Euthanasia bill: One amendment down, more than 100 to go


The third reading of the End of Life Choice Bill began in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

It had passed its second reading, in June, 70 votes to 50.

This stage will see politicians debating and individually voting on possibly more than a hundred changes to the bill, in a process that may take more than four months.

The bill’s sponsor, Act Party leader David Seymour, had at least 30 changes ready to go while one of its most vociferous opponents, National MP Maggie Barry, has more than 100 amendments.


The most important vote on Wednesday was on an amendment made by David Seymour.

This amendment, which Seymour himself disagrees with, is key to keeping the support of the Green Party and several other MPs.

It narrowed the eligibility of someone seeking euthanasia only to individuals with a terminal illness that will likely kill them within six months.

Widespread concern had been expressed that the “irremediable” clause could have wide-reaching implications for groups such as the disabled community.

That passed with a conscience vote by MPs 74 votes to 44.

With this amendment agreed to, the Green Party will now support the Bill.

Seymour’s full suite of amendments – not all of which have passed yet – will set out many other elements of the bill, including the need for two doctors independent of each other to confirm the terminal diagnosis.

A public referendum

Another important amendment has been tabled by New Zealand First.

It proposes that a public referendum be added to the legislation.

New Zealand First will vote “No” to the Bill if this requirement isn’t accepted by the House.

None of the National MPs speaking to the media on Wednesday would put their backing behind the version of the referendum NZ First had put forward.

Without New Zealand First’s nine votes, Seymour cannot afford to lose even a single net “Yes” from the second reading.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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