The Soap Box: Fear that we'll be fatigued come election day

Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Friday, 8 September 2017, 6:16AM
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and National leader Bill English. (Photo: Getty)
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and National leader Bill English. (Photo: Getty)

The fear is that we'll be so fatigued by the time September the 23rd arrives, with the he-said she-said debates, that we'll forget about voting.


In fairness, a month ago the idea that this was going to be a tightly fought contest wasn't part of the political equation. With Bill English squaring off against Andrew Little the real fear was the debates would be sleep inducing, but at least political junkies would get an early night.


The thing that Bill English is now clearly hoping for is that, what he refers to as the Jacinda Ardern stardust, will settle. Unfortunately for him the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll, out just as the Stuff leaders' debate was kicking off last night, shows the dust with the voter at least has become something of a sandstorm.


Labour's steady on 43 percent, National's down two to 39 percent, Ardern's own rating up one to 35, English's is down, two to 31.


Last night's outing saw an animated English gesticulating like an orchestra conductor minus the baton.   If he had one he would have been waving it to try and silence Ardern who at one point sounded like a soprano celebrating, as she should, National's own goal about the 11.7 billion hole in Labour's books. With a line-up of economists on her side, compared with none on National's, English delivered an unconvincing sermon which failed to answer her repeated screech: "Who agrees with you?"


But then he did land a few hits, like the John Key millstone she's now hung around her neck promising to resign rather than raise the pension age beyond 65. Ardern said he'd sold out her generation by increasing it to 67 in twenty years time. Father of six English retorted he knew this generation, he raised it.


Ardern is very good at saying a lot with passion but her words don't match the reality, like claiming she'll be remembered after her first term as Prime Minister for turning around the housing crisis. Oh yeah, slashing migration isn't going to help that ambition.


She also has an irritating habit of repeatedly claiming she won't take the time allotted to her, that she'll be brief, and then not understanding what brevity is.


Her well rehearsed opening in last night's debate came in at exactly the three minutes given to her.


Even though she told Bill English that the stardust won't settle, rattling off a number of things we shouldn't settle for, you can't help get the feeling the dust is now coming down to earth, providing National doesn't, in desperation, expel another rush of hot air.

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