Here are my top moments from the first Leaders’ Debate.
- Goff’s passionate and upfront answer on Afghanistan. Key refusing to simply say yes or no on whether he would redeploy the SAS (it’s dinnamic, don’t you know).
- Goff calling Key out on his GST lie and handling Key’s response very well. He didn’t back down. He said ‘I respect the office of Prime Minister, but you’ve got to tell the truth’
- Key’s ‘mistake’ being that his office did a bad job explaining what a great deal the BMWs were, well Goff turned it back to message by saying that asset sales were a mistake.
- Wallace Chapman’s question on what they would protest on (please, could Wallace moderate the next debate? He does it every week on Backbenches with success). Key said he would march ‘for equality of opportunity’. I wonder if he would march down McGehan Close. Goff listed a whole bunch of things he had marched for, just in this term.
- Goff’s pointed use of numbers to prick Key’s bubble: 100,000 Kiwis gone to Australia, 60,000 more beneficiaries, lower median household income (I forget the number).
- Goff stopping Key getting out his decade of deficits line by pointing out Labour left the books in surplus (the ‘decade of deficits was only ever in the December 2008 economic update, written at the height of the global crisis when years more economic contraction was expected, in fact, the recession officially ended in March 2009).
- Key saying that breaking your promises and lying is OK because the world is ‘dinnamic’. Goff saying that lying is never OK.
- Goff’s explanations of policy. It may be old news to you and me and the political commentators that Labour would use dole payments to subsidise apprenticeships but it will have been the first time that many of the 800,000 viewers heard of it, and Goff sold it well, as he did other policies. Goff looked Prime Ministerial. Key was weak on asset sales.
- My final highlight is that, at the time of writing, it has been 12 hours since the debate and Farrar hasn’t mentioned it and Slater has only had a whine about www.keyholes.co.nz . Farrar’s only mention of the debate was a weak attempt to inflate expectations for Goff ahead of time. It’s kind of like their near silence on the opening addresses. The behaviour of these weather-vanes is telling. Especially Slater, who is much worse at controlling his emotions and getting the line across than Farrar.
What were your favourite moments? What else did you want to see?
Expect Key to come out a lot more aggressively in the Press debate tomorrow. Goff can now stand a bit taller and a bit more relaxed. He has the high ground. He just has to fend of Key’s aggression and keep on jabbing away at Key’s record and linking Key to asset sales, while explaining his own policies.
Update: Farrar has since posted and given the win to Goff.