Openly gay Public and Treaty lawyer James Christmas has been nominated by the National Party Board to stand as a list-only candidate in the 2023 General Election.

“I’m honoured to have been nominated by the Board, and am looking forward to campaigning across New Zealand to help elect a Chris Luxon-led National Government at this year’s election,” says Mr Christmas.

“People across New Zealand are struggling under Labour, with the cost-of-living crisis stretching families’ budgets in every direction, worsening outcomes in health and education and rising crime making people feel unsafe in their own communities.”


“I hope my legal and policy experience can contribute to a National team that will deliver for Kiwis on the issues that matter – like combatting the cost of living crisis, lifting incomes, restoring law and order, and delivering better health and education services.”

National Party President Sylvia Wood says Mr Christmas is an example of the strong talent National is attracting and that his skillset will be highly valued by the National team.

“James’ extensive experience in policy development and the law will make him a valuable addition to the National team, and we’re thrilled to have him join our party list for the 2023 General Election,” says Ms Wood.

“I’m proud of the talent we are selecting across the country. National is building an exceptionally strong team to deliver for New Zealanders well into the future. As a list-only candidate, James has an important contribution to make to that work, and to supporting our Party Vote campaign across New Zealand.”

James Christmas, 37, was raised in Christchurch and educated at Burnside High School.  

He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canterbury, a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts from Victoria University, and was admitted as a lawyer in 2012. He was for five years senior advisor to Attorney-General and Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson KC. He then served as senior advisor to Prime Ministers Sir John Key and Sir Bill English, with particular responsibility for the National Security and Intelligence portfolio. 

Since 2019, James has worked as a lawyer on his own account advising a range of clients across the country. In 2021, he co-authored He Kupu Taurangi: Treaty Settlements and the Future of Aotearoa New Zealand with Christopher Finlayson, which featured on the general non-fiction award longlist at last year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. He is currently writing the biography of former National Party Minister of Justice, Ralph Hanan.

His husband, also from Christchurch, is a senior executive at a Seattle-based technology business.  

He has a long-standing interest in the Arts and served as a trustee of the New Zealand String Quartet from 2017 to 2023.

He will be based in Auckland.