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Political Wounds Picked In Feisty Debate

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland voters got the answers to the big questions last night; such as which MPs could field dress a moose and who thought United States republican vice president candidate Sarah Palin was hot.

In a lengthy and otherwise serious debate hosted by the Maxim Institute in Greenlane last night ACT's Rodney Hide, Green MP Keith Locke, Labour's Phil Goff, National MP Richard Worth, NZ First MP Pita Paraone and United Future candidate Denise Krum answered the hard questions.

No one said yes to knowing how to butcher a moose while all but Mr Hide said they would prefer Barack Obama as US President.

Several were clearly uncomfortable about being asked for an opinion on Ms Palin's attractiveness.

Mr Hide didn't think she was, Mr Locke liked her outfits, Mr Goff said no, Ms Krum thought it was a weird question and Mr Paraone did not want to jeopardise his marriage.

All except Mr Paraone had a Facebook page with Mr Worth wryly admitting; "yes I've got a thousand new best friends".

New Zealand political issues were the main focus. MPs were asked if they would agree to a binding referendum on MMP.

Mr Worth said a parliamentary committee of MPs reviewed the system; "and turkeys weren't going to vote for an early Christmas."

He thought there were better systems which prompted Mr Goff to wonder if the turkeys thinking of going into coalition with National would be happy with that.

Mr Hide retorted; "you're the one in coalition with Winston (Peters, NZ First Party leader)."

Ms Krum spoke about the ethics of Labour forming a government with other parties if it got less support than National. Mr Goff said governments were made up by more than one party and, what was she doing going on about ethics when her party turned on Labour --refusing to work with it after November 8 despite being in a coalition right now.

Ms Krum, Mr Goff, Mr Locke all thought New Zealand would become a republic while the others disagreed.

Other topics canvassed included nuclear power -- Mr Hide the sole supporter, legalising cannabis -- Mr Locke the only one in favour, climate change -- Mr Hide alone thought it a natural phenomena.

The value of the Family Commission was up for debate. Mr Goff said it had done some good but working for families had provided practical help.

Mr Worth was challenged about his party's changed position on the policy: "Yes, National is committed to keeping working for families."

Then there was interest free student loans, using the same world weary voice Mr Worth said National was committed to "student free loans". The audience thought that was hilarious.

Mr Goff got Mr Hide to say his salary had never been supplemented by private business while Mr Hide tried to get Mr Goff to say he wanted to take over as Labour leader which didn't happen.

Mr Peters was not present but he was at times the centre of attention.

Talking about interest free student loans Mr Paraone lost his way starting "in 2005 NZ First was the only party" when a heckler finished his sentence, "who didn't pay their money back".

Mr Paraone challenged Mr Worth to defend his party's position of refusing to work with NZ First if the New Zealand public wanted change as National argued.

"We would have to accept the consequences of your theoretical possibility but I don't think it will arise in reality," Mr Worth said.

However he didn't pledge to walk through the streets naked if proved wrong -- that happened to Mr Locke when he lost a bet at the same debate in 2005. That time Mr Locke refused to believe Mr Hide would win Epsom.

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