Simon William English, better known as Bill, has served New Zealand and the National Party since his election to Parliament in 1990. Born in Lumsden in 1961 and educated at St Patrick’s College Silverstream he studied Commerce at the University of Otago and English Literature at Victoria. He went on to work as a Treasury analyst before returning to the family farm in Dipton and standing in the seat known today as Clutha-Southland – a post he held until his decision in 2014 to stand as a List MP only.
As Finance Minister from 2008 until 2016, he oversaw one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world, steering New Zealand through the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes and returning the Government’s books to surplus. He also focused on tackling New Zealand’s toughest social problems, including inequality, welfare dependence and the educational under achievement of Maori and Pasifika children, aiming to give all New Zealanders the best chance of succeeding. He is married to Mary, a GP, and they have six children.
As Prime Minister he focused on building a New Zealand which rewarded hard work and enterprise and cared for the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
In the September 2017 general election the National Party led by Mr English secured 44.4 per cent of the vote – considerably more than any other party.
Following the election, the Labour Party and New Zealand First formed a coalition government with support from the Green Party. National moved into Opposition and Mr English became Opposition Leader.
His focus now is on ensuring National provides a strong Opposition that holds the Government to account and ensures the gains made by hardworking New Zealanders over the past few years are not frittered away.
New Zealand has become a more confident and aspirational country and it is the job of Government to build on those achievements and give all New Zealanders an opportunity to fulfil their dreams.
— Bill English