Assisted dying has been legal in New Zealand since 7 November 2021. The Ministry of Health set up the Assisted Dying Service for the purpose of implementing and regulating assisted dying. It is now managed by Te Whatu Ora.
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 "Mate whakaahuru".*
If your doctor is willing, then he/she could begin explaining the process to you now.
If your doctor is unwilling, try to change doctors within the same medical practice or transfer to another medical practice close to where you live, if possible. This step may save you time.
If you cannot find an alternative doctor in reasonable time, then you should immediately contact the Ministry of Health’s Assisted Dying Service on 0800 223 852 or email AssistedDying@health.govt.nz. The Assisted Dying Service will allocate your case to a clinical advisor. Your clinical advisor will discuss your situation, your location and, if warranted, will find a trained and registered doctor to assess you. If travel is necessary, the assisted dying doctor/s will come to you at no cost to you.
Once your process is underway, the clinical advisor allocated to your case will explain each subsequent step as you proceed and will handle all subsequent medical communications for you.
*Mate whakaahuru (Assisted Dying)
Means to die in warm and comforting manner.
Approved by Te Reo linguists from Department of Internal Affairs - The Translation Service.
Māori Health Directorate, Ministry of Health sourced - been used by Māori media around describing assisted dying and te reo Māori experts use it historically.
Te Apārangi has been involved in the process around Te Reo translations.