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Large majority will currently vote to enact End of Life Choice Act

23 Jan 2020 1:30 PM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

Source: Horizon Poll

4 January 2020

Currently 70% of New Zealanders think they will cast a referendum vote in favour of the End of Life Choice Actl becoming law.

30% will vote No to the actl becoming law, according to the first nationwide poll of eligible voters on referendum voting intentions, since the bill passed in Parliament.

The survey was conducted independently and in the public interest by Horizon Research.

The act would make it legal for people to request assisted dying, or euthanasia, from doctors, and legal for health practitioners to help people die under certain conditions.

The result of the referendum, being held in conjunction with the 2020 general election, will be binding.

The survey of 1,521 adults was conducted between November 17 and 28. Results were weighted to represent the 2018 census adult population. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.5%.

The survey shows support for end of life choice has largely held at levels measured before the bill was passed. It was last measured by Horizon at 74% in April. The removal of  “not sure” and “don't know” answer options has consolidated opposition, up from 18% in April 2019 to 30% now. 

While concern has been expressed about the law potentially exposing some elderly to risk, 72% of those aged 65 to 74 and 61% of those aged 75+ say they intend to vote Yes to enact the act. Among those aged 75+ opposition is highest of any age group at 39%.

By age, the Yes vote peaks at nearly 78% among 45-54-year-olds.

Party voters' positions

By party vote at the 2017 general election, support is highest among ACT voters (93% yes, 7% No). Results for other parties' voters are: Green 78% Yes/ 23% No, Labour 75% Yes/ 25% No, National 67% Yes/ 33% No and NZ First 68% Yes/ 32% No.

The results are weighted by age, gender, employment status, educational qualifications, personal income and regional to ensure a representative sample of the adult population at the most recent census. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.7%.

The enduring majority for end of life choice:

This review of seven years of Horizon polling results shows the enduring majority medically assisted dying has had in New Zealand. It also links to a report showing Horizon's results have been consistent with those of other research firms.

For further information, please contact

Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research Limited, e-mail gcolman@horizonresearch.co.nz, telephone +64 21 848 576.

Background note:

Respondents were told:

At the 2020 General Election you will also get to vote on whether the End of Life Choice Act should become law.

The Act would make it legal for people to request assisted dying, or euthanasia, from doctors, and legal for health practitioners to help people die under certain conditions.

It won't become law unless a majority vote yes in next year's binding referendum.

Who can ask?

An option to ask for assisted dying would mainly be open to those who have been diagnosed as terminally ill and with less than six months left to live.

How would assisted dying actually work?

Patients must request it themselves and go through a series of checks with two doctors, including one appointed through the Ministry of Health. 

A patient completes a form and if they meet all the criteria, they can pick a time, place and method for how they want to die. They have six months to use it and if they don't, they have to go through the whole process from the start.

Patients can choose whether to have the drugs delivered intravenously, by mouth or tube and whether to trigger it themselves or have a doctor or nurse do it at a place of the patient's choosing, including at home.

Health practitioners are allowed to opt out of participating in any part of the process, though they must advise how to find advice, and the Act states they're not meant to be penalised by their employers for doing so.

Patients are allowed to change their minds at any point.

They were then asked: “At this time do you think you will vote Yes or No in the referendum?”


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




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