Wright joined the Social Credit Party in 1977, and was part of the conference in 1985 that turned the group into the Democratic Party. He was the Democratic candidate for Rangiora in the 1990 elections. In 1991, he became leader of the Democrats.
When the Democrats joined with three other parties to found the Alliance, Wright was active in building up the new organisation. He stood unsuccessfully for the Alliance in the Rangiora seat in the 1993 election, and then in the 1994 Selwyn by-election. In the 1996 election, the first conducted under the MMP system, Wright was elected to Parliament as a list MP, having been ranked in fourth place on the Alliance list. By this time, he was leader of the Democrats. He returned to Parliament in the 1999 elections, and when the Alliance formed a coalition government with the larger Labour Party, Wright was appointed to a Parliamentary Undersecretary's role.
In 2002, the Alliance began to collapse, with a rift opening between Parliamentary leader Jim Anderton and the organizational wing, led by Matt McCarten. When Anderton left the Alliance to establish a new party, the Progressive Coalition, the Democrats (including Wright) followed him. In the 2002 elections, Wright was ranked in fourth place on the Progressive list, behind Anderton, Matt Robson, and new Democratic Party leader Grant Gillon. but as the party only won enough votes for two seats, Wright did not remain in Parliament.
Later, when the Democrats opted to split from the Progressives, Wright opposed the decision. He eventually opted to leave the Democrats in order to remain with the Progressives, and was joined by Gillon. He remained a member of the Progressives until the movement's dissolution in January 2012. After he failed to retain his seat at the 2002 and 2005 elections, Wright was forced to take on a job at a Panel-beaters until he was appointed a Member of the Transit board in 2005. During this time Wright had commented to Tracy Watkins, a Fairfax Media Reporter that although he had a cabinet full of $1000 suits the only clothes he actually needed were a $12 pair of Warehouse overalls. As of 2015, Wright no longer sits on the merged New Zealand Transport Agency Board and his current activities are unknown.