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An investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand

An investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand – response to petition from Maryan Street

Parliament’s Health Committee has released its terms of reference for an investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand and is calling for public submissions on the subject.

Simon O’Connor, committee chair, believes this is a subject that will concern many New Zealanders and therefore deserves a thorough examination. He encourages everyone with a view on this matter to make a submission to the committee. “The petitioners are requesting changes to laws that would make it possible for people to end their lives, or have others do so, under certain conditions. To ensure a thorough investigation, the select committee decided to undertake a broad inquiry” said Mr O’Connor. The closing date for submissions is 1 February 2016.

The committee’s investigation is in response to a petition from the Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others which asks that Parliament “investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.”

The petition asks for a change to existing law. Therefore the committee will undertake an investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand. In order to fully understand public attitudes the committee will consider all the various aspects of the issue, including the social, legal, medical, cultural, financial, ethical, and philosophical implications. The Committee will investigate:

1. The factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life.

2. The effectiveness of services and support available to those who desire to end their own lives.

3. The attitudes of New Zealanders towards ending the ending of one’s life and the current legal situation.

4. International experiences.

The committee will seek to hear from all interested groups and individuals.

Submissions should be made either online using our website (www.parliament.nz), or in writing. For further guidance on making a submission, read the publication Making a submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee on our website.

ENDS


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