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National Party Leader Simon Bridges has congratulated Sir Bill English on being honoured for his immense contribution to New Zealand over a 27-year career.

“Sir Bill steered New Zealand through very tough times and oversaw one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world, to the envy of governments across the globe.

“As Finance Minister, Sir Bill guided New Zealand from heavy deficits to get us back into surplus, all while contending with the GFC and the Canterbury earthquakes.

“This achievement cannot be underestimated – it is what has given the previous and current governments the opportunities to make a positive difference to the lives of New Zealanders.

“He is recognised as one of the greatest finance ministers in New Zealand, and indeed the world. But more than that, Sir Bill has been dedicated to helping the most vulnerable New Zealanders to live better lives.

“After getting the books in good shape, he was able to increase benefits in real terms for the first time in 40 years.

“Sir Bill also pioneered the groundbreaking Social Investment approach, which gives us the greatest opportunity in a generation to transform the lives of New Zealanders.

“He devoted almost three decades to serving New Zealand in Parliament and today’s honour recognises not only his service to our country, but the support his wife Mary provided him over that time.

“Sir Bill would be the first to acknowledge the hundreds of other exceptional New Zealanders who have been recognised for their contributions today. I also extend my warm congratulations to each of them and thank them for their service to New Zealand.”

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