Hannah Tamaki says she's okay with people being gay because it's their "choice".
The conservative Destiny Church matriarch on Thursday announced she's entering politics as leader of the Coalition NZ party, which she insists won't be just for Christians.
But early indications are the party's policies are likely to be based on Christian values, with Tamaki keen to bolster her religious credentials during an appearance on The AM Show on Friday.
On LGBTQ issues
"God loves all people, but there's only one way to God and that's by receiving Jesus Christ into your life as your personal lord and saviour," she explained to host Duncan Garner. "The Bible actually says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God - not just a specific group of people."
The specific group she was talking about is the LGBTQ community. Her husband, self-described 'apostle' Brian Tamaki, has in the past:
- blamed earthquakes on gays
- backed homophobic rugby star Israel Folau's stance gay people will go to hell, saying they should "take it on the nose"
- called them "cry baby gays"
- campaigned against civil unions and same-sex marriage
- referred to transgender former MP Georgina Beyer as male in his autobiography.
But his wife says she loves gay people.
"That's somebody's choice and it's not my choice," Tamaki told The AM Show.
"I'm a Christian, everyone knows that, and at the end of the day the Bible does say whoever receives Jesus Christ as their lord and saviour, they'll enter in heaven. I'm not God, hey, I'm not God. I never will be - I like to represent God. I'd like to be a person that represents the principles of God."
There is little evidence being gay is a choice, that it can be changed or that upbringing has anything to do with it.
"There is considerably more evidence supporting nonsocial causes of sexual orientation than social causes," a 2016 study concluded, saying the best evidence suggests genetic influences and birth order play the biggest roles.
Tamaki slammed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's decision to take on the responsibility to reduce New Zealand's shocking child poverty statistics.
"I see the Prime Minister appointed herself as the Children Commissioner. I'd actually like to see somebody with experience doing that position. A mother, a grandmother, hey, a great-grandmother."
Ardern is actually the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction - the Children's Commissioner is an appointed role currently held by former Youth Court judge Andrew Becroft.
Ardern is also a mother, having given birth to baby Neve last year - just the second world leader to do so in modern times. But it's not enough, says Tamaki.
"I'm just saying, wouldn't it be better to come from somebody that's got experience on the ground [Instead of] one little baby?"
On Oranga Tamariki's removal of children from dangerous homes
There has been a lot of focus in recent months on the number of children being removed from homes the state has deemed unsuitable for them to live in.
More than half the kids in state care are Māori, which has led to accusations of racism and "snatching babies", which Children's Minister Tracey Martin and Oranga Tamariki boss Grainne Moss have both denied.
- Families whose kids were taken by Oranga Tamariki gather for hui
- Fewer kids going into state care, but they're staying longer
Tamaki said extended families should be given the opportunity to take custody of children removed from their parents, and offered "the same money that you offer to other caregivers".
"How would that hurt?"
But an investigation earlier this year found the majority of children abused while under Oranga Tamariki supervision had been in the care of extended family members.
Tamaki unsurprisingly says she's never smoked marijuana, and doesn't want it made legal.
A non-binding referendum will be held next year on legalising recreational use of the already popular drug, but Tamaki sees it as "a stepping stone in opening the door to a harder drug and ending up on P".
"I'm against drugs. I'm against P. I just think that too many people's lives, too many families are destroyed. And a lot of people are in prison because of that. We need to be checking who is importing this stuff and we start being tougher on the ones, and find out who their associates are, because when they crack and get one lot, another one picks [it] up."
Tamaki says former drug dealers should be given resources to help catch those still importing and selling - and she knows a few.
"Use their networks. I think that some of the people we've saved know some networks. Some of them have been ex-P dealers, so they'd obviously know networks. Maybe if they got resource, maybe they'd be able to help. They're not dealers anymore... I think they would."
Tamaki is against euthanasia because she's "pro-life", and believes "opportunities" arise when people have terminal illnesses.
"I hate cancer. My daughter's got breast cancer - she's only 40 and she's had a full mastectomy. I hate cancer. But you know what cancer does? Cancer gives you the opportunity to love on those people - to laugh with them, to cry with them, to reminisce with them. And I think it's sad to go and switch the button off.
"I don't like it and I will be totally against it."