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Recap: Minor party leaders go head-to-head on the Covid-19 vaccine, housing, economy in TVNZ's Multi-Party Debate

Recap TVNZ's multi-party debate tonight as minor party leaders made their pitch to voters.

Source: 1 NEWS

You can re-watch tonight’s debate from 7pm on TVNZ 1 or on our website. Alternatively, we’ll be livestreaming on 1 NEWS' Facebook page, on Twitter and on YouTube

Refresh this page for the latest.

8:40pm: We're signing off for the night. Thank you for joining us.

Re-watch the debate using the links above, or recap the highlights below. 

Catch TVNZ1's Breakfast tomorrow from 6am for analysis and highlights from tonight's debate from political reporter Benedict Collins. 

8:30pm: From NZ Herald's Jason Walls, also on Twitter: "I would like NZ On Air funding to make a buddy cop movie where Winston Peters is a retiring Police Officer who had been partnered with the new, young hot-shot rookie David Seymour."

8:25pm: Here's The Opportunities Party leader Geoff Simmons on Twitter: "Well I was sorry to miss the fun but wow you handled that rabble well [Jessica Mutch McKay]."

And New Conservative found a way to participate tonight, despite not making the criteria, by hosting a Facebook livestream.

8:15pm: Here's co-editor of Newsroom Tim Murphy on Twitter: "Are any of these minor party leaders performing up to their potential in this TVNZ debate tonight? Maybe it’s the format but probably only Jami Lee Ross, by being there, has got any benefit."

8:00pm: That's the end of the debate, we'll get some reaction soon.

7:56pm: Who could work with who?

Closing statements now.

Ross could work with NZ First because it's smart with China, Ross says.

Peters says he won't close the debate talking about the topic.

He calls tonight's poll a "false poll", but doesn't believe the 5% threshold should be lowered.

Tamihere wants the 5% threshold to be lowered. He says polls reflect "Pākehā preferences".

Shaw says it should be at 4%, according to the recommendation of the Electoral Commission in 2012.

Seymour says only the Greens look to re-enter Parliament after tonight's poll numbers.

ACT can work with National but not Labour, he says. 

7:55pm: New Zealand republic? 

"God bless the Queen, and all that stuff, but it's about time ... the closest I've ever got to her is licking a stamp," says Tamihere.

He says New Zealand should become a republic after the Queen dies.

“We are our own sovereign people now, we’re old enough to embark on our own conversation.”

Seymour says it's low down on the priority list, and points to China. He says New Zealand needs to "pivot" away from China and diversify its trading partners.

Peters says having the Commonwealth on New Zealand's side helps at the UN.

He says it's up to Kiwis whether New Zealand becomes a republic, and asks for a referendum to decide it. 

7:54pm: China's human rights issues

Ross says New Zealand needs to call China out over its human rights issues.

"Too much overseas money flows into our politics," he says.

"We've put too many eggs in the China basket."

Peters says he's seen the money come in from China, and New Zealand depends on China too much. 

He also says he called out China's human rights issues while he was Foreign Minister.

Tamihere says New Zealand needs to trade with China, and makes distinction between people of Chinese ethnicity and its Government.

7:52pm: Shaw says there should be quotas for Pacific and Māori medical students.

Tamihere agrees, saying they tend to come from poorer schools.

Peters says it's not needed if kids get a "proper" education.

"It's tokenism," he says.

7:48pm: Education

Mutch McKay asks the leaders whether they agreed to Government funding for private schools, after the Greens' Green School saga earlier this year. 

Shaw and Tamihere both say no.

Peters points to the Green School debacle. 

Seymour says private students' parents pay tax too. 

Ross says state-integrated schools need more support, as well as charter schools.

7:44pm: Tamihere says Māori-for-Māori solutions, which is central to his party's policies, isn't separatism. He says it's about Māori working their way out of "welfarism".

Peters calls it "separatism and division", and says it's not needed in the post-Covid-19 recovery.

7:42pm: Housing

Mutch McKay asks if anyone would lower house prices.

Peters says there's huge demand and little supply, and prices need to stabilise.

Tamihere says temporary workers are "displacing" people from housing. 

Ross says his party would "rip up" the RMA and would increase housing supply.

