On Tuesday 30th July, 27 amendments to the End of Life Choice Bill were released in New Zealand Parliament. One of the passed amendments was that of Act leader David Seymour, strange enough an amendment to narrow the bill.
In order to secure the votes he needs to let the bill pass the third and final reading, Seymour was forced to narrow the bill. In the original bill, assisted dying was open to terminally-ill adults and also to those with “grievous and irremediable” conditions. This “irremediable” clause had led to fears about implications of the law for the disabled community. To take away this fear and to secure amongst others the Green Party’s vote, Seymour tried to take out this clause. With his amendment he proposed to give access to voluntary euthanasia only to those with six months left to live. The amendment passed the House with 74 votes to 44.
The next step is the third reading, when this will be is not yet clear. Those against the bill looked set to drag the process out on Wednesday, by promising to put up a swathe of their own amendments for the debate. National’s Simon O’Connor at the start of the night told the House he and others would be conducting a “clause-by-clause, word-by-word” interrogation.
In June the Act passed the second reading.