New Zealanders vote to legalise euthanasia

Euthanasia will be allowed in New Zealand, but voters look likely to oppose the use of recreational cannabis.

This month, in two referendums, New Zealanders voted on the topics when casting their ballots during a general election that took Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Labour Party back to power.

With nearly 83% of the ballots counted, the euthanasia measure was emphatically backed by New Zealanders, with 65% in favour and 34% voting against.

The measure of euthanasia, which will also permit assisted suicide, will refer to persons with terminal diseases, who are likely to die within six months and who suffer “unbearable” suffering.

According to Lara Greaves, of the University of Auckland, support for euthanasia has been strong for around two decades.

She told the ABC the “yes” vote was not a surprise.

“We have seen political polls over the last 10 or 20 years show a high level of support for euthanasia and the End of Life Choice Act,” she said.

“So that bill is ready to go, it is going to be law and go into [that] process really soon.”

The “no” vote on marijuana was much closer, with 53 per cent voting against legalisation and 46 per cent voting in favour.

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