When Bill English first entered the Beehive 27 years ago, the farmer from Dipton was acutely aware just how much his new gig would affect his young family.
Almost three decades later, the former Prime Minister and outgoing National Party leader has echoed this sentiment as he prepares to bid farewell to politics – and in this week's issue of New Zealand Woman's Weekly, Bill's wife of 31 years Mary has given her own tribute to her beloved husband.
Speaking to the Weekly just hours after the announcement was made this week from their cosy Kaori home, Mary says that Bill's emotional tribute to his family meant everything to her.
"I was really moved by that," she tells.
"I think what it said to me is that he's never taken the duty that it's imposed on all of us for granted. He's never just expected it, or taken it without having a sense of acknowledgement and gratitude, and for my boys who were there too; I know they got the sense of that as well."
While many across the country were shocked at Bill's retirement announcement, Mary, a Wellington-based GP, jokes it's come 17 years too late – when Bill first told her he was giving politics a crack, he promised it would only be for 10 years!
The entire family was involved in the decision for Bill to resign, which he made just weeks after speaking to the Weekly in December last year. While on their summer break, Bill informed the rest of the English clan that it was time to go, and asked their opinion.
"He led us, and we were all just very calm, and happy to support him," Mary shares.
For more, including how the family really feels about Bill resigning and their next big move, see this week's issue of New Zealand Woman's Weekly, out now.
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