Sunday 24 Jun
Clutha Health First
Hauora Tahi Ki Iwi Katea
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- Absent Peters still big part of debate — Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox was the star of last night’s 1News multi-leaders debate but New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was a huge presence, despite not turning up. Mrs Fox was feisty, clear and articulate about what she would and would not support in any coalition negotiations after the election, but she might not get back to Parliament. If Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell can hold his Waiariki seat, and new candidate Howie Tamati can win Te Tai Hauaurua from Labour, Mrs Fox will not return to Parliament, even though she is top of the list. Mrs Fox was part of a four-minor-parties debate hosted by 1News political editor Corin Dann last night. The others were Green Party leader James Shaw, Act New Zealand leader David Seymour and United Future leader Damian Light. Three of leaders have a chance to be part of the next government. Mr Light has no show but got to participate, even though his party is polling 0%, because former leader Peter Dunne is still an MP until election day. The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan took TVNZ to court to be part of the debate but was ruled out because his party was not polling at or above 3%. It was a mistake by TVNZ to allow Mr Light in and cut out Mr Morgan, especially when Mr Peters did not front. None of the four leaders wanted to work in a coalition with Mr Peters.Mrs Fox said she would work with the Greens and Labour and the Maori Party had proven it would work with National. But she did not feel comfortable at the thought of being in any coalition with Mr Peters, unless he revised his bottom lines. Mr Shaw described Mr Peters as a ‘‘bad date’’. ‘‘He stood us up tonight; he is unreliable. I trust [Labour leader] Jacinda Ardern when she says we are the first cab off the rank. She knows what important issues we have to deal with — things too important for Winston Peters.’’ Mr Light said he did not trust NZ First. There was a feeling among the four leaders of momentum shifting towards a Labour win on September 23. Each leader was asked for their thoughts on who would win the election. Mr Light said Labour, on current polling. Mrs Fox said there was a mood for change, although the race was looking tight. Mr Seymour said National was losing to a vision, and it only had itself to blame. Mr Shaw said it was clear there would be a Labour-Green government, perhaps with or without NZ First. Mrs Fox was clear she did not trust Labour on Maori issues, believing the water rights issue was fraught with difficulties.‘‘If Labour thinks it can come out and say it owns the water on behalf of New Zealand ... I don’t trust Labour, but I can work with them.’’ The debate lost nothing by not having Mr Peters participating. Mrs Fox and Mr Seymour where happy to go hammer and tongs at each other during the debate. Mr Seymour talked over everyone and would not stop, despite Mr Dann trying to ask another question. Mr Shaw looked relaxed, although he did not get much speaking time until near the end of the debate. Mr Light spoke well, but looked a bit shell-shocked when asked for United Future’s bottom line in any coalition negotiations. It did not have one. Education and the environment were part of the debate. Mrs Fox and Mr Seymour supported National Standards and Messrs Light and Shaw were opposed. In the debate on the Resource Management Act, Mr Shaw got the loudest applause for his line to Mr Seymour, also Epsom MP. ‘‘We should make Epsom an RMA-free zone and see what happens.’’ email@example.com
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