Government to look at organ veto

One News reports:

The Government is looking at whether families should continue to have the right to overrule the wishes of organ donors.

Currently whilst people can indicate on their drivers licence that they want to be an organ donor, families can overrule the decision.

Organ donor campaigners say the veto is one reason that New Zealand has one of the lowest organ donor rates in the world, although they say it’s very hard to tell just how many deceased organ donations are overruled. There were just 46 deceased organ donations last year.

The Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says he and the Health Minister Jonathan Coleman have launched a review to see if there are ways to lift New Zealand’s poor rate of organ donation.

He says one of the things that will be looked at is the veto rule and whether it is appropriate. He says there are strong arguments for and against it.

He says there is also an argument about the weight that should be placed on the veto, and working out whether it’s the donors wish to donate or the families wish which is paramount in the end.

Good to see Peter Dunne doing a review in this area.

In my mind it is quite simple, for two reasons.

Firstly,  my organs belong to me, not my family. My wishes should not be subject to their veto

Secondly let’s look at what harm is caused in the competing scenarios of allowing a family member to veto or not veto a donor’s decision to donate.

If you scrap the veto from a family member, then those family members may be upset about the donation. They may feel their religious or cultural beliefs have been trampled on.

If the veto is maintained, and a family member vetos a donation a donor has agreed to, then the impact is the intended recipient dies without the transplant.


It’s a no brainer. People’s right to life trumps people right not to get upset.

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