How pundits called the second leaders' debate

A quick-fire round up of reaction to the feistier second round. 

Of pundits surveyed by NBR after the first debate, all thought it was close. Five gave it to Ardern, four thought it a draw and two considered English the winner.

Here’s a quick wrapup of second-debate verdicts. Most saw English coming out on top:

Rob Hosking (NBR): ENGLISH (First debate: draw)
“English really lifted his game.” (Watch Rob discussing the debate with Susan Wood, Jason Walls and Victoria Young here).

Audrey Young (NZ Herald): ENGLISH (First debate: Ardern)
“English showed some determination to take the fight to Ardern – and even the unflappable Ardern flapped under some pressure over her answers on housing.”

Liam Dann (NZ Herald): ARDERN (First debate: English)
“Ardern was stronger this time. She still struggles with two big holes in Labour policy – ill-defined tax plans and a belief that you can slash immigration and build more houses. She can't admit that house prices will have to fall to improve home ownership. Still, she was able to switch the narrative back to vision and inter-generational change.”

Toby Manhire (NZ Herald): ENGLISH (First debate: Ardern)
“Ardern was better, too, but if anything there was too much values and vision and "how people feel" – she's so far ahead of her opponent on this stuff that laying it on so thick starts getting mawkish. She recovered but English's surprise incursion on her strongest territory – by announcing a target of lifting 100,000 children out of poverty – left Ardern, for a moment, utterly disarmed.”

Heather du Plessis-Allan (NZ Herald): DRAW (First debate: Ardern)
"English was weak on questions of trust. It's become a problem for the National Party following the Todd Barclay debacle and the Winston Peters superannuation leak. Ardern was weak on tax. Again.”

TV3 post debate panel:

  • Matthew Hooton: ENGLISH
  • Tracey Watkins (Stuff): ARDERN
  • Annabelle Lee (The Hui): ARDERN
  • Morgan Godfery (trade unionist): ARDERN

Tim Murphy (Newsroom): ENGLISH (First debate: English)
“Last week I had merrily predicted English couldn't improve on that performance but he did. He looked comfortable in his own skin.”

Assoc Prof Grant Duncan (Massey/Stuff): ARDERN (First debate: draw)
“She was more confident and more visionary on most questions, for instance abortion and home affordability. Bill struggled too often. Jacinda won."

Janesa Jeram (The NZ Initiative/Stuff):  ENGLISH  (First debate: English)
“Thank you to whoever spiked the coffee before this debate. Both leaders had the fight in them to really challenge each other and the outcome was close.”

Liam Hehir (Stuff): ENGLISH (First debate: Ardern)
"Bill English won the debate through greater mastery and communication of details. [Ardern] was good at stating her values but too often it looked like she was returning to this as a crutch.”

Barry Soper (NewstalkZB): ARDERN (First debate: Draw)
"It was certainly more feisty than the one a week earlier, although Bill English was a bit like an attack dog chasing an elusive bone. English's biggest impediment is incumbency, he's been there and done that and, even if he wants to give the appearance of being a dog with a fresh bone, the reality is the bone's been lying in the back yard perishing."

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