Ōtaki MP Nathan Guy was presented with a petition on March 22 asking him to vote yes to the second reading of the End of Life Choice Bill.
Members of the Kāpiti-Horowhenua End of Life Choice Society presented the petition in the name of 961 residents in the Ōtaki electorate. Nathan Guy voted yes at the first reading so the public could have the debate via the Justice select committee. He has not indicated how he will vote at the second reading.
Petitioner Ann David said many people had stories of loved ones who had endured protracted deaths with great suffering. Others saw the Bill as a right to self-determination and protection from enforced suffering.
If enacted, the Bill would allow New Zealanders to ask a doctor to hasten their death under strictly controlled conditions. A patient would need to be terminally ill with a prognosis of less than six months or with a grievous and irremediable medical condition. In either case, the applicant would need to be “in an advanced stage of irreversible decline in capability” and “experiencing unbearable suffering that is unable to be relieved in any manner tolerable to him or her” at the time of signing a written request for assisted dying.
Two doctors would have to confirm that all of the eligibility criteria are simultaneously present, that the patient is mentally competent to make the decision and does so uncoerced, of their own free will. Any doctor can decline participation.