The Labour Party congratulates Bill English on his appointment today; but his challenge now is to prove there will be a difference, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.
“We have pressing problems facing New Zealand right now, and we need to see solutions urgently.
“When will young New Zealanders presently shut out of owning their own home get a chance to fulfil their dream?
“Is the change in leadership really going to make this Government understand that thousands of New Zealanders don’t have a roof over their heads, or can’t get the hospital care they need, and that parents worry that their kids are not getting the education they deserve.
“And some things could get much worse. On many issues, English’s values aren't New Zealanders’ values. He voted against marriage equality. We know he favours privatising prisons and selling state houses.
“New Zealand has moved on. But Bill English hasn’t. The ring wing rump of National under English is now reasserting itself.
“The new Prime Minister has some big questions to urgently answer.
“How will he solve the housing crisis? Will he build houses and crack down on speculators?
“Will he have the courage to listen to Judith Collins and agree to put more Police on our streets to keep communities safe?
“How will he deal with Jonathan Coleman who wants health spending to be prioritised over tax cuts that he and new Finance Minister Steven Joyce favour? As Joyce said on Q&A yesterday, ‘you’ve got to keep tax [cuts] on the table’.
“I urge Bill English to use the summer break to come to the realisation that New Zealanders are facing serious problems and show how he will make a difference,” says Andrew Little.