New National Party leader Christopher Luxon, who describes himself as "pro-life", has ruled out changing abortion laws in New Zealand if he becomes Prime Minister.
Luxon, who ascended to the top job on Tuesday following a hellish week (and few years) for the political party, is a social conservative and Christian. When he was first selected for the Botany electorate ahead of the 2020 election, he told Newshub he was against legalising cannabis and euthanasia and was not in support of the Government's abortion reforms which passed last term.
Asked about his view on abortion on The AM Show on Wednesday, Luxon described his perspective as "pro-life", which is defined as being opposed to abortion. Pro-life advocates argue the right to life and the value of a human life is sacred and must be protected.
Luxon said his view would be balanced out by his deputy, Nicola Willis, a Wellington liberal.
"I held a view that it's a pro-life decision. If you look at my colleague and my friend, Nicola Willis, she has a pro-choice decision. I think the reality is there are New Zealanders who have those views, pro-life or pro-choice. We can hold different views and be respectful of each other as a consequence."
The leader wouldn't discuss whether he believed abortion was murder, but he was happy to rule out legislative changes around abortion should National form Government with him as Prime Minister.
"Absolutely. That was settled in the last Parliament, and that's settled."
Abortion was removed from the Crimes Act in Parliament last year after a conscience vote of 68 lawmakers in favour and 51 opposed.
The change means women no longer have to use a loophole to have an abortion. Services are now available to individuals not more than 20 weeks pregnant without a test, while health practitioners can provide abortion services to someone over that threshold if they believe it is clinically appropriate and have consulted with another professional.
While Luxon wasn't in Parliament during that vote, earlier in 2021, he voted against a Members' Bill from Labour's Lousia Wall to set up safe areas around specific abortion facilities. It passed its first reading without his support.
After becoming leader on Tuesday, Luxon said his faith was "often misrepresented and portrayed very negatively".
"My faith is actually something that has grounded me. It has given me context and put into context something bigger than myself. But I want to be very clear. We have separation between politics and faith. People shouldn't be selecting a MP because of their MP and they shouldn't not be selecting a MP because of their faith. I am here to represent all New Zealanders, not just people of one faith or one interest."
Overnight, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand put out a statement saying Luxon's views "are not representative of the values of mainstream New Zealanders, who overwhelmingly supported reform".