David Seymour is misleading New Zealanders by arguing that the recent report from Victoria is relevant to New Zealand voters. It is not.
The End of Life Choice Act allows more risk of coercion and wrongful deaths than the Victorian Act does.
1. Not a last resort
2. Coercion is not an offence
In Victoria it’s a punishable offence for any person to coerce someone to request ‘assisted dying’. Not so under the End of Life Choice Act. Parliament voted down Melissa Lee’s amendment that would have made coercion by anyone an offence.
3. No independent witnesses
The End of Life Choice Act requires no independent witnesses at any point in the process. Parliament voted down Simeon Brown’s amendment. In Victoria, two independent people need to witness the signing of the request and one independent person needs to witness the administration request and the administration of the lethal dose.
4. No competency test at the death
Under the End of Life Choice Act a person needs to be mentally competent when assessed as eligible, but not when receiving the lethal dose. In Victoria a person needs to be mentally competent when assessed as eligible and when receiving the lethal dose.
5. No specialist knowledge or vocational registration
The End of Life Choice Act allows even provisionally registered doctors, fresh out of medical school, to assess a person’s eligibility, without having any experience or training in the field of medicine related to the person’s condition. Not so in Victoria.
6. No training required
In Victoria a doctor may not assess a person’s eligibility unless they have completed training. Our Parliament voted down Simon O’Connor’s amendment that would have added a training requirement to the End of Life Choice Act.
* * *
The referendum at the September 2020 election will not be on whether terminally ill people should suffer. Both sides of the euthanasia debate don’t want people to suffer.
The vote will not be on whether euthanasia should be legalised.
The vote will be on whether a specific proposal, the End of Life Choice Act, should come into force.
This Act is deeply flawed. Parliament voted down several common-sense amendments without even debating them.
New Zealand deserves better.