Jacinda Ardern wins first Leaders Debate – National look frightened

By   /   September 1, 2017  /   35 Comments

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She was confident, she stood her ground, she sold her values. Bill on the other hand grinned inanely because he’s obviously been told to smile more by his media handlers. 

The First Debate was lit up by the latest Colmar Brunton Poll (odd fact – Colmar Brunton blocked me on their Twitter feed????) that showed Labour with Jacinda had pulled off one of the greatest political comebacks we’ve ever seen.

Languishing at 23%, a mere month ago, under Jacinda she has Labour beating National by 2 points.

That’s just fucking incredible.

That doesn’t happen.

The last time anything remotely close to this happened, Don Brash had planted a burning cross on the ground outside the Orewa Rotary club.

We shouldn’t however be surprised at the volatility. The ocean of frustration and resentment was picked earlier this year up in the Stuff Massey Poll, where almost 50 000 NZers responded in detail as to how they felt going into this election. That data clearly showed that despite being told we had a Rock Star Economy, the frustrations, stresses and strains of our shared lived life experiences told us something very different about ‘success’ in NZ.

That deeply wound frustration had no where to go but with Jacinda it’s found a leader with the emotional intelligence to channel it and it has unleashed an eruption of hope.

She has connected with youth who felt left out. She has connected with Maori who felt left out. She has connected with Pacific Islanders who felt left out, women, workers, renters, first time home buyers, the poor and students – all of the people in society who aren’t winning under National.

Bill and National on the other hand have the ‘blue dragons’ (Chinese-NZ vote), Farmers, Banks, property speculators, angry white voters and the rich.

So the first debate was highly anticipated from all sides.

Between checking Jacinda’s baby making plans and wardrobe decisions, Mike Hosking did a fairly okay job at hosting despite the almost 80 000 strong petition that demanded he be stood down as the moderator. He was excellent in 2014 between Key and Cunliffe (most pundits gave those debates to Cunliffe) but this election you get the distinct feeling that Mike just doesn’t like Jacinda and thinks she’s a flake. When he went after her on details you could hear in his voice how much he meant the questions as if he had a personal and vested interest in the answer. When Mike took swings at Bill – and to be fair to Hosking, he did take it to Bill on occasion – he did it with a much more professional touch.

You know what was the most interesting thing about Mike hosting the debate? He sounded old, not in his delivery, but in the ideas. He suddenly reminded you he had been doing this for a long time and despite the perfectly coiffed hair and polished skin facials and tailored expensive suit, Hosking and his right wing view on everything and anything had been around for a very fucking long time.

Whenever there is a change of Government, all the State Departments, TVNZ included, all jump to show their new fealty to the new regime. For TVNZ, that means a reshuffle of hosts and new shows that align with the new Government’s broadcasting values.

If Labour win, I think Hosking will be the first to be moved on, his out dated and tired thinking will find no solace in the new voice Jacinda is bringing to the forefront.

Mike Hosking losing his 7pm TVNZ slot could be just the first of a cascade of wonderful things to come if Jacinda wins, which is looking more and more likely given her command performance in the first Leaders debate.

She was confident, she stood her ground, she sold her values. Bill on the other hand grinned inanely because he’s obviously been told to smile more by his media handlers.

That’s not to say that Bill didn’t have his moments or was a push over. He had some quick lines (“people can’t go shopping on your values”) and he had an answer to every question, but the thing that was most annoying was that Jacinda didn’t challenge him on some of the more bullshit defence lines he used.

I’ve watched Bill for years, so as a watcher you get the feel for the automatic spin lines he and the Government use, Jacinda was more focused on remembering and arguing her policy than undermining Bill’s, and she needs to change that for the next debate because winning the debate while great won’t win you the election because as the challenger you have to beat the champion to do that, not just win the debate.

How does she ‘beat the champion’? You have to over turn the champion’s argument, not just debate them. When Bill tried to argue that his Government had set a new national threshold that would help monitor water quality, rather than just allow Bill to have his say and then reframe the question to Labour Policy, Jacinda had to immediately spin around and challenge Bill on that statement, because what National actually did was lower the quality standards so that Farmer pollution wouldn’t look so bad. Claiming that National Policy has helped what was a rort to the current science wasn’t a solution by National, it was more of the underhanded manipulation National carry out monthly to hide the negative impact of their failed policies.

