Jacinda Ardern keeping cannabis referendum vote secret was 'ethical' - political analyst

A political analyst says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's decision to keep her stance on recreational cannabis secret was an "ethical choice" because revealing it would sway Kiwis' choice.

Ardern revealed how she voted on Friday, confirming she voted 'yes' in both the cannabis and euthanasia referendums. However, throughout the election, the Prime Minister refused to reveal how she was planning to vote. 

Political analyst Lara Greaves says if she had revealed her stance, people would've followed her.

"A lot of the research shows that people tend to follow the leader in terms of the referendums," Greaves told The Project on Friday.

"The whole point of referendums is 'refer to the people. And Ardern really let us choose as people and decide as people, and I think that was really an ethical decision on her behalf."

But the Project host Kanoa Lloyd disagreed with Greaves, saying the Prime Minister's choice was "100 percent pure politics".

"I actually disagree that Jacinda Ardern keeping her vote to herself until today is an ethical decision, I think it is 100 percent pure politics."

Lloyd said if she had revealed she was going to say yes, people on the edge between political parties would have swung the other way.

"If she'd come out and said that she was going to vote yes before today, then she would've risked all those swinging National voters."

"Lots of people want to believe we've got a Prime Minister that's cool and kind and is our friend, but at the end of the day she's a Prime Minister and she's a politician and she's chosen to put that first."

Preliminary referendum results released on Friday show New Zealanders voted in favour of the euthanasia referendum while a majority of Kiwis voted against legalising cannabis.