Kerre McIvor: Civil debate had a lot of hot air but nothing innovative

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Sep 2020, 3:21PM
Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Kerre McIvor: Civil debate had a lot of hot air but nothing innovative

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Sep 2020, 3:21PM

Well, I don't know about you but last night it was appointment viewing for the first time in a long while with the first Leader's Debate.

I know it's not a blood sport as the Prime Minister said, and that was a good thing. I thought there was a degree of civility. There was no shouting over each other. It was more a challenge of policies and plans and ideas

But I was hoping for a bit of spark and feistiness.  And eventually it came but not for some time.  For the first half of the show, I heard nothing I hadn't heard already on talkback over the past few months.  There was nothing innovative, nothing exciting, a lot of hot air, a few well hashed policies and that was about it. 

Judith Collins stepped it up a bit in the second half, and if one was scoring, you'd have said she won that round.  There was quite a bit of I am, I was, I did from the leader of National.

There was a lot of ‘I was a proud dairy farmer's daughter’, ‘I have run a business’, ‘I'm married to a Samoan’ - I can only imagine if a member of the trans community had asked a question, Judith might have confessed to sharing her wardrobe with a close personal friend who's trans. 

But I guess that's what comes of actually living a life before entering politics.  You have done a bit.  You have lived a life.  And that does give you licence to identify with a broad cross section of the community. 

Her best blow was pointing out how the farming community felt they had been vilified by the coalition government.  Jacinda Ardern countered with the fact that there constantly has to be evolution in farming and the way things are done - but the way she phrased it - that's the old way of doing things - came across as a little bit cavalier.  But that's the nature of debates where you have to keep your answers short and sweet. 

Both leaders agreed housing for lower income New Zealanders was vitally important - Judith Collins says reformation of the RMA is the way to provide more housing.  Jacinda Ardern said they were onto it already and Collins countered with the fact that National had already set the ball rolling for much of the social housing Labour was claiming as their own. I thought Jacinda Ardern saved her best for last talking about double duty - getting social good while at the same time providing jobs.

That pretty much sums up Labour's ideology – doing social good while at the same time providing work on a decent living wage.

That was another point of difference between the two leaders.

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