Poll Supports End of Life Choice Bill
Labour List MP
14 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Poll Supports End of Life Choice Bill as Safe And Sensible
Recent poll results around her End of Life Choice Bill show the majority of New Zealanders understand the need for greater compassion in the law, says the Bill’s author, Maryan Street.
“I am persuaded that most people want to see an appropriately restrictive law in this area, based on compassion for those suffering from terminal illnesses or irreversible conditions which in their own view make their lives unbearable. Recent polling undertaken on this issue has been informative and clearly supports this view.
“A Horizon poll of 2969 adults, taken between 5-20 July this year, shows 62.9% support or strongly support allowing mentally competent adults to receive assistance to end their life if they have a terminal illness or an irreversible and unbearable condition. While 12.3% opposed it, another 15.8% were neutral and 9% unsure. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8%.
“It is clear from these poll results that people consider my bill to be a safe and sensible measure. Prosecutions of people who in any way assist their loved one to die are seen with increasing compassion and as something which should not happen, as long as there are sufficient safeguards in place to prevent abuse.
“Parliament has looked at this issue of assisted dying twice in the last 17 years and on the more recent of those occasions, the bill missed by two votes only,” said Maryan Street.
“Should my bill become law, it would only make assisting people to die in certain circumstances legal – it wouldn’t make it easy. This touches all of us. It has to have appropriate protections so that no one, including medical practitioners, could be coerced.
“This is about self-determining adults in life being able to be self-determining about their moment and method of death. It is not set up in opposition to palliative care, which is a wonderful option for many people. It is about people, in these circumstances only, being able to make that hardest of choices if they want to.
“It is clear from these poll results that the majority of New Zealanders, from all walks of life, want such a law,” said Maryan Street.