Bill English gets interviewed by a newspaper

Credit: Luke @ Whaleoil

• Asked what his biggest weakness was, English said he tried not to dwell on that question but instead focus on his strengths.

“In my case, I can be pretty dogged, pretty focused on the longer-term and stick at it. And where I’m not so good on some things, that’s what a team is for.”

At this stage, his biggest weakness is his baggage.  Which includes a lot of knives in backs.  Lots of threats.  Lots of undelivered promises.  Voters know that he delivered National’s worst defeat, and now they are staring at Jysteria taking the big fella down again.

• English yesterday condemned Gareth Morgan’s “lipstick on a pig” comments about Jacinda Ardern and said he couldn’t work with the Opportunities Party (TOP) if Morgan kept up such attitudes.

Asked if that meant he was ruling out working with TOP, English told the interview panel he was not.

• English was asked about the increasing signs of homelessness in Auckland under National’s watch. He said a Housing First pilot had recently started in Auckland, and a similar scheme in Hamilton had almost ended homelessness there. The same could be done in Auckland, he said.

“In just four months they have shifted 150 people who were sleeping rough mostly into private housing. And if we keep going they can achieve here in Auckland what has pretty much been achieved in Hamilton. And that is almost no one sleeping rough.”

And that’s achieved by private agencies.   Not the government.

• English reacted strongly to a suggestion the social investment approach he has championed in Government makes him look callous, given one goal was to save money by better targeting support, particularly to young people so they don’t suffer poor outcomes like prison or long-term welfare dependency.

“I think you are completely wrong. The finances show the measure of failure…the system too often feeds off misery. We are trying to reduce it.

“For a child where you know they are going to cost $1 million in public services – that is an awful life. Anyone who has seen that piece of analysis changes their mind – they immediately say, we have to do something different…the economy – the strength of it and the surpluses – to really invest in that in a comprehensive way with some confidence that whatever it’s going to take, we can probably afford it.”

• On how National’s new policy to send youth offenders to boot camp at Waiouru matches that social investment approach.

“It’s not a boot camp in the sense of people living in tents doing press-ups. It’s a wrap-around service on which we will spend around $100,000 per person. Because those 150 worst young offenders could leave a trail of destruction for 20 years.

Bill is not the man for the job.  The National backbench are kicking themselves for either believing undelivered promises, or vacuous threats.   The end result is the same:  National is heading into the election with the wrong leader to combat what’s happening in Labour right now.


– NZ Herald


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