Ignoring demands (if he heard any of them) to immediatelyjump up and down, express indignation and somehow do something about the US immigration furore Bill English waited until this afternoon to comment.
The prime minister says he disagrees with the United States’ entry restrictions on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, but has not made his views known to President Donald Trump.
Mr English has been under mounting pressure to condemn Mr Trump’s immigration order.
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy this morning urged him to make a statement – “if anything to assure the Muslim New Zealanders living in New Zealand that we’re going to look after them”.
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei told Morning Report the order was “grossly unjust” and Mr English needed to join other country leaders and show “moral leadership”.
Many on social media joined the demands for a rapid response from English, regardless of it’s futility.
Bill English said today he would not implement such a ban in New Zealand and disagreed with it, but he had not been in touch with Mr Trump to make his views clear.
“We wouldn’t implement the kind of policy that is being implemented and we don’t agree with it.”
When asked why he had not criticised Mr Trump’s order, Mr English said, “I just have”.
“We’re not being meek at all. President Trump has got to deal with his own issues and his own election promises.”
“We don’t agree with the policy. We have to yet to see just what turns out to be the long-term policy for the US, because this is a temporary measure.”
“It does appear to have created some real chaos in the short term.”
Discrimination was “not the New Zealand way”.
When asked if Mr Trump was “a bigot”, Mr English said it was “for others to decide”.
“It’s not our job to tell them how to run their country.”
There’s nothing New Zealand can do about the US immigration issues.
Labour leader Andrew Little said he expected a stronger response from the Government.
What Little, Turei and others don’t seem to understand is what it’s like being in a position of governmental responsibility. Barking at selected international passing cars with zero bite won’t achieve anything except risk getting offside with other countries.
It’s similar to the demands of others for a particular response from the Government on the UN vote on Israeli settlements.
There’s a bit more to international diplomacy, especially successful diplomacy, than jumping and shouting at the behest of people and groups who don’t have to think about or deal with any repercussions.
There’s absolutely nothing New Zealand can do about the current US immigration policy changes.
What Little and Turei seem intent on is trying to embarrass English as part of the election campaign they have just launched.
A strong leader knows when to keep their mouths shut, and when it’s appropriate to say something.