NZ Election 2020: Why Jacinda Ardern's parents didn't watch televised leaders' debate

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's parents didn't watch her and National's Judith Collins in the first televised election debate on Tuesday.

With less than a month to go until election day on October 17, Ardern and Collins faced off at TVNZ in their first leaders' debate.

About 1.1 million people reportedly tuned in to the show for at least one minute of the 90-minute long debate. 

"1.1 million people and still my parents weren't amongst them," Ardern told The Rock on Friday morning.

She was asked why not.

"Are they National supporters? Are they like most of the old people?" one of The Rock hosts asked.

Ardern replied: "No, I got home - mum is helping Clarke and I out a little bit at the moment - and there was some excuse about other things that were happening in the house. It just didn't happen… I think she dipped in and out."

Immediately after the debate, the Labour leader said she tried to avoid the contest of ideas becoming a "bloodsport" and entertainment, rather than an opportunity to inform voters.

"My view is that politics is not a bloodsport. It is a chance for people to see what our ambitions are, where we want to take New Zealand, and I think we had the platform for that tonight," she said. 

Collins, however, disagreed,

"That's what a debate is, isn't it? It's a boxing match without the boxing. So you know. It's not physically blood, but it's a tough environment. If people don't want to be able to do deal with that, or they can't deal with it, my answer is go home," the National leader told The AM Show the next morning

She thought she won the debate. 

"Yeah, I reckon. I certainly didn't feel like I was losing."  

Former National Party leader and current MP Simon Bridges said on Friday that the pundits backed Collins as Tuesday's winner, but Labour's David Parker said Ardern came out best.

The pair will next go head-to-head at the Newshub Decision 2020 Leaders Debate, hosted by Patrick Gower with post-debate analysis from Tova O'Brien. That will air on Three and ThreeNow as well as on Newshub's website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.