Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Claire Trevett: Leaders' debate - clumsy Key out of sorts

John Key. Photo / Otago Daily Times
John Key. Photo / Otago Daily Times

It was a clumsy debate for National leader John Key, who appeared oddly out of sorts from the beginning.

He wasn't helped by the focus on issues that were tricky for him such as asset sales, the "underclass", Epsom and Act.

By contrast, Labour leader Phil Goff's tricky issues such as the capital gains tax, the rise in the retirement age and Labour's own poll problems were barely mentioned.

Key did get in some shots at Labour's economic policies and retaliated to criticism of his deal with Act by pointing out that Labour would have to rely on NZ First at a time when a stable Government was critical. He was brutally realistic about the economy - perhaps to his detriment, while Goff was carefully using softer, more "human" language on the underclass.

The winner was Goff, for whom the media training has finally paid off. He sounded convincing and measured against Key's interruptions. Despite his difficulties remembering numbers in his own economic policy, Goff showed a remarkable recall of job numbers, benefit numbers and statistics on wages and living costs.

- NZ Herald

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Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor and joined the Press Gallery in 2007. She began with the Herald in 2003 as the Northland reporter before moving to Auckland where her rounds included education and media. A graduate of AUT's post-graduate diploma in journalism, Claire began her journalism career in 2002 at the Northern Advocate in Whangarei. Claire has conjoint Bachelor of Law/ Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Canterbury.

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