Assisted Dying - The Law in NZ
In New Zealand, the process of allowing a natural death by refusing medical treatment or intervention is quite legal. A clause in our Bill of Rights Act 1990 gives an unambiguous right to refuse medical treatment. Our Code of Health Consumers' Rights confirms that statutory right and also enshrines in law the use of an appropriate Advance Directive. It goes even further, in that Advance Directives do not necessarily have to be in writing. In emergencies an oral directive has an equal effect.
Assisting in a suicide or hastening a death is illegal. Aiding or abetting in any way is illegal and subject to heavy penalties. However, recent court cases reveal the compassion of New Zealand judges when they consider the charges, especially in cases in which it is obvious that the accused did not stand to benefit from the death. Where a conviction is brought in by a jury, the Courts seem to be inclined to take a lenient view when handing down sentences.
We asked people how they feel about aid-in-dying laws.
And the Survey Says:
Most New Zealanders support aid-in-dying legislation.
Nearly 7 out of 10 New Zealanders support or strongly support an End-Of-Life Choice, for those who qualify and who request it.
This holds true across all demographics, including political party, religion, age, gender, geographic location and income level.
Read the results of the Horizon Research Survey, focused on the End-Of-Life Choice Bill by clicking here.
From: Newstalk ZB:
PM 'broadly supports' voluntary euthanasia
Euthanasia is already happening in New Zealand hospitals, according to Prime Minister John Key.
Mr Key has said he "broadly supports" the principle of voluntary euthanasia, and would consider it if he were terminally ill himself.
Labour Party MP Maryan Street's End of Life Choice Bill would legalise euthanasia, and it's created controversy even though it has yet to be drawn from the ballot.
The Prime Minister said he has not read Ms Street's member's bill, so has not completely decided how he would vote if it were drawn.
John Key voted in favour of a similar bill from NZ First MP Peter Brown in 2003.
"I'd just look at it and say - if I had terminal cancer, I had a few weeks to live and I was in tremendous amount of pain, if they just effectively wanted to turn off the switch, and could legalise that by legalising euthanasia, I'd want that," he told Newstalk ZB yesterday.
Mr Key said he understands the argument legalising euthanasia could put pressure on the elderly to end their lives early, however he did not buy into it.
"I think there's a lot of euthanasia that effectively happens in our hospitals."
However the director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, Ian Powell, did not think euthanasia was occurring the way Mr Key made out.
"The situation is much more complex than that," he told Fairfax Media.
"Sometimes continuing a treatment can prolong the agony for a patient, and not even keep the patient alive.
"By not prolonging the agony . . . even though the intent is not for the patient to die, it is sometimes a consequence."