The Queenstown ASB debate between the finance spokespeople for five parties attracted a sell-out crowd last night.
The photo shows, chair Duncan Garner, Finance Minister Bill English for National, Conservative leader Colin Craig, Labour’s David Parker, Act’s Jamie Whyte and Green Russel Norman.
Duncan Garner said that the Maori Party declined the invitation, Mana didn’t reply and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters refused to come if Craig was there.
The chair gave each speaker three minutes to give a pitch then gave them a few questions before taking questions from the floor.
Labour’s trying to campaign on being positive but its finance spokesman started by being negative about the economy and the outlook.
Jamie Whyte started by quoting Adam Smith:
Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.
He also asked who’s going to make better decisions – someone putting their own money at risk in search of profit of someone using other people’s money in search of votes?
Duncan Garner asked him to name one Green policy he agreed with and he said he couldn’t think of one.
The question Duncan Garner put to Russel Norman at the end of his three minutes was whether he could say something good about the Finance Minister and he said he’d been very responsible.
Colin Craig rattled through his policy which includes tax cuts at the lower end.
The chair asked him to say whether he’d go with National or Labour if he had the choice after the election. He said National because the party would have the most votes.
Clutha Southland MP Bill English got the biggest welcome from his home crowd.
He started by giving people the credit for their resilience, responsible and work and how important that was because the economy doesn’t just exist in an office in Wellington, it’s what people do.
That, in partnership with National-led government’s careful management of public finances, had put New Zealand back on the right track.
He said we now have a platform built on our resilience the positive encouragement from government and the most positive Prime Minister New Zealand has had that will allow us to have sustainable growth.
“You have set that direction and we can keep it,” he said.
There’s a video of the debate here.