New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia for terminally-ill people

Wellington: About 65.2 per cent of New Zealand’s population voted on Friday in favour of the End of Life Choice Act becoming law during the voluntary euthanasia referendum, national media reported.

According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, once the official result is confirmed on November 6, the new law will allow terminally ill people the opportunity to receive assisted dying upon two doctors’ approval.

To get access to euthanasia, terminal patients with six or fewer months to live will have to be at least 18 years old and be a permanent New Zealand resident or citizen, the daily added.

The referendum result lacks the count of some 500,000 special votes, including overseas ballots.

The End of Life Choice Act was passed on November 13, 2019, while the law is expected to come into force in November 2021.

The island nation in the Pacific will therefore join the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Western Australia, Colombia and Canada in legalising euthanasia.