MUST READ: Debate without substance


Anyone expecting a clash of philosophy and policy ideas between Jacinda Adern and Judith Collins on television last evening was bound to be disappointed. The government’s COVID management results were undeniable, especially by world standards. The most recent poll numbers reflected that – even after the viral resurgence in Auckland. Large chunks of well-heeled soft National voters had shifted to Labour, a trend illustrated by recent poll numbers in Auckland Central. Many of Nicky Kaye’s supporters from the last election shifted their preferences to Labour’s Helen White and the Prime Minister. Nationwide, the government wants this bloc of voters to stay on board. Raising the top tax rate from 33% to 39 % for those earning more than $180,000 would hardly affect these people. And their conscience will be salved by supporting the government’s proposed minimum wage increase. So, for Labour strategists, it’s steady as it goes – foreground the low COVID numbers, the Prime Minister’s crisis management credentials and the wage subsidy largesse. There must be no controversial policies suggesting the redistribution of wealth and privilege. Got to keep those former National voters sweet (remember 1987?). From this perspective, the television party leader debate had to be boring and inconsequential. Indeed, modest ratings are preferable—Jacinda’s regular Facebook addresses already have cut-through, no need to over-emphasise the television exchanges with Judith. 

National desperately want those National voters back. One last policy roll of the dice, let’s go for broke—tax cuts for the middle and upper-middle income earners. Maybe this will shift those stubborn poll numbers. Against this background, Collins had only one option as the first televised debate drew near. Go hard, go early, rattle the Prime Minister, get under her skin, damage her credentials as leader. Create controversy, get people talking after the event—do anything to bring those soft National voters back home. 

So, what happened? Well, both sides achieved their objectives to a certain extent. The exchanges were dull, trite, soundbite-driven and truncated by the format. Between regular ad breaks and John Campbell’s interruptions, the contenders were given ridiculously short timespans to enunciate their policy proposals and vision for New Zealand. Nothing to worry about here for Labour strategists then. At the same time, Judith Collins’ energetic counter-punching approach would have pleased her supporters. She never let up, although it would have been turgid viewing for neutral observers. In boxing parlance, Jacinda took some punishment in the “discussions” on poverty, tax and housing (for reasons I will consider shortly). At the end, though, Jacinda Adern’s stature was undamaged. Her concluding references to the Christchurch mosque attacks, the White Island tragedy and the global pandemic subtly reminded viewers of the Prime Minister’s leadership  in trying times.

In certain policy areas, the Prime Minister was inherently vulnerable to Judith Collins’ attacks and unable to counter-argue effectively. The “child poverty” issue is a good example. This phrase is a misformulation, if very young people are struggling, then their older siblings, parents and grandparents are also likely to be in trouble. Poverty is structurally entrenched within families and communities without secure income and capital assets. The government has not addressed this reality through a properly tax-funded public housing policy. Kiwi-build was premised on a bound-to-fail private-public investment model and the recently announced tax changes will bring minimal extra revenue. Unsurprisingly, therefore, child poverty persists despite good intentions, and Judith Collins has an opening. On such matters, the leaders’ responses to Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly was telling. He referred to income inadequacy and wealth inequality—but only the former was considered. For Jacinda Adern, income adequacy required increases to the minimum wage. For Judith Collins, abolition of the Resource Management Act was the solution. None mentioned entrenched and worsening inequality between rich and poor. Roughly speaking, three social categories of wealth prevail—the “haves”, the “have nots” and the “have yachts”. The latter group is too politically powerful to allow open criticism from major political leaders. The plight of the “have nots” can be the subject of sympathy, concern and support without altering their social status. The “haves” must be seriously catered for in the battle for party votes. Consequently, in a major televised leader debate, any call from a community leader to redress structural inequality will fall on deaf ears. 

So, there we have it. No exploration of fundamental national issues—leader references to climate change were desultory at best. As the campaign continues, Labour will be hoping for more turgid and boring television exchanges among the party leaders, a fine victory for the All Blacks against Australia in a full stadium and a nationwide Level 1 not long before polling day. Judith Collins and the National Party will be hoping for a giant government scandal or cock-up and/or a preventable resurgence of COVID-19. If none of these possibilities transpire, the net result will be a coronation for one side and near oblivion for the other and no real macro-economic plan beyond borrow and hope.

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  1. Yes, as I’ve just commented elsewhere, “Debate” is a misnomer. There was no debate. It was a game show format, with 20 questions fired and 30 seconds to answer then cut-off, even halfway through a sentence.

