Labour-NZ First coalition deal increases odds of voluntary euthanasia referendum

By October 25, 2017 Recent News

Stuff 24 October 2017
Family First Comment: Don’t get too excited. The last time Winston Peters asked MPs to give referendum to the people on a contentious issue (allowing a referendum on same-sex marriage) he lost 33 – 85.
Politicians don’t like sharing the power.
The issue of whether to legalise voluntary euthanasia looks increasingly likely to go to a public vote after details of the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement were revealed.
Contained in the agreement made public on Tuesday was a commitment to hold a conscience vote in Parliament when it came time to decide whether MPs or the general public should determine the fate of ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice bill.
Seymour’s bill, which gives people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying, was drawn from the members’ ballot in June.
NZ First has since put forward a Supplementary Order Paper that provides for a referendum on the issue.
When MPs eventually meet to decide whether there should be a referendum, they will now be able to vote individually, rather than along party lines.
Ken Orr, spokesman for anti-euthanasia group Right to Life, said the issue was too complex to be put to a public vote, and could lead to a “slippery slope” of assisted dying policies.
“We don’t think it’s a matter that should be decided by individuals in the community,” he said.