National Party leader Christopher Luxon says he’s not going to apologise for his success.
The fact that he owned seven properties was due to his prosperous corporate career, Luxon told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.
“No doubt I was successful in the commercial world and I was paid well and frankly, I think the public sort of get that.”
Luxon also addressed those who questioned his suitability for a role in Government, due to his wealth.
“I think Parliament’s about having representation from all of New Zealand isn’t it?”
The National Party had been run “in a very dysfunctional way for the last four years,” and now was the time for strong leadership – a quality Luxon said he had vast experience with.
He had built teams and culture and “got results and achieved things” through his corporate career and he was ready to apply these lessons to his new role, Luxon said.
“That’s what I came to Parliament to do.”
Having only started his political career in 2020 was also a plus, as it meant a fresh start for National, free from distraction.
“I don’t have the baggage of the past as well so let’s turn the page – hard reset – and get the National Party back and focused on this Government rather than ourselves.”
Mackay asked if this included former leader Judith Collins.
“What I’ve said to everybody is we have to hard reset and actually trust each other and either you’re up for it or your not.”
Starting with “100 per cent trust” meant there was a “role for everybody” which included former leaders such as Collins, Simon Bridges and Todd Muller, Luxon said.
“They have got skills and it’s about hooking them up to the challenges and their portfolios.”
Luxon said he thought people would be impressed when he announced his “top team” on Monday.
“We’ve got all the talent, we’ve got all the skills we’ve got all the experience, all the competence and the horsepower we need.
“We just haven’t been able to hook them up and get them to play as a team – and that’s really my job.”
He was also proud of his “outstanding” rural representation, with “relational” agriculture spokeswoman Barbara Kuriger and Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds who “says it as it is”, along with Ian McKelvie and Nicola Grigg.
“We’ve got actually a really strong rural caucus and again we want to make sure that that voice comes through really strongly because, to be honest farmers have been taken for granted.
“Farmers are not villains.”
Luxon said farming shouldn’t be included in the ETS, measurements for methane should be different and farmers should get recognition for planting native trees.
Mackay asked Luxon where he stood on carbon farming, as he was the former chief executive of Air New Zealand, which encouraged planting trees for carbon credits.
“Beef and lamb farms being converted into plantation forestry is a real challenge but some of the incentives are driving that behaviour around offsetting.
“That’s the sort of stuff that we’ve really go to get into and put a big brain to, to clarify and articulate our position incredibly strongly about that.”
Also in today’s interview: Luxon talked about how he would tackle the economy and revealed his favourite US president, along with his most admired UK and New Zealand Prime Minister.
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