Māori Television launches New Zealand’s first television showdown tonight between political leaders.
The one and a half hour special broadcast is in front of a live audience from Manukau Institute of Technology where up to 200 people including university students are expected to attend.
Setting the scene for part one of tonight’s event is award-winning singer, songwriter Rob Ruha who will perform his popular song ‘Paremata Mēne’ – a challenge to politicians.
Presenters Oriini Kaipara and Heta Gardiner then introduce contenders to the stage – Māori Party co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell; Green Party of Aotearoa leader, James Shaw; The Opportunities Party leader, Gareth Morgan; Mana Movement leader, Hone Harawira; and Labour’s first Māori deputy leader, Kelvin Davis.
“Months ago, Māori Television made it clear to main political parties there would be no exclusive debates for just one or two. They either front or they don’t. We kept our word,” said Head of News and Current Affairs, Maramena Roderick.
A key focus of Māori Television’s election coverage is to engage voters beyond the rhetoric. Part one is the warm up, quizzing leaders on New Zealand general knowledge and revealing personalities. Even the wrong answer could be a winner.
“We know there are hard issues. We also know too many New Zealanders don’t relate. This election is more than proving courage to change,” said Kaipara.