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The former chief executive of Air New Zealand became the party’s chief pilot yesterday afternoon on the vote of his caucus colleagues.
Several hours earlier, past leader Simon Bridges trimmed his ambitions and pulled out of the contest, saying on Twitter he was happy to back Mr Luxon. "He will make a brilliant National leader and prime minister," Mr Bridges tweeted.
The turbulent ride of the last 18 months has taken its toll on National voters, on MPs and on the party as a whole. Everyone will be hoping the advent of a new leadership, and especially the departure of the toxic brand of politics increasingly displayed by former leader Judith Collins, mark a significant turning point in fortunes.
Mr Luxon, the MP for Botany, and newly chosen deputy leader, Wellington-based list MP Nicola Willis, will be the bearers of the "new National Party that New Zealand needs", according to a media release issued by Mr Luxon within minutes of his ascent to the top.
Has National finally struck on a combination that inspires Kiwis, has a good chance of longevity, and contains that "certain something" necessary for success? Politics, as we all know, can be a fickle beast, and things can unravel quickly.
The media release from Mr Luxon also promises "a government of action — not rhetoric". If that comes about it will be a refreshing change from the efforts of many previous governments.
It is also quite a dig at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Labour Government, which is well known for its masterful spin, obfuscation and lack of transparency when it suits.
Mr Luxon’s appointment will be sending a frisson of concern through the Labour camp. There now appears to be a formidable Leader of the Opposition to deal with, one with confidence, who seems likeable and with the common touch, and who has that hard-to-define quality of charisma.
However, National will need to be careful that it doesn’t get carried away with the whole charismatic thing or with thinking Mr Luxon is somehow the next messiah. He is, after all, just another MP.
There will also be residual concerns among some of the National caucus, even if they remain unvoiced, about Mr Luxon’s mateship with ex- National prime minister Sir John Key, a driving force propelling him towards the leadership from day one in Parliament.
Former United Future leader and cabinet minister Peter Dunne hit the nail on the head with his comment that National had to make sure it wasn’t overwhelmed with nostalgia for the Key days.
"You can never go back and can never do the same thing again. Some of them see Luxon as their salvation for that reason. They may well be
Talking to media, Mr Luxon assured the country he was not John Key. He said the 33 members of the National caucus were ready and able to take on their portfolio counterparts on the Government benches.
Mr Luxon becomes leader only 409 days after first being elected. While experienced as a manager and team leader, he needs to prove himself immediately, show he has the caucus wannabes under control and present positive alternatives when criticising the Government.
"We are the reset," he said. "National is back."
It’s too early to say for sure it is. But there does seem to be a palpable sense that National has stepped up a few levels as a credible alternative to the Labour Government.