WelCom April 2017:
The Health Select Committee is still considering New Zealanders’ views on end-of-life issues in response to the petition of Maryan Street and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society that asked for an investigation of public attitudes towards changing the law to allow for ‘medically assisted dying’.
The Committee received an overwhelming number of more than 21,000 written submissions on the petition. Of those, more than 1800 people asked to give their submission in person. Submissions closed
1 February 2016 and the committee has since been hearing oral submissions, which were due to end in March. Once oral hearings are completed the Committee will consider all the evidence and information provided and a report will be written, which may or may not make any recommendations.
An analysis of the submissions has found that 78 percent of submitters indicated they did not want a law change that would allow euthanasia or assisted suicide to be introduced into New Zealand. The large and unprecedented numbers of New Zealanders who made submissions represents a very high-level of engagement with the issue. Submitters did not just sign a petition, but presented arguments in their own words to which they put their names and then sent on to the Committee.
A new website provides information on the submissions. Called 16,000 Voices it refers to the number of Select Committee submissions that opposed any introduction of euthanasia or assisted suicide in New Zealand. The website provides links to written submissions from a range of people, including an elderly person, a person with disabilities, a hospice worker, a nurse. These submissions discuss the many negative effects legalising euthanasia or assisted suicide would have on both individuals and on our society. There are also short videos of people who tell their own stories about why they oppose euthanasia and what effect they think it could have on their lives or the lives of others.
You can visit www.16000voices.org.nz for information about 16,000 Voices.