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Seales Family Celebrates End Of Life Choice Vote

Seales Family Celebrates End Of Life Choice Vote

14 December 2017
For Immediate Release

Last night, the New Zealand parliament voted in support of David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill at first reading, with 76 votes for, and 44 against. The family of Lecretia Seales would like to express their deep gratitude to those MPs who voted for the bill, and also those that spoke in support of the bill in the House last night.

Lecretia Seales’ widower, Matt Vickers, visiting from New York, watched the debate from the Speakers’ gallery, alongside the legal team from Russell McVeagh that acted for Ms Seales in Seales v Attorney General in 2015.

Mr Vickers said: “Lecretia and the many others who shared their end of life stories have helped make history. We’re incredibly proud of Lecretia. For the first time ever in New Zealand, assisted dying legislation has passed first reading and will be reviewed in select committee. It’s my hope that the Mr Seymour’s bill will continue through the final stages and become law. Such a tremendous margin at first reading suggests the bill stands a very good chance of being successful.”

“I was also pleased to see the successful votes to send the bill to the Justice select committee, and to give that committee nine months to review the bill. My view is that the committee needs a good amount of time to review the legislation, and I would strongly encourage committee members to visit some of the jurisdictions where assisted dying is legal to meet with health professionals there, rather than relying on hearsay, especially hearsay offered by opponents. For such an important bill, it is critical committee members get to the truth of things, and I would view a visit as a sensible investment in New Zealand’s future. I am sure most New Zealanders would agree.”

"The End of Life Choice Bill is comparable to overseas legislation and has similar safeguards to those found in Canada, the United States, and Victoria, Australia. Former Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson acknowledged those safeguards and the stringent criteria in his review of the bill earlier this year, also noting that the bill was consistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights."

It was revealed yesterday that opponents of Mr Seymour’s bill had recruited members of an Australian right-to-life organisation to flood New Zealand MPs with emails critical of the bill.

Mr Vickers said, “It’s clear that opponents are willing to go to almost any lengths to interfere with New Zealand's democratic process and spread fear and misinformation about the bill. I would strongly encourage New Zealanders to take those motives into account when listening to opponents. They must also make submissions to the select committee on the bill when the time comes, to ensure plenty of supportive voices are heard.”

Matt Vickers is the widower of Lecretia Seales, who went to the High Court in 2015 in pursuit of the right to choose to be assisted to die, and the author of Lecretia's Choice, which tells the story of his late wife's very public campaign for change.


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