John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

John Armstrong: PM's gravitas won debate

Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Getty Images
Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Getty Images

If there was a winner, it was John Key. But only narrowly.

Goff turned in another impressive performance following his outstanding showing in Monday night's TV3 debate.

But Key had recovered his poise and added another ingredient - the gravitas that comes from being PM.

Unlike Monday, Key also went on the attack, zeroing in on voters' doubts about the affordability of Labour's policies.

But Key was winner for another reason. Goff started behaving like he was in some university debating contest.

National's leader never forgot he was in front of a million viewers. He did not pretend to have all the answers. But he did his best to answer Guyon Espiner's questions.

Goff sounded like someone who knew all the answers.

Key would have struck a rapport with viewers. Goff's cleverness would have turned them off him.

Of the four debates:

John Key 3, Phil Goff 1

- 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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