Progress on euthanasia Bill is 'big win' for David Seymour - Tova O'Brien

Getting his euthanasia Bill to its second reading in Parliament is a big win for David Seymour, according to Newshub's Political Editor Tova O'Brien.

On Tuesday, the Justice Select Committee reported back on the ACT leader's End of Life Choice Bill, which would give people the option to request assisted dying if they have a terminal illness or a "grievous and irremediable medical condition".

As not all committee members agreed it should be passed, all MPs will have a chance to "resolve the broader policy matters" in the House, the committee's report said.

O'Brien said that select committee process had been unprecedented.

"That select committee process was incredibly fraught, it was unprecedented, it went for 16 months, nearly 40,000 submissions," she told The AM Show.

Regardless of if the Bill passes its second reading when it heads back to the House in roughly six weeks, O'Brien said Seymour had accomplished a lot.

"This is huge and I think any MP that gets a Bill plucked out of the member's ballot, it's a lottery in the first place... it is pure serendipitous luck if it comes out," she said.

"To get it plucked out from the ballot and then to not have it shot down immediately is huge.

"Something like euthanasia, which is a major issue in New Zealand and all around the world, this is a conscience vote and to have it kinda progress in the way that it has, this is a big win for David Seymour."

There is still division in Parliament over the Bill, with many MPs, including National's Simeon Brown and Maggie Barry, staunchly against it.

Others outside of Parliament are also opposing it, including the New Zealand Disability Rights Commissioner, the New Zealand Medical Association and Hospice New Zealand.

Former Prime Minister Bill English has come out strong against the Bill, warning that making euthanasia legal in New Zealand would be a "slippery slope" and there weren't enough safeguards in the Bill.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled her support, something O'Brien said was unusual.

"Often she doesn't really signal which way she is going to go with these things, but she has in this case. I suppose it was going to be public pretty soon, but it can influence people in her party and it can also influence the public."

Public opinion also seems to be on Ardern and Seymour's side, with a Newshub-Reid Research poll last year finding 71 percent of people supported the Bill, with 19.5 percent opposed and 9.5 percent unsure.

But the public will have a more official method of expressing their support if Winston Peters has his way.

"If it does pass, and make its way into law, then it goes out to you, the public, because Winston Peters is only pledging his support for this Bill if there is a referendum," said O'Brien.

"So if it does all pass, and go through in that way, that will be tacked onto the 2020 election."

Newshub.

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