The abortion debate that pulled in National’s leader Christopher Luxon appeared to kick back off on breakfast television this morning.
Newshub’s AM featured a political panel of Labour minister Michael Wood and National MP Erica Stanford.
Topics canvassed were, predictably, focused on this week’s cost of living botch-up along with yesterday’s tax tit for tat (which you can read a lot more about in today’s edition of The Bulletin).
When discussing National’s perceived double backtrack on tax policy, Wood made a carefully considered political play: he suggested that if you can’t trust National to stick to its tax policy, you can’t be sure it won’t circle back on its abortion stance either.
“If you can’t trust them to keep a straight position on this, how can you trust them on issues like abortion,” he said.
The abortion debate threatened to bring down Luxon back in the wake of the devastating Roe v Wade ruling back in June. At the time, Luxon allowed his personal “pro-life” views to interfere with his claim that National would not alter New Zealand’s current abortion laws. He reiterated that point numerous times, but it didn’t seem to stick with the media.
Writing for the NZ Herald, right-leaning political pundit Matthew Hooton said that while the abortion debate did little to damage Luxon’s overall credibility, a series of recent gaffes have proven he’s no John Key or Jacinda Ardern. “Labour is raising fears about Luxon to hold on to and attract back support,” he wrote.
While it was eventually settled that National wouldn’t play around with our abortion laws should it win next year’s election, Wood’s comment today showed that Labour knows it’s an issue they have the upper hand on – and they’re happy to restart the debate for political gain.