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Election Debate A Hit With Kiwi Viewers

One News Youtube Election Debate A Hit With Kiwi Viewers

AUCKLAND, 15 October 2008 – More than one million New Zealanders watched the groundbreaking ONE News YouTube Election Debate when it aired on TV ONE last night.

The ONE News YouTube debate enabled New Zealanders to put their questions to the two party leaders. The history-making debate marked the first time a head of a national government and the challenger for the top job have appeared in an official live televised debate answering questions posted as video submissions through YouTube.

The full-length debate between Labour Party leader Helen Clark and National Party leader John Key is now accessible worldwide through the YouTube debate homepage: www.youtube.co.nz/debate.

Putting a fresh spin on the question format was beat-boxing duo "The Bay Brothers", two young men from Freemans Bay and Owhiro Bay in Auckland, who prompted extensive debate about New Zealand and sustainability, past, present, and future. Watch their video question here: http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=lwmxTbS2tbI

They were two of the 13 New Zealanders whose questions were put to the candidates during last night's debate. Other Kiwis questioning the leaders included:

• 16-year-old Carmen McDougal from Pukekohe, who asked what will the parties do to help low and middle-income families to get through the recession?
• Ex-pat Kiwi Adrian Parker, who asked from London what the parties would do to reduce tax rates to bring them in line with Australia and the UK
• Amberley resident Mike Jowsey, who questioned if climate change was for real and if so, who was causing it
• Praveen from Auckland, who asked what plans there are to ensure shopkeepers are able to protect themselves from violent crime.


During the debate, Prime Minister Helen Clark thanked host Mark Sainsbury for the opportunity to participate in the new-format debate. "I think that through YouTube, Mark, you and TV ONE, have brought not only the debate into people's homes, you've made it real to young people through new technology," she said.

Head of TVNZ News & Current Affairs Anthony Flannery says, "This was a groundbreaking event that further enhances ONE News as being New Zealand's leading and cutting-edge news service.

"The incorporation of the YouTube technology helped to create an exciting event. The quality of questions showed that New Zealanders, including younger kiwis and those living abroad, have a keen interest in the election process and this exciting initiative allowed them to really take part.

Flannery continues, "Mark Sainsbury did an outstanding job of hosting the first opportunity for New Zealanders to see the two leaders go head to head. With two more debates scheduled before the election on 8 November, TVNZ is providing voters with plenty of opportunities to be informed."

YouTube head of News and Politics Steve Grove says, "By letting citizens ask the questions, this debate has put voters in the driver's seat.

"Kiwis from all walks of life were able to submit their questions for the leaders using YouTube as a platform. Not only did these questions drive the discussion of the leaders' debate, but they have also been discussed and debated by other YouTube users within New Zealand and throughout the world – creating an online dialogue over the issues that matter to New Zealanders.

"New Zealanders have long been leaders in embracing democracy and the opportunities that new technologies can provide, and it's fantastic to see so many Kiwis watching and participating in this historic event."

A full list of the 12 questions put to the leaders follows. All questions submitted remain accessible to view, debate and discuss at www.youtube.co.nz/debate.

At 7pm on Monday 27 October TV ONE will broadcast live the ONE News Election 08 Leaders Debate. The next live debate between Helen Clark and John Key is scheduled for Wednesday 5 November at 7pm.

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The 12 ONE News YouTube questions put to the leaders

• Lucas, Auckland: Should KiwiSaver contributions be reduced to pay for tax cuts?
• Adrian, London: Will you reduce tax rates in New Zealand so they are on par with the UK and Australia?
• Anonymous: Will you offer cheaper loans for first home buyers?
• Carmen, Pukekohe: How will you help low and middle income families get through the recession?
• Mike, Amberley: Is climate change for real and are we causing it?
• Craig, Freemans Bay and Fraser, Owhiro Bay ("the Bay brothers"): What is sustainability and how do we achieve it?
• Monique, Tauranga: What plans do the parties have to ensure police have greater powers to protect themselves?
• Praveen, Auckland: How will you protect shopkeepers from crimes of violence?
• Andrew, Auckland: Are free student allowances an election bribe the country can't afford?
• Josh, Auckland: If education is free, why do parents have to pay?
• Campbell, Wainuiomata: Name three policies that would create a fresh approach if your party is elected?
• Sophie, Wellington: Why won't you appear in a debate with other MMP party leaders?

All questions and videos of the debate itself can be found at www.youtube.co.nz/debate.

About YouTube

YouTube is the world's most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube, LLC is based in San Bruno, Calif., and is a subsidiary of Google Inc. www.youtube.co.nz launched in 2007

About TVNZ

TVNZ is New Zealand's biggest free-to-air broadcaster and is also the nation's television public broadcaster. TVNZ operates four channels, TVONE and TV2, and another two digital-only channels, TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7, which are broadcast through the Freeview platform. TVNZ also operates a website, www.tvnz.co.nz, and an online "catch up TV" service called TVNZ ondemand.

The TVNZ Charter provides a guide to its broadcasting responsibilities and makes it clear that TVNZ's role is to reflect and explore what it means to be a New Zealander. To New Zealanders this unique and special responsibility means quality television that educates, informs and entertains through local home grown programming and the best of international programming.


ENDS

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