New Zealand Opposition Elects Former Air New Zealand Chief as Leader

11/29/2021 | 10:34pm

By Stephen Wright

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--New Zealand's opposition National Party has elected a former Air New Zealand Ltd. chief executive as leader as it seeks to regain relevance after being sidelined by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The center-right National Party said Tuesday that it had elected first-term lawmaker Christopher Luxon as leader and Nicola Willis as deputy leader. Mr. Luxon replaces Judith Collins, who was ousted last week after an internal party struggle with one of her predecessors.

The National Party has had a succession of leaders during the pandemic as it struggled to score political points against Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's initially popular zero Covid-19 policy. Ms. Ardern's Labour Party secured a landslide election victory in October 2020, allowing it to govern alone instead of through a coalition, which usually prevails in New Zealand politics.

Mr. Luxon was appointed chief executive of Air New Zealand in 2011 and was elected to parliament for the first time in 2020. Prior to Air New Zealand, he was an executive at Unilever PLC for nearly two decades in New Zealand and overseas.

"We believe New Zealanders need a government of action, not rhetoric," he said in a statement. "I came to politics because I know how to solve problems and get things done."

Write to Stephen Wright at stephen.wright@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-29-21 2234ET

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