The first debate

Well at the risk of self-promotion, I have to say it turned out pretty much as I predicted.

Goff did well and scored a couple of hits, but Key held his own and came across relaxed. One can argue about who “won” but for me the score was like the RWC final – an 8-7 affair.

I did say before the debate:

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.

This is the one part where I might mark myself down. I’m not sure Goff did quite get the balance right. He certainly came across as an effective Opposition Leader last night (which is an improvement in his public perception), but he didn’t quite come across as the alternative Prime Minister. The public do not always respond well to aggressiveness. Your supporters love it and it inspires them, but they are not Joe/Jane Public. I suspect he will be less aggressive in the next debate.

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