Second debate a win for Key

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Last updated 05:00 03/11/2011

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Lesson No 4: Don't hug a corpse Nats try to keep things normal Campaign capers with Cunliffe Dirty politics and the polls Dirty politics - is there any other kind? Economy okay but fine tuning a good idea Key's veneer of good humour wears thin Parties are political life blood It's hip to be square for the Greens You have a right to know who's paying the piper

OPINION: If the first TVNZ debate was a narrow-points victory to Phil Goff, last night's Press debate was not far short of a rout by John Key.

Goff started well enough and had the Christchurch audience on his side as he called for faster action on insurance in the wake of the earthquakes.

But in the second hour, as the topic turned to the economy, Key the showman slowly took over. By the end he had the audience eating out of his hand as he constantly badgered Goff about his estimate of the hole in Labour's promises – $14 billion.

It became like a vaudeville routine, that the audience were starting to mutter in time with Key's mock exasperation. "Where's the $14b coming from?"

Goff did his best to press all the right policy buttons on asset sales, and there was no enthusiasm for National's asset sales plan among the 600-plus audience.

But it is increasingly looking as if Labour has made a major tactical blunder by holding off releasing its full fiscal costing, leaving Goff exposed.

Even so, he could have made a better fist of explaining his Budget plans.


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