Key Points:

In between ads for pet flea treatments and any number of other goods and services, Labour leader Helen Clark and National's John Key got to tell the public more about who they were and what they stood for on TVNZ's debate tonight.

Answering questions put by journalists and people via YouTube, Mr Key made it clear that National thinks it could have run the government better with lower tax and less bureaucracy.

Labour believes it has put the country in a good position to weather the incoming economic storm.

Mr Key was clearly very prepared and made a point of talking over Miss Clark - something previous leader Don Brash used as an excuse for his failure to beat her.

He was chatty, affable and talked to the audience during the breaks.

He was also on message - under National there would be a brighter future - though it would be hard to get as bright as his electric blue tie.

Miss Clark was unyielding when Mr Key tried to shout her down and more than held her own. She even got in a few good lines. When Mr Key talked about his vision of a brighter future she said that was correct if you dropped the 'b'.

He also had a good run of one-liners, like the policy that was so loony it could land on the moon - that was reducing water pressure in showers - and when asked if he had enough mongrel in him to be a leader he said he wasn't too sure if he was an alsatian or not.

That wasn't when the Frontline ad ran, by the way.

- NZPA