Background to the Inquiry
The Health Select Committee investigation is in response to a petition presented to Parliament on 23 June. The petition was organised by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and former Labour MP Maryan Street. It requested “that the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.” ‘Assisted dying’ is one of many euphemisms for assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The Health Select Committee decided to explore the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia within the wider context of suicide: “an investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand”. See the full details here on Parliament’s website.
“Look we want to see this as broad basically. It’s a chance for New Zealanders to come in and have their say over the coming weeks and months and you’ll see from the terms put down it’s trying to look at all the various angles to do with ending one’s life and in effect too the whole question of suicide which surrounds it.”
– Simon O’Connor, Chair of the Health Select Committee
Listen here to the Radio New Zealand interview with Simon O’Connor on the Committee’s approach.