Jacinda Ardern committed to abortion law reform, but National's leadership candidates all object

Labour campaigned on reforming New Zealand's 40-year-old abortion laws and remains committed to it, but National's three new leadership contenders all oppose the change.

The Prime Minister has promised to reform New Zealand's abortion laws this parliamentary term, along with two other big social reforms: euthanasia and medicinal cannabis.

"People should be able to exercise their own rights and I as a parliamentarian shouldn't stand in the way of that," Jacinda Ardern said.

New Zealand's abortion law is 40-years-old and is part of the Crimes Act.

To get an abortion women have to see two medical professionals and prove having the baby will cause them mental harm.

But none of the three national leadership contenders are keen on a law change.

"Some people think it's too conservative, some people think it's too liberal, i think it's something this parliament could do well to leave alone,' Judith Collins said.

"Women are getting the help they need in appropriate circumstances the advice I have is they are and that's critical so I'm not in favour of throwing that all up," Amy Adams said.

"It should be rare, safe and legal that would be my position," Simon Bridges said.

But the abortion supervisory committee say it should be treated as a medical, rather than a criminal issue.

And Justice Minister Andrew Little has made steps towards asking the Law Commission to review the current situation.

"The draft referral letter asks them to consider the issue about the criminalising of abortion but also to look at modernising the law," Mr Little said.

The Prime Minister told 1NEWS she hopes any law changes can be made this Parliamentary term.

She also insists there'll be no changes to the time-frame in which women can have an abortion - which is up to 19 weeks.

Any abortion law reform will be a conscience vote in Parliament.

But all three of National's leadership contenders oppose change. Source: 1 NEWS




'You can't move on' - Jacinda Ardern meets with fed up earthquake claimants in Christchurch

Fed up earthquake claimants battling with insurance issues in Christchurch have met face to face with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in what was at times, a heated exchange.

Several dozen protesters, armed with placards, marched from Cranmer Square to the Christchurch Art Gallery this morning.

New Brighton homeowners Mike and Fran Dodge have lived in their damaged house since the quake, but are at a stalemate.

"You're living in a damaged house, you can't sell it. You can't do any maintenance. You can't move on. We've got a broken driveway which is difficult for my wife in a wheelchair. We've got doors that don't close. Our children have gone from ten to twenty living with us grizzling about insurance," he said.

Ms Ardern agreed with protesters that seven years is too long.

"First and foremost, the focus for us is trying to make sure your cases are settled. Because seven years, is just not good enough.”

The government's since launched an independent inquiry into the EQC, and will be establishing an arbitration tribunal to resolve tricky disputes, and create a fund for test cases to clarify major legal advice.

It's also extended the Residential Advisory Service.

Greater Christchurch Minister Megan Woods said it was vital to give people access to help. "We want to make sure that you don't just have access to justice based on your bank balance."

The terms of reference for the EQC inquiry are now out for public consultation. More than 750 people have submitted their views and stories.

More than 2500 claims remain unsettled with the Earthquake Commission alone. Source: 1 NEWS