Live updates: Referendum results and reactions

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The Electoral Commission has released the preliminary results of the end of life choice and cannabis legalisation and control referendums.

The preliminary results are based on the count of ordinary votes cast in advance and on election day and do not include special declaration votes.

Voters were asked, Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?

Preliminary results show that 65.2 per cent of those who voted, voted yes for the End of Life Choise Referendum, while 33.8 per cent of people voted no.

As for the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill, 46.1 per cent voted yes, while 53.1 per cent voted against it.

Voters could choose to vote in one referendum, both or neither. Informal votes are those where voting papers are either not marked or the voter’s intention is not clear.

The official referendum results, which will include special votes, will be released with the official results of the 2020 General Election on Friday, November 6.

On election night, the number of special votes was estimated to be 480,000 (17 per cent of total votes).

Minister of Justice Andrew Little has acknowledged the provisional results of the two referendums voted on in the 2020 General Election.

The End of Life Choice Act has gone through the parliamentary process and has been given Royal Assent, so it will come into effect 12 months from the final results – on 6 November 2021.

Assisted dying remains illegal in New Zealand until 6 November 2021.The Act will be administered by the Ministry of Health.

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill will not be introduced as legislation by the Labour Government this term, says Little.

Subject to the release of the final results on November 6, the incoming government will respect the result of both referendums. This will mean that recreational cannabis use will remain illegal in New Zealand.

Final referendum results are due to be released on Friday 6 November with the official election results.

For more information on the End of Life Choice Act:

Preliminary results of the end of life choice referendum


Votes counted

% of votes

Yes, I support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force



No, I do not support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force



Informal votes



Total votes counted so far




Preliminary results of the cannabis legalisation and control referendum


Votes counted

% of votes

Yes, I support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill



No, I do not support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill



Informal votes



No vote on legalising cannabis welcomed

New Zealand will be healthier, safer and more successful for rejecting the legalisation of recreational cannabis, National’s Drug Reform spokesperson Dr Nick Smith says.

“This is a victory for common sense. Research shows cannabis causes mental health problems, reduced motivation and educational achievement, and increased road and workplace deaths.

“New Zealanders have rightly concluded that legalising recreational cannabis would normalise it, make it more available, increase its use and cause more harm.

“I acknowledge the many academics, medical doctors, school principals and industry groups that spoke out against legalising cannabis, particularly the Nope to Dope campaign.

“I would also like to thank the Ombudsman for requiring the Justice Minister to release the BERL reports on cannabis legalisation that were the pivotal turning point in the campaign.

“Democracy requires that proponents of cannabis legislation like senior Government Ministers and the wider Parliament to respect today’s decision. New Zealanders have so far rejected legalisation of recreational cannabis and signalled opposition to the softening of drug crime.

“The way forward on drug policy is a firm approach on dealers and gangs to restrict supply, increased access to treatment and rehabilitation for users, expansion of specialised drug courts and improved education on drug harm.

“National will continue to work constructively in these areas.”

The preliminary results are available online at

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@ Slim Shady

Posted on 02-11-2020 21:46 | By Yadick

Hey really sorry to hear about your Dad. That is truly sad and traumatic. Definitely brought tears to my eyes. Had to laugh when you said there is no God but used a capital G . . . Yeah I know, predictive texting. Hahaha. I agree that the special votes will bring a very close outcome.


Posted on 01-11-2020 16:33 | By Slim Shady

It would not surprise me at all if the Yes to Cannabis legalisation got over the line with Special Votes. It will be very close.

Not over yet

Posted on 01-11-2020 16:31 | By Slim Shady

Just because alcohol is legal it doesn’t mean cannabis should be. Both are harmful. It’s too late for alcohol. If you were using that as an argument for legalising something that is harmful, then you should just legalise all drugs. With regard to euthanasia, there is no God. End of. Plus, Doctors have been practicing it for years. My father was basically starved to death by Doctors. Sure, they made him “comfortable” as they deprived him of food and water which made his week torturous. I remember being by his bed as a nurse dabbed his lips with a soaked cotton ball as his lips were cracked. Even though his eyes were closed he was aware enough of what was going on that he almost bit her hand off trying to grab the soaked cotton ball he was so parched. It was cruel to watch and unnecessary.

Pleased and Not Pleased

Posted on 31-10-2020 23:03 | By Yadick

I voted against both. Yes I drink red wine (only). If I’m driving it’s strictly 1 glass with food, period. The marijuana, in my opinion, was a big NO. Euthanasia - only God gives and takes a life. That is not our choice. In my opinion, a vote for euthanasia is a vote against biblical principles.

So... I'm legally allowed to kill my grandma

Posted on 31-10-2020 12:34 | By Mein Fuhrer

But I dare not take any cannabis lest I end up in trouble with the Govt. How about let the 1.11 million who voted yes to cannabis, use it, and the 1.25 million who voted no, not use it, and we all carry on with our own personal lives instead of wasting time locking horns with each other and arguing about who is right or wrong.

what about alcohol

Posted on 30-10-2020 17:04 | By Opinion100

Dr Nick Smith, have you done research on the effects alcohol has on common sense?, what about the amount of deaths it causes? also the number of accidents? i see alot of campaigns about weed being bad and it causes this and that but they all also involve alcohol and generally start off with alcohol. alcohol is a far bigger gateway drug then any other substance’s. why not make alcohol illegal it has a bad reputation far worse than weed. every campaign you see has "they were on weed" but they also say they were drunk. so which one was it? the substance who make people less active or the substance that can make people unpredictable? id go with the one that makes people unpredicatable cause alcohol can turn your best friend into your worst enemy in the right situation. weed dont do that!

no more sleeping

Posted on 30-10-2020 16:23 | By hapukafin

All the MPs can now be expected to go to work drug free now.No more excuses for sleeping on the job.

At least we got to vote.

Posted on 30-10-2020 14:48 | By morepork

Whichever way you voted on these 2 issues, at least there was a chance to vote. If you’re unhappy with the results, please don’t start blowing up buildings and taking people hostage until you get your way. That seems to be how some misguided people view "Democracy". Instead, apply yourself to making your position known and hoping to persuade some of those who voted against you to change their minds. That’s how its meant to work... God Bless Aotearoa/New Zealand.

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