How’s Bill English doing? John Roughan in The Herald is not impressed – Bill English is not following his best instincts
First there was the response to a question that came out of left field on just his second week in Key’s chair. “Are you a feminist?” he was asked after his deputy and newly appointed Minister of Women’s affairs had said she was, “most days”.
English replied, “I wouldn’t quite know what that means.” Of course he knows what it means but the more interesting question is, why did he say that?
It was the wrong answer on several levels. It was not true, it was not credible, it struck an odd note in the news and it was not where the National Party has been under Key.
Imagine how he would have answered the question. “Well, at the end of the day I believe women are just as capable as men and we shouldn’t have barriers in their way.” There’s a more heartfelt answer many men would give: “You bet I am, I have a daughter.” But almost anything is better than, “I wouldn’t know what it means.”
English’s second definitive step so far is the decision not to go to Waitangi.
He did not need to speak at Te Tii’s powhiri. The speeches are made inside the meeting house and the media do not go in there. The real test of a Prime Minister is at the dawn karakia next morning when a little bit of soul is required. English would be very good at it, better than Key probably. But he seems determined to be a backwoodsman in public. Pity.
And in the news today – PM on climate change: moderate not ‘extreme’ response needed
English is currently in Europe on his first overseas trip as Prime Minister. Asked about his past comments, he said he had always thought there had been some “extreme” views about climate change and the appropriate response.
“Some people want to inflict considerable pain on the economy to prove the point. And I have never believed in that extreme view,” English said.
“But I think New Zealand’s views are moderate [and] sound, and we have good tools in place…and I think we should aim to keep the Emissions Trading System [ETS] in place.”
Defending the mockery that National have made of the ETS, and still couching a green economy as a cost not an opportunity – Bill English is a fool. Three strikes, you’re out.