2020 New Zealand euthanasia referendum

Last updated

2020 New Zealand euthanasia referendum
Flag of New Zealand.svg
17 October 2020 (2020-10-17)

Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?
Results
Choice
Votes %
Check-71-128-204-brightblue.svgYes1,893,29065.91%
Light brown x.svgNo979,07934.09%
Valid votes2,872,36998.77%
Invalid or blank votes35,7021.23%
Total votes2,908,071100.00%
Registered voters/turnout3,549,56481.93%

The New Zealand End of Life Choice referendum was a binding referendum [1] held on 17 October 2020, with early voting taking place from 3 October, in conjunction with the 2020 general election and cannabis referendum, on the question of whether the End of Life Choice Act 2019 should come into force. [2] The Act would legalise voluntary euthanasia for those with a terminal illness and less than six months left to live, if confirmed to be eligible by two doctors. [1] [3] New Zealand is the first country to put euthanasia legalisation to a referendum. [1]

Contents

As the majority of voters support the legislation, the bill came into force on 7 November 2021, 12 months after the final vote count was announced. [4] Preliminary results for the referendum were released by the Electoral Commission on 30 October 2020, and official results were released on 6 November 2020. In the final results, 65.1% of people supported the End of Life Choice Act while 33.7% were opposed. [5]

Background

Euthanasia was illegal in New Zealand, with it being illegal to "aid and abet suicide" under section 179 of the Crimes Act 1961. Two earlier attempts to legalise euthanasia failed to get through the New Zealand Parliament. Hawkes Bay National MP Michael Laws' 1995 Death with Dignity Bill failed by 61 votes against and 29 supporting, and NZ First MP Peter Brown's 2003 Death with Dignity Bill failed in its first reading by 60 votes opposing to 58 supporting. [6]

ACT party MP David Seymour entered the End of Life Choice Bill to the member's bill ballot in October 2015. [7] The bill passed its first reading 76–44 in December 2017 and its second reading 70–50 in June 2019. [8] [9] In the committee of the whole House, support from the New Zealand First party became conditional on a referendum on whether the law should come into force. [3] An amendment to require a referendum passed 69–51. [10] The bill passed its third reading 69–51 on 13 November [11] and it received royal assent on 16 November 2019, becoming the End of Life Choice Act 2019.

Referendum structure

A sample ballot for the 2020 referendums. Sample ballot for the 2020 New Zealand referendums.jpg
A sample ballot for the 2020 referendums.

The referendum asked voters: [12]

Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?

The two options were: [12]

If the majority of voters support the legislation, it will come into force 12 months after the final vote count is announced. [12] If the majority oppose the legislation in the referendum (or any subsequent referendum, if the first is voided), it will not come into force and will be repealed by 16 November 2024, five years after it received the royal assent. [2]

Public opinion

Support for assisted dying since 2000 has averaged at around 68%. [3] During the 16-month-long select committee stage of the End of Life Choice Bill, 39,000 public submissions were made, with 90% of submitters opposed to it. [10] Over one thousand doctors signed an open letter in mid-2019 saying that they "want no part in assisted suicide". [13]

Summary of poll results given below. Lines give the mean estimated by a LOESS smoother (smoothing set to span = 0.75). Opinion polling for the 2020 New Zealand euthanasia referendum.svg
Summary of poll results given below. Lines give the mean estimated by a LOESS smoother (smoothing set to span = 0.75).
DatePolling organisationSample sizeForAgainstUndecidedLead
10–14 Oct 2020 1 News Colmar Brunton 1,0056033727
17–21 Sep 2020 1 News Colmar Brunton 1,00864251139
20–23 Aug 2020 Research New Zealand 1,00362241438
9–13 Jul 2020 Research New Zealand 1,01264181846
6-8 Mar 2020 Research New Zealand 1,00060211939
8–12 Feb 2020 1 News Colmar Brunton 1,0046525940
27 Nov – 2 Dec 2019 Research New Zealand 7507024648
17–26 Nov 2019 Horizon Research 1,521703040
20–24 Jul 2019 1 News Colmar Brunton 1,0037220752
19–29 Apr 2019 Horizon Research Archived 4 January 2020 at the Wayback Machine 1,3417419755

Campaigning and endorsements

The rules regarding campaigning for the referendum are generally the same as for the general election. All advertisements must carry a promoter statement, stating the name and physical address of the promoter. It is illegal to campaign on polling day, or within a 10-metre (33 ft) radius of an advance polling booth.

