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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