I am not alone. Several pieces I have now read say essentially the same thing.
Then you had the other debates; the minor leader's debate was another yell fest in a pub. In the youth debate there was more yelling.
Then, for my sins, to give some perspective I watched yesterday's second debate in the states with the Republicans. I watched the first debate with the Republicans as well.
What you conclude from the American scenario is they don’t do a lot better than we do. The mistake in the first one was there were too many people on stage and too many moderators, they had two of them.
Yesterday there were seven candidates and three moderators.
The advantage the Americans might have is talent and budget. In a country of 300+ million, surely the best broadcasters are better than ours? The truth is, not really.
The three yesterday had one talent and two second-raters. They got around the yelling of candidates by holding it in a massive space, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where if you turned the mic off you couldn’t hear them. But it did nothing for the debate itself.
It was an unfulfilling, disjointed two hours I won't get back. And that seems, to me, to be the trouble with these things.
If you follow politics you have heard it all before. If you don’t, you'd be forgiven for not voting because what you're watching is bollocks.
So, here and in the great democracy of America debates seem dead.
The format doesn’t seem to work anymore. As one writer said yesterday about Newshub's effort, it was more game show than game changer.
They don’t add to the overall sum of things. We make much of them in the buildup and feel deflated with the experience.
So let's learn from it. Come 2026, let's come up with something a lot different and a lot better than what this cluster has turned out to be.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings - where this article was sourced.