Back in April this year I set out a way Labour could win, or at least genuinely fight, this election. I am very pleased to say Labour has now largely embarked on much of what I proposed.
I’m not taking credit for it. I have only a few thousand people reading this blog. But it’s very pleasing to see that some others at Labour have been on the same page, and for the same reasons, and that some decent acton is finally being taken.
Did you see the opening Party Political Broadcasts? National’s was boring verging on turgid, featuring John Key almost exclusively in the full knowledge he’s actually the only thing National has going for it. As ridiculous as that is. Key then answers fake questions from a fake audience. It’s kinda bizarre, considering how much money National has to spend on this kind of media, that it’s such tripe. In the forthcoming ‘ulluctions’, Key mumbles about investing ‘bullions’ into ‘newzillanders’. Crikey, that’s rich – he’s been cutting right, left and centre. I struggled to stay awake through it, although his argument that selling New Zealand’s assets will lead to having more assets woke me up a bit.
Labour’s Party Political Broadcast was moving, direct and interesting.
The Green’s one was so hokey, it made me want to put my party vote with Labour. And that’s a breakthrough.
And then we had the first head-to-head debate between Prime Minister Key and Labour leader Phil Goff.
It’s amazing to me that the more conservative commentators decided John Key came out better in the opening televised debate. To me Key looked like a gloating, smug schoolboy one minute, and an errant schoolboy being reprimanded the next.
Also, while it was unfortunate that at times they talked over each other (if only for the sake of audio clarity) I thought Phil Goff showed some balls. And thank god for that. It was such a pleasant surprise. Goff took it to Key on most issues and, in my household, there was cheering.
Some people said Goff didn’t present enough policies, but I think that’s rubbish – Labour’s policies came out well. And they’re about the tough decisions we need to take now, both to correct National’s mismanagement and also because of the recession. And now, with foreshadows of an even tougher recession to come, I’m even more scared that National will get a second term. By the end of it, we’ll be squarely third world.
As for the exchanges between the two, if something on TV is called a ‘debate’, they should be debating directly, and I reckon that’s what TVNZ should have been fostering. I was annoyed they weren’t allowed to develop their exchanges more. I suspect Key would have been showed up even more for his lying and evasion, and that’s what TV One was trying to avoid.
The questions from the panel and from the video submitters were pretty irrelevant and a distraction, and I have to wonder how and why they were chosen at all. Guyon Espiner could have carried the whole thing by himself, introducing topics that seemed representative of such input rather than screening the clunky home videos and the distracting questions from the panel of misfits. This would have allowed more time for real debate – and Mark Sainsbury’s input was not needed at all.
As for Dr Jon Johansen and Dr Claire Robinson, the ex Private Secretary to Jenny Shipley got to lead that commentary too, and Johansen only asserted himself in the post match briefing much later on that night. So anyone missing that later commentary might take Robinson’s queue that Key was the better in the debate, which was far from the truth.
Afterwards, in a text poll, 61% of people said Key impressed them the most in the debate in a text poll, compared to 39% for Goff. That looks bad, but considering Goff was on (I think) just 14% as preferred leader, that’s actually a dramatic rise. But the poll is hardly scientific.
The biggest thing in National’s favour now is the short electioneering window forced by the date set in the full knowledge that the Rugby World Cup would effectively hijack the nation’s attention. That, coupled to Key’s popularity – but last night we saw Key’s smug veneer begin to crack.
So keep the hits coming, Labour.
We need a left wing government.
It’s now becoming a question of saving the country.
Afterwards, reported the NZ Herald, Key again took exception to being called a liar. “It’s a very strong term and I don’t believe I’ve ever used that about Phil Goff. I’m not a liar.”
Well, that’s a lie. And what does this presuppose; that Key gets to lead with the terms of abuse? Bullshit.
But the reason you’ve never used the term about Phil Goff is that Goff is not a liar, actually, Mr Key.