“No-one can afford a house if they don’t have a job," he says, steering the conversation back to the topic of Covid-19 lockdowns.

Seymour says the housing issue needs to be solved to improve inequality. He wants to replace the RMA. 

Shaw says the Greens' housing plan would build about 5000 houses a year. He says median house prices can be dropped if more housing is built on the bottom end of the market.

7:34pm: Shaw is asked why agriculture isn't part of the ETS. 

He says they're working in partnership with farmers to measure emissions.

7:31pm: Seymour is asked about his spending cuts, such as in welfare.

He says he's just taking benefit levels back to the first two Government budgets, and that if it was so bad, then questions needed to be asked of the Government.

Tamihere says there's a great wealth gap, and investing in vulnerable communities is the smart approach.

7:27pm: Economic stimulus after Covid-19

Shaw wants spending to go to long-term issues.

Seymour says there's no silver bullet to economic stimulus. He says it's about creating jobs.

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The ACT and NZ First leaders normally don’t agree on much, but seems like Seymour enjoyed Peters’ snappy line. Source: 1 NEWS

Peters says it's best if if debt goes towards things like productivity and wealth creation, rather than it going to large Government spending.

Tamihere says Māori can't even participate in the economy because they weren't getting equitable education opportunities.

7:20pm: All leaders, apart from Ross, will take the Covid-19 vaccine once available.

No-one will make vaccination compulsory. 

Ross says Covid-19 is about as serious as the flu. Here are some fact-checking resources from Snopes and the AAP which says this is untrue.

He says he and his children are vaccinated.

Ross also claimed that lockdowns caused more harm than the virus.

“We are the only country in the world where the death rate went down during the global pandemic and to one of Jami[-Lee]’s points, actually the suicide rate is down over the same time last year," Shaw says.

"So you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet."

In May, the Mental Health Foundation dismissed rumours that New Zealand's suicide rate has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, calling them "irresponsible, dangerous and untrue". The rumours spead online.

7:18pm: Ross is asked if his rallies during the latest lockdown, which saw people gathering in Auckland, flouting gathering rules, was responsible.

He says he was just asking about the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

Ross also says his co-leader Billy Te Kahika was "on track to win Te Tai Tokerau". However, Te Ao Māori polling has Te Tahika at 1%.

7:15pm: Shaw says the country went "hard and early" because the country went into lockdown when there were still few cases.

Peters says the military should have been brought in earlier, and people should've been using masks earlier. But, he says the country has done well.

Tamihere says other parties represent the "rich and powerful".

Tamihere tells Seymour to "behave himself" as he speaks over him.

Seymour points to his work with charter schools to help disadvantaged young people.

7:13pm: New Zealand's Covid-19 pandemic response

Mutch McKay asks Seymour about his criticism of the Government's handling of the pandemic. 

Seymour says he's given constructive criticism.

"We're an island national that's very spread out ... we did start with some natural advantages." 

He says New Zealand needs to get "Taiwan-smart", and ACT can keep a balance between privacy and public health in technologies like CovidCard.

Peters says Seymour is wrong and New Zealand has done well compared to other countries, but the country can't be "too careful" that it "chokes" the economy.

7:08pm: Seymour says debt reduction is a "bottom line" if National needs them to form a Government.

Ross addresses his court case and accusations of bullying against him.

He says he was a "whistleblower" and that he is innocent until proven guilty.

Peters is laughing.

7:06pm: When asked why he was "losing" by Mutch McKay, Peters says "we're more concerned about the people" and they've "defied the polls" before. 

He's asked about the situation about the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the New Zealand First Foundation.

Peters says "every member of my party has been exonerated".

The Serious Fraud Office is also investigating Labour and National.

7:05pm: Reaction to the latest Colmar Brunton poll

Shaw says the Greens need the party vote.

Tamihere says his party will only work with Labour, not National. 

7:03pm: The Green Party co-leader James Shaw says they'll work in partnership with Labour to take action on climate change and ensure people can live with dignity. 

Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere says his party is seeking electorate votes.

"MMP stands for 'More Māori in Politics'," he says.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says his party brings "common sense" to Government and will keep an eye on "extremism".

ACT leader David Seymour says Covid-19 won't go anywhere, and the country needs to be smarter and be honest with debt.

