Where Judith Collins stands on cannabis, same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia

Judith Collins has finally seized the reins of power in the National Party after her elevation to the top spot on Tuesday night.

Nicknamed 'Crusher', she's seen as one of the more right-wing MPs in the party with a reputation for supporting hardline law-and-order legislation.

But a look at her record shows some surprising votes for socially liberal policies. Here's a look at her stances on abortion, cannabis, sex work, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

Same-sex marriage

In 2004, Collins voted against the Bill creating civil unions, "not because of any sort of homophobic views" but because it created "a parallel form of marriage".

"This Bill is a sop to gay couples, in which they are being told that they can have second best. That is not good enough. Either people are entitled to look at themselves as married, and to get married, or they are not," she said during the first reading.

"I would be willing to look at how marriage could be extended to other than heterosexual couples. I am not saying that I necessarily support it, but I am happy to look at it. But I cannot support this Bill. It is a dishonest Bill. It is not about truth; it is about the manipulation of words, and the people of New Zealand will not be fooled by this nonsense."

She also voted for the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill in 2005, which would have defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. This failed in its first reading.

In 2013 she voted in favour of a Bill allowing same-sex marriage.

"I've got no problem with it," she told GayNZ.com Daily News, adding she also had "no particular problem" with allowing same-sex couples to legally adopt children.

"There are some issues that need to be dealt with," she said.

"Frankly it would be really nice if we could look at people as human beings rather than be always saying 'you can't do that because you're gay' or whatever."


In 2019, Collins voted yes in favour of the Abortion Legislation Bill which removed abortion from the Crimes Act.

"I will be supporting this Bill, and I will be supporting it not because I am pro-abortion but because I understand the reality of life for many women," she said in a speech before the first reading.

"This is not a pro-abortion move, in my opinion. This is about a reality check. I would personally rather that abortions, if they must occur, occur very early on in a pregnancy. I would much rather have that happen.

"These things happen. We women have dealt with it for generations, for hundreds of years. It is not a nice place for anyone to be with any pregnancy that is unwanted. But I do think we have to understand the reality. We have to support women when they're going through this, and we have to have abortions, if they must be, early - as early as possible - and with the least trauma as possible."

End of Life Choice Bill

In 2019, the Bill legalising voluntary euthanasia passed its final vote in Parliament by 69 to 51. One of those to vote in favour was Collins.

It was a change for Collins. She had voted against the 2003 Death with Dignity Bill and also voted against the End of Life Choice Bill in its first reading.

But then, during a debate on the proposed assisted dying law last year, Collins held back tears as she gave an emotional speech about her father, who died from terminal bone cancer. 

Collins said her father said he was in "terrible pain" in hospital and needed morphine. He was given the morphine, Collins said, and "died without losing his dignity". 

"I have always been opposed to euthanasia as of right on the basis that people like my dad got to essentially tell everybody when they wanted to go - and I thought that was available to everybody... it's not available to everybody.

"It's not available for people like my dad who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and without a family saying, 'You give my dad everything he needs'."

Collins said she used to be opposed to assisted dying, but now believes giving people the choice to die with dignity is the right thing to do.

"I am on the right side now - everybody deserves some dignity in their lives. I would do it again, it's the right thing to do, and it preserved his dignity."


Collins says she has never smoked marijuana, and has been active in sharing health-related cannabis research.

In 2009 Collins voted against Metiria Turei's Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill, which would have allowed cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes.

In 2018, National said it supported the concept of medicinal cannabis and put forward an alternative Bill at the same time as the Green Party's Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill 2018 progressed through Parliament.

The Bill passed its final reading in December that year despite the National Party voting against it.

Appearing on The AM Show in October 2018, Collins declined to say whether she'd be likely to vote in favour of legalising recreational use of marijuana, although she acknowledged that personal use will "probably" end up legalised soon.

"I can see that there's not a lot of point, and police certainly have stopped prosecuting people for possession... There are 70 percent fewer prosecutions than there were 20 years ago...

"The problem is once you say something's decriminalised or it's fine and we're going to have it sold in pharmacies and shops, people think it's okay. We say that with so-called synthetic cannabis - it was actually completely able to be sold in various places, and it just took off.

"We're parents, and we don't to send messages to our kids and other people's kids that something's just perfectly fine. Actually, it's not perfectly fine."

Sex work

In 2003 the Prostitution Reform Act decriminalised sex work in New Zealand.

Collins voted against the Bill - in the second reading saying: "In my opinion, prostitution is rape accompanied by payment - if the prostitute is lucky."