During the regulated period, which runs from 18 August to 16 October 2020, promoters have to declare their campaign expenses and there are limits on how much they may spend on referendum campaigning. The maximum expense limit is $338,000 per referendum for those promoters registered with the Electoral Commission, and $13,600 per referendum for unregistered promoters. [14]

Results

Results of the 2020 euthanasia referendum 2020 New Zealand euthanasia referendum results.svg
Results of the 2020 euthanasia referendum

Unlike the general election, a preliminary count for the cannabis and euthanasia referendums was not conducted on election night (17 October 2020). Instead, the referendum votes was counted alongside the mandatory election recount. [15]

All voting papers, counterfoils and electoral rolls are returned to the electorate's returning officer for counting. During the count, the returning officer will approve and count any special votes, and compile a master electoral roll to ensure no-one has voted more than once. [16] Special votes include votes from those who enrolled after the deadline of 13 September, those who voted outside their electorate (this includes all overseas votes), voters in hospital or prison, and those voters enrolled on the unpublished roll. [17] To simplify processing and counting, overseas votes will be sent to and counted at the Electoral Commission's central processing centre in Wellington, rather than to electorate returning officers. [18]

Preliminary results for the referendums were released by the Electoral Commission on 30 October 2020. These results had 65.2% of people in support of the legislation. [19]

Following the counting of the 480,000 special votes, official results for the general election and referendums were released on 6 November. Based on the final results, 65.1% of people supported the legislation while 33.7% opposed it. [5]

The new legislation took effect on 7 November 2021. [20] [21]

Official results of the New Zealand euthanasia referendum, 17 October 2020 [5]
OptionVotes
Num.%
Yes check.svg Yes1,893,29065.91
X mark.svg No979,07934.09
Total2,872,369100.00
Informal votes 35,7021.23
Total votes cast2,908,071100.00
Registered voters and turnout3,549,56482.24
Euthanasia referendum results (excluding invalid votes)
Yes
1,893,290 (65.9%)
No
979,079 (34.1%)

50%

By polling place location

As each polling place had only one ballot box for ordinary referendum votes, ordinary votes were broken down by the general electorate where the polling place was located. Special votes were broken down by electorate. Both ordinary and special votes have been combined in the following table. [22]

ElectorateYes check.svg YesX mark.svg NoInformalTurnout
Num. %Num %
Auckland Central 28,88976.888,69023.12417
Banks Peninsula 31,66068.9314,26831.07458
Bay of Plenty 31,74369.1114,18630.89401
Botany 22,41757.2516,74042.75575
Christchurch Central 30,89967.8714,62932.13603
Christchurch East 32,79968.8414,84331.16518
Coromandel 33,74570.6414,02329.36432
Dunedin 34,56068.7715,69431.23505
East Coast 34,64565.8417,97234.16710
East Coast Bays 29,89068.0317,97231.97416
Epsom 31,13870.1213,26729.88485
Hamilton East 28,86262.1017,61637.90591
Hamilton West 29,12763.2216,94236.78627
Hutt South 33,50366.6316,77833.37672
Ilam 27,56264.8814,92135.12453
Invercargill 26,53663.7715,07636.23404
Kaikoura 29,96170.1712,73829.83353
Kaipara ki Mahurangi 34,95170.0014,97930.00504
Kelston 19,07858.7213,41141.28583
Mana 25,33163.8714,97936.13559
Māngere 11,77438.3713,41161.63745
Manurewa 18,67746.8421,20153.161,025
Maungakiekie 24,00562.6814,29537.32561
Mount Albert 30,69771.4612,26028.54561
Mount Roskill 21,32655.6616,99044.34779
Napier 32,53070.9513,32129.05519
Nelson 34,24069.8514,77730.15545
New Lynn 26,34964.6014,43835.40672
New Plymouth 31,52666.5715,83533.43461
North Shore 29,63769.9312,74530.07362
Northcote 28,00268.0813,12831.92468
Northland 34,54267.2516,81932.75636
Ōhāriu 27,43767.7013,09332.30434
Ōtaki 35,02268.0116,47731.99573
Pakuranga 25,09162.8314,84237.17483
Palmerston North 25,75662.5815,40137.42459
Panmure-Ōtāhuhu 14,86847.5416,40652.46956
Papakura 27,05065.1214,48634.88563
Port Waikato 28,88667.7113,76332.29446
Rangitata 29,77565.5715,63234.43475
Rangitīkei 29,31265.8015,23634.20396
Remutaka 26,60864.2914,78135.71511
Rongotai 29,50569.9212,69630.08761
Rotorua 29,37664.9415,86235.06582
Selwyn 27,73869.7212,04630.28284
Southland 27,66468.8312,52631.17327
Taieri 28,68866.1214,70233.88410
Takanini 17,25156.7313,15843.27624
Tāmaki 28,66067.5213,78732.48474
Taranaki-King Country 27,06167.5512,99832.45370
Taupō 33,84268.1115,84231.89453
Tauranga 33,64765.5917,65234.41506
Te Atatū 25,38058.6817,87241.32695
Tukituki 30,03767.1814,67532.82505
Upper Harbour 23,26763.9413,12136.06454
Waikato 24,34664.7713,24135.23419
Waimakariri 30,91768.1514,45031.85388
Wairarapa 33,29069.3814,69330.62467
Waitaki 28,86268.0313,56631.97401
Wellington Central 46,18776.1414,47423.86666
West Coast-Tasman 28,94171.3611,61528.64446
Whanganui 28,74964.0416,12835.94483
Whangaparāoa 29,53968.2413,74731.76304
Whangārei 34,82367.8516,50032.15642
Wigram 28,25963.9015,96536.10623
Hauraki-Waikato 3,91558.712,75341.29255
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti 3,39060.682,19739.32224
Tāmaki Makaurau 3,98458.192,86241.81240
Te Tai Hauāuru 3,73459.932,49740.07173
Te Tai Tokerau 3,94259.152,72240.85204
Te Tai Tonga 4,15767.631,99032.37185
Waiariki 3,75357.632,75942.37241
Total1,893,29065.91979,07934.0935,702

