Former Air New Zealand CEO-turned-National MP Christopher Luxon, whose evangelical Protestant Christian faith is widely-known, last night used his maiden address in Parliament to talk about his faith.
The Botany MP, tipped as a potential future leader for the National Party, also gave his vision for the New Zealand of the future as one that marries the efforts of business and Government.
“It seems it has become acceptable to stereotype those who have a Christian faith in public life as being extreme; so I will say a little about my Christian faith,” Luxon said.
“It has anchored me, given my life purpose, and shaped my values, and it puts me in the context of something bigger than myself.
“My faith has a strong influence on who I am and how I relate to people. I see Jesus showing compassion, tolerance, and care for others. He doesn't judge, discriminate, or reject people; he loves unconditionally.”
Luxon said there were a number of examples of Christians throughout history who entered public life and made “a huge difference”, including William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, and Kate Sheppard.
However, his faith was “personal”, he said.
“It is not in itself a political agenda. I believe no religion should dictate to the state, and no politician should use the political platform they have to force their beliefs on others.
“As MPs, we serve the common cause of all New Zealanders; not one religion, not one group, not one interest.
“A person should not be elected because of their faith, nor should they be rejected because of it. Democracy thrives on diverse thinking and different world views.”
He continued by talking about his efforts in business.
Luxon highlighted Air New Zealand’s family violence leave policy, its reducing of its pay equity gap to “zero”, its generous parental leave policy, its work with Māori and Pasifika, and its Rainbow Tick certification.
“Over my career, I've come to believe more and more strongly that successful businesses have a critical responsibility to engage on the economic, the social, and the environmental issues a country faces.
“Making a difference to people's daily lives is a shared responsibility between Government, community, and also business.”
New Zealand is facing a “productivity disease”, economic growth was too heavily-reliant on immigration, and the country needed a “limited yet better” Government, Luxon said.
“I believe in tackling inequality and working hard to find that balance between encouraging hard work and innovation while always ensuring there is social mobility and a safety net.”
He said being elected as an MP was a “privilege” and that he was “proud to be here under the leadership of Judith Collins”.