Ex-Air NZ boss Christopher Luxon confirms desire to run for Parliament with National

Former Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon has put his hat in the ring to become National’s candidate for the controversial seat of Botany – independent MP Jami-Lee Ross’ current electorate.

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The much-speculated move was confirmed during an exclusive interview today with 1 NEWS political reporter Jessica Mutch McKay. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Luxon told 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay he would be putting his candidate nomination to the National Party for the electorate of Botany, and that he looked forward "to the robust democratic selection process ahead with the local membership".

Despite not living in Botany, Mr Luxon said he grew up in the electorate and still has family ties there.

1 NEWS understands about 60 National Party members will decide on the Botany candidate.

The confirmation comes after Mr Luxon announced his resignation from Air NZ in June – sparking a flurry of speculation of his political intentions.

The move saw Mr Luxon's first appearance with one per cent as preferred Prime Minister in the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll in July.

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Our political editor says it's very interesting Christopher Luxon has been named as a preferred PM in the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll. Source: 1 NEWS

At the time, Mr Luxon said he was interested in joining the National Party when he finished with Air NZ in September. National leader Simon Bridges said National would welcome Mr Luxon with open arms but the party did not have a "clear sense" of his intentions.

The Botany electorate seat for National has been contentious since Mr Ross’ explosive departure from the party last year. Mr Ross resigned from the party last October but remained in Parliament as an independent MP.

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However, the National leader refused to say who called who. Source: 1 NEWS

Short-lived rumours swirled in May this year of the creation of a Christian party lead by senior National MP Alfred Ngaro with the possibility of a deal in Botany. Mr Ngaro decided to stay with National, quashing the prospect.

Mr Ross told 1 NEWS at the time, "I’ve spent the past few months this year knocking on doors in Botany, discussing local issues, helping constituents and getting feedback. I don’t believe Botany can be taken for granted or just gifted away by any political party. I’ll keep working for Botany as its local MP until local people tell me otherwise."

In the 2017 election, Mr Ross took out the electorate with a 12,839 majority. The party vote saw a 60.8 per cent majority for National, with Labour on less than half at 29.2 per cent.