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Research Results

74% say yes to end of life choice law

10 May 19

74% say yes to end of life choice law
Continuing strong support for end of life choice

As Parliament prepares to vote on the End of Life Choice Bill this month, a new poll shows a clear majority of New Zealanders want to allow doctors to help the terminally ill, enduring unbearable suffering, to die.

A Horizon Research poll confirms consistent surveys showing that fewer than one-in-five voters oppose a law change.

The poll, taken April, 2019, after Parliament's Justice select committee reported on a record  39,000 submissions on the bill, found 74% of respondents believe that mentally competent New Zealanders aged 18 or over with an end-stage terminal disease like cancer should be able to get medical assistance to end their lives.

65% believe this choice should also be available for people with “irreversible unbearable suffering which may not cause death in the immediate future” (like motor neurone disease).

In both cases, 19%  were against the proposal.

Support for medically assisted dying had risen since Horizon’s first survey on the subject in July 2012, when 63% supported a law change.

Horizon conducted the April survey for the End of Life Choice society.

MPs are expected to vote on the second reading of ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill on May 22.

“This shows MPs that a substantial majority of voters remain adamant that they want an enlightened law allowing medical assistance in dying (MAID) despite a vigorous campaign of lies and misinformation mounted by opponents,” Maryan Street, President of the End-of-Life Choice Society, says.

"There was strong support for MAID across all age groups, ethnicities and political parties, based on voting at the last election in 2017.

"All parties currently represented in Parliament had voters who overwhelmingly supported assisted dying ranging in percentages from 65% to 93%."

Mr Seymour has welcomed the poll saying the results are consistent with over 20 years of public polls on assisted dying in New Zealand conducted time and time again by reputable polling companies.

“Any Member of Parliament undecided on the issue of assisted dying should be reassured that a vote for the End of Life Choice Bill at second reading is in line with the views of their constituents and wider New Zealand, he says.

“If they’re still not convinced by these polls, then I suggest to MPs that voting the Bill through second reading and allowing the public to have their say in a binding referendum at the General Election would provide the evidence once and for all.”

The poll of 1,341 voters was taken between April 19-29 and the results weighted to represent the New Zealand adult population. Horizon says the margin of error is plus or minus 2.7 percent.

Download graphs on key poll results here.