We finally got to see the National party leader Chris Luxon up against current Prime Minister and Labour leader Chris Hipkins in the first Leaders Debate last night. There were some interesting questions and answers that we highlight. Bob also says with absolute confidence who won the debate.
Well, we finally got to see the National party leader Chris Luxon up against current Prime Minister and Labour leader. Chris Hipkins in the first Leaders Debate last night. It was an opportunity for Chris Hipkins to try and stop the decline in the polling for his party and prove that he’s a better candidate for Prime Minister than Luxon. But it was also Luxon‘s opportunity to prove that he has the goods to be Prime Minister. There were some interesting questions that were asked and some interesting answers.
The debate actually started off with a nice touch with the moderator Jessica Mutch Mackay asking each leader to say what they admired about the other person. We actually saw a touch of this on our own straight talk leaders debate with the minor party leaders on Monday night, when Alfred Ngaro asked Matt King a simple question – how are you? It was a nice touch between political opponents who are normally at each other and each other’s policy – which is part of the nature of the sport. But the responses from the two Chris’s was actually a high point of the whole debate
They also asked about the decriminalisation of cannabis – NOT legalisation as the recent referendum was about but simply the decriminalisation, which we actually have already with our de facto decriminalisation law which says that Police can use discretion and refer drug users to treatment where appropriate, but the answers were pretty adamant from both candidates and I’m sure, Chloe and the Greens and the Drug Foundation, and all the other drug activists will be deeply disappointed
The leaders were also asked about their church attendance. I don’t think Hipkins has ever even suggested that he may be a church attender, but Luxon certainly has, and it was disappointing that he simply couldn’t say that he would try to attend church whenever his schedule allowed him to. Have a watch
It was interesting that this was even a question. Was it designed to try and paint Luxon as religious and therefore unvotable.
Some interesting questions around NZ becoming a republic, a new flag, compulsory Te Reo in schools, and banning cell phones in schools
And also changing the name of the country
Well, a referendum. Perhaps even a binding referendum! There’s a unique democratic approach! Let all the country speak – rather than have it rammed down.
The one question they did ask about the transgender issue was around sports, and it was a pretty vague question, because it didn’t ask specifically about men playing in women’s sports, but we got the gist of it. And we got a politically weak answer from both leaders sadly.
I’m just sorry the answer wasn’t “what is a woman”, You can see what they would have said on our Value Your Vote website. We all remember the difficult Hipkins had.
The candidates are also asked about food in schools. Now interestingly, the national party want the programme targeted at just those students who are identified as being in need rather than a one size fits all feed every child approach. So the question was around feeding all children at all schools, and surprisingly, Luxon agrees with that, even though his policy is different and ironically Hipkins is the one to say it should be targeted, which is the appropriate answer.
So I’m not sure who actually won the debate.
According to an online poll on the NZ Herald website which has had more than 20,000 votes – but I emphasise is not a scientific poll, the Herald readers gave the debate to Luxon 73% Hipkins 27%
Some commentators say that it did more for promoting people to vote for a minor party. I’m not sure about that. I don’t think Hipkins scored high enough to be able to arrest a decline in the polls. We shall see when the next poll comes out. But Chris Luxon possibly proved to many voters that he has the ability to be a prime minister and that is probably the outcome he was looking for last night. Not necessarily a win but to look prime ministerial.
One thing that I can say with absolute confidence is that the winner of the debate last night was – Chris.