The Government has confirmed there will be a binding referendum on legalising cannabis at the 2020 general election.
A short time ago the Justice Minister Andrew Little told reporters, “The Cabinet decision is that it will be held at the 2020 general election, the agreement is that it will be binding, there’s a bit of detail still to be worked through but we’re telling the Electoral Commission that's when it will be".
"We have made the decision that we’re not going to use the citizen assembly process for policy development largely because the decision is quite late in the process so we won’t be using that mechanism in terms of a public engagement we will have other ways of getting the public debate going."
Mr Little is expecting there will also be a referendum on the Act MP David Seymour's assisted dying euthanasia bill at that time too.
He says the Government has not yet decided if it will also hold a third referendum on the MMP threshold at the next election.
The National leader Simon Bridges says while he doesn't have an issue with the cannabis referendum being binding – but he says it will be a major distraction for voters.
"I'm pretty cynical that you've got a Government here that wants to distract voters from the core issues of a general election like who's best to govern, their actual record in Government over the last three years and core issues around the economy, tax, cost of living, health education and law and order so I think that’s really important."
"I think what's also important here is that this is a Government that may what a referendum on cannabis but they’re already decriminalising – we've seen that in the last week."
Mr Bridges says his preference would be for the referenda not to be help at the election.