When Jacinda was challenged that she inherits a great economy, she needed to pull back the veneer of growth National have created and be far more critical of National’s claims.

It’s not enough to sell Labour’s policies, she has to actually knock out National’s responses.

Those are tests for the next Leaders debate, but for right now, Jacinda was boss and she commanded that debate.

If she keeps doing this, Labour at 46% or 47% isn’t impossible.


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  1. Quicksilver says:

    Bill had so obviously been coached to look smiley and animated, instead of his usual zomboid persona.

    But out of his mouth spewed the same negativity and lies. The same ol’ fear tactics and empty promises that have dogged his miserable campaign.

    A hollow man, on life support, flip-flopping his way to the finish line.

    A dying party, beset with so much internal corruption, it can barely keep it’s narrative on track from one day to the next.

    Twenty odd days, until we get to pull the plug on this freakshow of a govt.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Chuckled at that thanks QUICKSILVER 1000%

    • bert says:

      Have to say, Bullshit Bill does not do smiley, socialism at all well. He looked so very very uncomfortable, in an acting role and as others have said at various times, he ain’t no front man. His attack on the unions and that Labour would take N.Z. back to the 70’s was appalling scaremongering. However Bill did mention the 70’s and in fact came across as a dinosaur of the 70’s himself. As for Jacinda, simply outstanding in the face of both Bullshit Bill and Hillbilly Hosking. A very notable fact now, as shown by the Colmar Brunton poll, is that National are now leaking votes across to the left. Prior it was the left bloc moving votes between parties but now National have dropped 4 percentage points, we get a real sense that the country are now finally realising the “smoke and mirrors” government have failed N.Z.
      Also interesting that the vile Cameron Slater is attacking National but perhaps that’s more because of his hidden agenda to get his soulmate Collins into power.

  2. XRAY says:

    I work in an industry that is traditionally pro National but somehow Jacinda has connected with people I never knew did politics. They don’t just tolerate her, they are inspired by her. Most especially the women voters.

    Last night she did good, a tough gig for someone who wasn’t supposed to be there a month ago. Very tough gig.

    She wasn’t arrogant, just genuine, not perfect but somehow, pinpoint like, she connected.

    I have found Kiwi voters barely tune in but I think things like John Campbells expose’s on Nationals disgraceful handling of housing and their disdain for those who fall by the wayside along with every other visual reminder of how the Brighter Future never came to New Zealand has not gone unnoticed by voters.

    All they were looking for was someone like Jacinda to front a vision of something far more inclusive to lead the way.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      great sign XRAY

      I feel the new hope in the air, Jacinda has karma and finally we feel free of this obstructive overbearing austertity loving cruel carpetbagging criminal bunch of mobsters.

  3. mary_a says:

    Jacinda did us proud last night. Bingles I guess did his best, but was outshone by Jacinda. He knows he’s at the end of his game.

    Labour’s star is ascending. All credit to Andrew Little for handing over the reins to Jacinda Ardern. She just gets better and better with every move she makes and will only improve in the next debates.

    Hosking is as stale as yesterday’s news. Time for media, particularly broadcasting to give itself a bit of a freshen up.

    • Red Buzzard says:

      + 100 yes MARY , Jacinda Adern has turned up as a star!

      • CLEANGREEN says:


        New Horizon poll shows Jacinda Ardern rising popularity as Prime minister.

        Now widening to a six point lead over Bill English.


        Ardern preferred Prime Minister with 6% lead

        1 Sep 17

        Credit: Newshub

        Ardern ahead among definite voters
        Jacinda Ardern has a 6% lead over Bill English as preferred Prime Minister among definite voters.

        Among the 860 adult respondents who are both registered to vote and 100% likely to vote, Ardern leads English by 43% to 37%.

        Among all of the 960 respondents to the August 11-15 Horizon Research poll Ardern leads 45% to 32%.

        Winston Peters is preferred Prime Minister by 15% of all respondents and 14% of definite voters.

        James Shaw, the Green Party leader, is preferred by 2%, and David Seymour of ACT and Te Ururoa Flavell of the Maori Party each by 1%.

      • Patrick says:

        She had a good night and both were respectful of each other which in my book is important.
        But I do have a reservation. The lady is only 37 years old.
        If Bill English, or Winston for that matter were 37, I would have exactly the same reservation.
        What say ye?

