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NZ Voluntary euthanasia to be debated after Seymour bill drawn from ballot

Voluntary euthanasia to be debated after Seymour bill drawn from ballot. Act Party leader David Seymour says he believes he has the numbers to at least get his voluntary euthanasia bill past the first hurdle. Speaking after his private member’s bill was pulled from the ballot today, Seymour said 40 MPs had indicated they would support it, while 27 said they would oppose it. Another 50 had said they were undecided. He needs 61 votes for a majority at the first reading. While that is likely to take place before the September election, Seymour did not expect it to pass through all stages under the current Parliamentary term.

Seymour said he was delighted Parliament would debate voluntary euthanasia. He turned down a ministerial portfolio to focus on the issue. “This is morally, democratically and legally the right thing for Parliament to do,” he told reporters at a press conference this afternoon. While he believed some MPs may try to filibuster the legislation, he believed it could pass later this year under the next government.

“I think we will easily pass this legislation. Its time has come.” Prime Minister Bill English, a practising Catholic, has previously said he is firmly against legalising euthanasia. Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little has said he would support legalisation if it had appropriate safeguards. Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said today she was undecided on her vote, and she wanted to take some time to consider her position. “I’m not an absolute no. So I suppose I want to see what the consequences are, what the kind of detail is.”