The best zingers from the Stuff leaders' debate

by Susan Strongman / 08 September, 2017

Bill English makes a point in the Stuff debate. Photo / Stuff

Last night's fiery and aggressive leaders' debate delivered a number of burns from both contestants.

It was a rowdy night all round with Bill English and Jacinda Ardern both landing blows while answering questions on topics ranging from the Christchurch rebuild, climate change, child poverty and tax policy.

Here are some of their greatest hits:

Jacinda Ardern on being called "stardust":

"This stardust won't settle. Because none of us should settle ..."

On Winston Peters as kingmaker:

Ardern: "The role of PM is off the table ... Quite keen on that one myself."

English: "... Labour could probably learn about fiscal discipline from Winston."

On Canterbury District Health Board funding:

Ardern: "Bill, you cannot talk to an audience that has a DHB that is underfunded by over $50 million about the quality of healthcare."

On the "fiscal gap":

English: "Your team have let you down."

Ardern: "Your team have lied."

English: "I've done eight budgets, I know how it works."

On water quality:

Ardern: "We're not going to have a system that allows a river, 20 percent of the time, to be dirty, which is currently what the standard has."

English: "Oh, so are you going to stop storms?"

Climate Change:

Ardern: "In order for us to have a proper conversation about the action required, will you release the report from MFE [Ministry for the Environment on the impact that climate change is going to have on local and regional communities..?]"

English: "I think it's been released … Leaked if that's what you want to say…"

Ardern: "Why not release it?"

English: "Well, it doesn't matter much ..."

Ardern: "It doesn't matter much? It doesn't matter much? Billions of dollars of infrastructure, people's homes ..."

Jacinda Ardern, Stuff Debate

On reducing child poverty:

English: "If you want to reduce poverty, you've got to increase their incomes. I have to say, if you're worried about people's incomes you don't go and tax them more - especially if they're on the average wage."

English to Ardern: "You should listen to this policy, because you should adopt it."

On housing:

English: "29,000 new homes have been built in Christchurch ..."

Audience member: "There was an earthquake, Bill."

On finance:

Ardern: "I stand firm on Labour's history and record when it comes to managing the economy ... Helen Clark and Michael Cullen got net Crown debt next to zero. They produced nine budget surpluses. They had the strongest continuous economic growth since World War II ..."

English interjects: "Grant Robertson is no Michael Cullen."

On superannuation:

Moderator Tracy Watkins to Ardern: "You've promised to resign rather than raise the pension age. Aren't you letting down the very people you claim to be speaking for - young New Zealanders who are going to have to bear the rising cost of super?"

Ardern: "No. That generation was let down the moment National stopped contributing to the superannuation fund.

Ardern to English: "... My generation has been sold down the river by your government."

English: "I know this generation - I've raised it."

This article was originally published by RNZ.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


How to lose weight without a diet
87141 2018-02-25 00:00:00Z Nutrition

How to lose weight without a diet

by Jennifer Bowden

"The irony is the intentional pursuit of weight loss – dieting, in other words – is actually a predictor of future weight gain."

Read more
Baby boomers are rethinking retirement for a later-life reboot
87313 2018-02-24 00:00:00Z Social issues

Baby boomers are rethinking retirement for a later…

by Sally Blundell

The biggest cohort of baby boomers is reaching retirement age – and many are not planning a quiet dotage.

Read more
School shootings and Russian indictments
87455 2018-02-24 00:00:00Z World

School shootings and Russian indictments

by Joanne Black

Slaughter in a school and Russian social-media mischief: the US is under siege.

Read more
Beck to go back to basics at Auckland City Limits
87417 2018-02-24 00:00:00Z Profiles

Beck to go back to basics at Auckland City Limits

by James Belfield

Before headlining Auckland City Limits, Beck talks about celebrating his musical past on stage and on record.

Read more
Islands of the Gulf: How the Hauraki has changed
87427 2018-02-24 00:00:00Z Television

Islands of the Gulf: How the Hauraki has changed

by Fiona Rae

A broadcaster revisits her mother’s iconic Islands of the Gulf TV series to see what’s changed since the 60s.

Read more
Hokianga's Wild West fest's unusual way of fundraising
86388 2018-02-24 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Hokianga's Wild West fest's unusual way of fundrai…

by Peter De Graaf

Once a year, the Wild West saddles up and rides into Waimamaku for a day of highway robbery.

Read more
Back on track: $60m to go into regional rail
87519 2018-02-23 14:43:30Z Economy

Back on track: $60m to go into regional rail

by Jane Patterson

Five regions will receive just over $60 million for rebooting rail in the first chunk of money from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Read more
Ricky Houghton is about finding innovative solutions to the issues facing Māori
87510 2018-02-23 14:21:31Z Profiles

Ricky Houghton is about finding innovative solutio…

by Clare de Lore

No government on their own can fix the problems facing Māori in the Far North, warns Local Hero of the Year Ricky Houghton.

Read more