        • bert says:

          If your good enough, your old enough.

          • Patrick says:

            Bert, a quote from the All Black coach.
            I was talking about the Prime Minister of NZ, not an All Black who may be still in his teens.

        • WILD KATIPO says:

          Patrick,… you only need to be in your teens to join the services , – and frequently lose your life because of it.

          Are you telling me those Spitfire pilots that saved England in the Battle of Britain were too young to face the most perilous situation ( war ) any human can ?

          There are multi millionaires at age 37 , many great political leaders have led at an earlier age.

          She is 3 YEARS SHY OF BEING 40 !!!!

          Perhaps view it in that light and we / you can drop this subtle angle of attack preferred by her detractors.

          I for one am sick of hearing that lame tactic.

        • AB says:

          I’m relieved she’s ‘only’ 37. It’s a good thing – she hasn’t lost the courage and compassion of youth. When she retires from being PM at 46 she’ll be at the height of her powers.

          • Patrick says:

            “At 46 she will be at the height of her powers.:
            Totally agree , look at David Lange, but she is only 37,
            Please have a reasonable comment as to why any NZ PM can take the mantle at such an early age,
            Again I ask if English or Winnie were the same age would you agree they were mature and experienced enough to run a country of 4.5 million people.
            I have severe reservations.
            Some educated comments to educate me please!

  4. mikesh says:

    I actually thought that Bill won the debate, partly because he looked like a competent manager of the economy, but also because Jacinda possibly failed to take him up on a number of points. The water quality issue you have already mentioned, but on housing, when Bill said that prices were starting to level off, she should have pointed out that this was more to with LVRs being imposed by the Reserve Bank, and which Bill had opined should be lifted.

    On medical use of marijuana I thought Bill’s more cautious response, while not disdaining medical use outright, more credible than Jacinda’s laconic, though perhaps more dramatic response.

    • Onca""" says:

      Christ! What to say?!!!!
      And not just re the populism of the polly but also policy
      I think we probably need a new demographic category – not just age, sex, etc. BUT probably one for ‘bloke’
      Yea yea yea! Shoot the messenger, straw blokes et al, cashy jobs from the subbies at the bottom of Marjoribanks St who can’t even park their ‘man vehicles’ properly on account of confusion over the size of their dik versus their manvan, and who’ve interpreted the “Let’s do this” as ” core brutha, I’ll do her

    • Onca""" says:

      I hope to Christ I’ve misinterpreted you, otherwise I’ll be worrying that Toddy hasn’t ever indulged in P, and that Dear Paula isn’t actually doubling up on the happy pills ( going forward)

  5. There could be one fly in the ointment yet to come for a Labour victory.

    And it will involve a far away country.
    That country will be North Korea, and of course the Yanks

    It they get to play their war games before our election, then I suspect voter would continue with National, purely because of their long time in power.
    I hope that this does not occur before 23 Sept.

  6. Andy K says:

    The most peculiar response was English’s regarding the question of particpation in any future US military involvement in Afghanistan. “We’re a bit independent”, sounds as if we are a vassal state of the US.

  7. Rodel says:

    Bill English’s advisors obviously instructed him to use Trump like hand gestures to look animated and less wooden. “Bill try to look as if you have a personality’. …
    ‘and to try to look as if you are amused and bemused,’ i.e.You’re an older generation person being tolerant and of the passion of this new millenium Adern upstart.’
    Sorry Bill, the Trump hand waves and pretend smile don’t wash with me but it will with those that want to be fooled.

    Jacinda.. now that’s a real smile.
    It will be nice to have a Prime MInister with teeth.

  8. Samwise says:

    Did I hear bill english say that that housing was no longer unaffordable????? Lying hound!! Now he’s resorting to trumpist style “alternative facts”!!!!!

