Will the real Bill English please stand up?

On Monday New Zealand got a brand new Prime Minister. The old one, John Key, resigned and his former deputy took out a leadership challenge and laid claim to the top job today.

But we got a brand new Bill English too, it turns out.

The former staunch social conservative – the bloke who backed marriage and refused to vote for same-sex unions – is long gone.

In his place stands a rather different creation. A media friendly creation. A populist product. In his place stands a man who says he would now vote for same-sex marriage

and won’t push his socially conservative views in Parliament.

Seriously?

If our new Prime Minister won’t push his views, views he – up until now – has held for years as being good, right and best for the New Zealand public, presumably, whose views will he push?

Besides, isn’t pushing different views in Parliament critical for actually testing ideas and making sure we are on the right track? If we all just blindly follow the same ideas, we won’t end up with the best laws.

Because there is no such thing as a neutral position when it comes to politics and policy.

You are either pushing one world view or you are pushing another.

And pushing the popular world view, as my mum and dad so often say, isn’t always right.

It isn’t leadership either. It’s kowtowing to whatever beliefs and views will keep you in power. It’s protecting your own patch.

It’s politics at its worst. And it will lose English, along with National, an awful lot of conservative supporters, supporters who have been waiting with baited breath for eight years for National to throw them a bone, any bone, just one bone. Winston Peters will be licking his lips at the thought of them all.

What a shame New Zealand has another Prime Minister who puts power ahead of principles.

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