#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 2°C Thursday 26 November 2020
Advertisement

New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia but not marijuana in referendums

The two referendums represented significant potential changes to New Zealand’s social fabric.

A Christchurch cyclist rides past a sign in support of making marijuana legal
A Christchurch cyclist rides past a sign in support of making marijuana legal
Image: Mark Baker via PA Images

NEW ZEALANDERS HAVE voted to legalise euthanasia in a binding referendum, but preliminary results released today showed they likely would not legalise recreational marijuana use.

With around 83% of votes counted, New Zealanders emphatically endorsed the euthanasia measure, with 65% voting in favour and 34% voting against.

The “No” vote on marijuana was much closer, with 53% voting against legalising the drug for recreational use and 46% voting in favour. That left open a slight chance the measure could still pass once all special votes were counted next week, although it would require a huge swing.

The two referendums represented significant potential changes to New Zealand’s social fabric, although the campaigns for each ended up becoming overshadowed somewhat by the coronavirus pandemic and a parallel political race, in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her liberal Labour Party won a second term in a landslide.

In past elections, special votes — which include those cast by overseas voters — have tended to track more liberal than general votes, giving proponents of marijuana legalisation some hope the measure could still pass.

Proponents of legalising the drug were frustrated Ardern would not reveal how she intended to vote ahead of the 17 October ballot.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Many believed an endorsement by Ardern could have boosted support for the measure, but she said she wanted to leave the decision to New Zealanders.

Ardern said today after the results were released that she had voted in favour of both referendums.

About the author:

Press Association

Read next:

COMMENTS (24)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel