Election Debates

NZPA report:

Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Phil Goff won’t be sharing the stage with smaller party leaders in the lead up to this year’s general election.

In 2008 then Prime Minister Helen Clark and Mr Key refused to participate in debates alongside minor party leaders, despite doing so in previous years.

And that was, in my opinion, undoubtedly the right decision. Having separate one on one debates between the two people vying to be Prime Minister worked really well. Having only the two participants meant they actually had time to explain themselves, and respond to assertion each other made. Plus there was time for several topics. The one on one debates were high quality and useful activities.

The all comers debates are, at best, a circus. If you have eight participants then it means in a commercial hour, each gets five minutes at most. So responses tend to be 30 second soundbites.

And look at who will be lining up for the all comers debate – Hone, Winston, Don, Peter, Metiria/Russell and Tariana/Pita. I think it is safe to say it will be more heat than light. And that is putting it kindly.

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