Just watched the first Q&A. Overall pretty good.

The Guyon Espiner interview with Key was solid. He probed Key on lots of areas – and Key actually revealed quite a bit of stuff we didn’t know.

The panel was Therese Arseneau (who is permanent) and Phil O’Reilly and Russel Norman. I did find it unusual that you would have the leader of an opposition party as one of the panelists discussing the interview of the Prime Minister. I would have thought MPs should only ever be interview subjects, not panelists discussing other MPs.

The second interview (done by Holmes) was with Andrew Little. I was amused to see footage of Andrew in the mid 80s (when I first met him) and even more amused that they dug out a televised exchange between Andrew as NZUSA President telling Tertiary Education Minister Phil Goff that he is talking nonsense and Goff asking Andrew to stop talking over him. The moderator was a very dapper Lindsay Perigo!

I thought it was revealing when Andrew said “Labour has Phil Goff as its Leader – it only has one leader – it’s Phil Goff”. I was waiting for the “for now” 🙂

Andrew did say that he had criticised Labour in the past as EPMU National Secretary. I think he misses the point that yes he did in the past, but now he is Labour Party President he could never criticise Labour publicly.

More revealing I thought was that he appeared to be saying he would be a President more in the style of Judy Kirk – behind the scenes, than Mike Williams who was very high profile.

Andrew finished by saying his record shows that he is very professional (and to be fair to Andrew few would dispute that) when dealing with workers issues, and already has been working with a number of Ministers.

Holmes asked if he would stand for Rongotai if Annette King stands for Mayor and vacates her seat before 2011, and Andrew kept his options open saying he has not considered that scenario. I read that as a “yes”.

I was surprised Holmes was relatively tough on Little. In my mind I saw Guyon as doing the tougher interviews, and Holmes doing the slightly less pointed ones. But Holmes pushed Andrew quite hard and asked some very good questions.

Therese made a very interesting point about Andrew’s two hats that he may build up a bigger media profile than Goff, because he is so often in the news as EPMU National Secretary.

Russel Norman made the point that while it is good to see Labour promoting insulating homes now, that getting them to agree to the package before the election was like pulling teeth.  Normal also acknolwedged that National is wrong footing Labour by doing things both on the right and the left.

Overall the panel discussion moderated by Holmes went very smoothly I thought.

I think that TVNZ will be pretty pleased with their first episode.

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