Brian Edwards Media

TV3 provides a great debate. Goff wins. Pity about the panel!

OK, I’m one of a number of people advising Phil Goff and you’re entitled to think I’m incapable of being objective. So I’ll stick to the demonstrable facts.

I was worried about ‘the worm’. TV3 had made the indefensible decision to allow viewers at home who could afford a particular type of phone to vote on who was winning at any particular time in the debate. ‘Indefensible’ because the owners of those phones would come from a social group much more likely to support National than Labour. They then decided to combine the indefensible with the defensible – an audience of 65 uncommitted voters who would be given meters to record their preference for what each leader was saying during the debate.

Here’s the outcome: for three quarters of the debate, Phil Goff registered approval and John Key disapproval. For one part of the debate, where Goff spoke of the possibility of an arrangement with Peters, the worm favoured Key.

More significantly, the economically-biased ‘rich folks’ worm produced virtually the same result.

Those are the facts.  

Trouble is, TV3 didn’t seem too happy with the facts. Enter ‘the panel’. You might think that TV3 would have been careful to ensure that the panel had a more or less equal representation of Right and Left. But you would have been wrong. The panel consisted of Duncan Garner, TV3’s political editor who, one might have thought, was politically neutral; academic Therese Arseneau who, one might have thought, was politically neutral; and former National Party candidate and Right-wing advocate, Paul Henry.

I’m comfortable with Henry being there, providing there’s a Labour Party supporter there as well – maybe Mike Williams or even me. But there isn’t. This is a completely uneven balance and, given the importance of this debate, totally undermines the really excellent work that the network and John Campbell have done in the previous hour.

So it turns out, if you’re to believe what Arseneau and Garner and Henry have to say, that you really imagined that the worm – that is to say the uncommitted voters secreted somewhere in Auckland, and the viewers at home with expensive cell phones – actually supported John Key for at least half of the programme, which, if you’ll excuse me, is total bullshit.

So the purpose of the panel seemed to be to say – hey, Goff did OK, but really the night was Key’s and, even if it wasn’t, Labour has no chance of winning the election.

So I’d like to put this question to Mark Jennings, Head of News and Current Affairs at TV3, and Keith Slater, the producer of this programme: How do you justify having two supposedly disinterested commentators on your panel, along with a former National Party candidate and no-one from Labour? I’ll answer the question for you: other than justifying the exorbitant money you’re paying to Henry, you can’t.

Well, I doubt that many people watched the panel anyway. The reality is that this was a rout. Phil Goff by a knockout. If you doubt it, watch the replay on TV3’s website. And when you’ve done that, you might like to put a call through to the network and ask them: where was the Labour Party spokesperson on your post-debate panel.

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  1. It’s amusing that someone has already made the connection between a number of people who said on Twitter they were at or on the way to the debate who have close Labour ties – to participate in the ‘worm’ audience made up of supposedly undecided voters. (> see @iamkingi on twitter and more)

    BE: I tend not to form my judgements on the basis of what appears on Twitter. The whole argument is irrelevant anyway. I haven’t come across a disinterested political commentator yet who doesn’t say that Goff won the debate hands down.

  2. Kia ora Brian,
    I couldn’t agree more. Mores the pity.
    What really disappoints me is the poor standard of all of the political analysis coming out of panels across the networks. It is so depressing. However, hearing from Sandra Lee (oh too briefly) on Native Affairs @ Maori TV after the Tamaki Makaurau debate was terrific – but a case of too little too late in terms of the campaign.It would be great if you would blog on the issue of the demise of political analysis in the media?
    And while you are at it – have all the bright, questioning, probing journalists gone to Ozzie too? Or got old and retired, or died? Journalism in NZ has really reached its lowest ebb. Glad I’m out of it.
    Iri Sinclair
    (Former radio journo from Greymouth and Ed of community ‘The West Coast Messenger’ now owned by the ODT & Grey Star)

  3. The assumption that Nats would have more smart phones is a complete crock. Look around you, even kids who can’t afford them have got them – they are the must have status symbol whatever political tribe you belong to.
    One more thing…why do they insist on having a ‘panel’ to tell me what I just watched? Oh right, I am unable to analyse for myself.

  4. What worried me most was Therese Arseneau’s comment at the end that we were in a cycle and that was simply that (ie tough luck Labour)and Paul Henry’s corroboating analogy about the tide going out! The fait accompli arrogance in these comments was breathtaking given what we’d just seen: a superb performance by Goff – you didn’t need a worm to notice his confident integrity and some of the finest exposition of the need for social concern since Norman Kirk.

