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Euthanasia referendum result extremely disappointing - Care Alliance

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"The voters of New Zealand have spoken, and we are naturally extremely disappointed with the outcome of the End of Life Choice Act Referendum," Care Alliance spokesperson Doctor Sinead Donnelly says. "This is not what we worked for."

"While we know and accept that the law will now come into force in 12 months’ time, we also know that it is a law that will create significant problems and place many vulnerable New Zealanders at risk of a wrongful and premature death. That worries us greatly.

"One of the critical things going forward is to capture accurate information around the application of the Act and the reasons people are choosing it. It is important that the law operates in a fully transparent way and that people will be fully accountable, including the Ministry of Health. We will advocate strongly for this.

"The result does not change the fact that this law is poorly drafted and dangerous with weak or non-existent safeguards. As we have said on many occasions, it exposes vulnerable people to too many risks; it is weaker than similar overseas laws; it won’t lead to better health outcomes for the most disadvantaged New Zealanders, including Pasifika and Maori who die on average 7 years earlier than the rest of us.

"It is well known that access to quality palliative in New Zealand depends on your postcode. Meanwhile, it is also well established overseas that people choose an assisted death because they lack access to other care options and/or because they feel they are a burden to their family or to an over-stretched health system. To us that is unacceptable. Until palliative care is properly resourced, we know that the choice of an assisted death will not be a real choice for many people and therein lies a challenge for us all.

"We must work harder than we ever have to bring about more equitable access to good healthcare, including quality palliative care, to all in New Zealand and to mitigate the not inconsiderable risks that accompany this very dangerous and weak law. Good compassionate and dignified care demands nothing less. We will continue to advocate for the needs of the most vulnerable."

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