Debating the issue of gay marriage, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has gone a step beyond his claim that being gay is a choice - saying it's often the result of abuse as a child.
Mr Craig appeared on TV3's The Nation programme on Saturday alongside Labour MP Louisa Wall, whose marriage equality bill will soon be debated in parliament.
Mr Craig, who failed to gain enough votes to make it into parliament at last year's election, supports NZ First's call for a referendum on the issue - saying "all New Zealanders are stakeholders" in it.
"If we're going to change it, it's got to be something that has the support of New Zealanders through a referendum.
"I think the majority of New Zealanders still want marriage to be man and woman but the majority of New Zealanders think civil unions has done the job."
Mr Craig said he does not believe people are born gay, and it's more likely a choice.
"There's statistics around some of these things, so for homosexual men, they are statistically far more likely to have suffered child abuses as a child, and that's one of the tragedies about our country," he said.
"[Abuse] certainly can make a difference in someone's choices in life. There's no question about that in my mind."
"Role modelling, the people you get involved with, the type of relationship, the type of life you live. All of these things are inputs into our choices."
Ms Wall, who constantly interrupted Mr Craig during the discussion, says her bill is a human rights issue.
"Marriage is a human right and so what my bill seeks to do is to allow two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, to marry within the institution of love that marriage is."She says if enough MPs vote for her bill at its first reading, so it can progress to a select committee, then the public will get to have its say on the issue - without a costly referendum.
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