I agree. Key should certainly hold his own, as he did in 2008, but these debates should see Goff perform at least equally as well, if not better.
Goff has been in Parliament for close to 30 years. He can recite facts and figures about what happened to unemployment in 1989, the impact of market rents in 1995, power prices in the 2000s etc. Key only entered Parliament in 2002.
Goff was a Minister for nine years in the last Government, and he was rarely rattled in the House. His debating skills are second to none.
Where Goff can struggle is with empathy, coming across as a “normal bloke” rather than a professional politician who is always negative. But he and his staff have spent the last two and a bit years making him less robotic, and I have no doubt he will get that balance right tonight of criticising the Government’s record, and promoting their own policies. so that he is seen more positively by New Zealanders than previously. Key is already a known quantity.
Debates are huge opportunities for Opposition Leaders. For the first time they are being framed as the alternate Prime Minister. unless something goes badly wrong, my expectation is Goff will get a bounce from the debate tonight. The question is not so much whether he will get a bounce, but how big that bounce will be.Tags: John Key, Phil Goff