Millionaire behind Christopher Luxon PM ad revealed

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 25 June 2019, 11:14AM
The controversial ad caught the National Party off-guard. (Image/File)
The controversial ad caught the National Party off-guard. (Image/File)

The man behind an advertisement trumpeting Christopher Luxon as the future leader of the National Party was bankrolled by a businessman who became a self-made millionaire at 19.

The ad, which features John Key morphing into outgoing Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon, sparked controversy over the weekend, given that Simon Bridges remains the leader of the National party.

After the publication of the ad in the Weekend Herald, the National Party told media that it had nothing to do with it and that it didn't know where it came from.

It has since been revealed that the man behind the ad was Christchurch-based Steve Brooks, a businessman who started working as a real estate agent at the age of 14 and made his first million by 19.

Steve Brooks, 31, made his first million when he was 19 years old. Photo/LinkedIn.

Steve Brooks, 31, made his first million when he was 19 years old. (Photo/LinkedIn.)

In a wide-ranging interview published on the Unfiltered website, Brooks tells fellow entrepreneur Jake Millar that he applied to become a real estate agent at age 14 - the youngest New Zealander to do so at the time.

By the age of 16, he was already making a decent wage selling houses and was able to parlay his growing reputation into his first business, Brooks Homes, which was incorporated in August 2006.

He built on this early momentum and was able to achieve his ambition of making his first million in 2007 at the age of 19.

He would later become an early mover again, starting one of New Zealand's first tax refund firms My Refund in 2008. This business also grew rapidly, as more and more New Zealanders came forward to get the money owed to them.

But Brooks has never limited his efforts to a specific category. His numerous enterprises have spanned hospitality, health and beauty, virtual reality and more.

In recent years, he has also branched out into the lending industry through his firm NZ Fintech, which houses a number of companies, including Moola.

While successful, Moola has also drew the attention of theCommerce Commission which included the firm in its investigation of the lending industry launched last year.

Moola is a prolific advertiser across various forms of media, and Brooks will be no stranger to advertising in print.

His faux National Party ad could, however, have some unintended consequences in that TVNZ reported over the weekend that the Electoral Commission will be taking a close look at whether the ad - particularly the hashtags #Luxon2020 and National 2020 - comply with election advertising rules.

Since Luxon announced his resignation from Air New Zealand last week, there has been widespread speculation that he could join the National Party and perhaps become its leader one day.

While he has admitted that politics would certainly be an option, Luxon has been coy on the exact nature of his plans for the future.

Luxon will step down from day-to-day leadership of the airline on 25 September.

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