There aren't many rock star chief executives in New Zealand.

Christopher Luxon is one. He's proven he can deliver big commercial results in good and bad times and is politically savvy.

His appointment as the chair of the prime minister's Business Advisory Council is about political pragmatism for Jacinda Ardern. Getting a proven performer in the tent helps bridge what is perceived to be a growing gap between the Beehive and the business community.

Being associated with winners like Luxon and Air New Zealand does no harm, as Ardern would have enjoyed at the Bledisloe Cup triumph on Saturday night.


For Luxon it's a good move too. He's a believer in ''supercharging New Zealand's economy'', a phrase he drops into nearly every presentation and thinks his airline can be at the vanguard of. Even greater access to the Government helps that.

He's led Air New Zealand to record and near-record profits during his time at the top and was approached for the top job at Fonterra.

He's regularly talked about as a possible National Party candidate.

He turned down the Fonterra job (saying then there was more work to do at the airline he's headed since 2013) and for years has cheerfully laughed off suggestions he was eyeing following the John Key track into politics.

He didn't drop everything to stand for Northcote this year as some pundits suggested but Ardern has cleverly reached across the political divide — perceived or real — to get him on board.

The airline has re-thought its relationship with the coalition Government after a sharp flare-up with regional development minister Shane Jones.

Chairman Tony Carter is going next year (and not being replaced by Key which was a possibility in different times) and the airline has enlisted former Labour Party general secretary Andrew Kirton to handle its government and industry affairs.

Luxon is commercially relentless. The airline was in the last year able to squeeze $104 million out of spending and, despite headwinds, increased revenue to hit earnings targets it had promised throughout the previous year.


There's also another dimension. He's a committed Christian and recently joined the board of Christian aid group Tearfund.

It's hard to know how often Luxon will have to roll up his sleeves for the new council — some of these advisory groups are more cosmetic. But extra duties won't be too much of a problem for the 48-year-old who has a formidable appetite for work.

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