By Ann David
The complex made simple
Have you received your enrolment pack from the Electoral Commission? If not, it will be arriving in your post box soon.
I was delighted with mine; clarity and neutrality are the distinguishing features and particularly in explaining the two referendum topics.
As a long-time advocate for assisted dying legalisation, it is a joy to see the End of Life Choice Act 2019 so factually outlined and with a total absence of the hype and hysteria we see about it in the media. A link at the end of the Summary takes you to the full text of the Act when you go to www.referendums.govt.nz.
The End of Life Choice Act
The End of Life Choice Act 2019 was not sponsored by the government (currently comprising Labour, Greens and NZ First). It was sponsored by ACT Party MP David Seymour who is not part of this government, though he is of course part of this 52nd parliament.
Amendments were made to the draft legislation during its two-year passage into law by Seymour himself who accepted feedback from some of the religiously conservative MPs and adjusted to satisfy their concerns. Many more amendments were proposed but were rejected by the majority of lawmakers as being unnecessary or simply a transparent attempt to hobble the operation of the law should it come into force. The public had nine months to make submissions – three times the usual length of time.
What we now have is a balance between what parliament believes is safe legislation and what it believes is necessary to protect its misuse. What was a Bill (draft) is now an Act (completed legislation that cannot now be changed).
Over to us
It is the job of our lawmakers (parliamentarians) to digest the complex, detect the potential unintended consequences and re-craft legislation so that the law operates as intended. They have done that. They are now handing it back to us. If the majority votes Yes, the Act will come into force exactly as it stands – there will be no further amendments now. If the majority votes No, the Act will cease to exist and there will be no attempt to resurrect it.
There are only two possible answers to the question: “Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?” Yes or No. There isn’t a Don’t Know option. Voters who really cannot make up their mind could abstain from voting on this topic, but nevertheless vote for their preferred Political Party and their preferred Electorate Candidate as usual.
Referendum questions are always worded by parliament, not by PR companies.
Full referendum information is at www.referendums.govt.nz If you haven’t yet enrolled but wish to vote, there’s also a link you can click to enrol.