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November 3, 2020
Electoral Commission

Preliminary referendum results released

The preliminary results show 65.2% of voters answered “yes”to the question “Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?”  33.8% of voters answered the question “no”. Informal votes (when the voter has not clearly indicated the option for which they wish to vote) made up 1% of the vote.  This was a binding referendum.  Pending final results, this means that the End of Life Choice Act 2019 will come into force on 6 November 2021, giving people with a terminal illness the option to request the option of assisted dying from a medical practitioner.  The legislation, which sets out the criteria for who is eligible to make this request and the steps required to request and exercise this option, can be found here

The cannabis referendum asked whether the voter supported the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.  Preliminary votes show that 53.1% of voters voted no, 46.1% voted yes and 0.8% of votes were recorded as informal votes.  The draft Bill set out as its purpose to “regulate and control the cultivation, manufacture, use, and sale of cannabis in New Zealand”.  The referendum was not binding and the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill would still have to go through the parliamentary process if the final results show a majority of votes in fact are“yes”.

The preliminary results are ordinary votes cast in advance or on election day.  The preliminary results do not include special votes, estimated to number 480,000 this year (17% of total votes).  These special votes will be included in the final results to be released on 6 November 2020.