PoliticsAugust 22, 2017

The bumper Spinoff guide to watching the NZ election 2017: the debates and the big night


Everyone is competing for your eyeballs this election and it’s hard to know where to direct them and when. We’ve compiled your guide to leaders’ debates, election night coverage and the morning-after walk-of-shame. These are available to view or listen to by the public on broadcast television, radio or streamed live via the miracle of the internet.

If you have an election debate event you’d like us to list, that is available for the public to watch or listen to, send the details to, with subject header ‘election night’

The Debates!

Election Aotearoa Leaders Debate

22 August, 8.00pm, streamed live on Mā and

Māori Television launches its first debate from the Manukau Institute of Technology. Oriini Kaipara and Heta Gardiner lead the debate with Kelvin Davis (Labour), Te Ururoa Flavell (Māori Party), James Shaw (Greens), Gareth Morgan (Opportunities Party) and Hone Harawira (Mana) and a chance of Winston. They’ll also be revealing the results of their viewer poll, the first one out the gate on the Māori seats.

Back Benches Auckland

23 August, 9.35pm, Prime Television

Wallace and Charlotte are heading up to the big smoke to talk about Auckland transport and the cost of lattes. Get amongst the crowd at Britomart Country Club from 5.00pm with Kelvin Davis (Labour), Judith Collins (National), Julie-Anne Genter (Greens) and Shane Taurima (Māori Party) or just watch it on telly with a Milo later.

Back Benches hosts Charlotte Ryan and Wallace Chapman

More Than a Pretty Face – 4 women under 40 talk politics

24 August, 6.00pm, stream live at and The Spinoff Facebook page

The Ace Lady Network and The Spinoff present a night of discussion at City Gallery in Wellington with four women in politics under 40 years of age—Jacinda Ardern (Labour), Julie-Anne Genter (Greens), Holly Walker (former Green MP) and Nicola Willis (National), chaired by Megan Whelan. Get tickets.


Massey University & Stuff present The Opportunity Gap Debate

23 August, 11.45am, stream live at

Stuff political editor Tracy Watkins is joined by Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First), Michael Wood (Labour), James Shaw (Greens), Brett Hudson (National) and Geoff Simmons (Opportunities Party) to answer questions crowdsourced from Stuff readers. Tickets still available to devour lunch at the Mac’s Function Centre, Wellington, while you devour delicious politics.

The Nation Leaders Debate

26 August, 9.25am, Three, 7:00pm RadioLIVE

Lisa Owen will be grilling James Shaw (Greens), David Seymour (Act), Marama Fox (Māori Party), Gareth Morgan (Opportunities Party) and Hone Harawira (Mana) on the big issues this election: housing, water, immigration and the effect the parties’ policies will have on your back pocket. She will be joined by Patrick Gower and a panel of political experts.

Debate on public health

29 August, 5.30pm, stream live on Facebook

Julie-Anne Genter (Green), Ria Bond (NZ First), David Clark (Labour) and Geoff Simmons (Opportunities Party) debate policies on issues affecting the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders,  from drinking water to healthy housing and everything in between. Hosted at Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision in Wellington, entry by koha. Sign up to the Facebook event  to attend.

TVNZ Leaders Debates

31 August,7.00pm, TVNZ1 National’s Bill English and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern
8 September,7.00pm, TVNZ1 Potential coalition leaders
20 September,7.00pm, TVNZ1 National’s Bill English and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern

In a move that has met with no opposition whatsoever, popular and unbiased broadcaster Mike Hosking will host all three TVNZ leaders’ debates.

Popular and unbiased.

THREE Leaders Debate

4 September, 8.30pm, Three

Labour’s Jacinda Ardern and National’s Bill English go head to head in front of a live audience of undecided voters at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, hosted by popular and unbiased broadcaster Paddy Gower.

Also popular and unbiased.

The Spinoff Great Debate

6 September, 7.00pm, stream live on The Spinoff Facebook page

Join The Spinoff team and an all-star line-up including Paula Bennett, Kelvin Davis, Marama Davidson, Shane Jones, David Seymour, Marama Fox and Gareth Morgan in the greatest debate of them all. Asking the questions will be Toby Manhire, Leonie Hayden and Simon Wilson.

Artist’s rendering.

The Press Leaders’ Debate

7 September, 6.00pm, stream live at

One of the most anticipated debates of the season, The Press editor-in-chief Joanna Norris will moderate along with Stuff political editor Tracy Watkins in a debate between (you guessed it) National Party’s Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern at the La Vida Centre in Upper Riccarton. Go in the ballot to win tickets.

TVNZ Young Voters Debate

14 September, 7.30pm, DUKE and stream live at 1 NEWS NOW

Hosted by Jack Tame, this debate will focus on youth issues specifically.

Jack Tame at notorious young people hotspot “the dairy”. Photo: Jack Tame’s Twitter account

Election Night!

RNZ Election17

23 September, 5.00pm, RNZ National,, Freeview Channel 50, FaceTV on Sky Channel 83, the Morning Report and Checkpoint Facebook pages, and YouTube.

RNZ’s election night coverage will be presented on a whopping seven different platforms as well as being projected onto the moon. John Campbell will be presenting from his Checkpoint studio in central Auckland with RNZ’s Political Editor Jane Patterson and Māori Affairs reporter Mihingarangi Forbes, and Guyon Espiner will be joined by a team of six expert commentators at the University of Auckland’s state of the art television studio in Shortland Street.

Discourse Votes

23 September, 7.00pm, stream live on Facebook and Youtube

Join hosts Morgan Avery and Ben Gracewood for NZ’s most independent and lowest budget election results show, with up-to-the-minute results, probably ill-informed blustering and their World Famous* Cupcake Parliament data visualisations.

1 NEWS Vote 17 Election Night Special

23 September, 7.00pm, TVNZ 1 &

This election night special will be fronted by Seven Sharp’s Mike Hosking and Breakfast’s Hilary Barry, 1 NEWS at Six’s Simon Dallow and Wendy Petrie, 1 NEWS political editor Corin Dann and Sunday’s Jehan Casinader. Will feature “new state of the art graphics and studio tech” and give viewers their first look at 1 NEWS’ new augmented reality studio.

THREE’s Decision17

23 September, 7.00pm, Three, and on RadioLIVE

Hosted by Duncan Garner, who will be joined by Newshub political editor Patrick Gower, The Nation host Lisa Owen and a hologram of Tupac.

All eyez on the election.

Māori Television’s Election Aotearoa

23 September, 7.00pm, Māori Television, Mā, simulcast through the Māori Iwi Radio network

Oriini Kaipara, Matai Smith and Heta Gardiner will be crossing to reporters across the country, and in the studio former Māori Party leader Dame Tariana Turia and former Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chairman Sir Mark Solomon will be joined by seasoned broadcasters to dissect the incoming results. A second studio youth panel with anchor Kawe Roes will canvass social media.

The Hangover!

Māori Television The Morning After special

24 September, 8.00am, Māori Television

RNZ National’s post-election coverage

24 September, 9.00am, RNZ Nation, stream live

Morning Report presenter Susie Ferguson and Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan join forces for a 2 hour special.

The Hui post-election night 60-minute special

24 September, 9.00am, Three

The Nation post-election show

24 September, 10.00am, Three


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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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