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Deputy leaderEdit

Who was English's deputy leader? --Midnighttonight 01:24, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Roger Sowry was his deputy. There is also a chronology error on this page, English's charity boxing happened in the run up to the 2002 election not after--NZHack 23:02, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


There is absolutely no reason to post the names of Bill English's children or any relationship his wife might have with various outside groups. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:14, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree that posting the names of his children is inappropriate. But surely his moral and religious views on policy issues should be covered; I'll put that back. I think his wife's public activities in related areas are also relevant, and deserve to be included. Look at the Helen Clark article, for instance; we mention her husband's profession, even though this bears no obvious relation to her political positions. I'll hold off restoring the details about Bill English's wife for now, though, to give you a chance to convince me otherwise. -- Avenue (talk) 09:25, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

You have included a large number of things about Bill English's positions on a number of moral issues without citing any sources for your contentions at all. This is really a violation of the terms of Wiki's biography standards. Cite them or take them down - as it is, this is all opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Some good points, but you should give other editors an opportunity to provide evidence for this information instead of just deleting it straight up. Also, please remember to create a wikipedia account and sign your name after your comments. Use the "{{fact}}" tag to mark the particular points that need citing. If no other editors can provide evidence after a reasonable period of time (say a week) then record why you're taking down the information (unverified) and take it down.
Avenue, take a look at the article Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons. Strict criteria are given for categorising a person according to religious beliefs, and strictly speaking "Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material — whether negative, positive, or just questionable — about living persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles", so certainly English's views and his wife's involvement in political groups are out unless they can be verified by respected sources.
--NZUlysses (talk) 21:14, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I've begun to add sources. I'll do more this weekend, unless someone beats me to it. -- Avenue (talk) 23:45, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I think it is fine to say his wife is a doctor. I doubt it is reasonable to attribute any of her beliefs to him without objective evidence. If you think Mary English deserves her own page, start one.

I also notice that earlier comments about why the changes were made have been deleted. Did you do this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

You can examine all the previous edits to this page, and see who made them, by clicking the history tab above this page (and any other page in Wikipedia). I don't see anything missing.
Perhaps the part about his wife should be worded more carefully. I agree appropriate citations are needed. I maintain that mentioning her public activities relating to these issues gives the reader relevant background information, so this should be included here. -- Avenue (talk) 23:56, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I reworded the section to remove the phrase "and upholds his church's opposition to", because it implied to me that he framed his opposition to the listed issues in primarily or exclusively religious terms. Reviewing sources that reported his views, this isn't the case – for instance, he opposed civil unions in part because he believed "people will sign up to a relationship on the Government's terms" and he opposed the decriminalisation of prostitution because he said it made "people who were exploited for commercial gain more vulnerable". --Muchness (talk) 01:18, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I've added his feelings about the relevance of his religious views, which seem to reinforce this split. The list of policy positions now seems a bit out of place in the "Personal life" section, though. I'll try reorganising things, somewhat along the lines of the John Key article. Feel free to comment or revert. -- Avenue (talk) 02:24, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
This reorganisation has made it more obvious to me that we also need to cover what he supports, not just what he opposes. -- Avenue (talk) 02:33, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, you may be acting in good faith but the source quoted supports the idea that he completely separates faith and his political role. Specifically: "English doesn't talk easily about his faith. It is personal and the personal and the political are separate, he says." This does not support your edit, which has his faith influencing his positions. Perhaps you should find a different source to support this contention if you insist on having it at all. I'd rather see it gone. It is controversial and not supported - or, at best, weakly supported by some rhetoric used by James in the piece (but not attributable directly to English), which is opinion only. Aweipogf (talk) 00:19, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

I still believe my last edit is supported by the source. To quote: 'Which leads us back, un-noisily, to English's Catholicism. Some of his political ideas trace back to the Catholic tradition, he says. "I personally think that trust and values and character have spiritual roots. Most people instinctively understand there is a common goodness bigger than them."' While "trace back" is not a direct quote from English, when James states 'he says', he is directly attributing this to English. It is not just "some rhetoric used by James", as you put it. We could weaken our wording to "reportedly traces" if you'd prefer, but I don't believe it should be censored. -- Avenue (talk) 03:45, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
I see you deleted it at the same time I was commenting above. I've reverted the deletion for now. -- Avenue (talk) 06:29, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