Advance NZ co-leader Jami-Lee Ross says his party will bring a new voice to Parliament.

7:01pm: Opening statements now.

TVNZ's Multi-Party Debate 2020. Source: 1 NEWS

7:00pm: We're live! Watch the debate tonight on TVNZ 1.

Alternatively, head to 1 NEWS' website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

6:45pm: Fifteen minutes until the start of the debate now. 

Three of the five lecterns in the studio ahead of TVNZ's multi-party debate. Source: 1 NEWS

Studio 3 all set up with five lecterns - here's three of them.

6:30pm: The leaders on their way to TVNZ now. 

Māori Party supporters and candidates have been outside the TVNZ buildings since just before 5pm today waiting for co-leader John Tamihere.

Māori Party supporters and candidates outside TVNZ ahead of tonight's debate to greet co-leader John Tamihere. Source: 1 NEWS

6:12pm: "Tonight is their chance to convince voters," Mutch McKay says, with the debate just under an hour away.

6:10pm: Reaction now from minor party leaders following the poll.

ACT's David Seymour says his party will hold whoever is in Government to account.

NZ First's Winston Peters says "stand back and watch".

The Greens' James Shaw says he would be feel more comfortable with "a few more points than that". 

6:06pm: Some analysis from political reporter Maiki Sherman.

National would be pleased to see they haven't seen a major loss in support, following a tough week on the campaign trail, Sherman says

She says Labour is "sitting pretty", but a week is a long time in politics.

The little change in tonight's numbers from last week shows voters might be "settling in" as the election nears, she says.

6:05pm: Some reaction now from party leaders.

Labour's Jacinda Ardern says tonight's numbers show people are continuing to see Labour as a stable choice.

National's Judith Collins says the race isn't over, and that there were still undecided voters.

6:02pm: To the minor parties now. 

ACT has seen no change from the last poll, and is still at 8%.

NZ First rose to 2% support (up 1 percentage point), as did The Opportunities Party (TOP) (also up 1 percentage point).

New Conservative and Advance NZ remained on 1% each - no change from the last poll.

The Māori Party dropped down to just 0.2% support.

6:01pm: Nine days out from election day National has dipped slightly while Labour has held steady.

Labour is at 47% (no change from the last poll) and National is on 32% (a drop of 1 percentage point).

Labour can’t govern alone on these numbers. 

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Judith Collins maintains the race is still open, with 13 per cent of those polled undecided or not wanting to say. Source: 1 NEWS

Read the full story here.

6:00pm: Here are the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll results.

October 8, 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll party support results. Source: 1 NEWS

5:50pm: Ten more minutes now until the release of tonight's poll. Depending on tonight's poll, if it reflects election day results, a minor party may be needed to form a Government.

Here's former United Future leader Damian Light (who took part in the multi-party debate three years ago):

5:40pm: Welcome to tonight’s live updates for TVNZ’s Multi-Party Debate, which will be kicking off from 7pm.

Before then, tune in to 1 NEWS at Six on TVNZ 1 from 6pm for the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll.

In the last poll on September 28, Labour was at 47%, while National was on 33%.

The ACT Party was at 8%, the Greens were at 7% and NZ First 1%.

Advance New Zealand and the Māori Party were both at 1%.

Background

The country's minor parties will face off in TVNZ's multi-party debate at 7pm after the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll results are revealed at 6pm on TVNZ 1. 

The hour-long debate will be moderated by 1 NEWS’ political editor Jessica Mutch McKay. 

ACT’s David Seymour, Advance New Zealand’s Jami-Lee Ross, Green Party's James Shaw, Māori Party’s John Tamihere and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters will be debating tonight.

The New Conservatives took TVNZ to court yesterday to try to be included, arguing TVNZ's rules blocking it from the debate were flawed and unlawful. However, the judge ruled that the party didn't meet the criteria.

TVNZ’s current criteria for inclusion:

1. The leaders of registered parties are currently represented in Parliament.

2. The leaders of registered parties not represented in Parliament score three per cent in at least one 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll in the six months prior to the debate.

3. The leaders of registered parties where the leader has been an MP, or the party has been represented, in either or both of the past two Parliaments.