Disability Rights Commissioner calls for 'clumsy' euthanasia bill to be scrapped, started over

The controversial End of Life Choice Bill will be debated by MPs for a second time today, but Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero is calling for it to be scrapped all together.

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Paula Tesorieo talked to TVNZ1’s Breakfast about the concerns she still has with the bill. Source: Breakfast

The first debate three weeks ago saw an amendment to the bill which would allow those with a terminal illness and less than six months to live to access assisted dying.

The committee of the house is expected to discuss the role of doctors and the issue of coercion today.

But Ms Tesoriero still expressed concerns, telling TVNZ1's Breakfast today she thinks the bill should be scrapped and started over.

"I would far rather see that if New Zealanders want this kind of scheme, then start again, co-create this piece of legislation with the right people around the table, rather than this process which is clumsy, awkward, deeply complex and I think continues to pose a number of risks for New Zealanders - particularly disabled Kiwis."

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The End of Life Choice Bill continues to be debated. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Tesoriero said she wasn't satisfied with the amendments to the bill, adding there was "no bright line test between disability and terminal illness".

"The safeguards in the bill, although there have been some attempts to improve them, still don't go far enough in my view, particularly around the assessment of who is competent and secondly around coercion."

Ms Tesoriero said there was "a whole range of improvements" that could be made, but she would like to see doctors talk to people who aren't in the family and aren't in the dying person's will to better safeguard the process.

"The bottom line is we have one doctor who doesn't need to know the person and family members can play a critical role in talking with the doctor. Also what's really important is that the bill doesn't provide any mechanism to detect more subtle forms of coercion like advertising."

Ms Tesoriero was also concerned that disabled Kiwis may see themselves as a burden.

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Today ACT leader David Seymour put forward amendments to his End of Life Choice Bill. Source: 1 NEWS