Espiner on the Debate

From the Press:

Labour leader Helen Clark believes she had her opponent, John Key, “rattled” during last night’s TV3 leaders’ debate.

I am always amused when Helen Clark political commentator judges how well Prime Minister Helen Clark has done. Are the two Clarks related?

After a scrappy but ultimately even contest between the two leaders, a defiant Clark told reporters she had got her points across well, rejecting suggestions she had been more defensive than Key, who appeared relaxed throughout the hour-long show.

He was more relaxed but less so than the previous TV debate I thought.

“I don’t think I was the one who came across as defensive,” Clark said afterwards.

Is that the PM defensively saying she was not defensive?

Key refused to declare a victor, saying he thought the debate had been scrappy at times, but that both sides had a fair hearing.

“In the end, I thought John Campbell did a good job.”

He did, but I think he asked too many process questions instead of policy questions.

He revealed that Clark had complained at one point during a commercial break that she had not had enough air time a point she disputed after the show.

Clark complained last debate also and it turned out she had more airtime.

Key struck back over a discussion on the nanny state, telling Clark her Government was “storming through your front door” with new regulations on lightbulbs and shower heads, prompting Clark to utter her least believable line of the night: “I’m a free spirit”.


Overall, Key appeared more relaxed than Clark, but both were on top of their game and able to foot it with each other and with Campbell’s attempts to catch them out, and the debate appeared to be an honorable draw.

I agree.

Clark got in a final parting shot at TV3’s downbeat post-match panel, saying “I thought the panel needed Prozac, but perhaps it’s too late at night for them”.

I thought Jenny McManus was great!

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