Election 2011: Leaders' debate

14:13, Nov 21 2011

Prime Minister John Key goes head-to-head with Labour leader Phil Goff just five days before polling day as 3News hosts the second-to-last televised leaders' debate in the 2011 election campaign.

8.06pm: Time for the closing addresses.

Goff promises to be upfront and not to make promises he can't keep.

Labour leader Phil Goff.

He says he'll make the hard decisions for New Zealand's future.

Only a party vote for Labour will stop the asset sales, he says.

Key says the election is about securing a brighter future for New Zealand.


National will balance the books sooner and keep interest rates down.

8.03pm: Goff says Key went into coalition with Hone Harawira but he will never because he is unstable.

Key says he is proud of his support arrangement with the Maori Party.

National has worked with the Greens on certain issues over the past three years and has a good environmental record.

Goff says Key is "donkey deep" trying to resurrect  a dead party which is now lead by a former National leader.

Key responds by saying it may not have worked yet.

7.58pm: On to MMP and electorate deals.

Goff says Epsom voters should choose who they want to work with and National shouldn't prop up ACT because most New Zealanders don't want them back in Parliament.

The "at home" worm rises into positive.

Key says he is "totally relaxed" about how Epsom resident vote but say they have voted tactically in the past.

The at home worm sinks into negative.

Goff calls National's Ohariu candidate Katrina Shanks, Katherine.

Key says New Zealand doesn't need volatile government.

John Campbell asks Key whether ACT, whose former MP stole the identity of a dead baby, is a stable partner.

Key says their votes in his government were stable but Winston Peters is not stable - the studio worm leapt into positive.

The worm sinks into negative when Goff says he trusts Winston to do the right thing.

7.47pm: John Campbell asks if National is eyeing up other assets.

Key says he can't say what National's policies will be in 2014 and the worm plummets.

It sinks further when he repeats he's been transparent and upfront.

Goff speaks of Bill English suggesting before the last election KiwiBank could be on the block and the worm rises.

Key promises KiwiBank is off the table.

7.44pm: The debate turns to asset sales.

Key talks about the Euro debt crisis and the need to have more capital in New Zealand.

The worm hovers in the negative half.

It spikes into neutral briefly when he speaks of "mum and dad investors".

Goff says you don't sell your house to pay the mortgage and the worm rises into positive.

He says the Labour-led government bought back Air New Zealand because its owners ran it down.

The "at home" audience finally shows some signs of life and rises into positive.

Goff says it is arrogant for National to sell assets when two out of three voters disagree with the policy.

Key says National has been transparent and upfront about its policy.

But the worm still sinks back into negative.

It rises back into positive when he speaks of the need to give the Super Fund soemthing to invest in.

7.33pm: Back to job creation and the studio audience worm.

Goff starts calling Key "John", prompting a petulant look from the prime minister.

The second part of the debate then ends.

7.30pm: After the first ad break, the topic turns to the minimum wage.

Goff says it is hard to live on $13 an hour - the worm shoots up.

He says New Zealand needs to boost skills training and Labour will give the dole for a year to those who employ an unemployed person.

The worm shoots to the top of the positive line.

Key starts speaking and it plummets again and continues to sink when he talks about National's 90 day work trial for new workers.

It rises when he speaks about the need for flexible work hours.

Key says there is nothing magical about $13 per hour and Labour's pledge to raise the minimum wage will cost jobs.

The worm changes to the "at home" audience of people with smart phones participating.

The worm flatlines.

It continues on neutral despite whether Key or Goff speaking.

The "at home" worm is a lot less impressed with Goff than the undecided studio audience.

7.19pm: Goff says Labour would invest in early intervention to help children reach their potential.

The worm rose until he began to talk about targeting beneficiaries.

It fell when the debate turns to Aroha Ireland, the girl Key took to Waitangi three years ago, who is now moving to Australia because she says there is no opportunities for her in New Zealand.

7.14pm: Key attacked Goff's record on his costings and the worm sunk again.

It slowly began to rise when Key started talking about the Government's response to the Christchurch earthquake.

Goff then spoke about the efforts of people during war times and the importance of helping the vulnerable through recessions.

Host John Campbell then said he had never seen particular passion from either leader.

Key then replied with the Government's track record.

Key then talks about child abuse and the worm rose slightly before dipping when he said what National had done to combat it.

7.11pm: When Key began talking about his state housing upbringing the worm rose.

It sunk again when he said National would spend money to fix the problems with the welfare state.

It shot up again when Goff spoke about National's tax cuts for the rich and almost shot off the radar when he spoke about providing equal employment opportunities.

The worm plummets when Key talks about the global financial downturn.

7.09pm: The third leaders debate has begun with Prime Minister John Key giving his opening address.

A audience of 65 random undecided voters in a studio across the road from TV3 is participating by signalling comments they like and those they don't.

The worm dipped into neutral when Key attacked Labour's spending promises.

It rose into positive for Goff's opening address when he described his vision for New Zealand.

- An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to this debate as the last televised leaders' debate of the 2011 election campaign.