New Zealand Committee Considers Legalizing Assisted Suicide But Opponents Say No

International   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   May 23, 2018   |   5:41PM   |   Wellington, New Zealand

Euthanasia Free New Zealand is working in coalition with many groups to oppose the legalization of euthanasia.

Yesterday, the New Zealand Justice Select Committee examining the euthanasia bill received a 6 month extension to submit its report based on the reality that the committee received 35,000 submissions for consideration.

Radio New Zealand reported that 10% of the submissions to the committee included a request to present in person and the committee intends to make this possible. RNZ reported:

The committee’s chair Labour Party member Raymond Huo said the hearings would enable as many individuals and community organisations as possible to be heard.

“The Justice Committee intends to hear from all submitters who have asked to be heard,” Mr Huo said.

“Hearing evidence in the regions will help ensure that as many individuals and community organisations as possible can present their views and that the committee take account of all of the submissions in an open-minded and balanced way,” he said.

Justice Committee deputy chair Maggie Barry said the number of submissions signalled the importance of conducting hearings.

“The very large number of carefully considered individual submissions reveals just how seriously New Zealanders take the potential change of law to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide,” she said.

Several legislators have changed their position on the euthanasia bill. SBS news reported:

The bill – drafted by the libertarian ACT Party – passed its first reading in parliament by 76 votes to 44 but may face a tougher time in the second, with some politicians and disability advocates raising concerns about whether it’s too broad in its criteria.

Many International groups also made submissions and asked to be given an opportunity for an oral presentation, including the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Based on our experience, the more information that is given to legislators, the more likely they are to oppose euthanasia.

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The committee hearings started yesterday. Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.