National leader Judith Collins was full of confidence after tonight's debate, while Jacinda Ardern stuck to her policy of not speculating who might have "won".
"I think I did really well," Collins said after the MediaWorks leaders' debate, hosted by Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower.
"But I also thought the debate itself was a better debate...the biggest winner on the night would have been the people who were watching."
The National leader thought it was a great debate with "loads of energy".
"I really enjoyed this one...you just work with what you've got, and do your best."
Ardern said she never made a call about whether she won debates.
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"Debates, just like billboards, it's hard to know whether or not they shift people's votes. But they certainly should be a time to inform people of our perspective, our policies, our plan for Covid especially."
During "quick fire" questions both leaders said they personally supported increasing the three year parliamentary term to four years.
Afterwards, Collins told media such a step would probably have to go to a referendum.
"People realise that three years is a very short time...most other jurisdictions have moved to a four-year term. But you would have to have a referendum on it."
Ardern said it might be something that the next Parliament should consider: "There seems to be wide support...let's have that debate."
Christmas Covid, house prices and David Seymour as deputy PM
Ardern and Collins were quizzed on how they'd cope with a Covid outbreak on Christmas Eve, whether they've smoked cannabis and if our health system is racist, during their second televised debate.
The debate got off to a high-energy start, with the leaders interrupting each other and fielding questions including what would be done if no Covid-19 vaccine arrives, whether they want to see house prices drop - neither gave a direct answer - and how NZ will pay back the huge Covid-19 debt.
There have been memorable exchanges. At one point during a segment on climate change, Ardern asked Collins what her plan was. "What for, dear?" Collins shot back.
Later, she said Act leader David Seymour would be an excellent deputy prime minister - to which Ardern commented, "Jeepers".
There were some revealing answers, including to "quick fire" questions - Ardern agreed that sanitary products for every teenage girl and woman in New Zealand should be subsidised, but said Labour was starting with schools.
The MediaWorks leaders' debate was hosted by Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower. Read over the action in the live blog below, and share how you feel about the leaders' arguments with the Herald's "Rate the Debate" interactive.
How the debate started
The first question was about what they'd do if there was community outbreak on Christmas Eve in Christchurch.
Collins said she'd lockdown Christchurch, then contact trace to learn how far it had spread.
"I think you do have to put people's health first ... you shouldn't have to lockdown because it shouldn't be in the community."
Ardern said she'd do the "exact same" as she did in Auckland and put Christchurch in alert level 3 and the rest of the country in alert level 2 until they learned the extent of the outbreak.
"Very unfortunately we'd have to move that way while we learn the full spread."
Round One - will the borders open to Australia?
Collins said opening the border with Australia should be possible by Christmas, but only if it's safe - no community transmission in the Australian states that were opened to travel.
"No one is talking about Victoria, because they are a cot case."
Ardern said she withstood pressure from the Opposition and didn't open the bubble and wouldn't do so until it was safe.
"I'm clear I will withstand that pressure."
Ardern said she wouldn't put a date on the travel bubble with the Pacific.
Round Two - What if there's no vaccine?
Ardern said there was "absolutely nothing" seen in science that would be the case.
Collins said she also believed there would be vaccine because every country in the world is looking for one.
"I think New Zealanders have a zero tolerance to having Covid-19 in the community," said Collins.
Ardern said you need only look to countries in Europe about what plan B would look like of having Covid in the community, and she was sticking by the elimination strategy.
Asked what their visionary idea for the country was, Ardern said New Zealand needed to trade on its brand - "people want to come here".
Collins said National had a plan to boost the technology sector, which would provide high-paying, skilled jobs.
Round Three - Companies taking the wage subsidy, and debt
Collins said she would claw back subsidies paid to companies that didn't end up needing the support and made big profits.
"They were taking borrowed money off taxpayers, that taxpayers now have to pay back...there were lax rules that allowed people to make enormous amounts of money off it, and then turn around and sack the workers."
Ardern said she stood by the wage subsidy.
"We managed to get that money out the door quickly to save those jobs, by making sure it did run on a high-trust model.
"Some of these companies followed the rules, they just didn't follow the spirit of fairness."
On paying back debt, Collins said the economy needed to be grown, and small business owners needed support.
Ardern said NZ was starting to "grow our way back" through exports like wine and beef.
She criticised the "sugar hit" of National's proposed tax cuts, saying training was needed for people.
Collins said the tax cuts proposed by her party for "average earners" were warranted, particularly compared to giving the wage subsidy to huge companies that made profits.
Ardern said National's plan had an $8b hole. Collins disputed that, but said there had been one mistake, and that was largely inconsequential.
Round Four - Housing
Ardern admitted some changes tried by Labour to address the housing crisis hadn't worked.
Gower asked Collins how people could trust her party, after house prices rose so steeply under the last National Government.
Collins rejected that, saying house prices had gone up more steeply under Labour, and RMA reform was needed.
Gower asked if either wanted house prices to drop. Ardern said she didn't want them to keep escalating. Pressed, she said, "I want them to stabilise". Collins said "in some cases they will have to go down", but people didn't want to see their property's worth fall.
Round Five - Child abuse, gangs and meth
Gower asked whether the right to silence should be abolished in child abuse cases, and Collins, who worked as a lawyer before entering politics, said it was.