  5. I thought a decisive win to Goff. He won every aspect of the debate except where his cards were weakest – the Peters question.

    A bouquet to the format. Unlike the joke that was TVNZ’s debate, both politicians got a chance to say their piece – and under the glare of the extended stump, Key wilted and Goff thrived.

    Paul Henry was simply a joke. The thing is, as commentator you already know exactly what he was going to say. He offered nothing by way of new insights or analysis. He was simply a hard-right mate of John Key given a privileged seat to spout his views.

  6. I have read a number of blogs making some claims regarding the make-up of the 65 so-called “undecided” voters. I must admit, I was suspicious at some of the early reactions, especially when either leader had actually yet to open their mouths. If some of the claims made about “stacking” the audience are true, this is a very bad look for Goff and TV3.

    BE: Goff would have had nothing to do with ‘stacking the audience’. If the audience was ‘stacked’, it stacked itself. This whole complaint smacks of sour grapes: ‘Oh it’s not fair, the other lot managed to get more people in the audience than we did.’ In 2005 National managed to stack the studio audience on one of the TVNZ debates. A nice lot! As Helen Clark walked into the studio, they were calling out, “Ugly lesbian bitch!” I haven’t been much impressed with National Party manners since.

  7. Oh and I thought John Campbell showed integrity when was visibly embarassed by Paul Henry’s presence. He has apparently even tweeted to say, in effect, he had nothing to do with the panels selection.

  8. Apart from the ‘smartphone’ comment, I have to agree with your opinion.
    Goff clearly outplayed Key. Much more articulate and presentable. He came across as being in touch with the general public ( as a good politician should ).
    Was cool to see the ‘Worm’ take a dive when ever Key started up with the nonsense of cutting down the opposition rather than winning on his own merits.
    Duncan Garner should have known better than to offer up opinion especially as he is the appointed Political correspondent for TV3. That should be enough to ensure you remain impartial, but alas it seems not.
    Paul Henry was just being Paul Henry.
    As for the lady, she seemed to be neutral in her offerings, then flip-flopped to , what seemed to me, appease the Panel.
    A bit poor on TV3’s behalf.

    my 2c.

  9. Don’t get my wrong, as I used to be a labour supported, but over the years as I’ve matured and become more business minded, I would have to say that Social Policy has a lot to answer for. And in my opinion this is what Labour stands for SOCIAL POLICY. I have done it tough, been down at the lower end of the social economy and have come to one conclusion, either change your circumstances and get off your bum and work hard or harder and move from that lower end to the higher end. We almost need a new party, one with right and left winged views, then just maybe we would have a balance. Support the people who work hard, and help the people that need to work harder.

  10. It’s a shame that TVNZ was allocated two debates. Bravo to the moderation and format of tonight’s debate on TV3. A great debate where leaders were challenged and allowed to engage, where weaknesses were exposed.

  11. I’m with bobby: the worm’s a meaningless sideshow because you can never accurately vet the status of the sample. Thus you can’t have the great unwashed watching TV in the changing rooms, pressing buttons everytime they hear a catchy phrase, and use the result to form any worthwhile conclusion.

    I hope they all find their way back to Aotea Square safely.

  12. I watched the TV3 live stream on the web in Australia. I’ve seen no news coverage over here (not surprising). So with a neutral point of view from afar, I thought Phil Goff set the pace, was all over the details and put John Key on the defensive. Paul Henry is on his way over here soon… Now what was that famous Muldoon quote?

  13. Someone at The Standard read a tweet from John Campbell saying it was a TV3 setup with JC moderating, but he said ,”I had no control over the Panel.” Not hard to work that one out.
    I sent JC an e-mail thanking him for his part and the good program, but noted that the gloss was diminished by that awful Panel.

  14. You groomed Phil well, Dr Edwards. He spat out the cliches like a well-trained little seal, but revealed an empty tank on policy. May Allah save this little country from three years of labour govt.

    BE: Same advice to the Leader of the Opposition as to all our other clients, Berry D: Be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes. And by the way, of all the clichés, cliché is probably the most overworked.

  15. Phil was great….key was crap…simple to see really for those with functioning brains!

    As for Paul Henry…well, ive seen more intelligent things in the bottom of urinals!!

