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Christopher Luxon - New Zealand PM candidate-banner.jpg
Christopher Luxon - New Zealand PM candidate.jpg

Christian opposition leader tops PM polls in New Zealand election

by Reuters Journalist

Political newcomer Christopher Luxon, who's a Christian, is the front-runner to become New Zealand’s prime minister ahead of this weekend's general election.

The 53-yr old former businessman entered the political scene three years ago as part of the opposition National Party, which was pulverised by Labour under the charismatic Jacinda Ardern.

In a largely secular country, the millionaire, who hails from Christchurch, has defended his Christian faith and his anti-abortion stance. He has committed to abortion law reform which saw abortion legalised in 2020.

Luxon had a successful run as chief executive of Air New Zealand. He also worked at Unilever before going into politics, spending much of his corporate life working in Australia, North America and Britain.

He's run his 2023 election campaign with a focus on the cost-of-living, saying getting inflation under control was his "number one task".

Luxon has pledged to reduce taxes, cut government debt, boost childcare and narrow the central bank's mandate to targeting 1 per cent - 3 per cent inflation, as well as removing employment and housing goals.

The National's agenda under Luxon also includes going hard on crime and pushing back on a scheme to reduce agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases.

His center-right party is expected to emerge as the largest party on Saturday, after which he'll need to form a coalition government.

An opinion poll released on 25th September showed that National was ahead of current Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' Labour by 31.9 per cent to 26.5 per cent.

Early voting opened at the beginning of October, two weeks ahead of Saturday's election.

(with additional reporting by Premier News)

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