"We have had enough of this as a country...how many children have to die?"
Ardern said it had been tried in Australia and hadn't worked: "They have not been able to bring one successful conviction."
On the increase in gangs, Collins said there needed to be a specific, well resourced squad to take gangs on.
Ardern said people who joined gangs were living in desperation, and that needed to be the focus - "we have to give our young people hope, optimism, and skills and training."
Collins retorted that hope and love weren't the solution.
Gower asked about the meth crisis, using the example of Feilding as a town that was being hit hard.
Collins would put in detox beds and "go after the sellers of meth".
"Because, Paddy, they're not getting a free ride on that."
Ardern said addiction services needed to be built up around the country, and that was happening under her Government.
Round Six - Cannabis
Collins said she hadn't used cannabis, Ardern said she had, a long time ago.
Collins said she would vote "No" in the referendum to legalise cannabis. Ardern wouldn't say: "I want the public to decide...whatever they decide I will implement."
The National leader criticised her counterpart over that, saying "New Zealanders deserve a straight answer - not waffle".
Round Seven - Te Reo in schools, the Green School funding, the health system and Pharmac
Asked if Māori should be taught in every school, Ardern said it should be.
Collins said it shouldn't be compulsory, but was important.
Both leaders were asked about the $12m green school funding controversy, and Ardern insisted the funding was justified and would create jobs.
Both leaders were asked to describe Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Collins went with competent. Ardern chose "considered".
Ardern said the health system was "broken", and that was the fault of underfunding under the previous National Government.
On the lack of new cancer drugs, Collins promoted her party's policy to ring-fence $200m over four years for Pharmac to fund cancer drugs. Ardern said Labour would boost Pharmac funding by the same amount.
Gower pointed out funding a single drug - Keytruda - would eat up the money pledged by both parties.
Collins said her own brother in law had been affected by the Covid delays and later was told he had terminal cancer.
Ardern said there were a long list of drugs that needed funding, but politicians shouldn't be involved in decisions better made by Pharmac.
"What you are asking us is to be the one to decide...it would be wrong if it was our call."
Collins and Ardern both committed to an investigation of the methods of Pharmac.
Asked if the health system was racist, given the health gap between Māori and Pākehā, Ardern said it "was clearly showing a bias".
Collins said she wouldn't say the system was racist, "because that is giving an excuse to those people who are".
Round Eight - the climate and clean rivers
Would you support meat-free Mondays? It was a hard no from Collins: "I'm not going to tell people when they can eat meat...I'm not into communism."
Collins said NZ produced a tiny amount of greenhouse gases. Ardern lept on that - saying if every country took that attitude, the world would never make progress on climate change.
The Labour leader said the climate crisis was an emergency, and Labour would declare that in Parliament if it has the numbers after the election.
Ardern asked Collins what her plan was. "What for, dear?" Collins answered, going on to say the real emergency was the loss of jobs in regions like Taranaki.
Gower asked about clean rivers, and Collins criticised fresh water regulations "rushed through" under Labour. Ardern said the issue wasn't a blame game, with farmers wanting clean rivers, too.
Round Nine - post election negotiations, gun laws and Ihumātao
Asked if Winston Peters was irrelevant, Collins said he was. Later, she said David Seymour would be an excellent deputy prime minister - to which Ardern commented, "Jeepers".
Collins said the gun register -introduced after the Christchurch mosque murders - would be scrapped by National, as it had already failed "and is quite clearly impossible".
On the Ihumātao land issue, Ardern said a solution needed to be found and the problem could be traced back to the previous National Government. Collins said the land was private land, and "I'm not paying a cent for it".
Round Ten - Donald Trump
Collins - laughing - answered a question about Trump's Covid response by saying he could have done better.
Was Trump a dangerous influence in the world? Ardern said she would work in NZ's interests, including if Trump was returned to office. Collins agreed, and said Trump had done good work including bring Israel and UAE together diplomatically.
Collins was asked to describe "brand Ardern", and said she means well and is a good communicator. Ardern said her opposite was "very assertive in a debate".
Gower asked Collins if she would seriously say no to being on the cover of Vogue, and the National leader said any politician who said they would decline that opportunity was a liar. Ardern was asked if she'd ever referred to Collins as "crusher", and said she hadn't.
Final round - Quick fire
In quick fire rounds, both Collins and Ardern said it wasn't the time to rename New Zealand as Aotearoa, but both were keen on four-year terms between elections.
Neither supported banning sugary drinks in schools. Ardern said we should fully subsidise sanitary products for every teenage girl and woman in New Zealand, but Labour was starting with schools. Collins said free products should be provided through schools, but she didn't want to subsidise big companies.
Ardern and Collins both said schools should have gender neutral bathrooms available.
Both leaders backed a statue of Kate Sheppard at Parliament - with Ardern revealing plans were already underway.
Rate the debate
For the first time, viewers will be able to share how they feel about the leaders' arguments with the Herald's "Rate the Debate" interactive.
Use the sliders on the interactive in this article to change your rating for either leader at any time. We'll save all the ratings and will be calculating, in real time, average ratings based on the total submissions from the Herald audience.
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When you first see the Rate the Leaders interactive, each leader's rating has been assigned randomly.