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">ACT New Zealand</span> New Zealand political party

ACT New Zealand, known simply as ACT, is a right-wing, classical-liberal political party in New Zealand. According to former party leader Rodney Hide, ACT's values are "individual freedom, personal responsibility, doing the best for our natural environment and for smaller, smarter government in its goals of a prosperous economy, a strong society, and a quality of life that is the envy of the world". Young ACT is an associated student wing.

Right to Life New Zealand is a Christchurch-based anti-abortion group. It broke away from the New Zealand Society for Protection of the Unborn Child in 2000 following disagreements between the Christchurch branch spokesperson Ken Orr and the national leadership over lobbying tactics. Besides opposing abortion, Right to Life NZ opposes euthanasia, sex education, and specific policies around LGBT issues.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Legality of euthanasia</span>

The legality of euthanasia varies depending on the country. Efforts to change government policies on euthanasia of humans in the 20th and 21st centuries have met limited success in Western countries. Human euthanasia policies have also been developed by a variety of NGOs, most notably medical associations and advocacy organizations. As of 2022, euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and several states of Australia. Euthanasia was briefly legal in the Northern Territory between 1996 and 1997, but was overturned by a federal law. In 2021, a Peruvian court allowed euthanasia for a single person, Ana Estrada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tim Macindoe</span> New Zealand politician

Timothy Harley Macindoe is a New Zealand politician who was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2008 for the Hamilton West electorate. Macindoe previously served as the Minister of Customs in the Fifth National Government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cannabis in New Zealand</span> Use of cannabis in New Zealand

The use of cannabis in New Zealand is regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, which makes unauthorised possession of any amount of cannabis a crime. Cannabis is the fourth-most widely used recreational drug in New Zealand, after caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, and the most widely used illicit drug. In 2001 a household survey revealed that 13.4% of New Zealanders aged 15–64 used cannabis. This ranked as the ninth-highest cannabis consumption level in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi</span> New Zealand politician

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is an Indian-born New Zealand politician and a member of the National Party. He was a Member of Parliament as a list MP from the 2008 election to the 2020 election.

The 2011 New Zealand voting system referendum was a referendum on whether to keep the existing mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system, or to change to another voting system, for electing Members of Parliament to New Zealand's House of Representatives. It was held on 26 November 2011 in conjunction with the 2011 general election.

Euthanasia became legal in New Zealand when the End of Life Choice Act 2019 took full effect on 7 November 2021. It is illegal to "aid and abet suicide" under Section 179 of the New Zealand Crimes Act 1961. The clauses of this act make it an offence to "incite, procure or counsel" and "aid and abet" someone else to commit suicide, regardless of whether a suicide attempt is made or not. Section 179 covers both coercion to undertake assisted suicide and true suicide, such as that caused by bullying. This will not change under the End of Life Choices Act 2019, which has provisions on coercion of terminally ill people.

