A New Conservative candidate says a Handmaid's Tale reference he made after the controversial US Supreme Court ruling on abortion was to mock a "feminist fantasy".
Dieuwe de Boer, the party's 2020 Botany candidate, tweeted the word "soon" along with a screenshot from the Handmaid's Tale - a dystopian television series based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel, in which a totalitarian society named Gilead subjects fertile women to child-bearing slavery.
De Boer made the post after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision that recognised a woman's constitutional right to an abortion and legalised it nationwide.
The screenshot was from season three, episode six of the Handmaid's Tale. It shows hundreds of women lined up near the Washington monument, which has been turned into a giant cross.
In this particular episode, the local handmaids are forced to wear red gags over their mouths to prevent them from speaking - and the protagonist Offred later finds out some have had their lips wired shut.
Newshub asked De Boer if he made the reference because he wanted to see a Gilead-style regime in New Zealand.
"I was very seriously mocking the feminist fantasy that not being able to kill babies in the womb will turn the world into some kind of dystopia that isn't remotely based in Christianity," he said in an email.
The Roe v Wade decision has created a fierce debate between pro-life and pro-choice advocates around the world, and New Zealand isn't immune from the heated discussion.
Earlier on Monday, acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson criticised the National Party after its controversial reaction to the Roe v Wade decision.
National leader Christopher Luxon was forced to condemn a social media post by one of his MPs, Simon O'Connor, which was in favour of the US removing abortion rights.
Luxon is openly pro-life himself but said the Roe v Wade decision was "distressing for many women" and he empathised with them.
But Robertson told AM Luxon was in damage control.
"In the end, what you get here is either a party in Labour who have proactively set about making sure we protect rights or a party in National who is trying to get people to thank them for not taking those rights away," Robertson said.
Luxon has said any future National Government would not revisit New Zealand's current abortion laws, though nearly 70 percent of the party voted against decriminalising it in 2020.
In the US, meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in a historic display of defiance against the overturning of Roe v Wade.
One sexual assault survivor dressed in a Handmaid's Tale costume at a protest in Texas last week.
"I read the book years ago, and I could see that we were going that way," the woman said. "If we don't reinstate the rights, we are going to end up in Gilead in no time."