  9. countryboy says:

    National? Frightened?
    The only thing the collective cadre of swine that is the National Party are terrified of is being re elected.
    The fuckers have spent nine years DIRECTLY fucking us for themselves and their riche mates. Prior to that ? They’ve spent years bleeding out our primary industry… for themselves and their riche mates.
    The last thing they would want is to be the gubbimint when that particular stack of shit collapses, which is frighteningly imminent. ( Go to Trademe and see how many houses and house/land packages are being offered at below QV. )
    The only thing that happened recently that scared the be-jesus out of politicians across the board was Metiria Turei exposing a rotting system with her brave admissions which threatened to light a fire under the million voters that didn’t, and to further motivate those others, like you and me here to carry on regardless.
    Dribbling billy the liar will be hardly able to wait to lose so he can relax into his privileges and money.
    In the meantime, what do we have? Labour? They’ll have to work fucking hard to impress me. I’ll give them a year to completely rejig NZ/Aotearoa but only because I’m a generous fellow.
    That means;
    Re nationalise our assets by simply reneging on previous agreements to off-shore investors with a hearty raised middle finger.
    Sacking ALL foreign owned banks and writing off ALL mortgage debt.
    Make loan sharking illegal.
    Create five year tax free rural town zones to enable Big City people struggling financially to move into NZ’s beautiful hinterlands.
    Create specialist survival classes in those rural zones to teach gardening, animal husbandry and other practical skills to flourish off-grid as much as possible which would, I’m sure, reinvigorate interest in the simple art of ‘living’ in those who’ve had hope drained from them.
    Wrap our primary industry in cotton wool while integrating farmers to their down income-stream service industry providers. The world is changing in front of our very eyes and not into a glossy version of a God botherers interpretation of Heaven either. Wars, floods, drought, starvation, pollution etc all means we must foster a healthy agricultural infrastructure because the market’s coming at us like a freight train. Labour must do that… or we’re fucked. So fucked, that some other bugger might just get it into his/her head to simply come here and take it over. You will remember how that worked out for you @ Maori?
    Finally and on a personal note: Conduct a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the past, say one hundred years of agricultural trading to shake the rats out of the very, very ratty wood pile. Then? Release the terriers!

    Viewer Warning!
    Rats getting killed by dogs.
    Not really my thing but is a great metaphor.


    • CLEANGREEN says:


      One thing I wish to offer; – if i may?

      my proposal; – Restore our previous Reserve Bank Act to the former 1960’s with capability to print money to wipe our debt (as all our trading partners did several years ago whom now lend us the money at interest rates which will leave our Great, great, great, great, grandchildren to pay off for many years if we don’t print that money to pay off that 96 billion National borrowed to squander for their pet ‘truck’ roading projects.

  10. Michelle says:

    I think if it wasn’t for the petitions to remove hoskings he would of gone back to his same old bias bullshert rhetoric but he had to prove to us we were wrong by being seen to be fair. Unlike what we see daily on the 7pm shows with him and the Toni.
    I think Jacinda did well on her first debate. I would like to see a few more one liners/pushbacks like, ”yes bill GDP might be good but we need to be more inclusive as far too many NZers are suffering”
    I agree Martyn she needs to challenge bill on some of his bull and there is lots but pick a few and then revert back to her main policies like housing , education and health and give examples relating to these main policy areas.

  11. mosa says:

    This is the election i thought we were going to have to wait three more years for.
    They say a week is a long time in politics for Jacinda it must seem like one day.
    She has learned fast and did well in last nights TVNZ ” two against one ” debate and some are saying she needs to do more to take the fight to the PM and you know i think she has every intention of doing so and is keeping her powder dry.
    And her approach has been to be relentlessly positive and she is but the toughness is there just below the surface and i think she will own the next debates.
    English is looking tired and this habit of inane smiling is more a reflection of the arrogance that these people have and Joyce was no better in the finance debate , they have controlled this country for so long and truly believe that they are untouchable and had this election sewn up.
    This is the watershed election i have referred to for the last two years and if the media weren’t so terrified of the National party mafia and had not got into bed with Key and remained objective and scrutinised the actions of this government we would be looking at a rout of historic proportions.

    September 23rd can’t come soon enough.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      … ” some are saying she needs to do more to take the fight to the PM and you know i think she has every intention of doing so and is keeping her powder dry.

      And her approach has been to be relentlessly positive and she is but the toughness is there just below the surface and i think she will own the next debates ” …


      ‘ The toughness is there just below the surface’ . Indeed. You could see it when the camera was facing both of them and the Dipper was speaking. Adern was shaking her head.

      She was holding back. She will be advised to go for the Dippers throat next debate but always in a respectful way. Its going to come. However , disrespect and slagging the opposition is not the Adern way.

      It is what has endeared her to so many.