    Serious debate or in-depth discussion in any form was non-existent.
    Is this really the best that AO/ NZ can do? Good grief.

    • ………………..Questions for gentle Judith, which John Campbell failed to ask………………..
      JUDITH: I’d like to correct my earlier answer, and say that I grew up on a state house farm, because they had them in those days. And one of my trust’s may own some as well. I’m sure I have some connection somewhere, to either state houses or farms.

      JOHN: Do you have any comment on your husband, posting misogynist anti Labour crap over Facebook?
      JUDITH: Oh that’s nothing. A trifle.

      JOHN: Do you have any comment on your finance spokesman’s $4.3 billion fiscal hole?
      JUDITH: Oh that’s nothing. A one off. It’ll never happen again.

      JOHN: Do you have any comment on your finance spokesman’s $88 million fiscal hole?
      JUDITH: Oh that’s nothing. The battery probably ran out in his calculator.

      JOHN: Do you have any comment on your finance spokesman’s latest $3.8 billion fiscal hole?
      JUDITH: Oh that’s nothing. Probably caused by his misplacing his reading glasses and ear trumpet.

      JOHN: And what about child poverty?
      JUDITH: For 9 years National kept no statistics on child poverty, and preferred to completely ignore it, like it was of no importance to us whatsoever. But now I’m an expert, with every statistic on child poverty, and I can tell you that out of all the statistics I’ve studied, I’ve managed to find just one, that hasn’t improved under Labour – my god, how obscene!

      JOHN: And what about housing?
      JUDITH: For 9 years National couldn’t give a toss about the increasing unaffordability of housing. We just whined about the RMA, and threw our hands into the air. But Labour should be burnt at the stake, for their lack of action on housing or putting a brake on house prices – my god, how obscene!

      JOHN: And what about Police?
      JUDITH: For 9 years National cut back Police funding and training intakes, causing some smaller Police stations to have to be shut down due to a lack of resources, particularly on the west coast. And now Labour is trying to act like they’re the law and order party, by building up Police numbers to respectable levels again – my god, how obscene!

      JOHN: And what about Jacinda’s selfie with her supporters?
      JUDITH: My god, how obscene! That was an outrage by any measure. Look how close
      everyone was, with no face masks in sight. Spreading berty germ to each other with reckless abandon. This definitely needs a commission of inquiry. In all honesty, I think we should lock her up. Then drain the swamp, and build a wall. This is absolutely the biggest scandal to come along, during all my time in Parliament.

      JOHN: But what about your whole Dirty Politics scandal?
      JUDITH: It is what it is.

      JOHN: You were so donkey deep in dirty politics sleazy plots and counter plots, that John Key had to strip you, of your Honorable?
      JUDITH: No, I’ve always been pretty Honorable.

      JOHN: And do the civil servants, Mr Feely and Mr Pleasants, feel the same way?
      JUDITH: I’ll burn your house down and gut your family pet,,, then I’ll slash your car tires and defecate on your steering wheel,,, then I’ll rip your eyes out and piss in your skull, maggot.
      Oops, deary me, did I say all that out loud. My apologies, I misspoke.

      JOHN: I think we’ll go to a short add break now!

  2. Interesting, as I keep thinking, one is the Thatcherite ( and idealizes her ) and the other is the Blairite. So that’s why the inertia,… just different levels of the neo liberal handle. HOWEVER, … one of them seemed more and more inclined to pre 1984 Keynesian thought than the other and who not only is going to be the next PM, – but garner most of the votes for her party. 🙂 I’ll leave that for others to consider.

    • Bert,

      Nelson is my old home town. I’d forgotten about the actions of the despicable Collins and her P.O.S partner toward kiwis in Nelson. Is there any person who’s been in the sights of Collins that hasn’t been bullied by her? What a joke that these two vile individuals want to lead our country.

      Ardern or Collins ?

      Gayford or Wong Tung ?

      Say no more

      • Yes we saw her bullying tactics loud and clear the other night.” Nonsense and Rubbish” are not debating colloquialisms.They are designed to bully.

    • Quite right Bert, however I don’t belief Collins is going to get away with the trust comment as most Kiwis don’t have a trust to hind their wealth, most working Kiwis pay their taxes.I don’t know if Collins is aware of the negative connotations having a trust has in the wider community as a tax dodge, Will it does for me anyway.
      Her bully boy tactics are from yesteryear and certainly no indication of intelligence or statesmanship,4 more weeks and she will be a footnote and thank goodness.

