Election 2023: Christopher Luxon makes stance on abolishing abortion rights, Māori wards clear

National Party leader Christopher Luxon has made clear his stance on abortion rights and Māori wards as other parties squabble over who they wouldn't work with and why after the election.

Luxon spoke to media on Sunday after Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins ruled out working with New Zealand First and the ACT Party as coalition partners after the 2023 general election. Hipkins said the Opposition parties were trying to divide the country, whereas he believed unity was the way forward.

"The National, ACT, New Zealand First coalition of cuts, chaos and confusion hold a compilation of views I think would alienate large sections of our society. Not just economically, but to their sense of belonging too," he said.

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Asked if National would consider working with New Zealand First, Luxon said it "hasn't been a consideration" for him because they're currently not in Parliament and not above the 5 percent threshold to get in.

He was then asked if he would repeal Māori wards, which ACT leader David Seymour has said his party would do. Seymour would "scrap race-based representation altogether" in local government and "re-establish one person, one vote" in local elections, he said earlier on Sunday.

"That's been our view and our position [that we would repeal Māori wards]," Luxon said.

"Our position is that we are one country, we have a democracy where it's one person, one vote, so we've opposed that through the course of the last Parliament. We don't believe that that's fair or democratic."

He was also asked about whether abortion access would change under a National Government. Luxon's abortion stance has long been talked about during his time in politics due to his personal pro-life stance. 

Luxon confirmed he'd still "absolutely" sooner resign than change abortion access.

"There'll be no change to any of our abortion laws, funding or access - I've been really clear about that. That is not our focus," he said. 

"In Government, we need to be focused on rebuilding this economy, we need to make sure we restore law and order, deliver better health and education."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was critical of Hipkins ruling out working with him, saying the Labour leader's comments were old and not breaking news.

"It seems that Mr Hipkins is in some sort of time warp. He has taken over a year and a half to finally read my speeches back to me - via a press conference with the media," Peters said at a meeting in New Plymouth. 

"He's announcing something that everybody already knows, which is that New Zealand First has already ruled out going into any form of government with Labour - because of their racist separatist policies."

Seymour was also quick to launch a scathing attack on Hipkins and his speech, saying he'd started a "campaign of fear". 

He described Labour as a "disaster" for New Zealand with "out of control" inflation, a culture of lawlessness, and division based on race.

He also hit out at Hipkins for "mischaracterising" ACT and called on the Labour leader to allow "honest, healthy" debate at October's election.

"In response to questions about Labour's low polling recently, Hipkins said 'we're going to fight back' and we've now seen what he means - fear-mongering, attacking and mischaracterising ACT," Seymour said.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll released earlier this month showed Labour heading downwards and National and ACT had the numbers to comfortably form a Government.