I dunno. It's a charged and contentious allegation and it really is not supported by the article. Saying values have spiritual roots is not the same as saying or suggesting Catholic doctrine informs his political decisions in any way. This is aggravated by use of the allegation that he believes his religious beliefs are "not of public interest" rather than that he keeps them to one side. That really is a distortion. It is enough to say, as James says he did, that he believes "the personal and the political are separate." I encourage you to think about this all in terms of Wiki's guidelines on the biographies of living persons. Aweipogf (talk) 07:34, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

We do seem to have received subtly different impressions of English's views from the same article. I will give mine more thought. I'd also suggest to you that your reading is not the only natural interpretation that can be taken from the piece. You seem quite quick to claim things you disagree with are "distortions" and "rhetoric". Regarding the specific phrase "not of public interest", this was my attempt to summarise this part from James: 'He [Bill English] nevertheless insists his religious beliefs are personal. "They are not relevant to the public."' I don't currently see "not of public interest" as being a distortion of the direct quote "not relevant to the public", but I'll revert my reversion until I've had time to reread the whole piece and reflect on whether I may have taken this out of context. Do you have any suggestions of other coverage I could read that might provide a broader picture? -- Avenue (talk) 11:18, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Avenue, for what it's worth I thought your wording was an accurate reflection of the referenced article. The disputed wording:
  • Wikipedia article: "and traces some of his political views back to this tradition"; source article: "Some of his political ideas trace back to the Catholic tradition, he says."
  • Wikipedia article: "he sees his religious beliefs as a personal matter and not of public interest"; source article: "He nevertheless insists his religious beliefs are personal. "They are not relevant to the public."
I don't see a distortion of the source text in the disputed wording. Maybe the article could state "he sees his religious beliefs as a personal matter and not relevant to the public"? And perhaps more sources can be found to flesh out how he sees the interrelationship between his faith and his political beliefs? --Muchness (talk) 12:20, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

It's a matter of implication, for me, more than anything. Cleary, James is telling a story - and it's a good story - but the direct quotes don't fully support his analysis. When it comes to the influence of the Church, for example, there's also this: "I go to mass every week. I don't understand all the theology and any religious faith is a continuous wrestle with doubt..." I certainly don't mind the line that you've suggested, Muchness, if you both/all think there's a need to discuss this aspect of his faith at all at the top. Perhaps my own Catholicism (though long lapsed) is making me overly sensitive, here. Aweipogf (talk) 00:03, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

English's response to the last question in the first source is interesting, where he notes much greater public interest in his faith over the last two years. Although in some ways I wish that it wasn't something people felt a need to know about their politicians, I think this indicates that people in New Zealand increasingly do. I wouldn't be happy omitting all mention of his faith.
While I now agree that the version I restored a couple of days ago drew too strong a linkage between English's political views and his religious beliefs, I'd still be quite comfortable suggesting some relationship, reflecting James's rephrasings indicated by "he says" (although maybe they need qualification with "reportedly" or something similar). I don't think we need absolute verbatim quotes. But if most of us agree we need more sources, I'm happy to abide by that. -- Avenue (talk) 09:42, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I suspect the problem will come in trying to assess the degree to which any faith's position on issues (eg, evolution) actually informs a politician's decisions, but I agree it could be of considerable interest if it could be strongly demonstrated as a causal factor. Aweipogf (talk) 17:35, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Support for statementEdit

Just wondering if there are any citations that could be added to give support for this somewhat loaded statement: While Brash lacked overwhelming popularity, the electorate perceived English as highly ineffectual and prone to embarrassing mistakes. --Asgar12 (talk) 23:48, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I'd still like to see some sort of supporting documentation from a credible source for this statement. As it stands, it seems to me to be the author's interpretation of a PM popularity poll. I'd also like clarification of what "the electorate" means here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Asgar12 (talkcontribs) 22:56, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

It's gone, per WP:BLP. Looking at NZ Herald articles at the time, I don't see anything to support it. XLerate (talk) 23:37, 7 November 2009 (UTC)


English is an active Roman Catholic, opposes abortion, opposes voluntary euthanasia, opposes physician assisted suicide, opposes civil unions and opposes decriminalisation of prostitution, but considers his religious beliefs personal and separate from politics? Really? Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 03:02, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Some non-religious politicians share these views. He's been up front about his views so voters can decide. In any case, this isn't the place for debate about his views. EvidenceFairy (talk) 03:06, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

