Five reasons to vote “no” in euthanasia referendum


Next year New Zealanders will vote in a referendum on whether euthanasia should be legalised after a long-fought bill passed 69 to 51 in parliament on Wednesday.

If endorsed by the public in a referendum the new law will allow those who are terminally ill to request assisted dying.

Earlier in the day Stuff published an opinion piece by former prime minister Sir Bill English in which he offered five reasons for opposing the bill:

  • It does not provide real protection from coercion.
  • Many MPs will be finely tuned to the “hard cases”. However, for all the talk about narrowing the legislation down, this bill. is much broader than the new Victorian law, as well as those states in the United States where only assisted suicide is available.
  •  There is the contentious and vexed question of the relationship between suicide rates and assisted dying.
  • The review system does not include access to patient records, as is the case in the Netherlands. So it is a much weaker law in that regard.
  • There is growing evidence from Canada and the US that people are choosing euthanasia or assisted suicide because of a lack of access to proper end-of-life care.

A Christchurch surgeon Phil Bagshaw has raised concerns about the bill going to a public referendum.

He said the issue was complicated and thought “pressure groups” on both sides would promote it as more simple than it was.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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