The Herald rates the debate. First Audrey Young:
The debate brought out the best in John Key. He looked human, he talked about real people, real redundancies and up against the policy supremo, he more than held his own. She was awful to begin with, talking mainly in theories and statistics. Berating him over the Springbok tour was a mistake.
She was more convincing when talking up her leadership record. She had by far the best campaign launch on Sunday but he wiped the floor on the debate.
Then John Armstrong:
While there was little to separate the pair in a pretty even contest, John Key has to be declared the winner of tonight’s debate. …
In a tight battle, he even scored points at Clark’s expense. She was as rock solid as always, but predictable.
Key will have consolidated support for his party. National’s wobbly election campaign is back on track.
Fran O’Sullivan was the only dissenter:
Gripes aside: Clark scored best on the issue du jour – the international credit crisis. She has a post-election plan. Key doesn’t.
Key was initially ineffectual letting Clark walk over him (shades of Don Brash). He recovered and successfully challenged Clark’s rhetoric on climate change and crime.
Then we have NZPA Political Editor Peter Wilson:
Tags: Audrey Young, debate, Fran O'Sullivan, Helen Clark, John Armstrong, John Key, Peter Wilson, TVNZ, You Tube
John Key might not have been around politics for long but tonight he matched Helen Clark’s formidable abilities and vast experience as the National and Labour leaders went head to head in the campaign’s first TV debate.