Judith Collins says she’ll “wait to see how things go” before deciding whether National would work with the New Conservative Party as she cast an early vote in Auckland today.
The National leader visited St Thomas in Tāmaki and prayed in the chapel before casting her vote. The Tāmaki electorate, where Collins lives, is currently held by National MP Simon O'Connor.
"It was a really easy choice - two ticks blue,” Collins said afterwards.
“I voted for the End of Life Choice Bill and against cannabis for recreational sale and use.”
Collins, who had publicly referenced her faith on numerous occasions in the past week, denied that she was signalling to New Conservative voters that they had a home in the National Party.
When asked whether National could work with the New Conservative Party, she said: “I don't know that they'll be around and I don't want to make any assumptions based on that.
“I think people will decide what they want, but I’ve ruled out, obviously, the Advance [New Zealand] Party.
“We'll just wait to see how things go. We haven't seen the New Conservatives or that sort of party come into Parliament that I can think of in my time in politics, so I'm not sure that they'll be in Parliament.”
On Thursday, Collins was asked if she could rule out working with the New Conservatives.
"I don't think that's going to be a problem," she said.
"I think we'll be fine."
But today, Collins once again ruled out National working with the Greens.
“They've always ruled us out so it seems a little bit pointless to go and ask someone to dance if they don't want to dance back.”
Collins said religion was “inherently” a part of who she was.
“I declared that I believe in God. I still do,” she said of her maiden speech.
In 2002, she said in her maiden speech: “I believe in God, and I believe that every human being is created with free will to do either good or evil.”
Collins said the media didn’t ask if they could enter the chapel with her, but she “didn’t want to make a fuss”.
“I'm very comfortable going into a church but I wouldn't want to stop you coming into a church, because I think it's a good thing for everyone.”
She said she prayed “every day” and “sometimes” went to church on Sundays, but “not always”.