2 Sep 2014

Key and Cunliffe face off in Chch

10:07 pm on 2 September 2014

National Party leader John Key and Labour Leader David Cunliffe have faced off in The Press Leaders Debate at St Margaret's College in Christchurch tonight.

John Key and David Cunliffe

John Key and David Cunliffe square off in the second leaders debate of the 2014 Election. Photo: Fairfax NZ

The second leaders debate in this year's campaign focussed on both Christchurch and national issues.

In his opening statement, Mr Key painted National as a strong and stable Government.

He said New Zealanders will be voting on the economy, law and order, health and education instead of the "the one thing" the Labour Party has been devoting time to during the campaign - the Dirty Politics allegations.

Mr Cunliffe said Labour would strive to create the fairest, most decent society in the world.

He emphasised Labour's flagship policies - higher wages , a solution to the housing crisis, and speeding up the post-earthquake recovery in Christchurch.

When Mr Key questioned Mr Cunliffe on whether family homes put into a trust would incur Labour's proposed 15 per cent capital gains tax, the opposition leader avoided a straight answer.

But Mr Key's hometown advantage lost its sheen when matters turned to Christchurch and the earthquake rebuild.

Mr Cunliffe regained ground in as locals, unhappy with the pace of the rebuild put their questions to the leaders.

The Labour leader said there was no denying New Zealand had been through tough times - especially Christchurch - but the recovery had been too slow, and uneven, and there was a growing gap between "the have and the have-nots" in society .

John Key also indicated his party is considering offering low and middle income New Zealanders tax cuts if his party is returned to government.

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