Getting his euthanasia Bill to its second reading in Parliament is a big win for David Seymour, according to Newshub’s Political Editor Tova O’Brien.
On Tuesday, the Justice Select Committee reported back on the ACT leader’s End of Life Choice Bill, which would give people the option to request assisted dying if they have a terminal illness or a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”.
As not all committee members agreed it should be passed, all MPs will have a chance to “resolve the broader policy matters” in the House, the committee’s report said.
There is a degree of politics in this. Much of the opposition to the bill was centered around that eligiblity was not just to those who had a terminal illness but also those with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”. Some in the disabled community worried that merely being disabled could mean you are eligible etc.
Supporters of the bill, including the author, were happy to change the bill at select committee to narrow the eligibility. But as I understand it opponents of the bill didn’t want that change made, because it would make opposing the bill more difficult.
Not in politics such tactics are not uncommon. It is how it goes. But people should be aware that if the bill reaches committee of the whole stage, it is highly highly likely to have that eligibility narrowed – something the opponents had been asking for.
Public opinion also seems to be on Ardern and Seymour’s side, with a Newshub-Reid Research poll last year finding 71 percent of people supported the Bill, with 19.5 percent opposed and 9.5 percent unsure.
But the public will have a more official method of expressing their support if Winston Peters has his way.
“If it does pass, and make its way into law, then it goes out to you, the public, because Winston Peters is only pledging his support for this Bill if there is a referendum,” said O’Brien.
“So if it does all pass, and go through in that way, that will be tacked onto the 2020 election.”
As the select committee declined to make substantive changes, the right thing to do is vote for the bill at the second reading, so that the amendments dealing with eligibility and a referendum can be considered by all MPs. Then at third reading MPs can vote on if they are happy with the final bill.