Cannabis referendum: National leader Judith Collins takes another swipe at Jacinda Ardern for not saying which way she voted

National leader Judith Collins, who voted against legalising cannabis at last month's referendum, has taken another swipe at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for not saying which way she voted before the election.

New Zealanders voted against legalising recreational cannabis, according to the Electoral Commission's preliminary results released on Friday. While special votes are still to be counted, 70 percent would have to be 'yes' for the referendum to pass and Collins says she's not worried.

"It could well happen - we'll wait to see but I think that New Zealanders are pretty clearly against the legalisation of the sale of cannabis for recreational reasons," Collins told Magic Talk's Peter Williams on Monday.

"The fact that the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, refused to say which way she voted was particularly coy," she added.

"She knew that the public was ultimately against it - she didn't want to be on the wrong side of it. I actually think it was a pretty foolish move, in many ways, because if she really wanted it legalised as she now claims - she should have been brave enough to put her hand up."

After Friday's preliminary results were released, a spokesperson for Ardern confirmed she voted 'yes' in the cannabis referendum and the binding euthanasia referendum - which New Zealanders did vote in favour of.

Collins pressured Ardern before the election to say how she would vote, but the Prime Minister said she didn't want to influence the public's vote.

"Whatever they [voters] decide, I'll implement," Ardern said during last month's Newshub Leaders' Debate.

Collins said during the same debate that New Zealanders deserved to know which way she was voting.

Judith Collins.
Judith Collins. Photo credit: Getty

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick on Friday also took a swipe at Ardern for holding back her view.

"I'm in the Greens because I have the courage of my convictions," Swarbrick said on Friday when asked if she thought the referendum could have swung in the 'yes' vote's favour if Ardern had been open about her stance. "I'm really proud of having stuck my neck out there and made the argument for something that I believe in," said Swarbrick, who stood out in the campaign for legalising cannabis.

She said she was disappointed the campaign was filled with misinformation.

"I'm really stoked to be following in the footsteps of Green MPs who have always stood really staunchly in favour of evidence-based, compassionate harm reduction legalisation of cannabis. 

"The same cannot always be said for those across the parliamentary aisle."