Phil Goff has learned from experience on the campaign trail. He has improved with every leaders' debate against a relaxed and popular Prime Minister.
The didactic lectures have been toned down to the extent that it is easier to pay attention to what he is saying. And he is telling Labour's story more effectively and authentically.
He referred again to the fact that his father-in-law built the dams on the Waikato and his wife was from Mangakino. But why not? John Key has never tired of using his real-life story for political effect. That said, the pair were even on assets sales: Goff tugged at the heart-strings. Key talked pragmatism.
Key was stronger on the economy but at no point was there a "gotcha" moment. Key distanced himself from the Act-Brash coup in April because he had been at the royal wedding. "It was nothing to do with me." Maybe not back then but it is now.
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Goff trashed Key over his association with Act and effectively challenged Key's insistence that he would lead a stable Government. That's the message Key has been pushing for two days. He met his match last night.