“Today marks two years of the End of Life Choice Act allowing terminally ill New Zealanders to die with dignity,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Hundreds of New Zealanders who were terminally ill and suffering have used the legislation to end their lives in peace and dignity, on their terms, surrounded by loved ones.
“This law is clearly making New Zealand a more humane society. In the meantime, the opponents who forced compromises on the legislation have melted away. They are nowhere to be seen but the restrictions on the law they demanded remain a real issue.
“I hope the law will change again so people with terminal illnesses do not need a six month prognosis to be eligible for assisted dying. That’s how I originally proposed the law and would give choice and control to many people with degenerative conditions such as, for example, Motor Neuron Disease.
“To get the bill passed I had to put in place the six month requirement. The Green MPs, among others, demanded this. I fear that compromise is leading to people missing out on having choice and control, even though their long suffering is just as real as those with a more immediate terminal condition.
“I’m proud of the work we did to champion the End of Life Choice Act through Parliament and through a nationwide referendum.
“We heard overwhelmingly from thousands of members of the public at public meetings, in person, and in the referendum result that this is a choice they wished for. Some thought the sky would fall in because of this legislation, when in reality, it has eased suffering and pain.
“A society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. New Zealand is now a country that gives those who face terrible suffering at the end of their life compassion and choice.”