Judith Collins can protest all she likes, but those who say she is politicising her faith are on the money. She absolutely is.
It might be going a bit far to say she orchestrated an opportunity for the media to take photos of her praying, but I think we can say she absolutely spotted that opportunity and seized it. She used it to ram home a message she’d been trying to get out for a week and half.
She raised her Christianity unprompted in both leaders debates, she apparently raised it at a Grey Power meeting in Nelson and then, what a coincidence, she got photographed praying.
Goes without saying, this is obviously designed to win votes, most probably by drawing over voters from the New Conservatives who pitch themselves as based on Judeo-Christian principles and are polling around one and a half to two percent. Those points could really help the National party.
This doesn’t sit entirely comfortably though. For National, it runs the risk of spooking liberal, secular voters. Already, the National party are heavily stacked with Christian MPs and the party has taken a big turn towards being more socially conservative since Simon Bridges’ leadership.
For Judith Collins, it’s not brand enhancing to be appear as calculating as this. It’s calculating to use your religion for gain, and it’s even more calculating to pretend you’re not doing that.