No advice from assisted dying report

  • 02/08/2017

Not a single recommendation has been made by Parliament's health select committee after hearing more than 21,000 submissions on public attitudes toward legalising assisted dying.

Four in five people who contacted the committee during an investigation of public attitudes toward euthanasia legislation were opposed to the idea.

The committee has spent several years investigating public views toward assisted dying for the terminally ill and those with irreversible conditions, based on a petition by former Labour MP Maryan Street.

In a report released on Wednesday the committee, chaired by Simon O'Connor, concluded any decision on the issue would generally be a conscience vote.

Of the 80 percent opposed to legislation that would legalise medically-assisted euthanasia, the report concluded they were primarily concerned about endangering the public.

"They cited concern for vulnerable people, such as the elderly and disabled, those with mental illness, and those susceptible to coercion," the report says.

"Others argued that life has an innate value and that introducing assisted dying and euthanasia would explicitly undermine that idea."

On the contrary, supporters feared a loss of dignity and independence, and spoke of fear of pain and watching loved ones suffering a painful death.

The committee of nine expressed concern about a lack of awareness around the role of palliative care and unequal access, and urged the government to consider better communication of services, funding and workforce shortages.

Only New Zealand First committee member Barbara Stewart took a minority view, urging a binding referendum on the issue following a period of informed debate.

She said it was a serious matter not to be decided by "temporarily empowered politicians".

Act Party Leader David Seymour spoke to Duncan Garner.

Watch the video for the full interview.