  16. @Danny Burt – yup, you are just what the country needs. Another middle aged white male authoritarian calling for a one party state. Because we don’t have enough of those.

  17. Brian, the debate was well presented and controlled. Campbell did well. All the worm really taught me was that National supporters don’t know how to use smart phones (Android phones did work Mr Hooten). As for the panel at the end…what a joke, if that’s what’s on offer on election night, I’ll be watching 1 and Backbenchers.

  18. …”….no, you go first john and I’ll respond…”
    Brilliant stuff

  19. The Herald’s John Armstrong got it right by saying: “The worm was the big loser on the night. It was worse than useless”.

    The truth is, that with the worm (well, maggot) neither of the two can rise above their own pre-programmed conceits; the debate defaults to a display of narcissistic self-consciousness. Each, mindful of the need — and urgency — to score points off the other.

    Voters who have their preferences shaped by that, are really very shallow. They are the sort that run with the hares and hunt with the hounds; the flotsam and jetsam, that eddy in-and-out with any tidal flow; your fair weather friends; those, quick to leap out of their seats, in joyous exultation, when taking part in that junk Mexican Wave. They are incapable of forming and articulating their own reasons for their preferred disposition towards a candidate, without the aid of a vacuous prompt to spell it out for them. In short, they are just plain flat-out dumb.

    BE: Well, that was helpful, Merv.

  20. Goff win hands down! You’d have to be plankton to think otherwise… oh silly me, you are plankton… or more likely siphonophores… no brain, no heart, big stomachs…

    And for all you people bleating on about the economy and how Mr Smiley’s the man to lead us forward… Neo-conservatism, unregulated banking and corporate greed brought about the global financial crisis… and, as Key helped deregulate US banks, he helped get us into this mess. He is dabbling in politics, its on his bucket list, and he crumbles every time the questions get tough.

    @Kerry … particularly those urinals that haven’t been cleaned in a while. Henry’s a petulant, lonely man… did I say man? he has that mincing, smarmy quality that his hero Key abjectly fails to conceal. And, frankly, most of the panels trotted out wear their political bias with pride… intelligent, thoughtful analysis just doesn’t make good television.

  21. How anyone has ANY time for Paul Henry is utterly beyond me.

  22. A well facilitated debate, JC was good – he set the tone so well and there was a good structure to allow both sides to express their views – and none of that chaotic bickering you get with Mark Sainsbury.

    Goff was cleary on form and debated very well and showed real passion. Key did ok but for me his lack of passion showed through clearly and he started fading once he went past the soundbite.

    The panel! I despair, they added nothing at all. I would have rather heard what JC thought of it all.

    Did you notice the Green Party ads on in every break – smart move on their part.

  23. Romping rhetoric there Merv. You do realise that the participants could not see the actions of that worm? Although that paragon of neutrality Paul Henry was set to walk out when he as observer could see that the worm favoured Phil Goff, according to Garner.
    But the worm was no help at all to the Debate. Deep down on a fish-hook would be a better fate.

  24. I finding it difficult to take you seriously any longer Brian.I absolutely agree with you over the composition of the panel.A disgrace!
    But to suggest that only the rich [ie National Party supporters] have smart phones shows how out of touch you have become.Go and look around any mall and you wull see who own them.Young people.
    Also there seems to be serious doubts about the composition of the audience who were supposed to be “undecided voters” Three members have already been identified as Labour Party activists and Paul Jennings of TV3 has issued an apology for this.One wonders how many other members of the audience were strong supporters of a political party.
    TV3 have handled this whole debate appallingly but you seem intent on only pointing out the flaws that were disadvantageous to Labour.
    And by the way I am a meember of the Green Party.

    BE: You must be a rather judgemental sort of person, if you can’t take someone seriously any more on the basis of one point of disagreement. It’s quite untrue, by the way, that TV3 ‘handled this whole debate appallingly’. On the contrary this was a robust and informative clash of ideas and personalities. The composition of the panel, however, was unacceptable and this is the only aspect of the programme I criticised.

  25. here’s roy morgan on the so-called infiltration of the undecided voters:

    and here’s a more detailed piece showing quotes from 2 out of 3 that clearly indicate they were undecided and supported key at some points in the debate.

    i think the worm’s a waste of time, and that panel was an even bigger waste of time, but such angry complaints about the audience being rigged are just a little desperate.—Kingi/tabid/419/articleID/233504/Default.aspx

  26. I’m supposed to be in that ‘wealthy’ group (suppressed laugh – just been made redundant from a management role (second time in two years) and no bene for me, nor would I want one. Would rather stay motivated and get back on my feet again through my own means).

