Northcote has just voted in Dan Bidois as its new electorate MP. Just recently, Dan said he supports keeping New Zealand's abortion laws as they are. On this, he is in lockstep with his leader. In 2011, Simon Bridges voted for an anti-abortion, pro-abstinence doctor to be appointed to the Abortion Supervisory Committee. His side was unsuccessful.

In 2017, in a major party Leaders' Debate against Bill English, Jacinda Ardern said that she wanted to see abortion taken out of the Crimes Act. The Law Commission is reviewing it.

Bridges is the leader of the National Party in the year 2018. He was pitched as the "generational change" candidate in the race to replace Bill English. In the year 2018, the leader of the National Party, who represents generational change is loath to take abortion out of the crimes act.

National Party leader Simon Bridges. Photo / Doug Sherring
National Party leader Simon Bridges. Photo / Doug Sherring

After he made his comments about being "loath" to remove abortion from the Crimes Act he was asked to elaborate, and he doubled down. He said to Morning Report's Susie Ferguson: "I have not seen the case for change in this area. Overall, I think the regime we have for abortions is working well."

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The regime we currently have for abortions in New Zealand that Bridges thinks is working well, is that it's a crime, unless two doctors sign off that the pregnancy poses a danger to the pregnant person's life, physical or mental health, or if there is a risk of the foetus being "seriously handicapped" if the pregnancy is continued. This causes people to lie to get an abortion. It causes physicians to enable those lies to make the abortion legal. Because if that didn't happen, the abortion would be a crime, and the maximum prison sentence for procuring an abortion under the Crimes Act is fourteen years.

Fourteen years.

There are other things in the Crimes Act that carry with them a maximum sentence of fourteen years. These include kidnapping, sexual connection with a child under 12, and attempted murder.

Under the Crimes Act these all carry the same maximum prison sentence as procuring an abortion in a regime that Bridges is loath to change because he thinks that overall it is working well.

There are some crimes in the Crimes Act that have a maximum sentence of 10 years. These include sexual connection with a child under 16, ill treatment of a child or vulnerable adult, and sexual exploitation of person with significant impairment.

Those crimes all carry a lesser maximum sentence than procuring an abortion in New Zealand under a regime that the leader of the National Party, in 2018, thinks overall is working well and is loath to change.

There is a different crime in the Crimes Act that carries with it a maximum sentence of seven years which is half the maximum sentence that procuring an abortion in New Zealand carries. That crime is "Bribery of Minister". This makes me think that if National was in Government and you wanted an abortion you would be better off trying to bribe Simon into making abortion legal than you would procuring an abortion. By seven years.

Bridges, the leader of the National Party, potential Prime Minister, and former Crown prosecutor has said that he has not seen a case for change to our abortion law. He thinks that overall the regime we have for abortions is working well. He is loath to take it out of the Crimes Act.

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Simon Bridges is wrong.

David Cormack is the co-founder of communications and PR firm, Draper Cormack Group. He has worked for the Labour Party, the Green Party and for National.

David Cormack.
David Cormack.