Monday, 31 October 2011

Leaders Debate: Round 1 to Goff

I was impressed with Phil Goff in the last night's leaders debate. Phil came across as having integrity and was reasonable as evidenced from his being able to learn from his mistakes. Phil admitted that his biggest mistake was in supporting asset sales. John Key said his was in not spinning successfully the purchase of flash BMWs. Phil said at least he learns from his mistakes. A telling point came when Espiner asked, "Is it possible to survive in politics without occasionally bending the truth?" Key responds, "Well, we live in a dynamic environment, so of course things change."

Key looked decidedly slippery over his promise not to raise GST, saying it must be seen in the context of a "dynamic environment", and he made the promise in the sense of not raising GST to bring in extra revenue (that is crap btw if you see his promise on Youtube, he was clear he wouldn't raise GST in his 1st term). After the debate, Goff said Key had introduced a new meaning to the words "dynamic environment. That means you can actually change your story, promise one thing and do the opposite, but that's because the environment is 'dynamic.' Those are weasel words."

Judging by the pro-Key media of the past year Goff was the underdog going into the debate. In reality this is the first time members of the public have really seen Key outside of his minder managed comfort zone, going face to face with his opponent. Goff exceeded expectations he got his policies out, landed some good body blows and properly attacked Key on his integrity. He showed that he can be Prime Ministerial. Key to my mind sounded arrogant and flippant.

To my mind going into the debate, Key had everything to lose, the media have given him a cake walk so far and now the rose-coloured (or should that be blue-coloured?) spectacles should start to come off.

Probably the best question of the night came from Wallace Chapman, who asked each leader,"What is the one thing you’d march for? Key says he’d march for equality of opportunity, and bangs on about being brought up by a solo mother, and tells us he’s become prime minister of New Zealand. What is interesting is that he has promoted policies which make it harder for solo parents to give their kids the same advantages that Key himself enjoyed growing up. To be honest I just couldn't see Key marching for anything.

Goff cites a number of things he has actually marched for: stopping mining of our national parks, stopping early childhood fees rising and to keep ACC fees down. He also says he supports the people marching around the world in the Occupy Movement.

I was left with one nagging question at the end of the debate though. I have no idea why TVNZ had Claire Robinson as an "expert commentator"? She sounded like some kind of pro-National zombie, who couldn't deviate from the pre-recorded script that would play when you pulled the drawstring dangling from her back.

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