NZ Election 2020: Political commentator thinks Jacinda Ardern 'should be left alone', has 'no obligation' to reveal her cannabis stance

Political commentator Grant Duncan believes the Prime Minister "should be left alone" and has no obligation to reveal her stance on recreational cannabis, but National leader Judith Collins believes she shouldn't have a right to silence on the matter.

When probed on the cannabis referendum at Wednesday night's Newshub Leaders Debate, Labour leader Ardern admitted trying it when she was younger but has repeatedly pushed back at revealing which way she intends to vote. She continued with that stance on Wednesday night.

Ardern explained she'd rather the public decide on what they wanted.

"Whatever they decide, I'll implement," she told debate host Patrick Gower.

Associate Professor Duncan, from Massey University, said Ardern's under no obligation to tell the public which way she will swing.

"She should be left alone to make the decision; not only about how she votes but as to whether she tells us what her vote's going to be," he told Newshub after the debate.

"When she's in that ballot box casting her vote, she's a private citizen.

"Honestly, I think it's not a big deal - she wants the people to decide. She doesn't want, as Prime Minister - to influence the debate.

"I think, actually, Jacinda is right to say, 'I'm not saying what I'm voting now' - she doesn't want to be seen to have already determined the course of that legislation."

There's no legal obligation for it to be adopted if the referendum passes, as unlike the End of Life Choice Bill, it's not binding.

Collins, who openly opposes legalising cannabis and plans to vote 'no', said New Zealanders deserve an answer.

Jacinda Ardern, left, and Judith Collins.
Jacinda Ardern, left, and Judith Collins. Photo credit: Newshub.

"They deserve a straight answer - not waffle," Collins told Gower.

At the end of the debate, neither were willing to declare themselves the winner and Duncan said both leaders fared well.

"I think they both look amazing - I think we're really lucky in New Zealand, in the last two elections, we've had debates between two really great people; last time it was Jacinda and [former Prime Minister] Bill [English] and this time it's Jacinda and Judith," Duncan said.

"Judith Collins seems to thrive and flourish in this kind of format and Jacinda comes from a difficult place because, as Prime Minister, she's been responsible for some of the most difficult times that New Zealand has had to go through."