I don't expect apology from Simon O'Connor - Jacinda Ardern

  • 12/09/2017

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says she's yet to receive an apology from National MP Simon O'Connor over his claims she "encourages the suicide of the elderly, disabled and sick".

In a Facebook post late on Sunday evening, which also happened to be World Suicide Prevention Day, Mr O'Connor said "it's strange that Jacinda is so concerned about youth suicide" but supports euthanasia.

Despite a huge public backlash, Mr O'Connor refused to back down on his comments - and Ms Ardern told The AM Show she doesn't expect an apology.

"My message to Simon is, I know you have strongly held views on euthanasia, and he is absolutely entitled to that - as is any other Member of Parliament or member of the public," she said.

"But to confuse the two issues that we were speaking on - that was just wrong. I've pointed that out, and I don't expect an apology from him."

Ms Ardern says there is a distinct difference between euthanasia and suicide.

"My concern is he was doing that off the back of a suicide remembrance day, where there's a lot of grief that exists in New Zealand - 600 families alone last year lost family members to suicide," she said.

"To be posting off the back of that in that way is really much more hurtful to them, obviously, than it would be to anyone in a political stoush."

On Monday, Mr O'Connor said there was an inherent inconsistency between how euthanasia and suicide was discussed.

"At one level saying youth suicide is bad, but saying other forms of suicide are acceptable, that's an inconsistency. That's always been the approach I've had," he said.

"You cannot allow suicide for some and prevent it for others".

National leader Bill English said there is a difference between suicide and euthanasia but he respected that Simon O'Connor has strong views.