Tamaki Debate – Winners + Losers (with zero funding from NZ on Air)


Great write up of the debate in Newsroom…

Tāmaki: When two tribes go to war

A knife-edge poll result in the previously rock-solid National seat of Tāmaki sets the scene for a debate with a distinct lack of camaraderie between the two allies of the right. Tim Murphy was in the room.

A pink wave came ashore at Mission Bay on Tuesday night, threatening to wash aside 63 years of National Party dominance in the Tāmaki electorate and revealing personal and political tensions between the centre-right’s supporters.

A Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll of the seat taken last week shows the Act deputy leader and challenger Brooke van Velden’s tide coming in at the right time, placing her on 38 percent of the decided vote to the 12-year National incumbent Simon O’Connor on 40 percent. With a margin of error of 4.9 percent, it is a statistical tie.

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…and the NZ Herald…

Election 2023: National and Act candidates face-off in Auckland

The Tāmaki event was hosted by the Taxpayers’ Union (TU) at a bar in Mission Bay and was altogether rowdier. You get that in a bar, especially with the TU.

O’Connor and van Velden were the only candidates there. Both said they want their parties to form a new government together, but they’re in a serious fight with each other over the seat.

“If you’re on the left,” said moderator Martyn Bradbury, “it’s like watching a fight between Voldemort and a Dalek.”

Results of a poll, conducted by Curia and the TU, show just how close this contest is. O’Connor has lost 50 per cent of the support he enjoyed in 2020 and is now at 35 per cent. Van Velden follows closely, at 33 per cent. The pollsters stress this is well within the margin of error.

O’Connor pitched himself as the “moderate” choice, which seemed to surprise van Velden. He’s a very conservative Christian. She’s a “social liberal” who believes her social views correspond more closely to middle New Zealand.

But she did give O’Connor some ammunition for his claim. Asked why she wanted to legalise the sale of sub-machine guns, she said: “It’s not right to go after farmers who need them for their work.”

O’Connor said: “Labour throws money about while those on the right of National want to cut, cut, cut. That’s why we’re the middle ground.”

Bradbury asked him how that fitted with National’s plan to cut public service spending by 6.5 per cent.

“It’s a number,” said O’Connor. “We can change that if required.”

His leader, Christopher Luxon, has not put it like that.

O’Connor added: “The public service are people too. You can’t just target a number. We will work with the CEOs.”

Bradbury invited the audience to marvel at the National MP who felt it necessary to say public servants are people. Then he asked van Velden why Act wanted to “steal workers’ rights” by abolishing the public holiday on January 2.

She replied that it was a rebalancing act after the Matariki holiday was created in 2022. “We’ve just said, ‘Let’s readjust the calendar’.”

Over in Epsom, although Seymour and Goldsmith are also both trying to win the seat, they did not attack each other. That was left largely to Labour’s Camilla Belich and TOP’s Nina Su.

“We’re addicted to selling property to each other,” said Su. “Wealth has increased but it’s not because of productivity.” TOP proposes a land tax.

“If we tax farmers,” said Seymour, “they’ll go broke.”

Belich defended Labour’s housing density rules, saying they make it easier for people to develop their own properties. National and Act’s policies, she said, would lead to urban sprawl, requiring more expensive infrastructure and making carbon emissions worse.

“Compact cities are the future, all over the globe.”

In Tāmaki, O’Connor co-opted the climate debate to his theme of moderation. “National will listen to the Climate Commission,” he said, “listen to farmers, listen to everyone, and we will govern for all.”

He also praised the electorate’s “great new cycleway”.

“Is that another first?” wondered Bradbury.

Van Velden said the way to deal with climate change was to empower the Emissions Trading Scheme “and get out of the way”.

She pointed to scientific advances in agriculture as evidence little more was needed. “Stop talking about doom and gloom,” she said.

“But,” said Bradbury, “you can’t rely on science unless you listen to what scientists are saying. They want much more action.”

O’Connor talked about his family’s chickens, worm farm and recycling. “And the bees! If you want bees, we have a lot of bees!”

…I don’t remember Spinoff getting any type of write up  of their election season debates.

Did they even have any?

How do the Spinoff get so much NZ on Air money when The Working Group who hosted 7 nationwide debates get nothing?

I digress.

The Tamaki debate was another rollicking affair on top of the other 6 rollicking debates we’ve held.

Brooke is the only 30 year old woman in NZ to dress like she’s 57!

Her wardrobe will get the pension before she does, maybe that’s the real reason why they are rising super to 67?

Brooke highlighted ACTs compassion which is akin to a piranha during a feeding frenzy.

The glow in her eyes as she described the mass social carnage ACT intends to wreck was countered by Simon O’Connor who argued that the slash and burn will actually be far less than ACT are salivating for.

It was a smart play by Simon, who came across a lot more legitimately concerned than his anti abortion stance would suggest, to moderate because he can only win votes from the Labour candidate.

The desire for the new right to want vengeance has seen ACT sink in the polls as their extremism, love of submachine guns and desire to sack everyone and everything not nailed down (alongside their racist referendum to redefine the Treaty  that will plunge the country into a race war) are starting to sink in.

Simon was a lot more moderate and reasonable than ACT, I thought Brooke might take out Tamaki, but that performance by Simon changed my mind.

I think Tamaki will be razor close, but ACTs extremism may have spooked voters and I think Simon could just sneak home a win.

On a personal note, that was our last Live debate and it was a privilege bringing you all extra debate for our democracy because people in this country desperately need more spaces for debate where the Woke aren’t cancelling everyone and where the feral right aren’t ram raiding candidates homes!


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  1. But she did give O’Connor some ammunition for his claim. Asked why she wanted to legalise the sale of sub-machine guns, she said: “It’s not right to go after farmers who need them for their work.”
    That’s confusing the general with the particular. Farmers aren’t the only people using the sub-m’s and most of them don’t need them most of the time. Call in the police squad that could be set up for those special occasions. At least that would slow the number of imports of the nasties. And maybe the police could work to change the gun and violence and theft mindset more effectively than at present. Or are they, like ACT and other rightwingers into criminal makework?

  2. They both did well, as a YouTube viewer I felt O’Connor came off best, more rounded and experienced.

    Again, Brook van Velden did do well AND had a fantastical overcoat.

  3. “Van Velden said the way to deal with climate change was to empower the Emissions Trading Scheme “and get out of the way”.”

    ACT should have no problem with agriculture being brought into the ETS then.

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