New Zealand Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick is not giving up on her campaign to decriminalise cannabis across the Tasman.
She’s hoping to use a new parliamentary rule which allows MPs who are not ministers or under-secretaries to push a bill straight on to the order paper.
However, it is not clear whether Labour or the Nationals would back the move so soon after the cannabis referendum ended in a No vote last year.
Usually, a new members’ bill is drawn at random, but Swarbrick told Stuff she was hoping other parties could be convinced to sign on to co-sponsor a bill to decriminalise cannabis, skip the ‘lucky dip’ process and go straight to the House.
This could happen if 61 non-executive MPs signalled their support. Given the parliamentary arithmetic, that would require help from some National MPs, which seems unlikely given the party does not currently treat cannabis as a conscience issue (meaning their members can’t vote freely on it).
A recent poll found 69% of Kiwis were either in favour of legalisation or decriminalisation.
If the bill did get up, it would have a reasonable chance of passing. The Greens have 10 MPs and Labour – which does treat the matter as a conscience issue – has 65. Bills need the support of 61 MPs to pass.