By Ann David

What is Assisted Dying?  

It is an end-of-life care option that was unlawful in New Zealand until November 2021 but that is legal now.  Patients who meet certain criteria can legally ask a doctor to hasten their death in order to avoid inevitable suffering at the end of life.  

Assisted Dying Registrar Dr Kristin Good delivered her first annual report on the Assisted Dying Service to Parliament on 30th June.  

The End-of-Life Choice Society is pleased to note that no breaches were reported and also that 80% of applicants for assisted dying were already receiving palliative care at the time of applying.  Most assisted dying patients chose to die at home.  

As at the end of June– 

  • 400 people had applied 
  • 143 people had completed their assisted death 
  • A further 101 applications still going through the process. 
  • 153 people had either withdrawn, died waiting for the process to be completed or had been found ineligible. 

To put this in context, New Zealand had over 34,000 deaths in 2020.  

The End-of-Life Choice Society NZ

The Society was incorporated in 1979 as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society NZ.   Since then, it has fought for dying patients to have the legal right to die with dignity.   It is the only advocacy group of its kind in New Zealand.  To find out more see  www.eolc.org.nz