John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

John Armstrong: Hone a surprise stand out

Hone Harawira. Photo / Getty Images
Hone Harawira. Photo / Getty Images

A surprisingly genial, occasionally informative and generally constructive affair, although having so many leaders meant too little time to answer questions. Winston Peters was the non-parliamentary cuckoo in this nest of six.

It was as if he had never been away. He was at his most genial. He played to his experience. He did himself plenty of good. The Greens' Russel Norman put in a solid, if not very inspiring, performance. Ditto Peter Dunne.

The stand-out showing was a surprise: Hone Harawira, who was variously serious and funny in the right proportions. He was also the one leader who sounded both invigorated and passionate - rather than mouthing safe answers by rote.

Don Brash needed to put in a stellar performance. He needed to win the debate. He didn't. Likewise Tariana Turia. She was sensible and considered. But her party is fighting this election from a long way behind.

- NZ Herald

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John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

Herald political correspondent John Armstrong has been covering politics at a national level for nearly 30 years. Based in the Press Gallery at Parliament in Wellington, John has worked for the Herald since 1987. John was named Best Columnist at the 2013 Canon Media Awards and was a previous winner of Qantas media awards as best political columnist. Prior to joining the Herald, John worked at Parliament for the New Zealand Press Association. A graduate of Canterbury University's journalism school, John began his career in journalism in 1981 on the Christchurch Star. John has a Masters of Arts degree in political science from Canterbury.

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