May 16, 2022

First figures about New Zealand euthanasia

At least 32 people have taken up New Zealand’s euthanasia services since it became legal on November 7 last year, according to the Ministry of Health.

According to reports in The Guardian, when the process was legalised, officials were uncertain how many people would take advantage of it.

In written statements, the ministry of health said :“the number of people that may seek assisted dying is expected to be small”. They noted that in comparable overseas locations, it made up between 0.3% and 2% of all deaths.

The ministry also expected that about two-thirds of applications would be turned down. “Based on overseas experiences, the ministry estimates up to 950 people could apply for assisted dying each year, with up to 350 being assisted to die,” they said.

Initially, the ministry was not very forthcoming with information

“Because this can be a highly emotive matter and people’s privacy needs to be maintained, we won’t be in a position, at this stage, to provide further updates on application and any assisted death numbers while the service is new and the numbers are small,” a Ministry spokesman told Stuff, a NZ news website, by email in December.

International helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for support. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counsellor. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14.