  3. As expected though, the right-wing marketing arm of the National Party – the NZ Herald commentators – in the main hailed Collins the winner of the first leaders debate. But if interrupting JA at every opportunity, smirking, pursing her mean lips while she glares at JA and saying repeatedly – “I tell you what John” (to John Campbell) is the mark of a winner and therefore the better leader of this country then I despair for us. For me though, Jacinda was the winner of the debate and is a natural to keep leading this country as she has done so superbly since Labour took over the shambles National left behind


    Yes Wayne good depiction of course, as there had to a reason why Jacinda looked forlorn all the tie with no spark. She was coached to seem ‘resigned’ – which appeared on her face often but you said the right thing about the “forgotten generation” (over 60’s elders) during this debate, ‘the elders’ as we over 60’s are now the ‘fifth growing voting block’ according to ‘age concern’ announced today in the news.

    Jacinda has to begin talking about the trials and tribulations of trying to survive on low pensions in NZ as costs are far exceeding incomes of the retirees.

    Wayne said;
    “if very young people are struggling, then their older siblings, parents and grandparents are also likely to be in trouble. Poverty is structurally entrenched within families and communities without secure income and capital assets. The government has not addressed this reality through a properly tax-funded public housing policy”

  5. Well written piece.

    I expressed my concern about the debate format on multiple occasions in the days leading up to it.

    Time constraints in answering critically important questions destroyed any and all hope of it ever being a worthwhile debate. My concerns were on point as what developed was farcical. I appreciate you can’t just give politicians the floor and say let me know when you’re finished so a balance needed to be found. TVNZ certainly didn’t find it. Attempting to answer critically important questions in such a short timeframe is utterly hopeless. What amplified that was your rival knowing it and being permitted to routinely interrupt and mock your answer.

    Then you have the host. I make no secret of the fact I find Mike Hosking truly nauseating on every level. The prospect of John Campbell being the host did at first sight suggest a better debate but I did express my concerns about him. First cab off the ranks is his employer. Anyone who thinks TVNZ is neutral in NZ Politics is not paying attention. They ran what were party political broadcasts for the National Party introducing Todd Muller as the lead story in the 6pm news. Muller was seen walking on the beach with his family in a totally contrived scene, His children were introduced by name. Even his white poodle was introduced by name. They showed interviews of only people in his local area who thought Muller was magnificent. Surely, it’s not the role of the Nation’s broadcaster to introduce National Party leaders in that manner with such prominence. The National Party couldn’t possibly have done a better job themselves with a 20 million dollar advertising budget. TVNZ news readers during the 6pm news have used highly emotive words to describe the Governments border handling when asking reporters about the “shambolic border situation” The exact same language that National Party leaders have used. Since when is that a news readers role? News readers around the world are trained in NOT using emotive language and displaying bias while reading news. TVNZ ran multiple prominent “news stories” giving fuel to the outrageous allegation that our PM knew all about a farcical example of sexual abuse and allegedly covered it up. This allegation that very obviously had absolutely no substance whatsoever was fueled by Bennett and Bridges and multiple of the usual suspects in our alleged media. It damaged Ardern badly in the polls that followed and was seen on reputable news websites and newspapers around the world. When Ardern was totally cleared, TVNZ ran a 20 second piece about it as their 8th story in their 6pm news bulletin. 15 of those 20 seconds were taken up spouting on about how Labour can avoid a repeat in the future. There’s just three examples of how politically neutral TVNZ are.

    Back to John Campbell. The dynamic was there for him to overcompensate his respect for Ardern by displaying bias in Collins favour. He did that with bells on. Campbell looked EXACTLY like a host who’s motivation was wanting the job of hosting every TVNZ leaders debate for the next five+ elections. He was nauseating and made the skin crawl of many viewers who watched the farce. As much as I hate with a passion saying this, John Campbell actually made Mike Hoskings look good when he hosted the previous leaders debate for TVNZ.

    Collins is despised for good reason by large numbers of kiwis. Specific answers to questions in a reputable poll shown on TDB highlight this situation yet Campbell was obsequious toward Collins. He also permitted her to incessantly interrupt the PM’s responses and mock those responses. Campbell was an absolute fail as the host.

    The lighting and camera angles were also extremely favourable to Collins and unflattering to Ardern. It’s the role of the “experts” organizing every aspect of what the viewers see so it’s very difficult to believe it was all just a series of coincidences.

