Rt Hon Bill English
National List MP
- Prime Minister
- Leader of the National Party
- Minister for National Security and Intelligence
- Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services
- Cabinet Appointments and Honours (APH)
- Cabinet Business Committee (CBC)
- Chair, Cabinet Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee (EGI)
- Cabinet External Relations and Defence Committee (ERD)
- Cabinet Legislation Committee (LEG)
- Cabinet National Security Committee (NSC)
- Chair, Cabinet Committee on State Sector Reform and Expenditure Control (SEC)
- Cabinet Social Policy Committee (SOC)
- Cabinet Strategy Committee (STR)
- Cabinet Committee on Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations (TOW)
Hon Bill English is the Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the National Party, since 12 December 2016.
Hon Bill English was the MP for Wallace 1990-93 and has been the Clutha-Southland MP from 1993-2014. He is current He was elected unopposed as deputy leader of the National Party in November 2006 as part of a deal with John Key. He is a former leader of the National Party (October 2001-October 2003) and former deputy leader February-October 2001. During the 1990s he was parliamentary under-secretary for health and Crown health enterprises 1993, minister of Crown health enterprises and associate minister of education 1996, minister of health 1996-98, associate treasurer 1998, and minister of finance and minister of revenue 1999.
English has previously been a treasury analyst and farmer. He is fiercely intelligent, unparalleled by anyone else in Cabinet, and is able to quickly grasp complex issues and their implications. Rebalancing the economy in favour of greater savings and exports is his major driver. Tax changes have been critical to his efforts: the ‘tax switch’; providing income tax reductions together with an increase in consumption tax, GST; and making losses on investment properties harder to claim were key measures in his Budget 2010 tax package.
He has teamed well with leader John Key. It is a relationship that is often under the spotlight, with the opposition looking for any sign of niggling. There has been little to date, however, and their working styles complement each other well: English is able to push the hard line and give the tough messages, while Key provides optimism and ambition.
English is a true political survivor. He was effectively dumped by his party following the 2002 general election. Placed into the opposition education role by new National leader Dr Don Brash, English single-handedly reclaimed the portfolio for National. His relentless attacks on the management of the senior student certification system, NCEA, resulted in many improvements to the system as well as positive profile for National.
English is the government’s policy director, providing strategic direction to its policy programme. He is a pragmatic conservative with strong Southland values. English will not oversee ideologically driven reform, having experienced being a government backbench MP during the 1990 reforms.
English is a staunch National Party man, showing much more loyalty towards the party than certain segments of the party show towards him. This continues to be the case with frequent calls for his replacement as finance minister, but he ploughs on undeterred.
An issue over his entitlement to accommodation and cleaning allowances caused some damage to his credibility at a time when the government had been asking all New Zealanders to tighten their belts. He repaid the questioned amounts after initially resisting, but the damage to his reputation was already done.
He holds a bachelor of commerce degree from Otago University and a BA (first class honours) in English literature from Victoria University of Wellington.
Born in 1961 in Southland he is married to Mary, a general practitioner, with six children.