the Greens back to current polling, Shaw won votes last night, he didn’t just appease his voter base.

If there was any question mark over Shaw’s ability to lead the Greens to a higher percentage than they gained in 2014, it was answered and sorted by last nights performance.



Winston Peters – Painfully Brittle

Remember those last fights by Muhammad Ali? The ones where you just know the champ shouldn’t have fought them? That was Winston last night. Punch drunk, swinging haymakers at everything that moved, barely coherent at times, grumpy, losing his cool, not feeling the crowd – Winston was all over the place. Yes there will be sympathy for the way he has been treated by this National Party smear, but as a power, Winston and by definition NZ First are waning.


  1. Yes, I was really impressed by James Shaw last night. I think he is getting better and better.

    I think for both him and Seymour, attending all the debates up until now has really paid off.

    I would have liked to have seen how Morgan would have done last night but that may have overcrowded field.

  2. I agree with you over Shaw.
    I always thought he was a bit of a soulless automaton, but not anymore, hugely impressed by him . He doesn’t go in for populist rhetoric, is staunch on principle, and has a huge intellect that doesn’t prevent him from engaging with the public.He’s got credible solutions. The Greens have done rigorous research by the looks of it, and would be valuable partners in a Labour led govt.
    Here’s hoping Labour realises that
    Winnie will grandstand and be a headache to anyone he works with(although I can’t help liking the old scoundrel)

  3. The ASB ‘ Great Debate’ !

    THE A.S.B. debate ?? The ASB ????? !!!! Financial ??? !!!! Leaders ???? !!!!
    Debate ??????? !!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m not seeing things am I ? That is THE ASB advertising on a political debate right?

    Bahaha haha ahahahaha ahahahahaha ahahahahahahaha

    What a load of wank. FUCK ! The ASB.

    Bahahahahahhhha ahaha ahahahahahahaha ha aaa a …..

    That’s like discussing anaemia at a Vampire convention.

    The Banks suck the life blood out of our country and yet there they are…

    What a vile irony and there goes all and any credibility for and from the ‘ debate’ as far as I’m concerbed.

    Election day? I’m going to hurry up and stay in bed. Fuck them all!

  4. A nice summation, Martyn. It’s a shame most folk who caught the debate would have seen it through the trifling and flippant OneSnooze and NewSnub sound bites. Shame it was held in the nouveau riche’s playground. Imagine how different a finance debate would be in Porirua, Linwood or Manurewa.

    • Here here JONATHAN ROE 1000%

      As to the master propagandist SS Joyce known as “the tarmac king” or “The diplomat of the Road Transport Forum” (the trucking industry) he simply was doing what was required of his paymasters while leaving our regional rail freight & tourism out of the picture; – just as strangely on the same day, he allowing the fire sale of our Kiwirail complete stock of stored passenger loco’s & carriages to be sold off to same third world country in Africa without consulting us the taxpayer -owner of those assets.

      So expect him to sell off the rest of NZ if he is voted back in September’s election.

      That is why we desperately need a change of Government; just to save NZ.

      • It just so happened I saw a report today on the progress towards reopening the east coast road and rail link between Blenheim and Ōtautahi. The rail link has been reopened, and I quote:
        “…the opening is expected in time to take 2000 trucks per month of the roads currently being used to transport that freight…”

        If road transport is a better use of resources, why did they bother? Why not leave the rail line broken, and just fix the road? The answer of course is that it’s not. Road transport emits more carbon, and roads wear out much faster for each kilo of weight that passes over them. National must know this, and yet they spent millions on Roads of Dubious Significant, and promise to spend millions more, instead of extending and electrifying the rail network, and bringing back affordable passenger services. They have criminally mis-delveoped public infrastructure, treating hard-working kiwis as an ATM for the road transport industries. I hope they all own beachfront property they can’t sell before it ends up underwater.

  5. The audience would hardly be representative of the country.
    I guess that is why the leader of a party with 0.4 % of the party vote got airtime.
    That and the sponsors being ASB – a foreign bank taking billions of dollars overseas.
    Both would love the crazed neoliberal ideas of Seymour.

