Zero room for error

The End of Life Choice Act is not a concept - it's finished law. And if we make a mistake, death is a heavy penalty, writes author Caralise Trayes.

Zero room for error

Journalist Caralise Trayes set out to uncover all that we need to know about the up-coming referendum on the End of Life Choice Act. The research left her stunned at the poor process that has led us to this life and death decision.

In a recent Newsroom article, Caralise writes:

"I read headlines stating the majority of public (63 percent) support legalising euthanasia, according to the poll. To the untrained eye, that looks like some strong evidence that the End of Life Choice Act is a done deal. But to me it just smacks of the same shallow approach to this vote that many are tempted into making.

"Hold that poll up against other polls that show 74 percent of Kiwis don’t know we can already turn off life support, 70 percent incorrectly think the Act will legalise the choice not to be resuscitated (which is already legal), and 75 percent thought it would only be available when all other treatments have been tried... so I wonder what information we are basing our poll voting on?"

"But if you take a few moments to look at the detail, you will find the process wasn’t as good as it should have been. After a record-breaking number of submissions given to the Justice Select Committee when this law was a bill, the committee provided very little feedback to Parliament. In fact, the committee laid the responsibility of assessing the law and the submissions squarely back on the shoulders of MPs. This is not ‘normal practice’ in Parliament, despite David Seymour saying the law has gone through the “most rigorous process of any parliamentary bill in recent memory”. Maybe by rigorous, he means lengthy? Or contentious? Or laboursome?"

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