National leadership hopeful Mark Mitchell on gay marriage and war

  • 20/02/2018

National party leadership hopeful Mark Mitchell has spoken about his work before Parliament, and whether he'd rethink his vote against gay marriage.

Mr Mitchell was asked by Duncan Garner on the AM Show why he voted against same-sex marriage legislation in 2013.

He said he was voting on behalf of his electorate.

"I think the legislation now is good, at the time there were some issues around it and there were some issues raised up in my electorate that had to be addressed," he said.

"I always had the view that the people of Rodney, my electorate, voted me in to represent their views and advance their interests in Wellington, in Parliament."

Mr Mitchell said if he voted on the legislation again today, he'd vote for it "without a doubt".

Before entering Parliament in 2011, he worked for the police for thirteen years including in the armed offenders squad and the dog section.

He worked as a security contractor in Iraq and eventually became the CEO of an international private security company.

When asked whether he had killed anyone in Iraq, Mr Mitchell responded:

"When I'm asked this question I always say that in a war there's casualties on both sides. I prefer to leave it at that, but I accept that people will be a bit curious about it."

Mr Mitchell has five children and is married to Peggy Bourne, the widow of rally driver Possum Bourne.

The 57-member National Party caucus will decide on the new leadership next Tuesday, the day that Bill English vacates the roll and leaves Parliament.