    Then we have the questions asked by quests. Collins grew up on a dairy farm in Matamata. This is well known to anyone who’s looked into her history. With that in mind, how much of a coincidence was it that the questionnaire was a dairy farmer from Matamata of all places who clearly despised the Government? Anyone who believes that was not a setup for Collins benefit likely also believes in the tooth fairy. If TVNZ are prepared to set that up, what else was a set up?

    Collins made outrageous statements about her diabolical tax cuts to “stimulate the economy” that desperately needed to be examined in depth as it spoke volumes about the divisive Collins and this version of the National Party. Time constraints prevented that. What a farcical situation. Why even bother having a debate? The tax cuts are nothing less than a cynical and reprehensible attempt to buy votes of a certain demographic during a pandemic. Remarkably, the tax cuts were to be funded by money put aside to help all kiwis when needed during this health crisis.

    As an aside, I’m genuinely concerned about the lack of backbone with multiple of our alleged journalists. They are clearly frightened of challenging Collins and making her accountable. The prospect of Collins lashing, bullying and humiliating them is more than enough for most of them to stay off her radar. Being confronted by her when they are on their own also has them bricking. I’ve seen this before with bullies. Some people find it much easier to suck up to a bully and be their friend safe from attack than to confront them. The last time Collins was confronted was several weeks ago with the farcical eyebrow just joking bullshit. Collins has been gifted a free pass by our spineless self preservation alleged media since then despite everything she’s done and said. Our gutless alleged media are only interested in winning approval of other gutless media colleagues by playing “Gotcha” all day every day with the much softer target who doesn’t bite. What a sad reflection with such an important election in NZ history that this is now the status quo.

    • The last time Collins was confronted was several weeks ago with the farcical eyebrow just joking bullshit.

      And those eyebrows were getting a workout, often leaping around independently of each other and of any other facial features (or what resembled facial features under the warpaint).

      Our gutless alleged media

      R.I.P. NZ media.

  6. Ardern clearly doesn’t give a shit about debating Collins in the traditional MSM with it’s gatekeepers of studio producers, camera operators and courtier political journalists all analysed by an insular, aging and sneering pundocracy that loves the neoliberal status quo. She was disengaged and pretty much doing enough to not have a car crash. By contrast, at 7am today she did a FB live that had 7,000 viewers live and is currently sitting at around 43,000 views.

    Ardern has full spectrum dominance of the social media space – the old media and it’s rusted on army of aging commentators can’t get it’s head around their declining relevance, and when they do get a glimpse of their irrelevance they only ever react with furious tall poppy jealousy and envy anyway.

    • The problem you’ve got sanctuary is that us old boomers are everywhere but not necessarily on social media. We all vote and plenty are conservative. I agree with Jacindafan in so much as the debate format was insane. If they’re not going to give the debaters time to answer properly and meaningfully why bother. Campbell is a fuckwit in my opinion only, but others may agree. JC adapted to the ridiculous format better than JA and it showed.

    • So what you’re saying if she can absolutely control the narrative and if she’s not asked any hard questions she’ll do great? Are you listening to yourself?

  7. What does that tell you? Is either National or Labour fit to run NZ’s govt? Its gladdening to see both have lost support to smaller parties. I hope that trend continues.

  8. Interest rates are heading negative. This is killing saver’s and pushing up house prices.

    Orr’s money printing will just boost house prices and stocks.

    Nelson for example are screaming out for houses yet 8000 people just signed a petition to stop development.

    National, Labour, Green – it doesn’t matter. They won’t change what’s going on.

    Labour are by far the worse .. they, with the RBNZ have literally pumped billions and billions into this housing bubble.

    Maybe hundreds of billions over the past 3 years .. and what’s more .. they have built .. 400 houses?

    But yes, keep voting Labour, LMFAO

    • Zack Brando….or is that Gerry Brownstain?

      Your bias and ignorance is astonishing. Most of what you vomit out is best ignored …bar one aspect.

      Have you ever been to Nelson? Do you have any far king idea where the Matai Valley is and it’s significance? I’m genuinely shocked that even more people are not protesting a proposed subdivision there. I’m 100% certain those numbers will grow.

      There’s also plenty of room for a subdivision in Waipoua Forest. Fuck Tane Mahuta. Knock it over and put up another subdivision to solve Northlands housing issues.

      What I find most ironic is how little the National Party and their trolls said about the housing crisis during their recent 9 long years at the wheel. Many profited by it and denied there even was a housing crisis. They certainly did fuck all to address it, in fact, their actions made it considerably worse. Now they are the loudest voice on the topic. Oh the irony.

