NZ Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern remains coy on whether she's backing cannabis legalisation

National party leader Judith Collins won't be backing the legalisation of cannabis in the 2020 referendum, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hasn't revealed where her vote will go.

On Tuesday, BERL released two reports which show the potential economic value if cannabis is legalised. 

They estimate a tax take of $1.1 billion a year and that legalisation will create 5000 jobs.

But on Wednesday Ardern remained coy when asked whether the economic benefits touted in the report will mean she'll be voting for legalised recreational cannabis.

"Voters will want to make their own decision, and I'm sure they won't only be making a decision on revenue. They'll be factoring in health and wellbeing," she said.

The $1.1 billion tax take would be made up of $646m in excise tax, $335m in GST, $56m in licence fees and $40m in income and company taxes. 

"There is a huge lost opportunity for Government revenue there that would be better spent on economic and health services," Kathy Errington, the executive director of the Helen Clark Foundation, said.

Ardern's been consistent in refusing to reveal how she'll vote in the referendum, today saying, "My position has been it is my job to implement the option voters choose".

National Party leader Judith Collins, on the other hand, is only too happy to share her vote.

"Maybe [Ardern would] like to tell us how she's voting because I'm voting against."

Collins said she doesn't think legalisation is what New Zealand needs right now.

The potential economic benefits are significant if it does become legalised, especially while the country grapples with COVID-19's economic fall-out.

Those campaigning for the 'yes' vote will be keen to remind New Zealanders that legalising cannabis means money out of the gang's hands and into public services. The 'no' vote points to potential new retail outlets as undesirable.

New Zealanders will vote on legalising cannabis, along with end of life choice, in the general election on October 17.