By 3 News online staff
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says New Zealand has the "most promiscuous young women in the world", and the taxpayer should not be picking up the tab for their contraception.
In an interview with Radio New Zealand this morning, Mr Craig was talking about his views on the Government's plan to offer free contraception to women on benefits.
The scheme will cost around $1 million over the next four years, and makes up only a tiny fraction of the total $287 million cost of the Government's welfare reform package.
Mr Craig said he had no problem with teenage women using contraception, as long as they paid for it themselves.
"Until we get back to the principles of personal responsibility and paying our own way, we will not stop the encroachment and continuing cost of a welfare state which we simply cannot afford even now," Mr Craig told the station.
"Why should, say, a 70-year-old who's had one partner all their life be paying for a young woman to sleep around? We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world. This does nothing to help us at all."
Mr Craig said young Kiwi women were making the "destructive decision" to "constantly" change partners, but also pointed the finger at young men.
"When we are talking about responsibility, I think the ones who are ducking responsibility the most here are the fathers."
Prime Minister rejects Craig's comments on promiscuity
He has since followed up these comments with a statement that "play time is over".
“People need to start picking up the tab for their own choices, otherwise we are never going to turn this thing around," says Mr Craig.
“Too many people have become accustomed to living off the generosity of hardworking New Zealanders. The state has become to them a Mum and Dad, giving them pocket money to go and play. Play time is over, it’s time to get back to work."
Mr Craig's profile has risen in the wake of the John Banks - Kim Dotcom donation scandal. Mr Banks' Epsom seat could be up for grabs if he is forced to resign, and Mr Craig has indicated he would be interested in standing in any potential by-election.
At the 2011 election, the Conservative Party got 2.65 percent of the vote – more than twice that of Mr Banks' party, ACT – but didn't win an electorate, so was shut out of Parliament.
National has not ruled out working with Mr Craig, who has not ruled out supporting the Government, despite his opposition to asset sales.
Current coalition partner Peter Dunne says National will "destroy itself" if it formed a partnership with the Conservative Party, calling them "seriously extreme and nutty" on his Twitter account this morning.