Nathan entered Parliament as a List MP in 2005 and was elected National's Junior Whip in 2006. He was promoted to Senior Whip in early 2008 and retained this position following the 2008 general election when he won the Otaki seat incorporating the Kapiti and Horowhenua Districts.
In June 2009 he was appointed as the Minister of Internal Affairs, and also served as Associate Minister of Justice, Associate Minister of Transport and the Minister responsible for the National Library and Archives New Zealand.
In 2011 Nathan won the seat of Otaki with an increased majority and was appointed to Cabinet as the Minister of Immigration, Racing, Veterans’ Affairs and Associate Minister of Primary Industries. In January 2013 he became the Minister of Primary Industries, and retained the Racing portfolio.
Before entering Parliament, Nathan was involved in farming and local government. He served for eight years on the Horowhenua District Council and managed the family dairy farm. In 2000 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study beef exports to the United States.
He is married to Erica and has three children.
‘The Otaki Electorate combines the districts of Horowhenua and Kapiti, stretching from Paraparaumu to Tokomaru and containing a diverse mix of people and communities.’ (Maiden Speech, 2005)
The two districts that make up the Otaki Electorate are quite distinct. The northern district of Horowhenua contains rich farmland centred on the township of Levin, and encompasses the Foxton, Waitarere, Shannon and Tokomaru communities. The southern Kapiti Coast district includes Paraparaumu, Waikanae together with the electorate’s heart, bustling shoppers’ destination, Otaki.
The history of the Otaki region is a rich combination of Maori culture, early colonial settlements and the ongoing development of an extensive farming sector. It is within commuting distance of the Capital, Wellington and Palmerston North. The Electorate is known for abundant agricultural and horticultural development, a growing manufacturing sector and a comparatively high population of over 65s.