Seymour confident Parliament will pass euthanasia Bill

Act leader David Seymour. Photo: ODT files
Act leader David Seymour. Photo: ODT files

Act New Zealand leader David Seymour believes MPs will pass his euthanasia Bill after a committee reported back with only minor technical changes, leaving Parliament to debate the issue.

The report of the Justice Committee on Mr Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill was tabled in Parliament today following more than 39,000 submissions and 15 months of work.

Committee chairman, Labour MP Raymond Huo, said it was "truly the end of a long and thought-provoking process, for now''.

While the report contained a summary of the 39,159 submissions received and considered, as well as a number of recommended amendments to improve the workability of the Bill, the committee was unable to agree the Bill be passed, Mr Huo said.

"This is a member's Bill that involves conscience issues. By convention, select committees focus on improving the technical workability of these Bills without forming a view on whether they should be passed.

"This reflects the principle that it is up to all members of Parliament individually to judge, based on their own conscience and assisted by the committee's report, whether or not the bill should proceed,'' Mr Huo said.

Mr Seymour said the committee had done the right thing in referring the Bill back with minor technical changes and leaving the substantive amendments to be debated in the House.

He said MPs voted for the Bill at first reading 76 to 44, indicating there was enough support to pass.

"I think we can be very quietly confident that MPs will line up with the majority of New Zealanders and continue to support the Bill,'' he said.

He said there was a motivated minority behind a campaign which was spreading misinformation about the Bill but he believed MPs would seek evidence and see through that.

"MPs need to hear from the silent majority who want this choice.

"It's pleasing to see the result of the largest consultation in parliamentary history released and the Bill returned to the House with improvements which strengthen the bill.''

The Bill is likely to come back for second reading on May 22. 

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