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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. 

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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

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.