From 7 November 2021, New Zealanders who have a terminal illness and are experiencing unbearable suffering will be able to legally ask for medical assistance to end their lives.
There is legal framework and a high-level process for accessing assisted dying, including strict criteria and safeguards for eligibility.
Assisted dying is not intended to replace palliative care but provides another option for people with a terminal illness in certain circumstances.
The Ministry of Health have implemented a strict criteria to be met by those wanting to access the assisted dying service. In order to be eligible, a person must;
- be aged 18 years or over
- be a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand
- be suffering from a terminal illness that is likely to end their life within 6 months
- be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability
- be experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a tolerable way
- be competent to make an informed decision
The service cannot be accessed by people suffering from a mental disorder or illness, or those with a disability, or people of advanced age.
New Zealanders who live overseas are able to return to New Zealand to access the service.
Find out more about the End of Life Choice Act implementation here.