National, Labour Fail to Show Compassion on Assisted Dying
National, Labour Fail to Show Compassion on Assisted Dying, Leaving ACT as Only Option
National and the opposition’s continued weakness and lack of compassion on end-of-life choice has left ACT as the only option for supporters of reform, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Neither National nor Labour can be trusted with the End of Life Choice Bill,” Mr Seymour says. “Labour withdrew a private member’s bill on the topic because it was deemed politically risky. National has turned inaction into a brand over the past decade, and will kick this issue to touch forever if they can get away with it. Both major parties lack the spine to tie themselves to the cause, leaving me to sponsor the bill set for debate after the election.
“For the families and individuals dealing with a painful and difficult phase of life, every false start and weakly justified delay is a punch to the gut.
“But politicians have no more excuses for inaction. The office of the Attorney General has combed through my bill and found it is completely consistent with the right to life, a hurdle that previous assisted dying bills couldn’t pass. The issue is not ‘too hard’, I’ve done the work, and the bill is fit for purpose.
“The only issue they found was that exempting under-18s is technically discriminatory.
“National MP Simon O’Connor’s professed neutrality as chair of the select committee inquiry was completely undermined when he used a Catholic newspaper to encourage negative submissions. Yet Labour and the Greens failed to challenge him. O’Connor’s bias was made even more explicit in yesterday’s Herald column, in which he used his select committee position to lend credence to his personal objections to end-of-life choice.
“It’s now clear that New Zealand will not see reform without a strong ACT after the election. With more MPs, ACT will ensure the passage of the End of Life Choice Bill, giving suffering New Zealanders dignity and choice.”