As it happened: ONE News Multi-Party Leaders Debate

Eight party leaders who could influence the shape of the next government went head to head in the ONE News Multi-Party Leaders Debate.

They are: Russel Norman - Green Party, Winston Peters - New Zealand First, Peter Dunne - United Future, Te Ururoa Flavell - Maori Party, Hone Harawira - Internet Mana, Jamie Whyte - ACT Party, Brendan Horan - NZ Independent Coalition, Colin Craig - Conservative Party.

6.25pm: The party leaders and the studio audience are gathering at TVNZ in Auckland ahead of the debate's 7pm start.

7.04pm: Rapid fire questions from moderator Mike Hosking.

Colin Craig says his mentor or hero was Sir Edmund Hillary and the best advice he got was from his grandmother who said: "No free lunches in life, make sure you earn yours."

Jamie Whyte says McDonald's is a good job for many people but not his children.

Russel Norman says he has some time for Bill English who is "an honest person".

Te Urora Flavell says Hone Harawira is his favourite MP outside his own party "for doing things for our people".

Peter Dunne says it is the dirtiest campaign he has seen.

7.09pm: Russel Norman says his is the only party there that has done its fiscals. As a matter of due diligence it'd get an audit of Labour's figures.

7.11pm: Drug policy is debated. Hone Harawira talks about his party's cannabis legalising policy, but Peter Dunne says he's made a U-turn.

7.15pm: Winston Peters says "your polls are wrong" and there is "surge on for New Zealand First".

Colin Craig says small parties always come up on election day.

Peters says a vote for the Conservatives is a wasted vote. Craig disagrees.

Dunne says the Greens will be the opposition in place of Labour at the next election.

7.20pm: Coalition deals discussed. Norman says it's about how the votes are cast. The Greens would would want policy gains in social, envionment and economic policy in negotiations.

Norman says him being Deputy PM in a coalition arrangement is "on the table". He says the Greens are in a strong position and have stopped "bad things like mining in National Parks".

Peters says he "hasn't even considered" Cabinet places for him and his party. He says they are focussed on policy, including exports.

7.23pm: Whyte says he has no bottom lines, they have a set of policies, including cutting the company tax rate.

Dunne says it is already below the rate in Australia.

"Propping up National is extremely important," Whyte says.

7.27pm: Flavell says people have always boxed the Maori Party into right or left but it's neither. He challenges Peters to say who he'd go with in a coalition but Peters says he's already answered that. He says he will not do a deal with any "race-based" party.

7.30pm: Harawira says Internet-Mana have more non-Maori candidates than Maori.

Dunne gives Peters a 5 or 6 out of 10 as someone to work with.

7.38pm: Craig says National introduced the policy of referendums and the Conservatives just want it to work. Peters says NZ First wrote the policy and Colin Craig "pinched my policy". Craig says issues like law and order and stopping the asset sales are "not whacky subjects".

7.41pm: Dunne talks about his policy of flexi-super, saying everything United Future proposed on this in 2011 has been achieved so far.

7.44pm: Child poverty sparks the most heated debate of the night with left and right parties clashing. Harawira says his key policy is the eradication of child poverty. Norman says 1 in 4 children are in poverty. An ad break cuts them short, still talking over each other.

7.50pm: Flavell says his party have gained huge ground for Maori by "sitting alongside" a National government.

He says their policies, such as children's doctor visits, are "generic" in their relevance to Maori and Pakeha.

7.52pm: Horan says his party has 3 main policies - pensions, job creation and free tertiary education. He says they are centrist.

7.55pm: Horan says he knows how hard he worked on behalf of NZ First and says he took an oath on the bible to be an MP for 3 years.

8.00pm: MattDunn posts our Vote 2014 page: Nz first wil be king maker. Simple

Anon writes: It shouldn't be a fight. It should be a discussion where everyone is allowed to have their opinion.

8.04pm: Whyte says Seymour will win Epsom and he is confident Act will do well on election day when people see other parties wanting "government to take over the economy".

Whyte: "We are the only party proposing to cut spending." Craig says that is not the case.

Norman hoping for 15%+ in the election.

8.05pm: Dunne: "We have never set out to be spectacular. We have set out to be solid."

8.07pm: Hosking asks who is happy with Brendan's position?

Dunne says: "If you leave the party you leave the Parliament.

Horan says: "MMP has allowed me to stand here and speak on democracy and represent a party that's here to change politics for the better. Locals for locals, MPs representing their electorates and not parties."

8.17pm: Norman defends his policy on cleaning up rivers saying it is a "huge economic investment" because NZ's economy is dominated by primary exports.

He says he does not have a figure for the policy, but "it will not be billions".

Whyte says burglary is a very serious crime and most burglars don't get a prison sentence. He says burglary only affects homes, not businesses. But concedes breaking into Mitre 10 and stealing something would be burglary. "Our policy will be a great deterrent to burglary."

8.20pm: Craig says the smacking law is not targeting the child abuse problem. "The people of this country said, 'change the law'."

Dunne says super and recreational fishing are the big policies for United Future.

Asked if the Maori Party has cut the income gap for Maori, Flavell says "not enough".

Horan says the "industrial internet" is the most important area for job growth and future roles should be targeted now.

8.25pm: Leaders final pitches in the debate.

Craig - We're the party of traditional values.

Whyte - We believe high economic growth is most important.

Dunne - We want to be part of a constructive, ongoing government.

Flavell - We want to give a strong, independent Maori voice.

Norman - We're for a cleaner, fairer, smarter NZ.

Peters - We are for a clean democracy.

Harawira - We put forward simple things, like feeding the kids.

Horan - We want Kiwis to have a voice throughout the parliamentary term.




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