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Patients pay for petty politics on organ donors

Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

16 January 2008

Patients pay for Labour’s petty politics on organ donors

The Government should justify its stance against an organ donation register in light of plans by Helen Clark’s Labour UK counterpart to introduce a new regime that goes much further than that which was proposed in New Zealand.

National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue says the current Labour Government clearly thinks that there isn't a problem with the availability of organs for transplant, but they should talk to patients on the waiting list.

“When Labour in the UK is going so much further than what I proposed in my private members bill, it is hard to come to any conclusion other than Labour here opposed it for petty political reasons.”

Dr Blue says the UK is looking at a system that assumes people are happy to be organ donors, unless they opt off the register. The proposal for New Zealand was a voluntary opt on method.

“The British proposal goes too far in my view, and removes choice. But the question now needs to be asked of Labour here why it opposed a much more mild regime.”

Helen Clark’s Government campaigned in 2005 to bring in an organ donor register.

“But they refused to support my bill. The ‘donor’ that is recorded on over a million drivers’ licences carries no weight and so New Zealanders have no easy way to record if they want to be an organ donor.

“While the number of donors has improved from an all time low of 25 donors in 2006 to 38 last year, it still only matches levels that were achieved well over five years ago. In the meantime, the number of people waiting for a transplant has doubled.

“We are facing a diabetes epidemic and the urgent need for organs is set to sky rocket. Organ donors are providing the gift of life, but unless we know they want to be donors, that gift may never get to those who desperately need it.”


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