New Zealand: 143 people die by euthanasia, one death is being investigated

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Isaac Davison in the New Zealand Herald on July 20 reports that 143 New Zealanders died by euthanasia in the first five months of their law.

Davison reported that 400 people requested euthanasia and 143 reportedly died by euthanasia. It is likely that many of the people who were approved for euthanasia have not yet died by lethal drugs.

Davison reported that:

A total of 68 people (17 per cent) were deemed ineligible, more than half of them because they did not have a terminal illness which was likely to end their life within six months.

According to the report, there have been 4 complaints and one of the deaths is being investigated. The article stated:

An investigation has been launched after a complaint was laid about an assisted death in a public hospital.

A family member of the person who died laid a complaint about their experience at the hospital to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry’s assisted dying secretariat has upheld the complaint and referred it to the Health and Disability Commissioner, who has begun an investigation.

Further details, including the location of the hospital, were not known…

A report by Kate Hawkesby for NewstalkZB interviews Wayne Naylor, the acting CEO of Hospice New Zealand, who is concerned that the government may expand the New Zealand euthanasia law in 2024. Hawkesby reported:

But he told Roman Travers experience from other countries suggests there could be issues if rules around the practice were altered.

He claims some countries have loosened laws over time, resulting in babies with health issues or people with dementia being euthanised.

For instance, Canada legalized euthanasia in June 2016. The law was expanded in March 2021 when the Canadian government expanded the regulations to permit people who are disabled or chronically ill to die by euthanasia. They eliminated the 10 waiting period; they allowed people who had requested euthanasia but then later became incompetent to die by euthanasia; and they expanded the law to include people with mental illness alone.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.