Act leader David Seymour has recommended changes to his member's bill on euthanasia, including limiting its access to the terminally ill.
Seymour has written a report on his End of Life Choice Bill for the Justice Select Committee considering the bill containing proposals he says seeks to put the best possible version of the bill forward to MPs to ensure it gets through its second reading.
Seymour's report set out both minor and substantive issues raised by submitters on the bill and the public during the select committee process and during consultation, analysed overseas evidence and proposed a range of changes to the bill.
"My findings are that there is high public support for legislative change in New Zealand, there is no risk of coercion of the vulnerable, and that the provision of palliative care is complementary to the provision of assisted dying," Seymour said in the executive summary.
But due to concerns on those matters he recommended the following :
• A binding referendum at the next election
• Limiting eligibility to the terminally ill
• Clarifying that access cannot be by reason of mental health conditions and disability only
• Incorporating the Access to Palliative Care Bill sponsored by National MP Maggie Barry.
The report also suggests an amendment to clarify the role and protection of pharmacists, nurses and medical practitioners.
The bill has received a record 37,000 submissions, which the Justice Select Committee is now going through before it reports back to Parliament on March 27 next year with its findings and recommendations.
The proposed law change as it stands would give people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of "requesting assisted dying".
"It allows people who so choose, and are eligible under this bill, to end their lives in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones."