The Dim-Post has an excellent write-up of the Aro Valley meeting. Some extracts:
Radio New Zealand announcer Bryan Crump has taken the evening off work to act as moderator – he warns the crowd that while heckling is encouraged he will not tolerate any ‘Hooton’s’.
Heh he has become a word.
For ACT Heather Roy who demands to know if there are any undecided voters in the audience. One woman puts her hand up. Roy exceeds the two minute time limit and is the first candidate to get drenched – but certainly not the last – while the gleeful crowd chants ‘zero tolerance’. Crump assures her that the water-pistol is ’scented with rose-water’. ‘It bloody is not,’ Roy replies.
For RAM (Resident Action Movement) Grant Brooks. It is hard to hear Brooks over the members of the audience shouting ‘Baaaaaaa’. He announces that RAM is a serious player in the upcoming election and the rest of his address is drowned out by laughter.
This is what I like abotu the meeting – they heckle regardless of political leanings.
For the Kiwi Party Rebekah Clement, a young and attractive candidate and the crowd is intrigued when Bryan Crump announces that he has watched her ‘nice thing on YouTube’.
Clement: The Kiwi Party is a new Party . . .
Heckler: It might not fly!
Clement: And I want to be part of it because a lot of young people feel that they can’t make a difference in politics . . .
Heckler: You can’t!
The two ‘major party’ candidates were asked about the Treaty of Waitangi. Stephen Franks gave the most considered reply of the night and actually addressed the question. Franks tended to over-complicate his replies and it was often hard to figure out what he was trying to say. His Obama-like emphasis on nuance might make him a good MP but it is not an effective strategy when you have two minutes to explain something to 300 jeering hippies with a water-pistol trained on the back of your head.
A good point!
In another post Danyl also comments on debates:
Neither Clark nor Key made McCain’s mistake – the person who came closest was Clark with her absurd and offensive comment about Key being used to shouting people down at home. Both candidates ran very defensive strategies in which they positioned themselves to look calm, strong and leaderlike; Key effortlessly exceeded the expectations set for him. Clark didn’t hurt herself in the debate but she didn’t help herself much either, and she did damage her image with her foolish (but totally characteristic) attacks on John Key and Mark Sainsbury the next day.
Clark and her supporters seem to genuinely believe in their cartoon depiction of John Key as some sort of malign, demonic super-rich psychopath, just as the US Republican Party imagines Barack Obama as being a deranged radical Islamic terrorist. But when people encounter Obama on TV they see a calm, articulate, slightly pompous and sometimes tedious former law professor; when we see Key we see a genial, occasionaly bewildered and safely anodyne Kiwi boy made good. Their political enemies are trying to sell us something we simply cannot believe in.
A very astute observation, in my opinion.
Tags: Aro Valley
, Barack Obama
, Helen Clark
, John Key