Hospices say they want more protections to ensure their facilities won't be used for assisted dying if euthanasia legislation makes it through Parliament.

But the politician behind the bill, Act Leader David Seymour, says there's no problem to be fixed.

The End of Life Choice Bill passed its second reading 70 votes to 50 in June and is now going through a series of debates about what changes are needed before it's voted on for a final time.

The bill allows terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to request assisted dying and let's doctors opt out of any part of the process.


National Party MP Michael Woodhouse, who opposes the legislation, has now proposed an amendment that would let hospices, aged-care facilities and faith-based providers to be able to say they didn't want anyone to be able to provide assisted dying on their premises.

"There is no legal prohibition on the ability of a doctor practicing autonomously with a resident in a rest home to offer assisted dying services inside their facility," he said.

Organisations were also worried that without further protections, those who didn't want to participate would be at risk of coming under pressure to provide euthanasia services or lose public contracts," he said.

Act Party leader David Seymour says hospices will be able to contract out of providing assisted dying with their clients. Photo / Paul Taylor
Act Party leader David Seymour says hospices will be able to contract out of providing assisted dying with their clients. Photo / Paul Taylor

Hospice New Zealand chair Richard Thurlow said assisted dying went against the character of the providers and their basic beliefs of neither hastening nor postponing death.

"We believe organisations should have a right to choose … This is about being able to be very clear that we don't want the act to take place on the premises of a hospice," he said.

"We think that sends mixed messages to the patient next door who might not want it."

Mercy Healthcare chief Peter Buckland said while it was not yet clear what the implications of the bill would be for funding long-term, there was some concern it could lead to pressure on organisations dependent on DHB money to provide services.

"We would definitely hope that funding would not be the reason why an organisation should be obliged to end someone's life … funding should not trump consciences," he said.


But Seymour said while his bill didn't explicitly prohibit doctors coming onto premises to provide euthanasia services, organisations would be able to include a prohibition in contracts with their patients.

"I think it is a real problem for people who are going to have to confront that their clients and their patients may want something that they don't," he said.

"There is no reason why they can't contract out and say 'this is not something that we offer'."

The bill was silent on funding, he said, adding he did not want Parliament to mandate how DHBs made their decisions.

"If you're trying to win a Government contract and you don't provide the services that the DHB wants then you might not win the contract. But that's true in every regard and I don't see how this is different," he said.

"It has always been the case that DHBs are free to contract and not contract who they like."

He said in other jurisdictions the problems that were being raised by Woodhouse and the hospices didn't arise.

"The hospice needs the DHB, the DHB needs a hospice. They will come to an arrangement," Seymour said.

The End of Life Choice Bill will return to Parliament for the second of five debates on amendments next week.