David Seymour’s End of Life Bill passed through Parliament last night by 69 votes to 51. We are now facing a referendum at the next election. From Boris Jancic at the Herald;
Parliament has passed a bill legalising voluntary euthanasia in a historic vote, and turned the final decision on assisted dying over to the public.
Politicians on Wednesday night voted through Act leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill 69 votes to 51, after a debate ending two years of fierce political arguments about the legislation and decades of attempts to get reforms through the House.
It will now go to a public referendum alongside next year’s general election for a final test.
Since the bill – which would let terminally ill adults request assisted dying – was introduced in 2017, Seymour has devoted the bulk of his time to seeing the legislation through eight protracted parliamentary debates and a record 39,000 submissions from the public.
Speaking in Parliament, in front of a packed public gallery on Wednesday, Seymour implored his fellow MPs to give the bill backing one last time.
“I have listened to New Zealanders talk about their experiences from Kerikeri to Gore,” Seymour said.
“Overwhelmingly they have said to me: ‘I have seen bad death. If my time comes and I’m not doing well, I want choice. By the way, it’s nobody else’s business but my own’.”
The party breakdown was interesting. The Greens and NZ First MPs voted for the bill in blocks. Seymour naturally and Jami-Lee Ross supported the bill.
Among Labour MPs 13 opposed and 33 supported the bill. National’s MPs broke 39 against and 16 in favour.
The Herald is reporting the result to be 69 to 51. My calculation is that it is 68 to 52. There might be something wrong with the Herald Table that I am using.
The effect on the next election will be interesting. I suspect that New Zealand First’s support for the bill as long as it went to referendum had one eye on the implications for turnout among its traditional supporters.
But congratulations to David Seymour for seeing the process through. This has been a much better use of his time than dancing with the stars.