    Anyway, I digress. Despite my ‘wealthy’ classification, I don’t have a smartphone, but know lots of others who have (regardless of income or race).

    Best comment I’ve seen so far is, that it’s obvious that worm had a huge Labour camel toe right from the get go.

    BE: OK, but the worm is largely irrelevant to who won the debate. Every political commentator in this morning’s Herald gave it to Goff and by a considerable margin. I understand it’s the same around the country.

  27. Dr Edwards

    You’ve got it just about right.

    Goff didn’t just win the first 45 minutes or so of the encounter. He took flight. He soared!

    He even hinted at an alternative mega-narrative to the repetitive Gadgrind orthodoxy that has for far too long monopolised ‘respectable’ political discourse across the financially-depleted shell of the Western World.

    No-one in their right mind could have doubted that Goff was a deeply-experienced, committed and capable servant of the Demos.

    There has, however, been severe doubt over both his charisma and his cojones, qualities that are essential in anyone who aspires to lead even as Lilliputian a res publica as our own dear land.

    These doubts should now be put aside. Goff obviously has both these qualities in spades. BTW congratulations Brian for any role you may have played in helping Phil bring out these all-too-well-hidden characteristics.

    Meanwhile, I’m not too upset by the inevitable surge of neo-liberal damage limitationists insisting that both of the worm audiences were slanted to the left.

    In the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies:”They would say that, wouldn’t they!”

    And even if they’re right, Goff’s triumph in taming that slippery invertebrate at the bottom of the screen is not without relevance.

    It has, after all, been his inability to inspire his natural constituency that has held Labour back these last few years.

    Some have peeled off to the Greens, some have peeled to Mana, some have rinsed themselves in unaccustomed Blue and become “Waitakere Man” and some, perhaps most, have become downright apathetic and disenchanted with the public realm.

    Last night, Phil Goff sounded the trumpet of return. Win or lose on Saturday, he’s already made history!

    Meanwhile congratulations to the excellent Mr Campbell, who remains our premier broadcaster, and a pox on TV3’s management for their ludicrously biased panel-stacking.

  28. Brian, you forgot to mention that John Campbell is a solid left leaning journalist. He has been a Labour supporter all his life, including his time as a sharebroker back in the 80’s. I do not remember John disclosing his personal viewpoint, at least Paul Henry is happy to say who he supports.

    Well done for finally coming out yourself as to your political and paid support of Goff, I would have thought all your postings should have this stated so as to provide a clear statement for those of us who were not sure.

    BE: I have no knowledge of John Campbell’s personal politics, but they’re entirely irrelevant if he does not allow them to infect his professional duty as an interviewer to be even-handed on political issues. His ‘solid left-leaning’ position will come as a surprise to Helen Clark who took a complaint about him to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, alleging he had entrapped her over ‘Corngate’.

    The real nonsense here is the idea that current affairs journalists should be political eunuchs. Every thinking person has political views.
    As for my own political views, you must have been living on another planet, if you think I”ve just “outed myself” as a Labour supporter. I was one of Helen Clark’s media advisors from 1996 to 2008 and it was common knowledge. For the last five years I’ve been standard-bearer for the Left against my Right-Wing friend Michelle Boag on Jim Mora’s ‘The Panel’. Have you been asleep for the last 15 years?

  29. We’ve been waiting for Phil Goff to show his true self to the electorate and he did just that. After all he has been in politics for a long time, without a hint of scandal and represented NZ well in his Ministerial portfolios, particularly Foreign Affairs and Trade.
    Well done Mr Goff.

  30. Henry looked beyond livid,he looked panicky that JK might just have come off second-best.

    Interesting that he,as such a Key supporter,is off to Aussie to chase the big bucks.

  31. Hmm Brian, you say and I quote
    “I was worried about ‘the worm’. TV3 had made the indefensible decision to allow viewers at home who could afford a particular type of phone to vote on who was winning at any particular time in the debate. ‘Indefensible’ because the owners of those phones would come from a social group much more likely to support National than Labour.
    And then in your response to me you say:
    “The composition of the panel, however, was unacceptable and this is the only aspect of the programme I criticised”
    The words indefensible decision do seem to me to be a criticism.
    If I am judgemental you seem to be getting forgetful.
    And now Paul Jennings has apologised for the makeup of the studio audience who apparently were not uncommitted voters but in several cases party activists from both Labour and National.Thanks gooodness no Greens have been found.
    Seems to me that TV3 has made some very bad decisions.

