National Party leader, Bill English has announced his resignation.
I am sorry for the party and New Zealand but pleased for him and his family. He will now have a private life and the opportunity to use his many talents in other ways.
I became active in the National Party around the time Bill became an MP.
From the start I admired his intellect, his sense of humour and his genuine desire to do the best for New Zealand and its people.
His detractors will always hold the 2001 election defeat against him.
I prefer to concentrate of the way he, in his own words, got up again.
He remained loyal to the party and showed caucus a loyalty he hadn’t enjoyed from many of them. He kept his head down and directed his attention and intellect to understanding the challenges facing the country then determined how best to get long term solutions to many of them.
I was delighted when he succeeded John Key as party leader and Prime Minister. I knew that when the warmth and wit that he showed away from the television cameras came through people would warm to him, as they did.
To get nearly 45% support at the end of three terms in government was a huge achievement.
The people didn’t reject Bill and the party, Winston Peters did and that’s the reality of MMP.
That the Labour Party still couldn’t pass National’s support in the first poll this year shows many people still back the man and the party.
He can leave with his head held high in the knowledge New Zealand is in a much better state than it was when he first entered parliament and that much of the improvement is due to his work and his policies.
Thank you Bill. You’ve earned your retirement for politics and success in whatever comes next.