Christopher Luxon


Christopher Luxon became New Zealand’s 42nd prime minister after serving one of the shortest political apprenticeships in the country’s history. He entered Parliament in 2020, winning the safe Auckland seat of Botany, and became party leader in November 2021. In comparison, John Key spent six years in Parliament before becoming prime minister, and Jacinda Ardern nine.

Luxon was born in Christchurch and raised in Auckland. He completed a Master of Commerce degree at the University of Canterbury and from 1993 worked for the multinational company Unilever in Wellington, Sydney, London and Chicago before becoming CEO of the company’s Canadian operation, based in Toronto. He returned home to join Air New Zealand in 2011 and the following year became its CEO, traditionally a high-profile role in New Zealand business.

After becoming National leader Luxon stabilised a previously fractious caucus and steadily improved the party’s polling, closing the gap to Labour and then edging ahead in mid-2022. At the 2023 general election National secured 38% of the vote to Labour’s 27%. Luxon then negotiated a three-way coalition agreement with the New Zealand First and ACT parties, which together held 68 of the 123 seats in Parliament. In a novel arrangement, the leaders of the two smaller parties, Winston Peters and David Seymour, would each hold the deputy prime minister role for half of the parliamentary term.

By Neill Atkinson

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