Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not had a change of heart about keeping her cannabis vote secret despite the final, narrow margin in the referendum - only 2 per cent.
Ardern had voted to legalise cannabis for recreational use, but didn't say how she voted until after the provisional results were revealed three weeks ago.
Yesterday the final results were released, showing a much narrower margin after 504,625 special votes, or 17 per cent of the total, were counted.
The provisional result had the "no" vote on 53.1 per cent and the "yes" vote on 46.1 per cent. The final result was 50.7 per cent for "no" and 48.4 per cent for "yes".
Out of 2,908,071 total votes, the margin was only 67,662 - or 2.3 per cent.
Many proponents of drug law reform believe Ardern revealing how she voted before polling day - as she did on the euthanasia issue - would have led to a "yes" outcome.
But Ardern stood by her decision.
"Do I regret allowing people to make their own decision on this incredibly important issue? No. People did need to make their own personal choice on this in the say way that I did."
Asked if her advocacy might have led to a different result, she said: "It may not have as well. Ultimately, New Zealanders have made up their own minds."
The Government will now look into the impact of law changes last year to ensure that drug possession was being treated as a health issue.
Former Justice Minister Andrew Little said he expected those facing drug possession as their most serious charge to "almost automatically" be given a health referral, but police data released to the Herald showed that was only happening in about one in 10 cases.
Ardern said on the face of it, police practice was not reflecting the law change's intent, but the Government would need to "drill down" into what was happening and why.
Say Nope To Dope spokesman Aaron Ironside says New Zealand has dodged a bullet by rejecting the legalisation of cannabis.
"In US states that have already legalised the drug, these states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, and sustained marijuana arrest rates."
But NZ Drug Foundation chair Tuari Potiki says the close referendum result showed "an unprecedented level of support for change in some form".
"Doing nothing is not an option for the Government. The issues that make reform essential have not simply disappeared now the votes are cast."
Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick said she was proud of the "yes" campaign despite falling short.
"We're really glad to have sparked a conversation about the need for fit-for-purpose drug laws in New Zealand," Swarbrick said.
"As a country, we've come so far in understanding the need to reduce the harm of drugs by bringing them out of the shadows, and I remain committed to working for a drug harm reduction approach to drugs in the future."
Meanwhile, the final euthanasia referendum result for supporting the End of Life Choice Bill was 65.1 per cent (down 0.1 per cent).