Green Party co-leader Russel Norman gave Labour plenty to
think about during last night's minor party leaders debate as
he pushed hard for a greater say in the make up of a
Not only was Dr Norman asserting the Green's right to have
the same proportion of cabinet seats as the Greens poll on
September 20, he also did not rule out a memorandum of
understanding with National to pursue his party's politics.
The Greens had got National to spend $400 million on home
With National above 50% support in three opinion polls
released yesterday, the stance of the eight party leaders
would be of interest to both National and Labour supporters
but the only leaders who mattered in the debate last night
were Dr Norman, Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, New Zealand
First leader Winston Peters and Maori Party co-leader Te
Dr Norman and Mr Harawira, who has been missing from the
campaign for two weeks, will side with Labour, Mr Flavell may
go either way, as will Mr Peters - all depending on the deals
they can cobble together after the election.
United Future leader Peter Dunne will win his seat and return
to Parliament supporting National, Conservative leader Colin
Craig may get into Parliament through his party reaching 5%
and support National, Act New Zealand leader Jamie Whyte has
a slim chance of being elected and would support National and
Independent Coalition leader Brendan Horan has no chance of
remaining an MP.
The One News debate was again hosted by Mike Hoskings, who
proved overbearing in talking over the candidates who were
desperately trying to prove their relevance to voters.
Near the end of the 90min debate, Mr Peters chided Mr
Hoskings and urged him to do his job properly.
Each of the leaders was asked to give their priority policy
if they were in a chance to negotiate a deal after the
There was an overriding theme of reducing child poverty from
the Left, although how much that would cost was either vague
For Dr Norman it came down to clean rivers, although he could
not put a figure on how much it would cost.
Dr Whyte was pressed on why the three strikes for burglary
was so important and got into an argument with Mr Hoskings on
what constituted burglary.
According to Dr Whyte, burglary was a sense of invasion of a
private home and the three-strikes policy would cut the crime
rate by a third.
Mr Craig wanted binding referendums but also believed New
Zealanders wanted the ability to smack their children.
During the time the anti-smacking legislation had been in
place, child abuse rates had risen substantially, he claimed.
Mr Dunne wanted the implementation of flexi-superannuation,
allowing people to retire younger with less money or work
longer to receive a higher rate of superannuation later.
Mr Flavell believed the Maori Party had helped close the
poverty gap for his people through making the policy a high
priority with the Government and working with the Greens at a
select committee process.
Eliminating child poverty was Mr Harawira's main aim and the
cost did not matter if children were regarded as the nation's
taonga, or treasure.
Retaining the retirement age at 65 was affordable, according
to Mr Peters, who had a running battle most of the debate
with Mr Craig about the Conservatives stealing NZ First's
He told Mr Craig he could not buy the election, despite
throwing money at it.
And Mr Horan wanted to create a ministry of job creation,
something he might find handy after the election.