13 Feb 2018

Bill English reflects on 28 years in Parliament

From Checkpoint, 6:08 pm on 13 February 2018

Bill English says there are areas where he wishes he made more progress during his 28 years in Parliament, including housing, but he has no regrets or bitterness about his time in politics.

The National leader announced today he will step down as leader on 27 February and will leave Parliament to pursue personal and professional opportunities. 

He told Checkpoint with John Campbell he is keen to explore what life is like outside of politics after more than a quarter of a century as a Member of Parliament. 

Watch the full video here:

Reflecting on his career, he said things he wanted to do "will lie there to be picked up in the future, and I'll move on".

“There are times when I look back and think maybe we should have pushed a bit harder here, but we were in a government that adopted as a way of working bringing the public along. There are areas where I wish we made a bit more progress in public understanding of the further gains that could be made.

“I think we could have made more progress in communicating the capacity we have to break some of these real deep-seated cycles of social dysfunction and the role, the much more positive role public services could play in that.”

He was pleased with the progress made in education and the progress about to be made, but said it appeared it wasn't clearly understood where that progress was going.

“I think another area that really mattered was related to housing, was the way in which we organise infrastructure in New Zealand in the past was never really developed for a growing population with growing needs, and we were in the process of changing the system...If that had moved faster then you might have got a bit less pressure in the housing market.”

He hoped the government would pick up on some of the former government's ideas around housing, and that there would be "serious inroads" in the areas of child abuse and welfare dependency over the coming years.