ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTED DYING?

Assisted dying is legal in New Zealand from 7 November 2021 onwards. The Ministry of Health has prepared 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 your 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 you consider tolerable; AND
  • be able to convince your doctors that you are acting voluntarily and without pressure oor coercion AND

  • be competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying at all stages of the process.

You are NOT eligible for assisted dying if you 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 "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. Ask the office manager or practice manager if there is a doctor you can consult who has an open mind about assisted dying.
  • If you cannot find an alternative doctor in a reasonable time, then you can now contact the Ministry of Health for access to a SCENZ doctor (0800 223 852 or email AssistedDying@health.govt.nz).   A SCENZ doctor will be willing to assess you and help you, but only if you meet the eligibility criteria.  


*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.
  • Go to https://maoridictionary.co.nz/ - search for "mate" and "whakaahuru" to hear pronunciation.

See the Ministry of Health information here »

Read the End-of Life Choice Act 2019 here »

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