Election 2020 final results: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won’t move on cannabis laws, has no regrets staying silent on her vote

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won’t progress the legalisation of cannabis after the referendum to allow recreational use narrowly failed.

But she does not regret the decision not to say which way she was voting before the election.

“New Zealanders have made up their own minds.”

Special votes released this afternoon showed the cannabis referendum only narrow failed,
with 50.7 per cent of the ballot against the recreational use of cannabis.

Ardern said the Government has a “health-based approach” when it comes to cannabis.

Ardern will be making sure that’s still the case.

Ardern said in a lot of cases, people are prosecuted when possession of cannabis is in addition to other charges.

If there is an instance where there is just an example of possession, then the police would be taking more of a health-based approach.

It’s her intention to “drill down” into that and make sure it’s happening.

Trump, Biden and the US election

Asked about Trump, she said there would not be an expectation that she would comment on that.

“We have faith in the American institutions,” and their democracy, she said when asked.

She said New Zealanders wouldn’t take to kindly to other world leaders commenting on New Zealand’s elections.

She added that there are “still votes to be counted”.

She did not want to make any assumptions as to whether Biden would bring back the Transpacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP).

She said the Government has “worked very hard” on the US/NZ relationship while Trump was president.

She said that if Biden won, NZ would continue to work hard on the relationship.

Asked about the US election, she said every democracy is different.

“We each have our own systems.”

House prices

On house price growth, Ardern said housing continues to be a considerable issue for New Zealand.

She said the Government needs to do all it can to overcome the affordability issues.

She said the Government has more work to do.

Ardern said the market was now being more determined by whether or not people’s parents could help them with a deposit.

She wants to make sure that’s not the only way into home ownership.

No Maori Party deal

Asked about the Maori Party, she said Labour would not be making a formal agreement with them.

All Government forming deals have now been done, she said.

Asked to sum up the mood of cabinet today, Ardern said the magnitude and responsibility was still the same.

She said being a minister is a privileged position.

Ardern said her Government will be looking to build consensus when it can.

“It will be case by case.”

She said over the coming weeks, the Government will be progressing quite a lot of businesses.

Ardern said she told her Ministers today that there are “significant challenges” the Government needs to overcome.

Ardern confirmed Parliament will be opened on Wednesday, November 25th.

Parliament will rise on the 9th of December.

“We have a busy agenda until the end of the year,” she said

Ardern said it was great to see Emily Henderson to become an MP.

“But I would say, sitting at this table, it’s Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Her first post-Cabinet press conference comes after the unveiling of the special vote result that have determined the final make-up of Parliament.

Those votes show Labour increased its majority to 65 MPs – one extra.

The numbers also show three seats have changed hands since the provisional results.

Labour’s Priyanca Radhakrishnan has won Maungakiekie over National’s Denise Lee, Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime has won Northland over National’s Matt King, and Labour’s Henderson has won Whangārei over National’s Shane Reti.

Reti, who has a high enough list placing, remains in Parliament, but Lee and King are out, pending any recounts.

The Māori Party has also gained another MP, as Debbie Ngarewa-Packer enters Parliament.

Ardern is expected to provide her reaction to this news.

She is also expected to be pressed on the updated results of the cannabis referendum.

That referendum was down from 53.1 per cent against, to 50.7 per cent – meaning there were just a few thousand votes separating the “yes” and the “no” votes in the end.

Ardern repeatedly refused to say which way she was voting in that vote, as she said it was up to the people of New Zealand to make that decision.

After the final vote, she said she had voted yes.

Some have said if Ardern had publicly stated this view, the “yes” vote would have won.

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