  6. A word or two about Queenstown.
    Was a beautiful, almost unimaginably beautiful, place. Soaring mountains, a crystal clear lake, one arm leading to a stunning back drop of mountains and river vallies, the other arm heading south to the richest rural lands in NZ.
    Now, after it became fashionable amongst the rich but otherwise worthless set?
    A damp, soulless, gully populated by narcississtic entitlement junkies and known for being a wife beaters paradise. A perfect location for a swarm of money fetishists.
    Money. Can buy you anything except Class and those with money but no Class trample, abuse, use, pollute, deface, and trade in such natural beauty and when they do? They take away something vital yet intangable. I think the old fashioned term for it is ‘ soul’.

    • 1000% CB Right with you there.

      I went there in 1984 and recently and it is a soul deprived community now just as the Swiss alps near Lake Geneva when I was there during the tourism season too.

      Money and the masses ruin everything natural.

    • Yes COUNTRYBOY you are correct about Queenstown. The place stayed pretty much the same right up until the 80’s and then started the progressive slide downhill from a place of natural unspoilt beauty to the tourist hovel it is today. Anyone born from the 80’s on can now only refer to old photos and postcards. People and structures can be removed what lies beneath is still there though.

      I thought James Shaw came across sincere and knowledgeable. We need his management skills in govt. Winston was a bit on edge but he is a natural battler and he is only too aware of what we have lost in this country.

    • Used to think that Country Boy seemed a few sheep shy of a full flock but I have to admit his posts are growing on me.

  7. Martyn ; Steven Joyce you said “as smooth as silk”??????

    He began as a plumber (unfinished apprenticeship)
    Then bought into the NZ radio network ZB stations during rogernomics selloffs.

    He fronted the first station in the Waikato/Taranaki broadcast areas.

    He then bought all the stations.

    Became a main network broadcaster then and learned his skill as a propagandist early on then.

    Got noticed by National during broadcasting then joined as national MP.

    he has long been a background planner and voice through controlling the MSM during his leadership in erecting the national party control center named “Ministry of Business Innovation & employment”or (MBIE.)

    From there, he now has control of the whole broadcast industry (MSM) through his “employment” arm of his MBIE “National policy nerve centre” within MBIE.

    So you now see how he is now the most influential person within National Party today, so watch out if you step on him he will squash you.

    He is to powerful and must be sent packing with his toxic propaganda Party on 23rd of September.


      Thursday, 31 August 2017
      Tax main debate topic
      By Guy Williams

      News Election 2017

      New Zealand First leader Winston Peters makes a point during a pre-election political debate in Queenstown last night as Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson (left) and Finance Minister Steven Joyce listen.

      Tax was the recurring theme of a pre-election political debate in Queenstown last night.

      ASB Great Debate moderator Patrick Gower asked the debate’s participants for their parties’ stances on three new taxes promised by opposition parties during the election campaign.

      On a capital gains tax, Mr Gower asked New Zealand First leader Winston Peters if he would stop the Labour Party introducing one during potential post-election negotiations between the two parties.

      Mr Peters avoided the question, instead telling Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson that he should tell the public before the election what rate the tax would be.

      On an international tourist tax, Green Party leader James Shaw said his party had a different version to that announced by Labour on Monday, but he was confident any border levy up to about $50 a head would make no difference to tourist numbers.

      Mr Peters said the Government should instead return the $1.5billion in annual GST receipts from tourism back to the regions where it was generated.

      On the question of a bed tax, Finance Minister Mr Joyce said it was unnecessary because local councils, such as those in Queenstown Lakes and Auckland, effectively already had them in the form of targeted rates on businesses benefiting from tourism.

      Mr Peters said he favoured the idea as a last resort if the Government failed to return more of its GST take to the regions, while Mr Shaw said he supported a recommendation for a national bed tax contained in last year’s McKinsey report, and also wanted campervans to be taxed.