Section on TVNZEdit

Is it worth adding a section on Bill English's phonecalls to TVNZ? It seems fairly well documented now that he called a high ranking TVNZ official and called him a 7-letter word following by a 4-letter word beginning with c. If such a section is added does it go against Wikipedia policy to print what he is purported to have said in full? Bactoid (talk) 10:03, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I hadn't heard of this incident, which suggests that it hasn't been given a lot of attention by the media. I don't see any mention of it in a quick search on google news, in the NZ Herald, or on the TVNZ website. If you link to a source here on the talk page, we can discuss it. My feeling is that it sounds like a minor incident. As a way to judge the importance of such an incident, how much space do you think it would get in a full length biography of English? Perhaps a paragraph? Of course, if it's the start of a series of incidents which lead to his resignation, then it will be important in retrospect.
Wikipedia isn't censored. If he called someone a "fucking cunt", which is what I assume you are hinting at, we can say that here. Of course, you need a reliable source which reports the words in full, or at least gives an unambiguous rendition, such as f***ing c*nt. We might like to link the phrase as fucking cunt, for those readers who are not native English speakers.-gadfium 18:15, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I heard of the incident at the time and saw it mentioned in parliament yesterday. I've just gone back to find an article as proof that it wasn't my mind playing tricks on me! It certainty isn't easy to search for and the only sources I did find were blogs; [1], [2], [3]. However they do mention that it was covered by TV3/TVNZ and then later pulled. Its also mentioned in that Radio NZ broadcast thats linked. Basically - yes it did happen, about a month ago, and the best source we have at the moment is probably hansard. Mattlore (talk) 20:04, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Place of birthEdit

His place of birth is shown as Lumsden but the entry for Dipton says he was born there. But then the entry for Lumsden says he was born there. A crossword clue in the New Zealand newspaper The Wellingtonian (Dec.8 2015) asks what his home town was and the answer that fits is Dipton. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

The article used to say he was born in Dipton, but this was changed in September 2014 by @Omnipaedista:, citing Temple’s Guide to the 44th New Zealand Parliament which I don't have a copy of to check. There are a number of online sources which say Dipton, for example [4]. It is possible that while his family residence was in Dipton, he was born at a maternity hospital in the slightly larger nearby town of Lumsden.-gadfium 19:41, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

So it could be that his birthplace was Lumsden but his home town was Lumsden.

His home town was definitely Dipton. That can be confirmed by a number of sources. His family had been farming there for at least one generation, probably more. Lumsden was the nearest town with a maternity hospital at the time, and it was normal for women from Dipton to go there to give birth. EvidenceFairy (talk) 02:59, 12 December 2016 (UTC)
I have now added Dipton as a category at the end of the article. While his legally recorded birthplace is Lumsden, he grew up in Dipton and is regarded as being "from Dipton" by anyone who knows him or his family. Hopefully both Dipton and Lumsden will remain as categories. EvidenceFairy (talk) 04:55, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

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New images availableEdit

The current infobox image isn't bad, but it was taken in 2005. I've found and uploaded a couple newer images from Flickr, both from September 2016. Both are quite good quality as well, although the backgrounds are a little distracting (one has another person's face, the other has writing). What are people's preferences? IgnorantArmies (talk) 10:38, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

When does he become Prime Minister?Edit

Media are reporting the English is now the new Prime Minister of NZ, but there seems to be come confusion over this, and some disagreement. For example, I have the BBC News app on my phone, which sent me an alert just now, that reads "Bill English is confirmed as New Zealand's new Prime Minister, after John Key's surprise resignation". But an anonymous user is arguing that this is not the case at present, as he has not been sworn in, and this will not happen for a few hours. So, can we have some clarity on the situation? I know this seems a small point as it won't matter in a few hours from now, but this scenario is bound to occur again when we have a change of PM in another country. This is Paul (talk) 23:24, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

The BBC article actually says "New Zealand's governing National Party has officially appointed Bill English to succeed John Key as prime minister." Note that he is to succeed, not he has succeeded John Key. Key is expected to formally resign later today and Bill English will be sworn in as Prime Minister by the Governor-General following this. Currently English is the leader of the National Party and is PM-designate. (talk) 23:29, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
In countries with a UK-based parliamentary democracy, the usual practice is they do not become a Minister or the PM until they have been sworn in by the Sovereign or his/her representative. Some such countries now have a President instead, but I think the same protocol applies. In NZ the Governor-General can swear in a Minister at any time, but a Monday afternoon is the usual time for it. EvidenceFairy (talk) 03:02, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