  32. “Undecided and uncommitted voters” my eye. What a joke TV 3 have become. If any of the political parties had made a blunder like this (and I’m speaking of the worm meisters being loaded to the left) TV3 would still be grinding them a month from now. How inept can they get? To call that debacle a win for Goff is delusional. Goff came off sounding like a well rehearsed nursery rhyme. Has he entirely missed the fact that the world has been through an economic crises in the past 3 years? Seems to be the hook he’s trying to hang that sad old cloth cap on at every turn. Pfft

  33. Thanks, Brian, nice to get a pat on the back from you. Seriously, unlike the Kennedy-and-Nixon 1960 presidential election, where the televised leaders’ debate (first?) proved to be the fulcrum for their respective fates (the glistening perspiration on Nixon’s forehead, killed off his chances) these debates won’t assume anything like those dimensions.

    Goff’s victory — pyrrhic, at that — isn’t going to be the lodestone that will an appreciable number of extra voters. I think, your exuberance is a little misplaced as it is premature.

    Interestingly, the results of the poll on ‘Yahoo New Zealand’ show Key as being the more impressive. Whatever you choose to believe, these debates are always less than the sum of its parts, and Key says he’s not too fussed about the Herald’s take on the outcome.

    For Goff, it’s a question of whether his performances can staunch Labour’s haemorrhaging, come polling date; and will it be sufficient to deliver him a change-of-leadership reprieve.

    Anyway, it’s nice to hear segments of the crowd cheer when their horse is galloping down the home straight towards the Finish Line. Win or lose.

  34. Just to confuse those recently arrived from another planet who are trying to figure out exactly where BE stands; BE on this blog 30th Nov 2010, “And, by the way, I have no connection of any sort with the Labour Party and would describe my political views as centrist.”

    BE: I see you’re keen to brand me a liar, Mr Forster. In November 2010, a year ago, I had no connection of any sort with the Labour Party and had had no connection with the Party since 2008. That connection was re-established roughly 6 months ago. I should, however, more properly have defined my politics as centre left. However, my opposition to the policies of the Key Government, particularly in the areas of social welfare, where I regard them as iniquitous and cruel, and law and order, where they are simply retrograde, is very real indeed. Equally real is my view that Labour’s policies on asset sales, capital gains, superannuation, the retirement age are forward-thinking and necessary, while its policies on social welfare, wages and unemployment are enlightened and humane. I also happen to think that Phil Goff is a finer and more principled man than John Key. So I’m fairly comfortable in my present role.

    So you have me on my overly vague description of my political position, but sadly not on the lie which you hoped to catch me out on.

    Finally, can I assume that you have been living on the same planet as the lady who complimented me on finally “coming out” as a left-winger. That would have been a difficult deception given the 50 or 60 occasions I have debated with Michelle Boag on National Radio or my constant portrayal of John Key on this site as a “Photo-Op PM” or the fact that I was a media advisor to Helen Clark for 12 years. I’m not sure who you think the more stupid – me or the thousands of people who follow this site.

  35. Brian, you are right that a political commentator probably does have a political bent, it is somewhat amusing that after describing the other commentators political viewpoints to the left or right you seem so upset that someone would ask about John Cambells. Based on your concern that the panel be ‘even’ the political viewpoint of JC is relevant.

    As to your own political viewpoint, I had looked all over your website but did not see for which government you had provided support, rather a marketing style statement of 4 governments. Thus it is difficult to determine what your political bias is. With regard to Jim Mora etal, sorry but like the great majority of NZ I do not listen to him, being at work without a radio device.

    Most bloggers include political bias as a statement on the website/blog page. To avoid confusion going forward for non Radio NZ listeners, maybe you could add this to your site.

  36. Yes the whole debate was flawed let alone the panel and the worm. Offer me a pay rise…I would be positive don’t sell assets I would be positive what I didn’t hear last night nor have I seen any sensible policy that meant any of the above could actually be achieved. Of course goff did well all he had to do was tell people what they wanted to hear. Takes a much stronger person to call the hard shots in tough times.

    BE: So Goff is the leader telling the people what they want to hear! I presume you’re referrinig to the Capital Gains Tax, compulsory super, retirement age raised to 67 etc. Are you nuts?

