Chris was born and raised in Wellington. He was educated at Saint Patrick’s College Wellington and then at Victoria University where he graduated with degrees in Latin and Law. He completed his LLM in 1984.
After 25 years in two major Wellington law firms and then at the Bar, Chris entered parliament in 2005. After the National party victory in 2008, he was appointed Attorney-General, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Minister for Culture and Heritage. He retained those portfolios after the 2011 election and was also made associate Minister for Maori Development. Following the 2014 election he remained Attorney-General and Treaty Minister and was also appointed Minister in charge of the GCSB and the SIS.
Highlights of his 9 year Ministerial career include:
- Signing 59 deeds of settlement with iwi, far more than any previous Minister and a record which will be impossible to beat
- Reforming the legislation governing the intelligence agencies and securing major increases of funding so that the agencies are well equipped to protect New Zealanders against evils like terrorism and cyber crime.
- Appearing for New Zealand in major international forums like the International Court of Justice on whaling and the U.N Security Council on terrorism.
- Reforming much of the cultural legislation of this country, being responsible for the widely acclaimed New Zealand presence as guest of honour at the Frankfurt book fair in 2013, and being responsible for the World War One commemorations.
In opposition he retains his Attorney-General and Intelligence responsibilities and is now also responsible for commerce which is a very important portfolio covering a variety of issues ranging from intellectual property to competition law. Chris practised in these areas in his previous life as a Barrister.