End of Life Choice Act:

Our position on euthanasia and assisted dying

Palliative care, as defined by the World Health Organisation, “intends neither to hasten nor postpone death”. This philosophy is a cornerstone of hospice care in New Zealand.

Whilst the End of Life Choice Act 2019 comes into effect in November 2021, Hospice Whanganui along with most other Hospices in New Zealand has conscientiously objected to the legalisation of euthanasia or assisted dying.

People living with a terminal illness should be supported to live in whatever way is important to them and their whānau.

We believe that all people should have access to good palliative care support, regardless of their circumstances.  Rather than seeing assisted dying as a necessary option, we believe we should instead focus on improving equitable access to palliative care, reducing social isolation and ensuring adequate support for family carers. Only then can people truly have a choice.

We believe that palliative care and assisted dying are two very distinct services that should not be confused with each other, and that euthanasia should not be seen under the same umbrella as ‘Hospice services’.  From experience, we know that good palliative care allows people to live a life with quality and dignity. It ensures that symptoms associated with a terminal illness are well managed, allowing people to remain as comfortable and peaceful as possible until their death. 

It is important to note that hospice will continue to support people regardless of their decision for euthanasia.

We appreciate an individual’s right to choose and acknowledge the wide range of perspectives around euthanasia. While Hospice Whanganui will not participate in assisted dying services, we are committed to providing our full and usual range of care and support to patients and their whānau before and after death, regardless of their choice.

The Ministry of Health is the lead agency coordinating assisted dying services in New Zealand and we will direct people to where they are able to access safe and accurate information about assisted dying if they so choose.  We will work professionally and collaboratively with others on this issue within the context of our own position and policies on assisted dying. 

For any questions please contact admin@hospicewhanganui.org.nz or call our office to speak with someone.