  37. Any New Zealander who has followed politics even only slighty over the last 20 years should know Mr Edwards political hue.
    Through both TV and radio.

  38. I agree with your comments on the panel Brian. Why would anyone, who knows his track record, want Paul Henry’s opinion on anything, let alone something important?

    John Key was bad last night. When he wasn’t speaking, Key looked like a scowling bored teenager. He simply didn’t step up in that debate and no amount of spin can claim he did. Perhaps the studio audience reacted to that.

  39. @ Anna
    And here was me assuming that everyone who checks out this blog was a NatRad listener. How did a “Rock” listener get here?

  40. I cant believe your starting rationale about the worm usage being biased to National because a smart phone is required to access it. You are simply totally out of touch about who is buying these phones. Get real Brian.
    You note you are currently on Labour’s payroll! Well done. You have proven how fiscally inept they are. Here’s hoping you can keep your feet in the trough so you can continue to pay extortionate power costs to keep the SOE’s in their extraordinary profit returns compared to true commercial entities.

  41. Could it be that the right-wing stacking of last night’s panel was TV3’s quid pro quo for this evening’s strongly left-wing programme on child poverty?

  42. A most interesting thread. Anyone who did not know that BE is a left leaner ought to be admitted to the Home for the Bewildered.

    I also see Anna is caught up with “going forward”.

    Off topic, perhaps, but I watched ‘Inside New Zealand’ on TV3 tonight, concerning diabetes. It did two things for me. It enlightened me. And it reminded me of the dire need we have for well-researched current affairs programmes.

    John Stokes

  43. When people have suffered head injuries, doctors ask them questions like “What’s the name of the Prime Minister?”, in order to assess the damage. The same goes for suspected Dementia sufferers.

    Another question the doctors could ask might be: “With which political party is Brian Edwards most associated?”

  44. I am not keen to brand you a liar at all. I like and respect you and would not dream of making such an inflammatory accusation. I have enjoyed your work here and previously in other outlets, including your always welcome presence on “The Panel”. I am almost certain that I would like you and enjoy your company if we were to ever meet up. Almost all my friends are left-wingers actually for some reason. I have the utmost respect for your keen intellect and debating ability. I was a little puzzled by the quote I posted when I first encountered it and some similar proclamations of political neutrality around that time. As you say, your actual political position is perfectly clear.

    In short I was not “attacking” you and am somewhat taken aback by the vehemence of your reply. I do enjoy the opportunity provided here of matching wits with a prominent and eminent opinion maker. I have noticed you debate robustly and would never miss the chance to point out inconsistencies in your opponents’ positions and assumed it was fair enough for me to do the same.

    BE: I appreciate that gracious response to my angry reply to your comment, Bill. Thank you.

  45. John “…..but I watched ‘Inside New Zealand’ on TV3 tonight, concerning diabetes.
    I was sure that it was a magnificent program on child health, education, housing rather than diabetes. The program was non-political but the current government seems to be moving to make things even worse for kids. Should be the one most important docu and compulsory watching by everyone.

  46. If you’re advising Phil Goff I’d suggest you tell him not to smile in tonight’s debate. It makes him look so embarassed – as if he’s just been caught out.

  47. Ian Mac
    You are quite right – poorly worded by me. (I guess the diabetes thing struck a chord with me.)

  48. I was disappointed with the panel as well. They were very dismissive of ‘the worm’ audience – perhaps a little aggro that someone else might have a different opinion. I thought Phil Goff was the winner. As far as I was concerned neither party or politician got their teeth into describing how policies might realistically deal with the most important issues we are facing poverty, climate change and unsustainable consumption. Phil did suggest investment in research. When society is facing difficult problems and when current solutions seem inadequate this is exactly what we need to acknowledge and get on with. New Zealand has a history of innovative solutions and developments. I like that Phil Goff acknowledged that he doesn’t necessarily have all the answers yet will work to solve them. John Keys glib statement that we know the answers and will continue with strategies that are philosophical party responses to issues… well it’s a bit like trying the same thing and expecting different results and we all know what that indicates.
    Warm Regards

  49. “Takes a much stronger person to call the hard shots in tough times.”
    You are obviously referring to Key and the spin he is putting out about the strong experienced hand on the tiller stuff – its just spin. Selling off assets is not strong stuff, its panic and desperation. The welfare “reform” policies are vote gathering not genuine reform, they don’t even make sense economically – they are not strong leadership, hard maybe, brutal even but not strong.
    Labour has been the first party to approach the elephant in the welfare room , pension, risky stuff politically.

