YES campaign to inform Kiwis ahead of landmark vote

The Yes for Compassion campaign, aimed at ensuring New Zealanders are well informed ahead of ultimately voting yes in a landmark vote on the End of Life Choice Act, launched today.

Yes for Compassion released two videos from New Zealanders living with terminal illnesses, both of whom are urging fellow Kiwis to vote yes for them. View these here.

A referendum at the General Election on 19 September, will ask voters whether they support the End of Life Choice Act. If passed, the Act will give terminally ill New Zealanders, who meet strict criteria, the option of requesting medical help to end their lives.

Only mentally competent adults, with six months or less left to live would be eligible to use the law. Assisted dying requests would need to be approved by two doctors who carry out thorough checks and who can immediately stop the process at any stage.

Former hospice doctor and spokesperson for Yes for Compassion, Dr Libby Smales, says with exactly three months until Election Day, Yes for Compassion wants to ensure New Zealanders have all the facts they need to make an informed yes decision.

“In New Zealand some of us still suffer unbearably as we die. Passing this Act will give dying Kiwis a choice. It will allow us to choose to end suffering that is unbearable for us in the final stages of life and to die peacefully,” says Dr Smales.

“Data from Australia tells us that even with good hospice/palliative care 2-5 per cent of us endure unbearable suffering as we die. That’s about 250 people out of 33,000 deaths each year. This number is small but the suffering is not.

“Just knowing there is a choice is powerful palliation and a huge relief.”

Yes for Compassion is backed by expertise that spans medical, legal, political, Māori and religious perspectives. It is also supported by prominent New Zealanders including Sir Michael Cullen, David Seymour MP, Sir Geoffery Palmer, Dame Margaret Sparrow, Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, Prof Andrew Geddis and Michele A’Court.

More information about Yes for Compassion, along with factual information on the End of Life Choice Act can be found here.


Media contact: Jo de Joux – 021 245 6924