Assisted dying will be possible in New Zealand from 7 November 2021 onwards. In the meantime, the Ministry of Health is preparing the service for use.

If you wish to pursue the option of an assisted death for yourself, there are a few things you can do right now:

Check that you are eligible. You need to meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • be aged 18 years or over; AND
  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident; AND
  • be suffering from a terminal illness that is likely to end the person’s life within 6 months; AND
  • be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability; AND
  • be experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable; AND
  • be competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying at all stages of the process.

A person is NOT eligible for assisted dying if they ONLY:

  • suffer from any form of mental disorder or mental illness; or
  • have a disability of any kind; or
  • are of advanced age.

If you wish to pursue the option of an assisted death for yourself, there are a few things you should know:

  • Understand that your doctor is not allowed to initiate a discussion about assisted dying with you: you must raise the issue with your doctor. You could say something like:
    • “If my suffering becomes unbearable before I die, I want to be assessed for assisted dying. Will you do this for me, please?"
    • “I need assisted dying, will you help me?”

    • In te Reo, ask for “Awhina mate” or “Tautoko mate”.

  • If your doctor is willing, then he/she could begin explaining the process to you now.
  • If your doctor is unwilling and if you have time to change doctors, you might consider doing so. You could ask the office manager or practice manager of your health centre to transfer you to a doctor within the practice who has an open mind about assisted dying.
  • If you cannot find an alternative doctor in a reasonable time, then you will need to wait until 7 November 2021 to contact the Ministry of Health for access to a SCENZ doctor.   A SCENZ doctor will be willing to assess you and help you, but only if you meet the eligibility criteria.  The End of Life Choice Society expects SCENZ contact details to be provided in due course and will publicise them when known. 

See the Ministry of Health information here »

Read the End-of Life Choice Act 2019 here »

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