As it happened: 'I don't have baggage' - Jacinda says working with Winston Peters no problem, Bill says he'd 'make it work'




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10.08pm: That concludes our live coverage of the second live leaders' TV debate, hosted by Patrick Gower and featuring Labour's Jacinda Ardern and National's Bill English. Thanks for joining us.

10.05pm: Newshub have a panel breaking it all down, led by The Nation host Lisa Owen. Three of the four panellists give it to Ardern, National Party insider Matthew Hooten gave it to English but said he should have gone harder on Ardern on tax, because she's "not telling the truth".

9.55pm: That's it, it's over. It was intense, a far more aggressive approach from English, better on the numbers but perhaps Ardern painted a better vision. It was testy at times, far more feisty.

9.52pm: On Cabinet being 50/50 male-female, Ardern says it should be, "I'll make it a target, I'll make it a goal," English says no quota.

9.50pm: We're into quick-fire round. Jacinda says she won't resign if she loses the election. On making a single law right now, she says, "the child poverty eradication bill".

Onto Oz, if they keep taking things off Kiwis living there, will we retaliate? English says "no". Ardern says, "yes". 

9.45pm: We're on to conscience issues. Gower says at the moment it's illegal under the crimes act to have an abortion, "should we change that law?"

Jacinda: "Yes should be out of the crimes act". 

Bill: "No I wouldn't (change the law)." He says he wouldn't be setting out to change the law but if it came before Parliament his party would take a liberal view.

On decriminalising cannabis, English says he wouldn't support that for a small amount (about the size of a muesli bar).

Ardern says it's not in Labour's plans. She doesn't want to say no but is being pushed. She wants more invested in rehab, not outright decriminalisation.

9.39pm: We're on Winston. Both leaders rule out Winston as PM. Jacinda says deputy might be on the table. Bill says, possibility, depending on the voters. Both rule out Peters as finance minister.

On associate finance minister, they both have a laugh. A great line from Jacinda, asked what would persuade Peters to go with her, she responds: " I don't have baggage". It gets a good laugh.

English answers: "I've known Winston Peters a very long time, he knows politics inside out, whatever situation they (voters) give us, you're obliged to make it work".

9.33pm: We're into the final 30 minutes of the debate.

We're talking foreign affairs. Jacinda says Trump's actions towards North Korea are worrying and "yes", he's made the world a more dangerous place. English says it's North Korea, not Trump.

English says he would consider any request from Trump for assistance taking on North Korea. "I wouldn't give him a commitment over the phone".

Ardern responds: "The UN needs to bought in", China is critical. She agrees with Bill, we've got to chart our own path. "I would go to the UN, Paddy."

9.25pm: We're onto Pike River. Jacinda says we'll work it through "but we've got to deliver those families their loved ones".

Bill English says "Paddy, it's not a political decision", and he won't rule it out.

9.20pm: We're onto immigration, Jacinda says we need to reduce it by 20-30k a year. That would keep the population at where it is now. Bill English says our population needs to grow over 5 million.

Jacinda asks, "Is Auckland coping?" Bill responds, "Waterview's working". Jacinda responds, "Waterview is not a vision".

Gower says NZ is "heaving at the seams". Be honest with NZ, Bill English, "immigration is going through the roof".

Jacinda says, "we wouldn't be having this discussion if there was a plan".

Immigration growth to grow the economy is not a plan, says Ardern.

9.10pm: We're onto Super. Jacinda says the Super age isn't going up on her watch and she'll resign if it does. Bill says she's letting down a generation. They go to a commercial break.

9.08pm: Ardern maintains Labour hasn't budgeted for revenue from capital gains. That would be extra. Okay, we're onto kids living in poverty. Bill English is hit up on why National won't commit to a figure to reduce child poverty? He says next year they're going to get 50,000 out of poverty by raising incomes and getting inside family homes and sort out home problems. He suddenly agrees with Paddy, yes, I'm going to make that a target, to drag 100,000 kids out of poverty, yip that's it says Bill.

He's just made it up. Jacinda jumps in, saying that's what Labour has been asking National to do for nine years. She says to Bill, why won't you put it in to law?

Jacinda responds, saying her entire reason for being in politics is to rid NZ of child policy. "We want to put it into law".

Now they're shoving policy down each other's throat.

8.58pm: We're onto capital gains tax, Jacinda is being asked, will it apply to the home, bach or boat? Jacinda fudges it, says it's up to a working group. Bill says Labour are going to go for a capital gains tax and "it's inevitable", and if you look at their figures that's what they're going to do. 

Half-an-hour in, Bill English is dominating.

8.55pm: We're onto wage growth, Bill maintains they're going up at better than inflation and everything is honky dory. Ardern jumps in but English is going on the attack, "why are you raising taxes?" Ardern accuses him of scare-mongering. This is getting feisty, English is on the attack tonight.

She says National hasn't invested in skills or innovation, "and that is the problem".

8.52pm: Ardern is asked about Labour's $11.7b "hole". She says it's "fiction", their policies have been independently tested by a range of economists. English says it's not attack dog politics, he says Labour will run out of money in subsequent years after year one and they'll need to raise taxes.

Paddy with the line of night: "We've got an $11b argument here - who's right?"

Ardern said everyone knew we'd fight on this - that's why, she says, they had their numbers independently tested. English and Ardern are still going at each other. Gower is ready to move on.

8.45pm: Gower asks English what's different from 2002 when he led National to a record loss: "I got back up". Ardern says she represents a fresh vision, fresh thinking, a new approach.

8.42pm: Onto homelessness now, Paddy tells Bill he's already bought four hotels for the homeless, Paddy asks English if he's going to buy any more. English tries to make a joke out of it. Gower has another crack. English is waffling, Ardern jumps in, says we're 3000 state houses down. 

8.39pm: Gower is trying to pin the housing crisis on National. English isn't having any of it, but now Jacinda is having a crack - "you've had nine years, it's time to hand over to someone who has a vision and a plan".

8.36pm: We're starting on housing, Bill English says he wants them to remain flat while incomes rise. Jacinda says cheaper houses are needed. "We're not building affordable homes in Auckland", she says. 

She says smaller houses need to be built. Paddy is trying to take her to ask over previous remarks that Labour wants house prices halved in Auckland. She says that's not true.

8.33pm: We're underway, Bill English is trying to explain his honesty around Todd Barclay. Can you lie and succeed in politics, he's asked? He fudges the question. Jacinda responds, saying she's never told a lie in politics.

8.25pm: All the players are in the building and ready to go.

8pm: Welcome to 1 NEWS' live coverage of tonight's big debate between Bill English and Jacinda Ardern. We're less than three weeks out from the big dance and the polls show Labour and National pretty much neck-and-neck. 

The big news today, Steven Joyce trying to land a big shot on Labour by highlighting a perceived $11.7b fiscal hole in their numbers. Both Ardern and finance spokesperson Grant Robertson hit back, saying the figures had been independently audited.

Then later in the afternoon, Paula Bennett apologised for an own goal, after yesterday suggesting criminals had fewer human rights than others. She was corrected by her Prime Minister Bill English with Jack Tame this morning, and Bennett later apologised for putting English in the spot. You can watch his exchange with Tame here.

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