What is a referendum?

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The ancient Greeks of Athens (one of the first societies to have a democracy) had a much smaller population, so nearly every decision was voted on by everyone. We, however, are NOT ancient Greeks.  Our country runs on a representative democracy, we elect people to vote for us. But sometimes there are things that are considered so important or controversial that all the eligible adults of New Zealand get to vote directly on it. These are referendums. 

This year, New Zealand has two referendums: the end of life choice and the cannabis legalisation and control referendums. These are yes or no questions, you don’t have to vote on them, but it is your chance to have a say in some very important issues. Enrolled voters get brochures about the referendums so they can be fully informed before they vote.  

Now, what are 2020s referendums?  

  1. End of life choice referendum: 

This is where you can vote on whether you think people with terminal illness should have the choice to request assisted dying.  

  1. The cannabis legalisation and control referendum: 

This is where you can vote on whether you think the recreational use of cannabis should become legal. 

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