Heather Roy

14 October 2020

1.4 million New Zealanders have cast an early vote in the 2020 election. Some are predicting this signals a high voter turnout while others believe voters are still cautious about COVID 19 and social distancing and are choosing not to join crowds in queuing to vote on October 17.

Political parties have been encouraging early voting, especially Labour and National. Both are keen to harness votes for them before anything changes the mind of the voter!

Alongside the electorate and party vote, we are of course voting on two referedums – euthanasia (end of life choice) and cannabis reform. Both are emotive topics with people feeling strongly on both sides. While many instinctively fall on the side of yes or no for both issues, it is worth examining the referendums provisions in detail as they both contain provisions voters might not realise. In order to cast an informed vote a little homework is necessary.

The End of Life bill has strong parameters around who is eligible and the provisions around the process itself. The bill has already passed in our parliament but in order to be enacted the referendum must gain the support of New Zealanders. If more than 50% of voters support the bill it will pass into law in 12 months time. Here is the VoterTorque podcast discussing the details:

VoterTorque Podcast 20 – End Of Life Choice Referendum

The Cannabis Reform referendum will determine whether the next government can introduce a bill to legalise cannabis for personal use if it chooses. The bill if introduced would regulate cannabis supply and sale. It would allow people to grow a limited amount themselves or buy from licensed premises for personal consumption. The details are discussed in this VoterTorque podcast:

VoterTorque Podcast 21 – Cannabis Legalisation and Control Referendum

Check out my VoterTorque Election podcast series – podcasts by Simon Ewing-Jarvie and Heather Roy on the 2020 New Zealand Election.