Some believe it is, and of course, they're entitled to that view. And in the wake of the Q&A interview with English on Sunday (which we have yet to find the time to watch), Tracy Watkins blogs about the apparent split on Stuff. She begins:
There is more than a bit of the dour Scotsman in Finance Minister Bill English. So is he just acting according to type by being more pessimistic than his boss John Key about how aggressively the country can emerge from recession? Or does it point to a more serious split over the size and shape of the Government's policy response?
On TV One's Q&A programme yesterday English openly disagreed with Key's view on the same programme a couple of weeks earlier that New Zealand would be "aggressively" growing out of the recession by early next year.
English's view is that we're unlikely to do so because the recovery will by necessity have to come off the back of exports and savings, rather than readily available credit, as has happened in the past.
She then contrasts this with Key's view:
I spoke to Key after the English interview and he was pretty relaxed about the divergence in their views; he stuck by his own view that the country would start coming out of recession by the end of the year, though he sounded a bit less gung ho than a couple of weeks earlier.
"It's not a perfect science - no one knows. The advice we see from Treasury varies but there is light at the end of the tunnel."
When I put it to him that English was more pessimistic, his response was that their differences were "only at the margins."
"I'm sure he's confident we will get out of it. It's mainly a timing issue.....I'm certainly not prepared to give up on the fact that we may well be growing by 2009."
We especially like the last sentence of Key's comment - that he's not prepared to give up on hope of an early recovery/ Isn't that refreshing? Isn't it good to have our leader preaching a message of positivity rather than doom and gloom?
And isn't it good that those in the National Party have the freedom to express their opinions, even if they don't necessarily tally with those of the leader? After nine years of Helen Clark's vice-like grip on power and policy, we reckon that a free exchange of views is actually a good thing!