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Goff and Key clash in fiery opening debate

By Rebecca Watson

Published: 9:22PM Monday October 31, 2011 Source: ONE News

There were heated exchanges in the first televised debate between John Key and Phil Goff tonight.

The leaders were asked questions about the economy, asset sales, the cost of living, crisis management, national standards, leadership and the war in Afghanistan in the ONE News Leaders Debate tonight.

The tone was set early on when Key likened Goff to a "drunken sailor" over his plans to raise the eligibility age for superannuation to 67.

"Tonight is Halloween. Well I learnt last week when Phil told us he's going to put up super by two years before you can retire that it was trick or treat," Key said

"The treat is you get your GST off your banana, the trick is you have to work two years longer."

To read how the debate unfolded click here

It got heated again when Goff accused Key of lying about his plans for GST before the last election.

"What I'm going to tell you John is this that this time, last election, in this studio, you looked down the barrel of that camera and you said 'National will not be increasing GST'," Goff said.

"It's on tape. That was a lie. You broke that promise and people are paying more for their food."

Key, who often avoided eye contact with Goff during the debate, took exception to that.

"I don't call you a liar and that's because I actually respect the office of leader of the opposition."

Goff continued the attacks, even using a question about his biggest mistake in politics to criticise Key.

"I'm sure I've made a lot of mistakes. I think the difference is I've learned from my mistakes. I learnt that it was a mistake to sell off our state assets."

Sixty-one percent of people said Key impressed them the most in the debate in a text poll, compared to 39% for Goff

The leaders of the minor parties will be placed under the spotlight on Wednesday, November 16 ahead of another debate between Key and Goff on Wednesday, November 23.

Close Up's Mark Sainsbury will host each debate and will be joined by political scientists Dr Jon Johansson and Dr Claire Robinson.

ONE News Political Editor Guyon Espiner will act as moderator, while a media panel led by Te Karere Editor Shane Taurima will also be given time to ask questions.

Each debate will begin at 7pm and will be held in front of an audience. The audience members will be invited by TVNZ and will not be representatives of political parties.

Who do you think won the debate? Have your say on the messageboard below.

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  • bwinter said on 2011-11-03 @ 11:33 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Well according to Goff's definition he's a liar himself. He said that he wouldn't put the retirement age up and that the CGT wasn't a priotiy for him. When you point the finger then there's 3 pointing back at you.

  • karlosboy said on 2011-11-02 @ 01:42 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Goff broke that lock mr Key. And there was a slanted view quite apparent... sadly unsurprising.

  • Chris01 said on 2011-11-01 @ 18:09 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Phil Goff harped on about fairness, especially in relation to taxes. The facts are that the top 10% 0f households in income terms pay 71% of the tax to run this country. If we look at the top 17% of income earning households we find that they pay 97% of net taxation. On the other side of the coin 44% of households are net tax recipients. That is they get more in benefits than they pay in tax. When Uncle Phil talks about fairness which side of the coin is he talking about?

  • menacerec said on 2011-11-01 @ 17:38 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Chrissie, that's rather hypocritical considering that John Key and the National party spend a lot of their time attacking Labour. I have many members of the National party as facebook friends and I watch this happen on an almost daily basis. Are you an economics major? I don't believe that you have any real understanding of economics. I really don't. This government is systematically tearing New Zealand apart for the betterment of those who fund its election campaigns i.e. big business.

  • menacerec said on 2011-11-01 @ 17:36 NZDT: Report abusive post

    John Key is a liar, if you haven't seen the video's of him clearly stating "National will not be raising GST" on multiple occasions then perhaps you need to learn how to use YouTube. Not only did he lie, but he hasn't said "Oh we made a mistake it turns out I have to do this"...He has instead denied ever making the statements that he is recorded on video making. Politicians tend to be liars in general, but this one lies to the nation time and time again with a straight face.