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The End of Life Choice Bill


Jump to: History of the BillCurrent status • SurveysContent of the Bill • The Bill explainedFAQs


History of the Bill

In 1995 MP Michael Laws Private Member’s Bill “Death with Dignity” was defeated by 61 votes to 29, with many abstentions. A few years later (2003) MP Peter Brown’s Private Member’s Bill once again raised hopes but was defeated by 2 votes at its first reading.

Maryan Street was the next MP to tackle this issue and promoted her End of Life Choice Bill, but was forced to withdraw her Bill in advance of the general election in 2014. However, she got the ball rolling once more with her successful petition on medically-assisted dying in 2016. The tide was turning.

June 2015 saw the tragic death of lawyer Lecretia Seales, the same day that her case for medically assisted dying was turned down. Lecretia had filed a claim with the High Court arguing that her GP should not be prosecuted under the Crimes Act (1961) in assisting her in her death with her consent, and that under the Bill of Rights Act (1962) she had the right to not be subjected to the unnecessary suffering of a long, cruel death.

Finally, MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill was drawn from the members’ bills ballot on 8 June 2017. The Bill passed its first reading in parliament on 13 December 2017 (76 to 44 votes), and was referred to the Justice Select Committee.

After a year of hearings, the Select Committee reported back to parliament on 9 April 2019. Listen here » to Ann David talking to Coast Access Radio about submissions to the Select Committee and the EOLC Bill (26 April 2019).

The Bill passed its second reading in parliament on 26 June 2019 (70 to 50 votes). Read the transcript of the reading here »


Current status

Following the second reading, the End of Life Choice Bill has now been referred to the Committee of the Whole House. During this stage, MPs can present Supplementary Order Papers proposing amendments to the Bill before it goes to its third reading.

The New Zealand Labour Party and New Zealand First Coalition Agreement provides for a referendum after the third reading of the Bill. The Green Party also support the Bill in cases of terminal illness. Responding to these political realities, David Seymour has produced a Supplementary Order Paper indicating a number of recommendations for changes to his Bill as originally proposed. These include holding a public referendum at the same time as the next General Election in 2020, and limiting the eligibility criteria to cases of terminal illness only.


Surveys

In 2018 a group of Otago University researchers reviewed existing data on New Zealanders’ attitudes to euthanasia or assisted dying over the past 20 years. A total of 36,304 people had been surveyed. Across all these surveys, on average, 68.3 per cent of people had supported euthanasia and 14.9 percent opposed, while 15.7 percent were neutral or unsure.

The latest independent results obtained through a Horizon poll in April 2019 of over 1300 people were very similar to previous Horizon polls:

  •  74% of adults supported medical assistance to die for those experiencing irreversible unbearable suffering at end stage terminal disease, with 19% opposed. The highest support was among 18-24 and 55-64-year-olds: 80%.
  • 65% supported medical assistance to die in the case of irreversible unbearable suffering which may not cause death immediately, with 19% opposed.


    Content of the Bill

    The criteria and processes of the EOLC Bill.

    Click here to read more »


    The Bill explained

    David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill was drawn from the members’ bills ballot on 8 June 2017. The First Reading vote passed the bill to Select Committee stage on 13 December 2017. 

    Click here to read more »


    FAQs

    Would the elderly be vulnerable if Medically Assisted Dying was legalised? Click here to read »

    Would the legalisation of Medically Assisted Dying encourage suicide in the NZ population? Click here to read »

    Would the legalisation of Medically Assisted Dying be a major threat to disabled people? Click here to read »


    © End-Of-Life Choice • PO Box 321, Gisborne 4040 • Email: office@eolc.org.nz




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