A Snells Beach anti-euthanasia activist who fronts the national #Defend NZ campaign says the debate on the End of Life Choice Act (EOLCA) is far from over.
Henoch Kloosterboer says since the passing of the Act, advocacy for the vulnerable has become more critical than ever.
“Some New Zealanders now wield the state-sanctioned legal power to deliberately end the lives of others, or to assist in their suicides,” he says.
Mr Kloosterboer made the remarks following the relaunch of #Defend NZ on November 7, timed to coincide with the EOLCA coming into force.
Defend NZ is now asking the public to sign a petition seeking six amendments to the EOLCA to provide greater protection to those it perceives as at risk from the legislation.
The six amendments are:
- Requirement there be detailed annual reporting on the impact of the EOLCA
- Screening for mental health issues before a person can be eligible for assisted dying
- Requirement that a person is assessed for mental competency on the day of their death
- Requirement for an independent witness
- Requirement for a coercion assessment
- Requirement for a mandatory cooling off period
Mr Kloosterboer says the amendment seeking a dramatic improvement in reporting standards is especially urgent.
“The Act is currently cloaked in a dangerous and unnecessary cloud of secrecy that needs to be lifted as soon as possible to ensure proper standards of accountability and transparency,” he says.
Mr Kloosterboer says there are sympathetic MPs who would be willing to champion the amendments, but declined to identify them “at this time”.
But Act Party health spokesperson Brooke van Velden, who helped shepherd EOLCA through Parliament, says the Act was heavily scrutinised in Parliament for two years before it was put to a nationwide referendum.
“These ideas proposed by #DefendNZ were canvassed at the time and rejected by Parliament. The End of Life
Choice Act is a safe law that clearly sets out a robust regime of stringent safeguards and reporting,” she says.
“It’s legislation that will allow real choice, control and compassion to those who are suffering at the end of their life.”
The #DefendNZ petition can be found here: www.defendnz.co.nz