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Clark and Key spar in final TV debate before election

Wednesday 5 Nov 2008 8:38 p.m.

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Helen Clark and John Key got the chance to talk about their policies and New Zealand's future tonight in the last and the best of three TV leaders debates.

Not shouting at each other helped, maybe it was because two hours earlier another election had decided Barack Obama should become the world's most powerful leader.

TVNZ's Mark Sainsbury handled the encounter more carefully than he did the first one, and it paid off.

Answering viewers' questions, Miss Clark and Mr Key ranged over the economy, health, education, the environment and law and order.

Mr Key did well with policy detail this time, in most areas being able to promise to do more than the Government.

Miss Clark was better on caring for people, making sure they had jobs and were looked after by careful social policies.

Law and order got them going - gangs are in for a tough time whoever wins the election.

The economic debate flushed out thoughtful answers, so did Sainsbury when he asked them: "Do you believe in God?"

They seemed to agree that neither of them knew whether God existed.


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