Bill English leaves politics, gives talkback a go

Long Lunch 13/02/2018
Photo: Getty.

Well, sort of. 

National Party leader Bill English stepped down as leader and resigned from Parliament after 28 years as an MP.

Now equipped with much more time for leisure, the retired politician called in to The Long Lunch to have a chat with host Wendyl Nissen and newsreader Mary-Jane Tomasi.

He told RadioLIVE that there’s now an opportunity for the English household to “try life outside of politics.”

He twice led the National Party to defeat in an election, and announced he was stepping aside to give his party a chance to regroup from its dramatic fall from parliamentary grace.

Mr English said he made his big decision after some reflection during the Christmas break, made for the "first time in a long time without political concerns."

In his call to RadioLIVE, Mr English expressed relief with the end of “the constant accountability to the media.”

“And the intensity of that has now lifted because of social media,” he said.

Constant media pressure even prompted Mr English to advise his children to prepare for the inevitable.

“If you’re out of the front door of your home, you need to act as if you’re on video at all times.

Any small thing can get magnified much faster.

Mr English will enter his post-political life with his wife, Mary, and his six children.

According to Mr English, his children have indeed expressed interest in politics. However, he admits that “they’ve got some pretty dumb views about some things.”

“On some of the issues where they agree with me they are probably right,” he laughs.

While no one is quite sure what Mr English will be doing now that he's exited politics, RadioLIVE can only give a few guesses. Mr English has given the public rare glimpses into his private life through social media. 

In January 2018, Mr English posted an old image from his time on his farm in Dipton.

In December 2017, he posted a full-length video on Facebook of himself in an apron cooking a Christmas cake. 

Mr English says he will now have more time and flexibility to pay some attention to his farming interests on the South Island. 

Listen to the full interview with Bill English above.

Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.