      But Mr Seymour said Act opposed bed taxes, and councils should instead be able to keep half the GST receipts on construction activity in their districts.

      Mr Gower asked the five men about the ”elephant in the hall” – the leaking of details about Mr Peters’ superannuation overpayments.

      Mr Joyce said he could categorically deny the leak came from the Beehive.

      Mr Peters claimed the National Party ”broke the law and they’re not going to get away from it”, ignoring a call from Mr Seymour to make all his correspondence about the matter

      The debate was marked by frequent verbal jousting between the Act and NZ First leaders, which began when Mr Peters told Mr Seymour he was behind in the polls in Epsom: ”This is your valedictory speech.”

      The pair’s frequent testy exchanges prompted Mr Joyce to liken them to a ”couple of chihuahuas”.

  8. I think there is now a clear difference between national and labour. One genuinely cares and the other pretends to. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you who is who it’s blatently obvious



    Otago Daily Times.
    TV debate crucial face-off

    By Dene Mackenzie

    Election 2017

    Thursday, 31 August 2017

    The first debate between Prime Minister Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern tonight will set the tone for the next three weeks of an already fascinating election campaign.

    Only a few weeks ago, voters were facing the prospect of Mr English and former Labour leader Andrew Little debating. The elevation of Ms Ardern to the top job has brought a new energy to the campaign.

    Ms Ardern has nothing to lose tonight. A good performance against the experienced Mr English could see Labour move even higher in the polls.
    However, a bad performance will hurt both Ms Ardern and Labour’s hopes of forming the next government.

    Mr English is likely to focus on Labour’s taxation plans, which it has not so far explained clearly to voters – particularly the tax on water.
    Ms Ardern needs to be prepared for some carefully constructed one liners from Mr English to try to throw her off her stride during the financial part of the debate.

    In turn, Ms Ardern needs to focus on National’s record on housing, poverty and health. Mr English will have plenty of figures to prove National is doing a lot of work on affordable housing, but the figures do not tell the real story of homelessness in larger centres.

    Former prime minister Helen Clark used to take most of the day to prepare for debates, and Ms Ardern is following her lead. Revising lines she wants to get out to the viewing audience is crucial. She is a novice to the televised debates and a good comeback line, or a failure to react, will set the scene for the remaining debates.

    The performance on these debates is crucial given New Zealand runs a presidential-style election campaign.

    Mr English has long service of debating in Parliament to fall back on in the debate but he will remember being taken apart by Ms Clark in 2002.
    Attention will be on the performance also of Mike Hosking, the moderator for the debate. About 80,000 people reportedly signed a petition to have him removed from the role because of his perceived right-wing bias.

    However, TVNZ said yesterday upon receiving the petition that it would not be removing Mr Hosking from the debates.

    In past years, Mr Hosking has shown no favouritism to any candidate and he can be expected not to show any tonight.

    The debate is at 7pm on TVNZ1. The next debate will be on TV3 on Monday at 8.30pm.

  10. Martyn;

    Thanks for your coverage of the ASB Great Debate – Queenstown.
    I am surprised no one else has covered the event properly, because we got to
    see some policy.

    “The Finance Leaders Political Debate was held last night and it was far more insightful and interesting than anything we’ve seen so far.”

    Could not agree more; including the latest debate with Bill and Jacinda.

    A bit disappointed though that you did not supply the link (source) here;

    Whilst I concur with your analysis on most of the players, when it comes to
    Peters and NZF I can’t help but think your views are terribly subjective.

    Here is a time line description of the event from various Stuff reporters, with the added bonus of a 10min interview with Peters on the “Super Scandal.” (beginning.)–wednesday

    As you can see; Peters made a significant contribution.
    I thought that we got some policy with good entertainment as well.
    Great displays between Winston and Seymour.
    One right at beginning over ‘Super Scandal’, another at around 1hr and next at about 1hr 40min.
    Excellent final speech by Winston. (And Seymour)

    In my humble opinion.


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