A Bill on legalising euthanasia has passed its first reading after gaining majority support in Parliament through a conscience vote.
Seventy-six MPs voted in favour and 44 voted against.
It will now pass to the justice select committee and be open to public submissions.
ACT MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choices Bill seeks to give people those suffering a terminal illness or a grievous or incurable medical condition the option to request medically assisted death.
New Zealand First has supported the bill under the provision that a nationwide referendum is held on the issue.
NZ First MP Tracey Martin said: “Not a single one of us is smarter than the people who placed us here, not a single one of us has more of a conscience or less of a conscience than the people who voted us here. This issue should go to them, this is too big an issue for this House to decide.”
National leader Bill English opposed the Bill, saying it’s not creating a medical procedure but “an exemption from the criminal law against killing for a certain group”.
“I don’t think anyone can in their heart of hearts believe that this bill will make life safer for the disabled, that it’ll make our community more warmly embracing of our aging population. Who pretends that?”