Delighted at majority vote on New Zealand’s End of Life Choice Bill

Delighted at majority vote on New Zealand’s End of Life Choice Bill

ACT MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill received its First Reading vote in Parliament on 13 December 2017. 76 MPs voted in favour and 44 against sending the Bill to the NZ Justice Select Committee.

Labour, Green and National party MPs were given a conscience vote.

Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) voted in support of the Bill. She said prior to the vote “My position has always been that while I want important safeguards in place, I also want people to have their own choices in that position, so I will support the bill.”

New Zealand First’s nine MPs voted as a bloc supporting the Bill, subject to a binding public referendum. NZ First MP and party whip Clayton Mitchell said “We are the only party that is 100 per cent united on this belief that it shouldn’t be up to us to make that decision. And therefore we won’t.” Seymour confirmd that he would personally provide support for an amendment to add a referendum, but that it would be up to NZ First to find the votes required to pass it.

The End of Life Choice Bill would give people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying. Seymour drafted his bill after the high profile case of Wellington lawyer, Lecretia Seales, who died on 5 June 2015, the same day the Seales v Attorney General judgment was made passed, not granting Seales the declarations she sought. The Bill was drawn from the members’ bills ballot on 8 June 2017.

This is the first time in New Zealand’s history that assisted dying legislation has reached a point where the public has a chance to submit their opinion on this issue. The closing date for public submissions End of Life Choice Bill is midnight on Tuesday, 20 February 2018. For more information see the New Zealand Parliament webpage on the End of Life Choice Bill

The majority of New Zealanders will be delighted that Parliament has today agreed to send David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill to a select committee for consideration, said the President of the End-of-Life Choice Society, Maryan Street. “New Zealanders will now have their first chance to make submissions on a law enabling people to choose medical assistance to die, in certain highly regulated circumstances,” said Maryan Street. (pictured)See Press Release from the End-of-Life Choice Society of New Zealand 13 December 2017

for details of the Bill and which MPs voted in favour see the New Zealand Times article ‘End Of Life Choice Bill passes first reading‘ and article ‘Historic right to die bill passes first hurdle‘ on 14 December 2017

For more information see the End-Of-Life Choice Society of New Zealand – Yes to Dignity in Dying campaign website