Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has come out in support of the End of Life Choice Act, urging others to vote yes in this year’s referendum.
Her public support comes after her former deputy Prime Minister Sir Michael Cullen spoke out about his support for the assisted dying law.
Sir Michael was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer and secondary cancer in the liver earlier this year.
Clark says she believes the act, that has already been passed by MPs in Parliament, is one that is “compassionate” and gives people with terminal illnesses the choice of how they want to end their lives.
“The act gives adults of sound mind who are terminally ill, have significant and ongoing decline in physical capability, are experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be eased, and are likely to die within the next six months the option to choose how, when and where they die,” she said.
She went on to say that she believes MPs have ensured there are “stringent” safeguards in place around the law.
“You cannot access this act if you have a mental illness. You cannot access this act if you have a disability alone. You must have a terminal illness which is likely to end your life in the next six months. You cannot be coerced to take up this act’s provisions.”
She says only a small number of New Zealanders will be able to choose euthanasia if the law came to pass at the referendum.
“This act provides choice to those who want it and who meet its strict criteria.”
Clark has also put her support behind the yes side of the cannabis referendum.
You can read more about what both sides have to say about the End of Life referendum here.