Monday, 12 December 2016

The Key to English

On December 12th, 2016 Bill English became the 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand. He took over from the popular John Key after Key's shock resignation announcement a week earlier.

I have to say that I haven't lived in New Zealand for a long time so I can only go by what I see on the internet.

John Key comes across as being a popular guy who likes to get involved in the community and even a bit of humour from time to time. Have a look at this video from the Letterman show a few years ago. Some of the jokes were for the American audience so they didn't really resonate with a Kiwi audience but you can see that he doesn't really take himself too seriously and a Kiwi audience would find that quite endearing.

Bill English. Umm, hmmm, aaaah yes, well. I'm not sure. I watched an interview with John Key recently and the first question was, does Bill English have a pulse. An interesting first question to ask the resigning prime minister but maybe the broadcaster was asking questions that the entire nation wanted answered.

OK, lets compare. First exhibit A, John Key on an Auckland radio station:

A bit of self-deprecating humour there. Joking about one of his not so good episodes of 2015 and then singing a song. I can't imagine many other leaders of states doing that. It's this kind of attitude that makes him quite popular among some of the New Zealand population.

Next is exhibit B, new prime minister Bill English in a debate in Parliament.

You can't argue with his debating skills here. He certainly put then leader of the Green Party, Russel Norman in his place.

I looked through Youtube and there aren't any videos of Bill English doing "fun" things like John Key. There doesn't seem to be any videos of English hitting a cricket ball or kicking a rugby ball. There doesn't seem to be any videos of Bill English appearing on a radio show singing a Christmas song or taking selfies with people on the street.

So, what does all of this mean? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, or as a high school geography teacher of mine used to say, "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, not a sausage, bugger all."

We have two completely different men. Both are very experienced. Both are highly qualified for the job and I am sure Bill English will do a good job. He might not have the charisma of John Key but that's OK. New Zealanders will have realise that these are two different men and Bill English may not do things that John Key does and that is OK too.

One man was out there doing things that endeared him to the public while the other guy was behind the scenes probably doing a lot of work. You are not going to be deputy prime minister for eight years if you are lounging around.

I would say to Kiwis that Bill English might not be as charismatic or dare I say it, extroverted as John Key but lets look at his results in a years time. If the unemployment rate is down and the economy is rocketing along then people are not going to care what kind of hijinks their prime minister gets up.

Have a good retirement John and good luck Bill.

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