Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kiwi YouTube Debate

New Zealanders got their first chance to see current Prime Minister Helen Clark (centre-left) and Opposition Leader John Key (centre-right) battle it out head-to-head in their first debate leading up to the November 8 poll. What made this debate particularly special was that New Zealand citizens were called upon to ask the questions via YouTube and did so enthusiastically, submitting over 100 questions including gems such as this one from a concerned arctic citizen and this one from Poogelton:

The 90 minute debate was televised nationally on TV ONE at 7pm Oct 14th and was particularly lively, with both leaders often yelling over the top of each other. At one point Helen Clark stated "I am telling you John. You might be used to shouting people down at home, you are not shouting me down." Sounds like the kind of thing I used to hear from my parents as a cheeky teenager.

It was a fantastic evening and great to be able to contrast the two leaders and their policies across such a vast array of topics. All clips from the debate can be seen here on the debate channel. We were even fortunate enough to catch up with Helen Clark for a photo before she left the studios. We were searching for John Key to do the same but appeared we were too slow as he had already departed the building. Nonetheless, I want to thank the two leaders for a fascinating debate, TVNZ for doing such a great telecast and importantly our YouTube users in New Zealand, who not only submitted such great questions but also voted, commented or just simply tuned in to hear the respective leaders answering important questions from the people. Hoping this is only the beginning as we see New Zealand's political parties embrace YouTube more as a way to engage with the electorate as the campaigning unfolds.

Julian Sonego
YouTube News & Politics Team, NZ


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