Euthanasia inquiry to start at select committee

  • 27/08/2015
Euthanasia inquiry to start at select committee

Kiwis are being encouraged to speak up about voluntary euthanasia and whether it should become law in New Zealand.

A select committee's begun an inquiry after a 9000-signature petition was presented to Parliament.

Committee chair Simon O'Connor admits polls show most New Zealanders are in favour of assisted dying, but a hearing will give more depth.

"You've got to get behind the reasoning and the thought and that's why the committee has structured its terms enabling people to have their say and explain why they think what they do."

The petition was inspired by Lecretia Seales, who died of a brain tumour on the same day a court ruled she could not have help to take her own life.

Euthanasia-Free NZ has welcomed the opportunity to make a submission, with executive officer Renee Joubert saying the idea of doctors becoming facilitators of suicide "sends a chill down my spine".

The group says there are around 480 suicides per year as well as more than 2600 hospitalisations for intentional self-harm injuries which would include suicide attempts.

"This inquiry is an excellent opportunity for New Zealanders to comment on the support services they and their loved ones have accessed and how these could be improved”, she says.

Family First believes euthanasia will send a "dangerous message" to society about the suicide and the value of life.

3 News / RadioLIVE