Luxon uninterested in 'importing culture wars' into New Zealand

12:35 pm on 29 June 2022

National Party leader Christopher Luxon says he has no interest "importing culture wars" into New Zealand after Roe v Wade was overturned in the US.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon

National leader Christopher Luxon says he is focused on wider issues. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Luxon reiterated abortion laws in New Zealand had been democratically settled after much debate and his party had no intention of revisiting the issue.

Luxon's views on the matter had come under scrutiny as he is known to hold socially conservative and firm religious beliefs on the morality of abortion.

National MP Simon O'Connor at the weekend had served up a mea culpa to his caucus colleagues for a post celebrating the US Supreme Court's decision to take away the constitutional right to abortion and leave it to individual states to decide the law.

O'Connor now admits he caused distress, after he took it down.

Luxon reaffirmed his party's guarantee that there would be no change to the legislation and funding status quo, and that his caucus, which met yesterday, had made that clear.

"Roe v Wade is distressing and it's a real shock and I just want people to understand, whichever party you select for next year, both parties have the same position, which is no change," he told Morning Report.

"I can tell you that the caucus position is critically clear, which is there are going to be no change to abortion laws in our government, period, and that's really, really clear and it's really important that people understand that."

Luxon also said there would be no chance of a National MP tabling a private members bill on the subject either, even though there was no uniformity of opinion on the matter within his party.

"I can tell you that's not going to happen and the reality is that we have a very clear view as a caucus, irrespective of which side of this debate you're on, that actually they are personal views, but the caucus position is really clear.

"You've heard that from people with a range of opinions within our own caucus. You've probably got the same thing happening in the Labour Party."

He said the legislative system operating in the US differed greatly from New Zealand's. The US Supreme Court was able to repeal 50 years of law, whereas abortion laws in New Zealand were voted on in Parliament after public input and consultation.

The Abortion Legislation Act, which took abortion off the Crimes Act and gave women unfettered access to the service within 20 weeks of pregnancy, was passed in March 2020.

Luxon said his priorities lay elsewhere, in achieving outcomes, particularly addressing the cost of living crisis and building the economy.

"When I'm up and down the country, these are not the issues that New Zealanders are talking about," he said.

"I'm not interested in importing cultural wars into New Zealand. We have a much bigger agenda at play, which is that we have a great country, we have to realise our potential. We're heading in the wrong direction."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs