The Salvation Army is extremely concerned that assisted dying will become legal in New Zealand when the End Of Life Choice Act is adopted in a year’s time.
We believe many New Zealanders are unaware of the lack of safeguards contained within the End of Life Choice Act and that vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those struggling with mental illness, will be especially at risk from this law.
The Act requires no independent witnesses, as in other jurisdictions currently allowing euthanasia; no prescribed ‘cooling off period’, meaning that death can happen within four days of a request being made; physical pain is not a requirement; assisted death is not limited to an act of last resort; and there are inadequate checks for whether a person is being pressured, which overseas experience suggests can be a significant factor. Taken together, these factors will inevitably increase vulnerability for New Zealanders facing such a significant moment in their life.
The Salvation Army calls on the Government to increase funding to enable more people to access New Zealand’s world-renowned palliative care system. We believe that, with adequate access to high-quality end-of-life care, vulnerable people can be supported through their illness and dying, and will not feel pressured into euthanasia.
It is imperative that medical professionals receive thorough training in palliative care. It is essential that support is given to our medical professionals around the implications of The End of Life Choice Act.
It is also imperative that the Government gives urgent attention to closing the loopholes in this Act that increases vulnerability for many New Zealanders.
For enquiries contact: The Salvation Army Territorial Media Officer, 021 945 337, email: firstname.lastname@example.org