Friday, October 16, 2020

New Zealand, more than an Election

My previous post included my thoughts on the New Zealand election. They were as follows:

58 - Lab
40 - Nat
11 - Grn
11 - ACT

However, there's more than just a general election in New Zealand, they are holding two different Referendums. 

First is a referendum on euthanasia. Polls say support is relatively consistent; though, dropping. The most recent poll had the Yes side at 60% and the No side at 33%, the lowest "yes" and highest "no" polled. This margin should be enough to ensure that even if more voters move in the same direction, that the "yes" side will win; but I've seen referendum polling be way off in the past in various places. 

Closer is the second referendum on Cannabis use. This race is much closer. Poll averaging, especially how the graph appears on wikipedia as I post this, indicate just how close it is. Not only is the margin within 1%, but, it keeps wobbling back and forth. To me this suggests the "no" side will win.

While the Cannabis vote's wiki page does list supporters for each side, the Euthanasia page does not, so, I went to find the information myself. From what I can gather, Labour supports it (they proposed a similar one in 2014) as do the Greens, while New Zealand First has reservations, but, seems somewhat supportive. The tiny Conservative Party opposes it, and National seems to be split on the issue, but, leaning slightly in favor. Lastly, ACT backs it, as, it is their bill after all. 

More interesting is the split on the Cannabis issue. The Conservatives, of course, oppose it. The Greens support it. Other parties seem to have more neutral stances. Helen Clark, former Labour PM backs it, while John Key, former National PM opposes it. Polling suggests a 2:1 split in favor in Labour, and a 3:1 opposition split in the National Party. New Zealand First seems to oppose it by a 2:1 margin, while ACT opposes it by a 3:2 margin. 

Even if it passes, the Cannabis referendum would require additional legislation to implement, and, Parliament could simply not put forward the legislation. Conversely, it could still make and pass a bill legalizing Cannabis. 

The Euthanasia legislation is in a more interesting position. The bill itself has already passed into law via royal assent, but, it only comes into force a year after being confirmed to have won the referendum.

Speaking of which, the date of confirmation is something I want to address.

It is the 17th of October in New Zealand already. Election day. Results will come in and ballots will start to be counted and results released starting at 7pm local; this is 2am in Toronto. 

However. Mail in ballots will still take time to arrive and be counted. As such, the 'final' results on 'election day' will continue to change over the days that pass. Additionally, it is not until the 30th that the first preliminary results of the Referendum will be counted and announced. It is only on November 6th, 3 week from now, that the final results will be announced and confirmed, with the writs being returned on the 12th. 

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