Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller is today acknowledging the ‘enormous contribution' of Bill English, who has announced his retirement from politics.
“Bill English has made a significant contribution to New Zealand, and he has certainly left his mark on New Zealand's political landscape for generations to come,” says Todd.
“He has had a stellar parliamentary career that saw him rise up the ranks from young-gun backbench MP, to Leader of the Opposition, to one of the greatest finance ministers we've ever seen, to the pinnacle of prime minister.
“Throughout this entire journey he has always carried himself with the utmost integrity – grounded in the love of his family and the strong connection he held with the community of Clutha-Southland that he represented for 24 years.”
Todd says he vividly remembers walking through Papamoa Plaza with the former prime minister during last year's election campaign.
“Most leaders would have taken the photo opportunity – smiled, waved and moved on – but not Bill.
“He stopped and spoke with everyone who wanted to chat and you got a real sense that he genuinely wanted to engage with each and every personal story.
“For me, that is a testament to the man.
“I want to take this opportunity to very publicly thank Bill for everything he has achieved over the past 27 years – and wish him well for all that lies ahead.
“A world of gratitude also needs to go to his wife Mary and all of his children for sharing their husband and father with us over all these years.”
Todd says the National Party will be carrying out an internal leadership selection over the coming weeks, but believes today is about Bill, ‘and that's where the focus should stay'.
“He's left on his own terms, which is the only way this was ever going to be, because of the huge respect all in our caucus, and the wider National Party, have for him.”