Special lunch guest at Botany

Bill  English was a hot favourite with young kids and families at Lone Star Botany when he announced the Family Policy for 2017 General Election. Times photos Farida Master.

It’s not every day that the Prime Minister, Bill English taps you on the shoulder and wants to know how you are doing.

There was a mix of emotion as people at the Botany Town Centre food court looked startled and excited as Mr English casually introduced himself to diners.

He chatted, laughed, posed for selfies, signed autographs and even bent down to tie a three-year-old boy’s shoe laces.

Mr English may not seem a natural in front of the camera but he certainly was a hero with kids and their parents, young adults and seniors who were thrilled as the PM stopped by to enquire about their families and schools and answer questions.

Bill English has a quick word with a family having their lunch at Botany Town Centre.  Times photo Farida Master

Trigger-happy shoppers with their cameras and cellphones followed him through the mall as Mr English readily obliged everyone who wanted to have a photograph with him.

If he was tired after a blur of non-stop campaign activities or answering tough questions from the media, he didn’t show it.

The Times asked Mr English which energy pills he took to pack in 50 hours a day.

“I don’t take any energy pills,” he laughed. “It’s just that I want to win so badly,” the PM said earnestly.

The Prime Minister was at the Botany Town Centre at the invitation of Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross.

Mr Ross had invited a select group of small business owners, community people and a mix of people he’s connected with as a local MP.

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross with Minister for Education Nikki Kaye. Times photo Farida Master

Television crews and national media who have been following the Prime Minister on his campaign were all there as Mr English announced the Family Policy for 2017 election  on Sunday morning.

Minister for Revenue Judith Collins and Minister for Education Nikki Kaye along with Mr Ross were by his side as he answered a volley of questions from the national media that included the fuel crisis and Waitangi Day.

A feast was laid out at Lone Star as guests were treated to a selection from the famous Lone Star menu.

It had Jami-Lee’s grandmother Sharron Martin, the lady who has raised him say, “I thought there were just going to be some children running around this morning, I didn’t realise it would be such a great event with so much food.”

While Mr English didn’t have any time to taste the generous spread, his wife Mary was later spotted picking up a salad from nearby.

There is no time to eat or rest for the PM who wants to win so badly.

  • Family Income Package will boost the incomes of 1.3 families by $1350 per year on average from April 1 2018 through tax reductions and increases to Working for Families and Accommodation Supplement.
  • The Family Incomes Package includes changes to income tax thresholds which will put an extra $1060 a year in the pocket of someone on the average wage.
  • Extending Paid Parental Leave to 22 weeks
  • Providing additional support for first home buyers