    I just despair sometimes how effective the spin is.

  50. The TV3 wardrobe department apparently didn’t get the memo. Mr Henry was booked for entertainment purposes only, and was supposed to be dressed in a clown’s outfit, complete with big red nose to clearly identify him as the bozo. I for one was not diverted by TV3’s admin error.

  51. The worm is a distraction, an irrelevance – it just reinforces that “election as horse race” narrative, which is overly simplistic.
    A good performance by Goff, a relatively poor one by Key – and an absolute shocker by John Campbell, who had far too much to say. He was more participant than facilitator. If he wants to join the debate, perhaps he should stand for office.
    Henry, of course, tried standing for office – losing a provincial-rural National seat (for 41 out of the previous 50 years) to a left-wing transsexual.
    The shocked silence that followed his comment that Key was the winner on the night was a fairly eloquent statement of the regard in which he is held by his colleagues.

  52. Thanks for responding graciously Brian. I was mortified earlier, but I appreciate that I contributed to my own (temporary thankfully) fall from grace by not making a more positive contribution to the debate. A lesson learned.

  53. BE face facts the Labour Party are not representive of the working class anymore , it is rich, urban academics like you who vote for them hence polling in the 20s , apart from the KFC run in South Auckland, thats it

    Phil Goff has been being paid by the taxpayer for 27 years enough, get a job
    I admire the way Goff improved his lot in life in the early days , alot like Key but the voters just dont like politicians who have milked the system for nearly 30 years

    Labour take the heavy defeat , deacrease the Union and Sisterhood influence , get a leader who has actually had a job in the private sector and reconnect with your core supporters the workers

    By the way STV for a way forward

  54. Dave

    I tend to agree with you about Labour not being truly representative of the working class.

    Labour also seems to have a problem with justice (in the wider sense). I note that Labour released it’s Justice policy just a week ago. Why did it take so long? Labour has been in opposition for three years. In that policy, there is no reference to how it intends to deal with problems within the criminal justice system. There is no mention of establishing a Criminal Cases Review Commission.

    Labour has lost its way, and Bryan Bruce’s doco about poverty last night was an indictment on the policies of Labour (and National).

  55. Brian

    History will judge you harshly, if it was indeed you who let Goff onto TV One tonight with a Paisley pattern tie and a YSL or equivalent quality shirt.

    It’s a pity because his performance was good.

  56. In terms of the election outcome, its irrlevant whether Goff won the debate on TV3 or not. It won’t rate as a significant influence on how people vote on Saturday.

    I suspect that most people are by now over listeneing to Goff and Key arguing the toss on the this that and the next thing.

    My guess is that the debate on TV3 was primarily watched by those of us who some might say have an unhealthy odsessiion with politics.

    Most people now I would think just want to get the whole thing over with and vote.

    In conclusion whether Goff won the deabte or not is simply academic.

  57. Didn’t National help TV3 out at some point in the last year or two?

    I think it remarkable that the issue of a biassed group controlling the worm made TV3 news, yet no mention in the item how biassed the panel was afterwards.

  58. Not so sure about that, Grant.

    Relatively recent British research suggests that televised leaders’ debates were (a) watched more by floating voters than committed partisans and (b) were crucial to floating voters’ final voting decision.

    These days, with long-term partisan de-alignment leading to an increase in the number of both uncommitted and softly-aligned voters, there are often quite considerable swings in the final week – even on Election day itself. Sometimes these swings roughly cancel each other out, but in other Elections (for example, 1993), you get a largely one-way swing in the final week (in that particular case, about a 5 percentage point swing away from National – hence Bolger’s ‘Bugger the Polls’ outburst).

  59. I seem to recall TV3 being helped out by National within the last year or so, perhaps the reason for such a biassed panel, and no mention of the biassed panel in the news item re how biassed ‘the worm’ voters were…

  60. Nothing on the TV1 debate? Hey BE – did you give Goof a hand on putting out possibly the biggest SNAFU in the last 2 weeks?

    “…Goff said the Prime Minister has “lied to Kiwis” and if the source is credible then he should name them.

    “John Key should stop trying to squirm out of it, front up, admit he got it wrong, and say sorry,” Goff said today…”

    Wow. I bet THAT’S not going to come back around.