      • RIGHT of Reply:

        You can go back over my comments. 2-3 years before the term Housing Crisis was a thing [2-3 years before labour became the government]

        I was saying there IS a chronic housing shortage. I criticized National mercilessly, and I criticized the opposition mercilessly – LABOUR

        Labour weren’t interested in talking about the housing crisis .. for almost 9 years! They started one year before the election. It was shameful and that’s the truth!

        I run one of the biggest Facebook housing groups for people in Christchurch. I warned years before Labour came to power that National were a disaster, and Labour were turning a blind eye.

        I warned thousands would be out on the streets, I cited the worsening OECD statistics.

        I even mentioned this on Labour’s Facebook page .. till this day I’m still blocked.

        Right of Reply, Right of Reply:

        And yes I’ve been to Nelson many times. What ?? .. 3 families own ALL the greenbelt land around Nelson? 5 families tops ??

        I don’t know the significance of the land. Nelson should zone land better though [Nelson: a city that would benefit from a land tax]. I’m in favour of people having a roof over their heads .. not hearing Nelson moan they can’t find workers .. yet continue to refuse to address City Council zoning.

        Right of Reply – Right of Reply

        • Zack Brando,

          I will just have to take you at your word on what you said years before the term housing crisis was a thing. Unfortunately, I’m not motivated enough to troll through years of your comments for confirmation.

          We all accept that people draw a line under the housing crisis time frame based on their own perception / bias. My bias is it became a big deal when young kiwi families had virtually no hope of owning their own home in their home town / city / country. When they have to move away from friends and family to another town to own their own digs, it’s a problem. When the PM at the time promises there will be no more empty spaces around the family dining table that year, you hoped he was sincere as kiwis were leaving in droves and families being split up as they knew home ownership in their home country had become an unrealistic goal for them. Unfortunately, that commitment had about as much integrity and authenticity as his adamant claim that he wouldn’t raise GST if re-elected. Nek minute.

          I’m absolutely convinced that the tidal wave of immigration over the last decade especially has done the most damage to our housing market. The National Party opened the floodgates as the only thing that mattered to them was $$ and their farcical alleged rock star economy. Despite all the warnings, National displayed complete indifference and even denied there was a housing crisis. Labour have attempted to resolve the crisis but their flagship policy was a fail. They own that which is something unfamiliar with Governments when they get it wrong. In Labours defence, any hope of at least making solid progress with housing over the last year has gone out the window due to the worst massacre in NZ history, a volcano and a deadly pandemic.

          Watching our housing market become even more unrealistically priced in recent months due to the influx of “kiwis” returning from offshore is a small concentrated example of exactly how the situation with house prices and demand have got out of hand over a longer period. The ripple effect has arrived again. Buyers at every level are displaced until the ones at the bottom end are squeezed out completely or forced to pay a grossly inflated amount to live in nappy valley where their lawn will be smaller in size than than a billiard table. Very little has been done to protect home ownership for young kiwi families. The nearest is the foreign buyers ban which has had some success. I know personally of three offshore house buyers who have continued investing in NZ property but had the minor inconvenience of having to make their purchases via a NZ based trust. If National were back in Government, the foreign buyers ban would be gone by lunch time. They’ve said as much in yet another big fuck you to young kiwi families wanting to get on the home ownership ladder.

          The Matai Valley is a beautiful part of Nelson. Growing up we spent most of every summer there. A 700 house subdivision in the Kaka Valley would change the entire dynamic of such a beautiful part of NZ and create a long list of issues. Good for you being in favour of people having a roof over their head. That’s mighty white. Please show me people who are against that concept. A roof over peoples head is hugely important… but so is not destroying our beautiful country in that quest.

          As for you being banned from Labours F/B page. I haven’t been on it myself but have been told they are inundated with trolls who mock everything they say and do and likely end their “contributions” there something akin to “But yes, keep voting Labour, LMFAO”.

          I’m picking those that manage the page have become proficient at picking out the trolls.

        • I have the same feeling ZB. The housing calamity caught National in the headlights about a year out and Labour weren’t much better until the up coming election gave them a stick. It’s not an excuse because National should have twigged sooner but we’re too arrogant. It was the perfect storm of immigrants and NZ becoming a popular place to live. This Government cried out about it like an angry child but are incompetent when it comes to solving the issue. There’s a big list of other things they were going to solve but didn’t as well. No one seems to mind. Yet.