      But rest assured , the boxing training is going on right now for the next big fight. And there will be the honing those uppercuts and infighting jabs. We can expect full broadside volleys directed at the Dipper in the coming debates.

      This first one was a mere testing of the enemy forces.

  12. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    The media keep wanting to beat her up. I heard at least half a dozen times this morning that Jacinda was still in her “Honeymoon period” or “can’t maintain this sort of momentum”, and are bound to end soon. Utter nonsense. This election is hers to lose now, she’s not going to organically lose popularity in time before the votes are cast (well unless there is some serious dirt or she somehow self-harms her campaign).

  13. Aching4Change says:

    Watching the debate last night – the one thing that vividly stood out for me and defined the difference between the two party leaders was Jacinda’s massive generosity of spirit. It shines and shines and shines through.

    I actually liked the fact that she was magnanimous to Bill a number of times in the debate (and it only made her look even better when he ignored her on every one of them). It’s the real reason why she’s become so popular in such a short period of time.

    John Key and National have been role models for bullies, hate mongers, abusers, manipulators and corruptors for most of the last 10 years – and that nasty way of operating in life has become the new norm in NZ society and business. People know, deep down, that that is fundamentally evil. Goodness shines through – that’s why more and more Kiwi’s are magnetically drawn to Jacinda – it just hasn’t quite reached everyone’s consciousness yet – but the landslide is finally coming.

    What a magnificent PM should would make – my fingers are more than crossed.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      … ” I actually liked the fact that she was magnanimous to Bill a number of times in the debate (and it only made her look even better when he ignored her on every one of them). It’s the real reason why she’s become so popular in such a short period of time ” …

      Magnificent commentary along with the rest ,… really , this says it all on WHY New Zealanders are coming over to Labour in droves.

      We have all had enough of a decade of nasty , viscous behavior emanating from National.

      Sick of it to the back teeth.

  14. Dave says:

    I hope that the surge from National to Jacinda and Labour continues to swell, and I am wondering how many polls showing Labour ahead will it take before National “Spill Bill”?

    I think however that National only realistically have 3-4 days to anoint another PM/leader, and the general populace will not respond well to Paula Bennett assuming the mantel, given her abrasive and overly direct communication style, on top of her;

    * not willing to acknowledge and take responsibility for her actions which the Human Rights Commission told Bennett she had breached the privacy of s woman when she disclosed details of the solo mother’s benefit to media.

    * having spoken with one of her employees about personal information disclosed to Paula Bennett in confidence by the chairman of the Te Puea Marae, which was then shared with the media by her employee, and now

    * acknowledging that she was one of a select few National Party employees that were made aware of Mr Peters superannuation situation that subsequently has been unreasonably made public via a yet unconfirmed source.

    There is only one person that I can think of in the National Party that may have a countering appeal….but they are way under cooked in terms of experience when compared to Jacinda…..roll on September 23 and hopefully the end of National’s/Key’s concept of a “Brighter Future” in which National remain ignorant of negaitive social costs associated with their policies, actions and inactions that are baised towards the more well off, whist at the same time has seen the implementation of dehumanising social policies that isolates, marginalises and demonises the less well off, sick and disabled.

  15. Dave says:

    Imagine if Jacinda could meld a coalition lead by Labour and joined by New Zealand First, the Greens and the Maori Party.

    These Parties have a lot of common ground and a tremendous more respect for the current Kiwi’s that have suffered on National’s watch.

  16. kim dandy says:

    Its not hard to be better than Bill!
    Lets do this!

  17. Wiseacre says:

    Values are the foundation of good governance.

    Bill English’s view that values aren’t important because you can’t spend them tells me everything I need to know about him.

    Bring on September 23 and an end to governance bereft of values.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      For those of us who see right through English , the National and ACT party and their neo liberalism ,… that one liner about ” you cant buy the grocery’s with values” ,… was an admission of guilt.

      It , in one sentence , … underscored the complete lack of any conscionable ability of this govt in its social , environmental and infrastructure policy’s and a willingness to let the same downgrade all in the pursuit of feeding the multinationals , foreign owned banks and oligarchs avarice and greed.

      It is just in the nick of time that they ( National ) will now lose this election and be replaced by an actual hands on Labour led government with a conscience.

      All it will mean is that the rebuild after 9 years of destruction will have to start , – but that New Zealand as a nation will now survive.