Support grows for euthanasia in NZ

Almost 63 per cent of New Zealanders support proposed law changes that would allow ill people to end their lives, a new poll shows. Last week’s results came a day after after Auckland man Evans Mott, 61, was discharged without conviction for assisting his wife to commit suicide.

Labour MP Maryan Street has drafted a member’s bill that would make it legal for people who were terminally ill or suffering from an irreversible disease, to take their own life or have someone help them to die.

The bill has to be drawn from the member’s ballot before it will be debated in Parliament and that could take some time.

A Horizon Research poll released last week found 62.9 per cent of respondents supported the move, 12.3 per cent were opposed. The poll involved 2969 adults who self-selected to participate online between July 5 and 20.

Street is hoping her bill will be pulled from the ballot next week if space is made following member’s day in Parliament on Wednesday. It would be put to a conscience vote, meaning MPs would not have to vote along party lines, if drawn.

The proposed change would make it legal for New Zealand residents aged over 18 to end their own life or seek assistance from someone else to do so. And it would enable doctors and others to assist, though neither they nor the person ending their life would be able to be coerced into the decision.

National MP Maggie Barry has already launched an anti-euthanasia campaign. She believes it is not a sensible option because of the world-class palliative care available in New Zealand.


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