As it happened: 1 NEWS' multi-party leaders debate in Auckland

Join 1 NEWS NOW as leaders of the minor parties debate in front of the country.

Source: 1 NEWS

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8.03 The leaders predictions on the election: Light thinks Labour. Fox says "there's mood for change but it's very very tight", unclear who she predicts. Seymour says the only Government will be a National ACT coalition. Shaw says "at this point it's pretty clear there's going to be a Labour Greens coalition government, that doesn't rely on Winston Peters." This excites Shaw he adds to end the debate.

8.00 Shaw says he could never form a Greens National coalition. Saying he wants to form a coalition with the Labour Party.

7.59 Light says he doesn't trust Winston. Fox says the change of Labour leader doesn't really make it easier to form a coalition with them, adding "will Kelvin Davis be there after the election, that's a genuine question".

7.57 Seymour says if Winston thinks "he's above being here" to debate in front of the people of NZ, he doesn't deserve to be in parliament. Shaw adds Winston is a "bad date, he's stood us up tonight, is he going to stand up the Labour Party". The statement gets a round of applause from the audience. Light won't join in on the Winston bashing saying "it would take all night". 

7.52 Could the Greens support a Labour NZ First Gov if they needed the Greens supply to let them govern, "could you give it James Shaw?" Shaw says they could but you can't leave it up to chance because Winston will not let on which way he is going to go. Shaw says he trusts Jacinda, but suggests he does not Winston. But Shaw will not rule out working with a Labour NZ First Gov. Seymour says he could not support a Labour Gov, but he won't join National necessarily. 

7.50 Fox is asked if she could support a National, NZ First, ACT Government. She says "I hope we never have to". She adds it's the NZ First component of that coalition "that we might have some issue with, around entrenching the Maori seats". 

7.49 Fox says teaching Te Reo in schools is about "building a nation that is united around culture". Most eloquent thing said tonight by far. 

7.47 Light says we should be looking at Te Reo Maori, but also sign language. Corin suggests this isn't realistic, that there won't be enough teachers.

7.44 James Shaw is against national standards in school saying the whole teaching profession is against them. Shaw says people are "teaching to the test rather than getting a good all round education". Shaw says national standards do not teach for creativity. Seymour says national standards have a "lot of short comings" and "fail to reward kids who are a long way ahead" but says in general he is in favour of them because there is no other realistic alternative.

7.42 Fox loves national standards in education, saying it enables you to see the disparity within a school between Maori students versus non Maori, and if there's an issue it's not about "whipping the school it’s about asking how can we help you?"

7.39 Light says he thinks it's fair enough if there is a tax on industry for water use because they are the one who have been polluting the rivers, but we need to "start moving away from an agricultural society," citing the NZ gaming industry, and how it could grow the economy in the coming years. Original thought to say the least. 

7.36 Do you think the free market has worked with water? Have farmers polluted our water? Seymour says "we haven't had a free market with water, the council tell you how much you can take". Fox agrees; "that's right" she says.

7.35 What pays for our lifestyles in the cities? It's the rural sector? Corin asks. Shaw says the Greens "are not trying to punish" our rural sector saying there are amazing innovations that allow our farmers to make more money off their land than were previously from "lower impact" forms of farming.

7.32 Fox says the Crown does not own our water but Maori have rights when it comes to water. "We need to recognise those rights under the Treaty of Waitangi", Fox says.

7.30 Seymour says the Greens policy would bankrupt our farmers. Seymour says there should be property rights for farmers instead of taxing water.

7.27 Does Labour's policy on a water tax go far enough? Shaw says "If we want to stop polluting our rivers, we should just stop polluting our rivers" Shaw says the Greens want to put a levy on the pollution itself and then use that money to transition farmers into more environmental sound farming.

Marama Fox says despite there being senior Maori MPs in Labour, they are needed as an independent voice. Source: 1 NEWS

7.24 Break again. Next up: does anyone own our water?

 7.22 Fox says we had better not "throw out the baby out with the bathwater" in the intensification of property across Auckland and city centres, adding the environment could be destroyed through the intensification process.

7.20 Damian Light says United Future doesn't have a definite bottom line at the moment.

7.18 Seymour says payment for teachers should be based on "who is putting in the effort" signalling teachers should be paid individually on merit - not at a uniform rate.

7.15 We're back, Corin wants to talk about bottom lines. What is the one thing you will push the hardest for in negotiations? James Shaw says, climate change, clean up all of our rivers, and child poverty. Shaw says we want to pass the zero carbon act in the first 100 days a Greens coalition Government. Shaw says he would like 20 per cent of new vehicles to be electric. Shaw assures farmers he "will not make them broke".

7.10 Short break. Corin says next up they will discuss what will the Green's want in any potential Labour/Greens coalition.

7.06 Damian Light is here on behalf of the United Future party because they still have a house in parliament. What do they represent? "We need to look into the future" says Light, and denies that Peter Dunn was the entire United Future party. Light implies he could take off like Jacinda did, to some amusement from the crowd. "We will make 5 per cent because we have to," Light says of United Future.

7.04 Seymour says he needs 30,000 to get a second ACT seat in parliament, signalling his optimism for the election. Fox says the Maori party definitely has a place in either a red orblue Government. Fox agrees the Maori party is the "king maker" and the election will come down to 3 or so seats.

7.01 Corin starts out asking the leaders if this election has become a two horse race.

6.55pm: 1 NEWS Political Editor Corin Dann will moderate tonight's live 60 minute debate, which will feature leaders from:

Green Party leader James Shaw.

ACT leader David Seymour.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

United Future's new leader Damian Light, who has just replaced Peter Dunne.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced last night he would not be taking part in the debate.

Tonight's debate follows last night's 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, showing both Labour and National would need help from all of the minor parties in order to govern.

Dann is filling in as host and moderator for a sick Mike Hosking.

TVNZ's Head of News and Current Affairs John Gillespie said Dann is the ideal person to replace him, having been on the campaign trail talking to all the party leaders for the past several weeks.

"He's energised to be stepping up for our Multi Party debate. He's hosted a number of debates on Q + A and is absolutely plugged into this Election. We're looking forward to bringing viewers a robust and informative debate," Gillespie said.

With a little over two weeks until polling day, Gillespie says there's high viewer engagement in political coverage.