Jamie Mackay was unsure how to address one of The Country's long-term correspondents on today's show, after he was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List this weekend.

However, the newly-knighted Sir William English put Mackay at ease saying, "stick to Bill."

English is modest about his knighthood.

"You don't do the job for the purpose of getting titles ... it's not that important to actually being motivated about the job."

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When looking back on his political career, English was proud to be part of the team that guided the nation through the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), but his main praise is for the New Zealand public.

"Really what got New Zealand through the GFC was the way that everyone across the country buckled down ... everyone got better at their jobs and more productive and that's why the country's in pretty good shape now."

Also in today's interview: Sir William English looks back on his long career from Dipton farm boy, to the Treasury, to local Southland MP, to Minister of Finance, to Prime Minister to Knight.

Listen below: