Jacinda Ardern weighs in on where we're at with NZ's medical cannabis legislation
Jacinda Ardern isn't sure which way she'll vote in the promised cannabis referendum, because she doesn't know what the question will be.
"We haven't formulated the question yet," she told The AM Show on Monday, in her first interview back after the Christmas break.
The referendum, expected to be held before or alongside the next election, will ask if personal use should be decriminalised or legalised. Before then, the Government will ease the laws around medicinal use.
"That legislation's out," said Ms Ardern. "What people will see from that is that demonstrates we are going well beyond where we are right now, well beyond the status quo. The status quo is really poor."
The Government's Bill, a "compromise" between coalition partners Labour, NZ First and the Greens, may be superseded by a Private Member's Bill from the Greens' Chloe Swarbrick.
"Some would like us to go further and there is a Private Members' Bill that's coming through and you'll see then... which members of Parliament would have liked to have seen a bit more on that."
Ms Ardern says she "totally understands" why some MPs and members of the public may prefer Ms Swarbrick's version of the legislation, but her concern is going too far, too quickly could see cannabis falling into the wrong hands.
"I do not want kids accessing this drug."
The medicinal cannabis legislation is part of the Government's ambitious first 100 days agenda. Ms Ardern says they're on track for the rest of it, despite the Christmas break.
Before February 3 - the self-imposed deadline - she says the coalition will be getting started on inquiries into abuse in state care and mental health, as well as working on its employment and child poverty legislation.
"Eradicating homelessness in one term would be very difficult, but I'm not going to sit back and say it's impossible, not for a moment," said Ms Ardern.
"Child poverty, that should be everyone's ambition. Can I do it in a term? No. No, I cannot do it in a term. We've already set out the number we're hoping to reduce child poverty by, and I'm putting out there publicly the targets that we're likely to set.
"It is a relative measure... without getting complicated, do we think that we can make sure every New Zealander, every child in New Zealand has their needs met? Yes, we can do that."