          • “This Government cried out about it like an angry child but are incompetent when it comes to solving the issue. ”

            Sounds like Collins behaviour when bowing to the farmers, an angry child and incompetent in solving the issues/ couldn’t care less about the environment.

  9. “the television party leader debate had to be boring and inconsequential.” Good point here Wayne. It looks like Jacinda Ardern was indeed the clever one, again. Don’t get rattled, stay calm and let your opponent do all the ranting and raving. People will notice that. A great leader will not throw the toys out of the cot. Sounds to me like our PM did “win” this horrid gameshow event. The boomer natz supporters will undoubtedly see quite the opposite. With Covid19 still around the majority will want a calm and responsible leader, rather than the other lot that looks as if she has rabies.

  10. it was a debate without substance because neither Ardern or Collins has any. Just two con-artists trying to sell their own brand of snake oil

    • While our PM calmly, quietly and steadily continues to steer us all safely through some of the most stormy and turbulent waters the world has experienced since the last WW, that other person probably cannot help her two faces or her split personality, and being a bully and a dominatrix can be a hard sell.

  11. …So, there we have it. No exploration of fundamental national issues…

    A fine summation, and one others have made. Surely this kind of tired TV soundbyte format needs revising. No substance. Just a media spectacle. And a poor one at that. Just fodder for the masses (I’m no fan of Don Brash but his derogatory comment about punters out there in punter-land may cut close to the bone). We, the team of 5 million, deserve more. Given the absence of real substance is it a case of simply fiddling around the edges as the whole edifice is of imminent danger of collapse? A big enough issue for the mainstream media; an even bigger issue for political parties with aspirations for leadership.

  12. The depth we’ve got to is when it is actually said said, “Anyone expecting a clash of philosophy and policy ideas between Jacinda Adern and Judith Collins on television last evening was bound to be disappointed.” What?

    This is 2020. This is the big combo of UFC and WWE, Barnum and Bailey, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the hopes of a freak show on drugs and politicians’ blood and guts on the floor.

    Jack Nicholson: “What if this is as good as it gets?”

  13. In my opinion it certainly wasn’t a debate as I know it. Rather it featured two candidates talking at the camera in response to a question, with Judith Collins constantly talking over the top of Jacinda Ardern, making stupid comments trying to score points. Nothing whatsoever was achieved other than my opinion of Judith Collins dropping even lower than it already was. Sad to say, this ‘debate/debarcle’ was badly adjudicated by John Campbell. All round disappointing.

  14. And thats they way the incumbent government wants it. A boring election will favour labour. With enrollment data looking pretty grim, same as in 2017. Labour could sneak back into government with the need for a coalition partner or two?
    Still, there’s that 20.9% of voters that did a no show in 2017 may do the same this October.

    The Labour vote is collapsing 23 days out.

    • Jacinda now has to sweeten the pot for the other voters she has not focused on so far; about the “forgotten generation” (over 60’s elders) during this debate, she did not mention ‘the elders’ as we over 60’s are now the ‘fifth growing voting block’ according to ‘age concern’ announced today in the news.

      Jacinda has to begin talking about the trials and tribulations of trying to survive on low pensions in NZ as costs are far exceeding incomes of the retirees.

      • Unfortunately the Mellinials dont like the elderly or any other generation for that matter CG. They’re a selfish bunch.

  15. 0. Great analysis from JacindaFan.

    1.Apparantly Jacinda had been out campaigning all day before the debate and it showed . she looked understandable tired , flat and not helped by the poor lighting .In my opinion a strategic mistake given a viewing audience of around 600,000 .

    2.The format was crap ,you can’t explain how to save the economy in 20 seconds .Its for morons with 10 sec attention spans and Campbell redlining the narrative was exhausting without being informative.

    3. Its hard to generate momentum , passion or humor without a live audience .Live audiences reactions are great and lift the entertainment for those watching at home .

    Playing the statesman , it is important for any leader , to stay above the daily dross, but at some point in future debates Jacinda needs to come out fighting , articulate the clear differences between the two approaches , show how dated both Collins and her policies are and with some real passion and authority defend her vision to put Collins in her place .

    Collins did hold her own , and in the next debate Sept 30 th Jacinda needs to come out more on the front foot.

    Failure to do this I predict will see National creeping up as confidence grows in Collins and Labour trends down to the mid 40’s .

    Given the precarious situation of the greens who may or may not be there to support Labour , its time for the leader to lead .
    Labour needs to hold the 48% and better performances in the remaining debates are vital .

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