Ninety per cent of submissions oppose assisted dying bill

More than 90 per cent of New Zealanders who made submissions oppose the End of Life Choice Bill.

The Care Alliance analysed virtually all of the more than 38,000 submissions made to Parliament’s justice select committee on Act leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill.

It found that 90.2 per cent opposed the bill, 8.1 per cent were in favour and 1.7 per cent were neutral or unclear.

Most submissions were unique, and not form or postcard submissions. Twelve per cent were longer than a page and 90.5 per cent did not use religious arguments.

Seymour’s private member’s bill was drawn from the parliamentary ballot in 2017, two months before the health select committee reported to the House on its inquiry into the public’s views on euthanasia, a report that contained no recommendations.

Alliance secretary Peter Thirkell said the number of submissions to the justice committee and the proportion against euthanasia was significantly greater than in the health committee’s inquiry.

Six of the eight health committee members voted against Seymour’s bill at the first reading, having “listened carefully to the evidence, and voted accordingly”.

“We hope the members of the justice select committee will demonstrate a similar respect for the mountain of evidence showing that legalising euthanasia is unnecessary, unwise and dangerous,” he said.

Seymour says the justice committee submissions did not reflect public opinion in the way that a scientific survey did.

“Nobody would take seriously an opinion survey where the respondents were self-selected.

“What we have here is fewer than 1 per cent of New Zealanders who have made submissions.

“The overwhelming majority of them are less than a paragraph and they have done it in response to concerted campaigns by certain organisations,” he said.

The Care Alliance’s members include: The Australian & New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine; Christian Medical Fellowship; Euthanasia-Free NZ; Family First New Zealand; Hospice New Zealand; New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance; Lutherans for Life; The Nathaniel Centre; Not Dead Yet Aotearoa; Pacific Leaders Forum; Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand; The Salvation Army of New Zealand.

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News category: New Zealand.

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