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New poll shows most voters want assisted dying law change

09 May 2019 10:30 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

Media release Thursday May 9 – for immediate publication

As Parliament prepares to vote on the End of Life Choice Bill this month, a new poll shows a clear majority of New Zealanders want to allow doctors to help the terminally ill to die painlessly and with dignity.

The Horizon Research poll confirmed consistent surveys showing that fewer than one-in-five voters oppose a law change.

The poll, taken last month after the justice select committee reported on a record 39,000 submissions on the bill, found 74 percent of respondents believe that mentally competent New Zealanders aged 18 or over with an end-stage terminal disease like cancer should be able to get medical assistance to end their lives.

Sixty-five percent of voters believe it should also be available for people with “irreversible unbearable suffering which may not cause death in the immediate future” (like motor neurone disease).

In both cases, just 19 percent of New Zealanders were against the proposal.

The pollsters said support for medically assisted dying had risen since Horizon’s first survey on the subject in July 2012, when 63 percent supported a law change.

MPs are expected to vote on the second reading of ACT leader David Seymour’s bill on May 22.

“This shows MPs that a substantial majority of voters remain adamant that they want an enlightened law allowing medical assistance in dying (MAID) despite a vigorous campaign of lies and misinformation mounted by opponents,” Maryan Street, President of the End-of-Life Choice Society, said on Thursday.

There was strong support for MAID across all age groups, ethnicities and political parties, based on voting at the last election in 2017.

All parties currently represented in Parliament had voters who overwhelmingly supported assisted dying ranging in percentages from 65% to 93%.

The poll of 1,341 voters was taken between April 19-29 and the results weighted to represent the New Zealand adult population. Horizon says the margin of error is plus or minus 2.7 percent.

Eds: A graph illustrating key poll results is attached.

More information: Maryan Street, 021-977-555

Released by David Barber, media adviser 021-072-8760

Click to enlarge:

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