Euthanasia bill could threaten vulnerable Māori if it becomes law - advocacy group

The group of lawyers who specialise in protecting vulnerable New Zealanders say the controversial euthanasia bill is fatally flawed.

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Dr Huhana Hickey says the Bill threatens vulnerable Māori already being failed by the health system. Source: Te Karere

Former legal academic Dr Huhana Hickey says the bill is a threat for Māori who are already have high rates of suicide, terminal illness, mental health issues and disabilities.

Speaking to Te Karere, Dr Hickey says the bill is not fit for purpose.

"We’ve just done a massive fundraising campaign for Mike King’s campaign and here we are willing to bring in legal suicide basically," she says.

In its current form, according to Lawyers for Vulnerable New Zealanders, the End of Life Choice Bill has 35 flaws.

"There is a danger in this legislation and it comes with irreversible, irremediable and terminal. You cannot determine what irreversible, irremediable is," says Dr Hickey.

"I qualify under that and I still got a lot of life left in me. Many of us will quality for that. Depression after your husband, wife dies will quality under that."

But the bill's advocate Act Party leader David Seymour doesn’t agree.

"I've looked at the evidence around the world and what it tells us is that assisted dying is a choice that people take when they know that their death is not going to be pleasant despite the best palliative care," Mr Seymour says.

Dr Hickey says the bill threatens vulnerable Māori already being failed by the health system.

"In Oregon 63 per cent of those that were euthanised were from poor backgrounds who were on state insurance and who refused treatments to have kept their lives going well.

"We do have a public health system that is rationing certain things like dialysis and who are the biggest recipients of dialysis? Māori and Pacific peoples."

Mr Seymour says you'd have to be very ill to qualify to end your life if the bill went through.

"You would have to ask the doctor, they would have to be confident that it was your choice and then you get referred to a second doctor who goes through the whole process again," he says.

MPs are expected to vote again on the bill’s second reading on 22 May.