Bill English impressed with St John’ College boys

Last week the deputy prime minister, and minister of finance Bill English spent almost an hour year with 13 students at St John’s College in Hamilton.

“They’re enquiring, they’re confident to ask. At that age, I would never have asked a politician a question, certainly not in public,” he said.

“They’re watching the world. There was a question about the US elections. When we were that age, we wouldn’t have paid any attention to what’s happening in the US election.”

“I just really enjoy talking with younger people because they’re forward-looking and basically optimistic,” English said.

“It’s a good way to make sure you [as a government] are on track because you’re trying to create a country where they feel they have a stake and they can get ahead.”

The school’s head boy, Liam Gilheamy-Black said he had a better understanding of how politics worked and what the deputy prime minister actually does.

“I learned there is a lot of different structures that go into politics and it’s important there is a diverse group of people, that they’re not all too similar.”

Gilheamy-Black has no political aspirations – he wants to be a doctor – and he’s leaning towards voting Labour. But he responded positively to hearing English’s life story.

“I thought he would just talk a lot of politics, so I was quite happy that he talked about his experiences growing up.

“I think the boys typically think that what is ‘right’ is what the general population, what the majority chooses.”

“But I think Bill English showed us that being an MP you can have your own voice and your own opinion and that doesn’t necessarily have to be the majority’s view.”

English spoke about going to a catholic school and how a marist education gives the boys, in his opinion, a good set of values to start life with.

He told them about his upbringing in Southland, the fact he couldn’t get a job with his English literature degree and how he fell into politics at 28 years old.

He mentioned his views on euthanasia and abortion and that sometimes political decisions aren’t popular, but they’re necessary.


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News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.

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