Chester has been the Whanganui Electorate Member of Parliament since 2005 after working over three elections to build his and the National Party’s profile, and to win the seat from the former Labour Party member.
He says the challenge in 2005 was to “turn it on for the people of the Whanganui Electorate and make the seat safe for National”. He has an electorate office in Whanganui and in Hawera.
With a history in policing and the law, Chester’s policy interests are around Law and Order and Welfare.
He was raised in Nelson and attended Nayland College before entering the Police in 1975 as a 17-year-old Cadet. For 24 years he worked as a uniformed and CIB officer in cities, provincial towns and rural stations before leaving the Police to stand for Parliament in 1999. He attended Victoria University, obtaining an LLB between elections and campaigned again in 2002.
Narrowly beaten a second time, Chester then started work with Till Henderson King as a staff solicitor with a general practice but concentrating on Criminal Law. He finished work in March 2005 to campaign again, this time successfully. Chester draws on this experience in his work in Parliament and the electorate.
While in opposition between 2005 and 2008, Chester was appointed National Party Police Spokesman and as part of the Law and Order Team worked on those policies dealing with Police, Corrections and Justice. This formed a substantive part of the 100 Day Action Plan.
During the 2008-2011 parliamentary term Chester was the Chair of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee and a member of the Social Services Committee.
2011 saw him promoted to Minister for Courts, including responsibilities as Associate Minister of Justice and Associate Minister for Social Development.
Due to his reputation for working a bi-partisan manner across the house, since the 2014 election Chester has been elected Deputy Speaker and is enjoying the role. Chester currently serves on the Primary Production, Maori Affairs and Regulatory Reform Select Committees.
Interests in tramping and canoeing see Chester in the bush or on local rivers and lakes given the opportunity. His love for oil painting has more recently been rediscovered, and on occasion the rare weekend off will produce a new scenic work of art.
He is Patron of Birthright Whanganui and is also involved as a Lay Preacher and Funeral Celebrant in his community.
Chester has been married to Ella for over 30 years and they have three adult children. Spending time with his family is a priority.