Euthanasia bill under party pressure

NZ Herald 17 July 2013
Labour MP Maryan Street is under pressure to drop a member’s bill which would legalise euthanasia because her party is concerned it could be a negative distraction in the lead-up to the general election next year.

If Ms Street’s End of Life Choice Bill was pulled from the ballot, the debate could extend into election year, and some Labour MPs felt this could hurt the party’s run for Government by distracting from its main policies and deterring more conservative voters.

Ms Street said that several colleagues had discussed with her what would happen if the bill were pulled from the ballot in 2014.

“They have been very sympathetic and they know it is my decision whether it stays in the ballot or not. The issue is that it could be a distraction from our key messages … and I have to weigh that up, I have to think about that.”

She argued that it would be a distraction for all parties, and the debate would affect not just Labour.

Asked whether she planned to withdraw the bill, Ms Street said she would consult with the pro-euthanasia group End of Life Choice, which had asked her to draft the bill.