Nominated for ITNEdit

-Ad Orientem (talk) 01:25, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, will go there and support it. --EvidenceFairy (talk) 08:52, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Me too. This is Paul (talk) 22:03, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

Is he the 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand?Edit

There seems to be some disagreement over whether or not Bill English is the 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand, or the 39th leader of NZ. It's worth noting that articles such as Helen Clark and John Key identify them as the 37th and 38th Prime Ministers of NZ respectively, so maybe we should have some consistency. Either follow what we've done before or change the other articles. Any thoughts? This is Paul (talk) 22:53, 18 December 2016 (UTC)

Well, English is the 39th head of government in New Zealand, but not the 39th Prime Minister. That is because there only became Prime Ministers in New Zealand when New Zealand became a dominion, which was in 1907. Before then there were Premiers and Colonial Secretaries. I think that we should have English down as the 23rd Prime Minister, but have a note next to it explaining about the Premiers and Colonial Secretaries. J947 02:00, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Independent reliable sources recognise him as the 39th Prime Minister,[5][6][7][8][9] as does List of Prime Ministers of New Zealand. While it can be argued that it is not technically correct, I can't find any sources that refer to him as the 23rd, so we should definitely not use that. Mattlore (talk) 02:21, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
We should still add a note explaining about this. J947 02:34, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Agree, not opposed to a footnote stating that prior to 1907 the head of the government was known by other titles. Mattlore (talk) 02:45, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Seems like a sensible suggestion. This is Paul (talk) 20:40, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Leader of the OppositionEdit

Quick question. Now he's Leader of the Opposition again, do we now refer to him as both the 29th Leader of the Opposition and 37th Leader of the Opposition (as the two terms are several years apart), or is he just 29th Leader of the Opposition? I tweaked the infobox accordingly to reflect the two terms, but I'm not really too sure. Any thoughts? This is Paul (talk) 22:01, 25 October 2017 (UTC)

Bill English is a farmer?Edit

Page describes him as a farmer. Is that an accurate call? Dairyflat (talk) 03:05, 31 October 2017 (UTC)

The page says "A farmer and public servant before entering politics...", and later "English returned to Dipton and farmed for a few years". The reference is not available online. Do you have reason to doubt this? Or are you objecting to Category:New Zealand farmers? That's not intended to suggest he's still a farmer.-gadfium 07:29, 31 October 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 7 November 2017Edit

Please change "Fifth National Government (2008–present)" to "Fifth National Government (2008–2017)", because the National party lost the general election and are currently in opposition to a Labour-Led Government. Skeletonkilljoy2 (talk) 06:09, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

  Done Gulumeemee (talk) 06:33, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

Leader of opposition at topEdit

Can’t we just put his position as leader of the opposition at the top? He is currently leader of the opposition and so it’s misleading for readers to be shown that his last position was as prime minister Masterpha (talk) 10:00, 2 January 2018 (UTC)

English's resignationEdit

A dispute has arisen between @Schwede66: and me over how the resignation should be worded. For the benefit of those whose first language may not be English, the announcement of a resignation does not point backwards to something that has happened and is now over. It points to an ongoing process which starts at the time the announcement is made and continues while the resigner closes unfinished matters on his/her desk, takes part in the process of selecting the successor, and (usually) participates in a farewell ceremony. Resignation is not a fait accompli at the time of the announcement. Akld guy (talk) 23:52, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

What is the point of this pettifogging?
What has happened here? On 13 February 2018, English announced his resignation from leadership of the National Party effective 27 February 2018 when he will leave Parliament.' That's a fact, and close to @Schwede66:'s edit.
Your effort said "On 13 February 2018, English announced his resignation as leader of the National Party." Full Stop, without qualification. For the benefit of those whose first language may not be English, let me explain that tomorrow morning English will still be leader of the National Party and will still be so when he wakes up on the morning of 27 February.* The inference in your "....announced his resignation as leader of the National Party." is that he is no longer leader of the National Party. You are wrong.
  • I really shouldn't have to spell it out, but that is assuming a new leader isn't sworn in before then. Moriori (talk) 00:32, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You didn't read what I wrote did you? He has resigned, but the process isn't complete yet. Not inconsistent with what my version says. Akld guy (talk) 01:46, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
To make perfectly clear what I originally objected to, see this edit. Schwede66 said that English "will resign". My edit changed that. Schwede66 then amended my edit to something different and started debating about his 2nd version, not his first, which was clearly wrong. Akld guy (talk) 02:16, 13 February 2018 (UTC)