Ian Robert Flockhart McKelvie is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scott Simpson (politician)</span> New Zealand politician

Scott Anthony Simpson is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David Seymour (New Zealand politician)</span> Politician from New Zealand (born 1983)

David Breen Seymour is a New Zealand politician serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Epsom and Leader of ACT New Zealand since 2014.

Lecretia Anne Seales was a New Zealand lawyer who, upon suffering a brain tumour and enduring treatments for it, became an advocate of physician-assisted dying.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tim van de Molen</span> New Zealand National Party politician

Timothy John van de Molen is a New Zealand politician and Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives for the National Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jo Luxton</span> New Zealand politician

Jo-Anne Marie Luxton is a New Zealand politician and a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives for the Labour Party.

Jennifer Lyn Marcroft is a New Zealand politician and former Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives for the New Zealand First party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jamie Strange</span> New Zealand politician

Jamie Ross Strange is a New Zealand politician. He is a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives for the Labour Party.

The 2020 New Zealand cannabis referendum was a non-binding referendum held on 17 October 2020 in conjunction with the 2020 general election and a euthanasia referendum, on the question of whether to legalise the sale, use, possession and production of recreational cannabis. It was rejected by New Zealand voters. The form of the referendum was a vote for or against the proposed "Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill". Official results were released by the Electoral Commission on 6 November 2020 with 50.7% of voters opposing the legalisation and 48.4% in support.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">End of Life Choice Act 2019</span> New Zealand Act of Parliament

The End of Life Choice Act 2019 is an Act of Parliament in New Zealand that seeks to give people with a terminal illness the option of receiving assisted dying. The Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Health confirmed that, "The Bill uses “assisted dying” to refer to both euthanasia and assisted suicide. Euthanasia refers to a patient being administered a lethal drug by a medical practitioner. Assisted suicide refers to a patient receiving lethal drugs at their request, which they take by themselves."

Brooke Olivia van Velden is a New Zealand politician who has been a Member of Parliament since the 2020 general election for ACT New Zealand. She has been the party's deputy leader since June 2020.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Results of the 2020 New Zealand general election</span>

This article summarises results of the 17 October 2020 New Zealand general election, including both party vote and electorate vote outcomes.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Graham-McLay, Charlotte (13 November 2019). "New Zealand to vote in referendum on euthanasia". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  2. 1 2 "End of Life Choice Act 2019 No 67, Public Act 2 Commencement – New Zealand Legislation". www.legislation.govt.nz. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 "Euthanasia bill passes final vote, goes to referendum". The New Zealand Herald . 13 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  4. "End of Life Choice Act implementation". Ministry of Health NZ. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  5. 1 2 3 "Official referendum results released | Elections". Electoral Commission . Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  6. "Assisted dying: New Zealand - New Zealand Parliament". www.parliament.nz. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  7. Seymour, David. "Seymour lodges assisted dying Bill". ACT.org.nz. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  8. "Euthanasia bill passes second reading". The New Zealand Herald . 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  9. "Euthanasia bill passes second reading in Parliament". Radio New Zealand. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  10. 1 2 Cooke, Henry (13 November 2019). "Euthanasia bill passes 69-51, sending the final decision to a referendum". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  11. Cooke, Henry (13 November 2019). "MPs vote in favour of End of Life Choice Bill at final reading". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  12. 1 2 3 "Referendum on the End of Life Choice Act 2019". referendum.govt.nz. New Zealand Government. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  13. Collins, Simon (22 June 2019). "1000 Kiwi doctors sign letter against euthanasia". The New Zealand Herald . Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  14. "Change in regulated period | Elections". elections.nz. Electoral Commission . Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  15. "About the 2020 General Election". vote.nz. Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  16. "How are general election votes counted?". Elections.nz. Electoral Commission . Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  17. "Can't get to a voting place?". Elections.nz. Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  18. "Party Secretary Handbook - 2020 General Election and Referendums" (PDF). Electoral Commission.
  19. "New Zealand euthanasia: Assisted dying to be legal for terminally ill people". BBC News . 30 October 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  20. "Assisted Dying Service". New Zealand Ministry of Health. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  21. "Referendum results: End of Life Choice Act passes, legalising assisted dying". 30 October 2020.
  22. "2020 Referendum Results by electorate". Electoral Commission. 6 November 2020.