National leader Judith Collins spoke to her maker before casting her ballot, but refused to share what was discussed.
Collins and her husband David Wong Tung cast their advance votes at a polling station at St Thomas Church in Tāmaki this morning, ahead of the 17 October election.
National’s leader said her choice to vote “two ticks National” was very easy. She also voted in favour of the End of Life Choice Bill and against the legislation of cannabis.
As she arrived at the polling station, Collins was asked by the church’s priest if she would like to say a prayer before voting, to which she replied “what a good idea”.
When later asked by reporters about her brief prayer, Collins said the media had not asked if they could follow her, but she “didn’t want to make a fuss”.
Collins said she was very “comfortable” going to church and sometimes visits one on Sundays, “but not always”.
“I pray every day,” she added.
In recent weeks, Collins’ references to her religion have notably increased. She has mentioned in both televised leaders’ debates “I’m a Christian and a feminist”.
Collins was asked if she was doing this intentionally to attract right-leaning voters who may support parties like the New Conservatives.
She stressed that her faith was not new.
“If you look at my maiden speech 18 years ago, you’ll see that right then, there I declared that I believe in God. I still do.”
Collins said she was raised an Anglican and baptised in the Church of England. She also attended Sunday school and Bible class.
“For me, it is inherently part of who I am,” Collins said.
‘Rather sad’ if Collins using faith to sell policy – Peters
Winston Peters was welcoming of Collins’ faith but critical of her approach.
He said he did not know until recently that she was religious.
“But I”m glad she is. She’s had a Damascus experience, clearly, but I’m pleased to see that because it might be in the future – as it wasn’t in the past – reflected in her policies.
“As a true believer myself and as someone that’s understood the values and the need for Christian beliefs.”
He said she should not be using the church to portray her politics, however.
“It’s in the good book – Jesus said ‘render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’. That is a separation of government from religion as clear as anything, in the Bible.
“If someone is using the church to sell their politics then that is rather sad.”
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