New poll shows support for both recreational cannabis and euthanasia dropping

Support for both recreational cannabis and euthanasia has dropped in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll.

And even if the public votes 'yes' on legalising cannabis - MPs may have the final say in a conscience vote.

More than 4000 New Zealanders were charged with cannabis offences in 2018/19, but it's a struggle for drug reform campaigners to get the public on their side.

The latest Newshub Reid-Research poll asked the referendum question the public will be asked in the referendum this election: do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?

  • 39.4 percent said 'yes'
  • 47.7 percent said 'no '
  • 11.6 percent said 'don't know'

The Bill would make recreational cannabis legal for over 20s, with restrictions.

Since the last time Newshub polled on this in June, despite additional details released in December, more people have moved from the 'yes' camp to the 'don't knows'.

That indecision extends to the Government - it doesn't appear to know whether the legislation would be adopted as a Government Bill or treated as a conscience vote - when MPs decide how they will vote for themselves.

"There will be a decision about whether this will be a conscience vote for MPs, so there's even less control," Justice Minister Andrew Little told Newshub.

"Yes there is some uncertainty. We'll create the best certainty we can but that is the best we can do. It's not a guarantee."

The Prime Minister was definitive, telling Newshub it will not be a conscience vote.

"No, not at that point because we have committed to supporting it if it succeeds."

But the shape of the legislation could - and likely will - shift as it moves through Select Committee. Little said the governing parties have agreed to support the draft legislation into the House. From there, he said the Speaker will determine whether there is a conscience vote.

Little said draft legislation is expected in late March or early April 2020. That legislation will eventually go to referendum at the September election. The Government formed after that election will then be in charge of progressing the legislation.

Euthanasia referendum 

Our poll also asked the euthanasia referendum question: Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2017 coming into force?

  • 61.9 percent said yes
  • 23.7 percent said no

ACT leader David Seymour, who's behind the proposed legislation, says: "The majority of NZers have seen bad death and they're saying 'when my time comes not for me it's my life and it should be my choice'."

Euthanasia just one of three big choices the public will make on Election Day in September.