ACT Leader David Seymour has welcomed the Justice Select Committee’s Report on the End of Life Choice Bill. 

“Thank you to everyone who submitted up and down New Zealand on the End of Life Choice Bill, the Justice Committee members who considered the Bill, and the officials who have worked tirelessly for 16 months during its consideration.

“Over 38,000 New Zealanders made a submission, some travelling long distances to be heard in person, and their views are reflected in this report.

"I acknowledge that the Committee agreed to refer the Bill back with minor technical changes and left the substantive amendments to be debated in Committee of the Whole House. This is the right thing to do.

“It’s pleasing to see the result of the largest consultation in parliamentary history released and the Bill returned to the House with improvements which strengthen the Bill.

“The improvements include: 

  • Aligning the bill with existing legislation and regulations 
  • Strengthening the complaints process by explicitly including options for the registrar to refer cases to the police, health and disability commissioner, coroner, or other authority. 
  • Making explicit stating that if coercion is suspected at any point in the process the person becomes ineligible for assisted dying.
  • Making explicit stating that life insurance contracts must be valid in the case of an assisted death.

“MPs will now have the chance to vote for the second time on the End of Life Choice Bill with minor changes made by the Committee, and for choice and compassion for New Zealanders who are suffering at the end of their lives.

“I will be putting forward further amendments to the Bill, which I released in my Sponsor’s Report, as SOPs to be debated in the Committee of the Whole House. 

“The SOPs will include:

  • A provision for a binding referendum on the commencement of the Bill at the General Election
  • Limiting eligibility to terminal illness only
  • For avoidance of doubt, stating that access to assisted dying cannot be by reason of mental health conditions, age, or disability only.
  • Expanding membership of the SCENZ Group to include nurses, Māori and Pasifika representatives, and disabled persons representatives.

“The Bill is likely to come back for second reading on 22 May, 2019.

“New Zealanders overwhelmingly want this this Bill to pass.

“The passing of this Bill will provide comfort and relief to many New Zealanders who are are at the end of life, and who wish to have the option, that they can choose to go surrounded by loved ones in a manner and timing of their choosing when their suffering becomes unbearable.”