It was a great privilege to work with Bill English – Cardinal Dew


Cardinal John Dew is one of a number of New Zealanders representing a broad spectrum of society who have praised former Prime Minister Bill English since he announced his retirement from politics earlier this year.

He recently told an Australian Catholic journalist that it had been a great privilege to work with English.

In an interview with Jordan Grantham in the Parramatta Dioceses newspaper, Catholic Outlook, Dew said, “I was always astounded at the breadth of his knowledge, his ability to talk on many issues, and the deep concern he has for people.

“His faith has certainly formed him to be someone who cares for others.

“He has a knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching and he carefully tried to apply that knowledge as prime minister.”

Stuff published an opinion piece under the headline “Gentleman Bill English a good model of political civility.”

Alex Penk, CEO of the Maxim Institute, an independent research and public policy think tank, said  English’s long political career was characterised by civility.

He noted that, after English had delivered his valedictory speech, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was one of the first across the floor of the debating chamber to congratulate him.

“Long-time political opponents like Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson and Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins were also among those in a packed chamber showing respect to English,” he said.

Penk said English’s valedictory speech was a great example of civility. “To the last line, he was full of deep conviction.”

Bernard Hickey, in a piece posted in Newsroom under the heading Bill English’s legacy of compassionate conservatism, said English “was as genuine and as thoughtful a politician as I’ve seen in New Zealand.”

Hickey said English was able to turn his decency into some policy wins and an economy that has mostly served the nation well.


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