Rt Hon Sir William (Bill) English served New Zealand and the National Party since his election to Parliament in 1990, in 2018 he was honoured as a Knight Companion, New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the state.
Bill is now a director of Wesfarmers, an ASX 20 conglomerate with large scale retail and industrial interests, and a director of Todd Corporation. He advises NZ and Australian companies and governments on financial services, infrastructure and social investment. With his family he is a director and investor in social impact and data businesses, serving the philanthropy and disability sectors. He has further interests in private primary production companies.
Born in Lumsden in 1961 and educated at St Patrick’s College Silverstream he studied Commerce at the University of Otago and English Literature at Victoria. He went on to work as a Treasury analyst before returning to the family farm in Dipton and standing in the seat known today as Clutha-Southland – a post he held until his decision in 2014 to stand as a List MP only.
As Finance Minister from 2008 until 2016, Bill oversaw one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world, steering New Zealand through the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes and returning the Government’s books to surplus.
He also focused on tackling New Zealand’s toughest social problems, including inequality, welfare dependence and the educational under achievement of Maori and Pasifika children, aiming to give all New Zealanders the best chance of succeeding.
As Prime Minister Bill focused on building a New Zealand which rewarded hard work and enterprise and cared for the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
In the September 2017 general election the National Party led by Bill English secured 44.4 per cent of the vote – considerably more than any other party. Following the election, the Labour Party and New Zealand First formed a coalition government with support from the Green Party.