Euthanasia and assisted dying

Assisted dying is currently a criminal offence

Crimes Act 1961, s 179

Helping a terminally ill person to end their life is currently a crime in New Zealand. It comes under the offence of “aiding and abetting suicide”, which makes it illegal to encourage or help someone to commit suicide. You can be jailed for up to 14 years for this if the other person does in fact end their life, or tries to.

If they don’t commit suicide or try to, it’s still a criminal offence, but the maximum penalty is a three-year jail term.

Note: Public debate about this issue has increased in recent years, and opinion polls have shown some strong support for legalisation of assisted dying for the terminally ill. Since 2012 several MPs have tried unsuccessfully to get a bill introduced into Parliament (the “End of Life Choice Bill”). In early 2016, in response to a petition, Parliament’s Health Select Committee began investigating public attitudes to legalising assisted dying.

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