Labour leader Phil Goff got his first big hit against Prime Minister John Key about 15 minutes into the hour-and-a-half debate when he said 100,000 people had left New Zealand permanently for Australia under his watch.

Key had no answer.

Everyone knows it was the dominating feature of the National Party's campaign last time.

Goff also pointed out how ridiculous it is for National to keep claiming credit for keeping interest rates low when it is the result of a hugely damaging global downturn.

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But overall there were fewer home runs for Goff in last night's debate.

It didn't take long for him to get riled and start finger-pointing.

Key was more match fit - though he looked decidedly uncomfortable when discussing keeping New Zealand troops in Afghanistan.

A tip for them both: no one was fooled by the mock matey-ness of calling each other Phil and John all evening.

It was intended to convey a casual disregard of the other.