Support for euthanasia has softened since December 2019, according to Research NZ managing partner Emanuel Kalafatelis.

This month New Zealanders were polled on the same question they were asked in December 2019.

Support for assisted dying legislation dropped from approximately 70% in December to 64% this month.

Those who are strongly in favour of the legislation dropped from 50% to 33%.

 

“We asked them whether they were in favour or not in favour of the legislation which allows terminally ill adults to request a medically assisted death,” Kalafatelis said.

It’s important to note that the term “medically assisted death” was not explained to respondents. Therefore these poll results should not be taken as support for a law change.

Confusion about Assisted Dying graphs

A 2017 Curia Market research poll found that the majority of respondents were confused about what “assisted dying” means.

The more strongly a person supported ‘assisted dying’, the more likely they were confusing it with end-of-life-choices that are already legal.

Of those who strongly supported ‘assisted dying’:

  • 85% thought it includes turning off life support
  • 79% thought it includes ‘do not resusctitate’ requests
  • 67% thought it includes the stopping of medical tests, treatments and surgeries

These three end-of-life choices are already legal.

In all three cases a person would die from their underlying medical condition – of natural causes.

 

A November 2019 Curia Market Research poll confirmed that New Zealanders are still confused about which end-of-life choices the proposed End of Life Choice Act would legalise.

  • 74% thought that the End of Life Choice Act would make it legal to choose to have machines turned off that are keeping a person alive.
  • 70% thought that the End of Life Choice Act would make it legal to choose to not be resuscitated

 

Research NZ intends to repeat the same poll around mid August 2020.

Euthanasia-Free NZ encourages Research NZ to ask an additional question, in which respondents are told that, in the proposed End of Life Choice Act, “assisted dying” means the administration of a lethal dose of medication.”