Election Briefing: Prime Minister Helen Clark

Published: Tue 13 Sep 2005 08:06 PM
EXPLANATORY NOTE Re: Scoop's Election Briefings: Over the next few weeks, utilising the latest electronic wizardry, Scoop will be interviewing key players from across the political spectrum. The interviews will be posted in full in audio files in MP3 format with a summary note from the interviewer. The intention is to provide a venue for a more detailed understanding of the thinking of the political parties and their views on policies than can be obtained from the typical debate style presentations being carried by other media.
Scoop's Alastair Thompson Interviews Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader Helen Clark
Tuesday, 13 September 2005 – 6pm – The Beehive Wellington
Images by Kevin List
CONTENT USE NOTE: The audio of this interview is available for use either in its entirety or in excerpt form by anybody, media or otherwise, anywhere for the purposes of providing information to the public. If using for broadcast please provide with a credit. If using on the Internet please link back to this page.

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Scoop's Alastair Thompson with PM Helen Clark this evening in the Beehive.
Listen To The Interview – 26 Minutes .MP3 Stream
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Questions asked in this interview in roughly the order they came – note: these are not the exact questions asked but an approximation. A full transcript of this interview will be posted sometime tomorrow.
How was your day?
What are your impressions from around the country about how you have been received?
From the perspective of Scoop HQ this campaign seems to be different than past ones in several respects. For starters we get the impression there is more intensity to the public feeling out there, as if this is a critical juncture in NZ's future. Is this something you have noticed also?
From a campaign organisational perspective much has been made of dirty tricks in this campaign, the pamphlets being only part of it. There has also been the push polling, the presence of overseas political consultants, plus of course there has been a great deal of money spent. I also detect a great deal more message management at play. Do you think we are seeing an Americanisation of how political campaigns are run in NZ?
Another aspect of this campaign has been the use of wedge politics by a major political party, National. In the past we have been more used to this sort of politics from Winston Peters, and on one level perhaps we have been used to not taking him too seriously. Do you have a view on the use of this sort of political strategy?
Peter Dunne has today come out with a call to the National Party leader to reconsider his approach to the Maori seats. Do you also have a message to the National Party leader on this subject?

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This is now the fourth MMP election all of which you have participated in as Labour Party Leader. Do you think the majority of political parties are now becoming more familiar with the dynamics of MMP?
In relation to Winston Peter's latest stance on coalitions, he seems to be trying to turn the election into a two horse race at the end of which he gets to crown the winner. In a way the stance he has taken can be seen as pushing Green voters towards voting for Labour. Do you see this as a positive or negative development in an MMP environment?
Do you take Winston Peters at his word on his "I will back the party with the most votes" rhetoric?
Looking away from the campaign for a moment, assuming you are elected what besides the policy announcements made will you be treating as a priority in the coming term?
One area where some see there are still problems is the area of the Child Youth and Family services. Is this an area that is likely to get more attention in the next term?

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In terms of the challenges posed by Peak Oil, this is probably the first election campaign in which this has been discussed, is this one of biggest challenges you are expecting to face going forward?
Why is it important that New Zealand lead the regionalisation of the Pacific? What can we expect in real world terms from "The Pacific Plan" policy paper?
On security, the Papua New Guinea courts recently ruled on the immunity of police officers working for the PNG police and removed their apparent immunity from prosecution. Australia consequently pulled police out of PNG. MFAT has been in talks with its Australian counterpart to ascertain what this means for New Zealand. What can be distilled from the PNG ruling?
Coming down to the wire are you just a little bit nervous about the outcome today four days out from the polling day?
What will you be doing in the final days of the campaign. Michael Cullen has said he has only two sleeves and that he has run out of rabbits. Are there are surprises yet to come?

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Alastair Thompson
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
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