Economist Writes on Our “Islands of Liberality”
“More notable than the appearance of [Jacinda] Ardern’s cabinet is how voters answered one question on their ballot paper: should New Zealand legalise assisted dying for those with a terminal illness?” The Economist asks. The End of Life Choice Act has officially passed with a 65 per cent majority.
“[The Act] restricts access to assisted dying more than some European legislation. It requires you to be suffering from a terminal illness that is likely to end your life within six months, to be showing a significant decline in physical capability and to be able to make an informed decision,” The Economist reports. “Arguments that the law would result in disabled people, the mentally ill or even children being put to death never gained traction. The law’s enactment was contingent on the referendum, which was binding. New Zealand thus becomes only the seventh country to legalise assisted dying, and the first country in Asia – though the Australian state of Victoria passed a similar law last year.
“Yet when it came to another, non-binding, question on their ballots, about whether to legalise cannabis, Kiwis curiously found limits to their open-mindedness: just over half have voted against the proposition … Even the most progressive societies have their blind spots.”
Original article by The Economist, November 5, 2020.