23 Sep 2020

First leaders debate: Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins reveal how they think they performed

3:54 pm on 23 September 2020

It seems likely half of the country has weighed in on the performance of the National and Labour party leaders at last night's debate, and now we've heard from Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins themselves.

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Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Getty Images

Both leaders were back on the campaign trail today - and both in Waikato, where they were asked during their separate events about the debate.

Ardern said: "I achieved exactly what I wanted to achieve which was to get out our plan, to give voters - for that first debate - a chance to hear about our policies and ideas for the future.

"I felt pretty invigorated out there... this is one of four, over the course of the debates no-one will be left in any question as to our style, the leadership we bring and the ideas.

"I would welcome the chance to delve a little more deeply into some of those issues, I think that's where you will see the difference between Labour and National."

Ardern was asked about the lack of mention of Māori during the debate and responded by saying she would welcome more debate around Māori issues.

"I went in with an approach that I wanted people to hear our plans, our policies, and that's what I did."

She said she has never made assumptions about the outcomes of debates.

Ardern also addressed National's claims after last night's debate that she said "farming was a world of the past".

"That is absolutely not what I said. I said Judith Collins' view of the challenge around climate change were views of the past and actually the farming community, leaders I have been working with, are very much focused on how can we drive further value from what we do and make sure we are competitive in our export markets.

"My view is she was presenting an old view of farming."

Collins' assessment of the debate was a bit shorter.

She says people in the Waikato are not in to "waffle" and that she's been getting some good feedback.

"People are really liking those messages. They just like me going out and saying it how it is... it's all pretty much straight down the line and I hoped they enjoyed that.

"I really enjoyed [the debate], actually, I really enjoyed it and I just know that I've got another one next week and I've got to come up for that as well and I'm sure Miss Ardern will want to do better as well. I just want to do better every time I do these."

Asked why there was no mention of Māori issues during the debate, she said questions were up to the facilitator.

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