The Green Party is expecting a high turnout in the 2020 election, with the referendum on legalising cannabis on the ballot paper.
Justice Minister Andrew Little confirmed this week that the referendum will be held at the next election and its results will be binding.
- Cannabis referendum will be held during the 2020 election
- Chlöe Swarbrick confident weaker drug laws won't encourage new users
The referendum was part of the Green Party’s confidence and supply agreement with Labour, and Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick hopes people will vote ‘three ticks Green’.
“I thought that was a funny thing to put out there,” she told Newshub Nation.
Ms Swarbrick says she went as far as to invite National Party leader Simon Bridges to vote three ticks green.
“I also put it in my adjournment speech inviting [National leader] Simon Bridges to engage in such behaviour.”
Ms Swarbrick says one of her major focuses in 2020 will be trying to put together a bill outlining what a vote in favour of legalising cannabis will mean.
“It’s important to note that’s not what was signed off by Cabinet,” she says.
“I am definitely in favour of there being legislation first for a number of reasons. The first is for clarity, so that New Zealanders actually know what they’re voting for and so it can’t be co-opted by moral panic.”
“The second thing is so we don’t end up with confusion about what a yes vote actually means, like what we’ve seen with Brexit.”
“The third thing is, regardless of the next iteration of parliament, that the will of the people will force political action so it will trigger into effect immediately.”
Ms Swarbrick says education reform and mental health reform will also be priorities in 2019.
“Obviously alongside working on that legislation, hopefully, for legal cannabis, is reforming the education system so that it is as equitable as possible and ensuring we have the best mental health and wellbeing outcomes for New Zealanders.”
Watch the video for the full interview.