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Majority currently vote to enact End of Life Choice Bill

(Headline abbreviated, original headline: Large majority will currently vote to enact End of Life Choice Bill)

Currently 70% of New Zealanders think they will cast a referendum vote in favour of the End of Life Choice Bill becoming law.

30% will vote No to the bill becoming law, according to the first nationwide poll of eligible voters on referendum voting intentions, since the bill passed in Parliament.

The survey was conducted independently and in the public interest by Horizon Research.

The bill would make it legal for people to request assisted dying, or euthanasia, from doctors, and legal for health practitioners to help people die under certain conditions.

The result of the referendum, being held in conjunction with the 2020 general election, will be binding.

The survey of 1,521 adults shows support for end of life choice has largely held at levels measured before the bill was passed. It was last measured by Horizon at 74% in April. The removal of “not sure” and “don't know” answer options has consolidated opposition, up from 18% in April 2019 to 30% now.

Horizon Research’s Principal, Graeme Colman, says: “Though the public campaigns for and against have yet to start, it looks like years-long majority support for end of life choices is holding up. At this level, it seems a Yes vote is most likely to prevail at this year’s referendum.

“While concern has been expressed about the law potentially exposing some elderly to risk, the survey also finds huge numbers of those aged 65 or more will vote to enact the End of Life Choice Bill.”

72% of those aged 65 to 74 and 61% of those aged 75+ say they intend to vote Yes to enact the bill. Among those aged 75+ opposition is highest of any age group at 39%.

By age, the Yes vote peaks at nearly 78% among 45-54-year-olds.

“Support is very strong among voters for all parties, except those who voted for United Future at the 2017 election. Among ACT voters, whose leader has been responsible for the End of Life Choice Bill, support runs at 94%. We’re not seeing the partisan party divide in this referendum as we are in the one to legalise and control the personal use of cannabis,” Mr Colman says.

By party vote at the 2017 general election, support is highest among ACT voters (93% yes, 7% No). Results for other parties' voters are: Green 78% Yes/ 23% No, Labour 75% Yes/ 25% No, National 67% Yes/ 33% No and NZ First 68% Yes/ 32% No.

The survey was conducted between November 17 and 28, 2019. Results are weighted by age, gender, employment status, educational qualifications, personal income and regional to ensure a representative sample of the adult population at the most recent census. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.7%.

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