|Parliament of New Zealand|
Maxwell was a member of the Ashburton branch of the Young Nats from 1963. He chaired the Urenui branch of the National Party from 1969, and was the Taranaki electorate chairman from 1977 to 1983. He organised the Taranaki electorate campaigns for the 1978 and 1981 elections for David Spence Thomson.
He was first elected to Parliament in the 1984 election in Taranaki, when he succeeded Thomson. When the National Party won power in the 1990 election, Maxwell became the Minister of Business Development, the Associate Minister of Employment, and the Associate Minister of Immigration. In 1993, he became the (full) Minister of Immigration.
In the 1996 election, the Taranaki electorate was merged with the King Country electorate, and the combined Taranaki-King Country electorate was taken by King Country MP (and Prime Minister) Jim Bolger; Maxwell instead contested the New Plymouth electorate, but was defeated by Labour's Harry Duynhoven. Maxwell remained in Parliament as a list MP, but lost his ministerial portfolios in the reshuffle made necessary by National's coalition with New Zealand First. He retired at the 1999 election.
- Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. p. 333. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. pp. 219, 240. OCLC 154283103.
|New Zealand Parliament|
David Spence Thomson
|Member of Parliament for Taranaki