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Abortion referendum unlikely - Justice Minister

The question of moving abortion from a criminal to a health issue is unlikely to be put to the public. 

On TVNZ1's Q+A, Justice Minister Andrew Little was asked if abortion would be put to a referendum, after the Law Commission released its briefing paper last month on how abortion could be placed as a health issue

The briefing paper also proposes changes to the law by repealing abortion from the Crimes Act.

"I don't think there’s a lot of be achieved putting that question to a referendum," Mr Little said.

"It's a question about how you want to regulate this particular procedure and do something that fits the 21st century."

He said the abortion legislation that would go through Parliament was about a year away. 

"That is an issue about whether this particular procedure should be one that starts off as a criminal act… or whether we regard it as a health procedure."

"I certainly am not proposing and I have not contemplated that that will be subject to a referendum."

The Justice Minister has confirmed that the Government is considering holding referendums on cannabis law reform, euthanasia and MMP electoral reform, all at the same time.

Andrew Little said there was not a lot to be achieved putting it abortion to referendum, instead it’s about creating legislation “that fits the 21st century”. Source: Q+A