Has he resigned as leader? I haven't read the sources, Akld guy, but listened to the live broadcast on RNZ. English said, in answer to a question, that he will remain party leader until 27 Feb. Schwede66 00:05, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

This article from the New Zealand Herald says, "English will remain leader until his resignation takes effect on February 27." 青い(Aoi) (talk) 00:10, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
He has resigned as National Party leader and will quit politics. ref. Let's quit the semantics over when the resignation will take effect. He has announced his resignation. Akld guy (talk) 00:16, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, but that is not semantics. For example, another editor replaced English's name in the National Party infobox with "vacant" in the leader area and that is simply not true. I thus reverted that editor. Schwede66 01:30, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Reversion was the correct thing to do. Nothing alters the fact that he has resigned. News sites are saying so. They're not saying that he has hinted that he will resign or that his resignation is pending until 27 February. They're saying that he has resigned. Akld guy (talk) 01:50, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You claiming the media is not saying "his resignation is pending until 27 February" is pretty silly considering English made it unambiguously clear. Here's what he said in his live TV broadcast today, resignation will take effect on Tuesday the twenty seventh....". Got that? Moriori (talk) 02:30, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Do you have a citable reference for that live broadcast? Put up or shut up. All text sources are saying that English HAS resigned, and in the English speaking (no pun intended) world, that means that he continues on until either his successor is appointed (most likely) or he leaves Parliament with no successor appointed (not likely). Resignation does not mean that he abruptly walked away from the job at the time of his announcement, and anyone familiar with the English language understands that, so why the need to explain that it doesn't become effective until 27 February? All we need to say is that he announced his resignation and will retire from politics on 27 February. Akld guy (talk) 03:10, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
This source stated quite clearly, "English will remain leader until his resignation takes effect on February 27." I don't understand why there is a problem with noting in the article exactly when the resignation takes effect? I think it is better to be more specific than less specific. The version of the article proposed earlier could easily be misinterpreted to mean that he resigned as party leader (effective immediately) but would remain in Parliament until February 27. 青い(Aoi) (talk) 03:19, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Sir William EnglishEdit

Nurg, are you sure that "Sir William English" is the correct style for the infobox? I can see that he would be referred to as "Sir William", but is "William" still to be used when the surname is added? Hardly anybody knows him as William English. Schwede66 04:16, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

Note that his first given name is Simon. Here are some who have been knighted who are best known by informal names:
  • Bill Rowling's infobox says Sir Wallace Rowling
  • Jack Marshall's infobox says Sir Jack Marshall despite his given name being John
  • Bill Birch's infobox says Sir William Birch
  • It seems a little inconsistent. I'll add more as they're found. Akld guy (talk) 07:02, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Note also that 2018 Birthday Honours (New Zealand) lists English as The Right Honourable Simon William English, without any mention of "Sir". Akld guy (talk) 07:08, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Hi Schwede. No, I'm not sure now. I didn't think "Sir Bill" was going to be commonly used, but perhaps it is, in which case that's perhaps what it should be. Nurg (talk) 08:21, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Akld guy, as it says on top of every honours page, "the recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour". Hence no Sir. Schwede66 09:09, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
That makes sense. Gee, sometimes things get done right. Akld guy (talk) 09:29, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

────────── Ok, I've had a look on Google. Searching for "Sir William English" produces many more results than searching for "Sir Bill English". For the former, only the NZ Herald refers to our previous PM as William; everything else seems to be about people in England's history. For the latter, all other media outlet seem to refer to Sir Bill English. From a common name perspective (ok, it's only been half a day), Sir Bill wins. MOS:HONORIFIC isn't of any use. I shall do similar searches for Rowling and Birch. Schwede66 09:50, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

Not really any inconsistency here — it's down to what the respective person chose to be called after being knighted. Rowling was commonly known as Bill, but asked to be called Sir Wallace; from memory he said something like Wallace was the name his parents gave him so he wished to be known as Sir Wallace. Similiary Bill Birch chose to be known as Sir William. Marshall was generally called Sir Jack, although Sir John was used on occasion. So it depends what English chooses to be known as when using the honorific. According to the NZ Herald [10] he wants people still to refer to him as Bill, but will use Sir William formally. Time will tell, but in the meantime I would go with Sir William English, while retaining Bill English for the article title. Paora (talk) 10:50, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

"Official website"Edit

What should Sir Bill's "Official website" link be? The current link is

Anyone wish to be bold and change it? Jim1138 (talk) 05:47, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

Return to "Bill English" page.