English has had his hands on the purse-strings for five years now, and as expected, he signed off the year with the National Government on track to a sliver of a $86 million surplus in 2014/15 but growing to billions in the years after that.
In layman’s terms that means English is going to balance the country’s books – as National has promised.
By way of comparison, English’s Australian counterpart Joe Hockey opened his books too, and it was a shocker – $133 billion worth of deficits.
What a comparison.
English is an excellent economic communicator – his ability to talk “kitchen table economics” will be a real weapon for National in election year.
Key is 52, English is 51 – the prime of their lives in some senses. They are not going to hand over power lightly.
So English is “Bitter Bill” no more – it’s been “Raging Bill” this year.
Much is made of the fact that John Key is the totem pole that holds up the centre-right. The theory goes: take Key out – and take down National.
But that now applies to English too.
The political reality is that to take down National, the Opposition will have to knock out English too.
And that’s what makes Bill English Politician of the Year.
English vs Parker. I know who my money is on.
Patrick also rounds up the year in politics here.