Luxon: Country music, water skiing and 'not John Key'

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Country music, water skiing, and he's not Sir John Key. That's the picture National's new leader Christopher Luxon painted at his first media conference after being elected into the top job.

A week certainly is a long time in politics. It was only last Wednesday Judith Collins' late-night press release turned the party upside down. Simon Bridges came out swinging the next morning, and by the afternoon Collins was gone as leader.

Now, the former Air NZ boss is the country's newest Opposition leader, vowing to "lead a government-in-waiting".

In his first speech as leader, Luxon told of his love for water skiing and country music.

"My parents and my wife call me Christopher, my brothers and my friends call me Chris, and a lot of other people call me CML.

"I'm a wannabe DIY guy, I spend too much time at Bunnings. I'm an extrovert, and fundamentally I know how to lead people and how to lead teams."

He made a point to differentiate himself from National's former leader, a man close to both him and Nicola Willis.

"I'm not John Key, I'm Christopher Luxon."

Next to him stood Willis, National's new deputy, tasked with bringing the experience to the leadership team.

Willis described herself as having a hard head and a soft heart.

About Christopher Luxon

Luxon won the seat of Botany off former National MP Jami-Lee Ross at last year's election.

Luxon is publicly close with former PM Sir John Key, who referred to Luxon as a “world-class candidate” in 2019.

He grew up in Christchurch and Auckland, and previously said he was against euthanasia and abortion, however he added the views of his constituents on those issues were important.

Today he said his faith had often been misrepresented and that it had grounded him.

“We have separation between politics and faith. I am here to represent all New Zealanders, not just people of one faith.”

He was CEO of Air NZ when it returned record profits, and also when the controversial Saudi deal was signed.

Luxon said in February that he had "no recollection" and was surprised to find out a business unit at the airline had helped the Saudi Arabian military by repairing engines on Saudi navy vessels.

About Nicola Willis

Willis came to Parliament in 2018, with Sir John Key making a special trip to Parliament to hear Maiden Speech.

In it, she paid homage to Kiwi parents, farmers, and her feminist great-great-grandfather.

Before becoming an MP, she held senior management roles in Fonterra and was a senior advisor to former Prime Minister Sir John Key.

As National’s housing spokesperson, Willis was most recently criticising the Government for Kāinga Ora’s no-evictions stance for state houses.

She voted to support abortion law reform and end of life choice.