Wednesday November 13 dawns at Parliament like any day, but this particular Members' Wednesday is one that some MPs have spent years anticipating with dread while others have done so with hope. David Seymour's End of Life Choice member's bill is receiving a third and final reading debate.
A successful bill goes to a public referendum at the next election; a failed bill is consigned to history, as two other similarly themed bills have been before it.
But the day is busy well before anyone starts debating.
"If some people are suffering at the end of their life, do we say to them that they must suffer some more because we in this House lack the courage to make better laws or even let our fellow New Zealanders have a say in a referendum on that law? No. We must give them choice." - David Seymour (ACT)
"The question is not whether some people should die in a way that the bill allows, but whether any people could die in a way that the bill does not allow. We don't know the number of people that will be coerced into an early death, but we do know that it is not zero." - Chris Penk (National)
"If this passes and it now goes into the public domain, it is on us to be the grown-ups, to carry the respect that has been shown in this House, to lead by example, and to go out there and help the New Zealand public be as informed as possible, be as respectful to each other as possible, and make the choice that they believe that this House should implement. So New Zealand First will be casting all their votes in favour of this bill so that the New Zealand public will be able to make up their mind." - Tracey Martin (New Zealand First)
"As a Christian, I believe in the sanctity of life, but that right and belief is enshrined in most nations' constitutional documents around the world, in the United Nations key covenants, in the historical development of democracy, in the rule of law, and in numerous other sources. Believing in the sanctity of life, and therefore opposing this bill, is not purely a Christian view, but it is a view based on different views of politics, the medical profession, philosophy, and various other disciplines." - Anahila Kanongata'a Suisuiki (Labour)
"The death of one affects the group, especially the next generation. Therefore, weighty decisions are made by the collective in consideration on the impact of the individual's lives in that collective, especially the young ones. The Samoan way of decision making is a collective decision making. One's autonomy has to be balanced out with the effects and impact it has on individuals of that collective. As the son of an elderly father of 81 years of age and not at his best health-wise, I'm reminded by my covenant carved on my body: as long as any of my parents are alive, I am bound to do all I can to provide them with soifua maloloina. For that reason, I'm voting no." - Aupito William Sio (Labour)
"We abolished the death penalty for capital punishment in 1989 because we knew that we could get it wrong and people who were innocent could die. I ask that all of us hold ourselves under the same level of accountability. I want us to urge all 120 members of this Parliament: can we guarantee that this bill will do no harm? If there is even a fraction of doubt, then vote No to this bill. Do not allow this bill to change the social values of this country." - Alfred Ngaro (National)
At six in the evening the MP's break for dinner, to return at 7:30.
"Everyone in this House should ask themselves how do they want to die. Well, in my view, we should want everyone to die in dignity, without pain, and peacefully, and they should then rest in peace. This bill will allow people who choose that option to do so." - Ruth Dyson (Labour)
"I stand, before us all, dressed in black, a symbol of the sombre and sobering session this evening—dressed in black to dress down this bill—and I wear the silver fern. I stand here in the Chamber, which is a memorial to all those who have fought in honour for the protection and the preservation of the sanctity of life. The silver fern is a representation to Māori of strength, of resistance, and of enduring power, and to Pākehā, it has a strong sense of belonging and attachment." Harete Hipango (National)
"So I support this bill to the House in the name of fairness and justice, and I want to pay tribute to you, David Seymour. I've been in the Parliament for 11 years, and I do want to acknowledge that this has taken up years of your life and that your compassion and the way that you have worked tirelessly for this cause needs to be acknowledged in the Parliament this evening. Again, I stand here and say to all of you that we can do better as a nation. We are a compassionate nation. We need to pass this bill in the interests of fairness and justice and, as my colleague Paulo said, in the interests of love and hope." - Nikki Kaye (National)
"No member of this House is devoid of compassion, and none of us has a monopoly of it, so I begin by thanking everyone who has engaged respectfully in this debate over the past two years. There have been many heartfelt and compelling contributions, and I'm sure I'm not the only MP who, despite having a firm conviction one way, has also found many of the opposing arguments both moving and persuasive. I think that's healthy." - Tim McIndoe (National)
"There's one more issue that has made this particular debate very difficult for me, and that is the fact that, on so many occasions, culture and religion have been conflated into one thing. I don't see them as one thing. As a Pacific person, on so many occasions I've heard in this House that this is not the Pacific way. Well, it stopped being the Pacific way when Christianity arrived potentially. I will not accept that prior to Christianity that during the many battles and wars that we fought, when our people were falling ill with terminal illnesses or illnesses that were hurting them, that at no point did any of our Pacific people turn around and say, "I want to take my own life. I cannot live like this." It is unacceptable to think that that never happened. So we shouldn't conflate the two. We should talk about both of them in the context of this debate, but they are not one and the same." - Carmel Sepuloni (Labour)
"I think that when I look at public safety and protection of the most vulnerable, we as politicians must be aware that that is the most important aspect, rather than an individual's personal choice. Our role as lawmakers is to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number. We have a duty to ensure that the degree of safety built into the legislation matches the gravity of the risk. The stakes are very high, and we each have to ask ourselves the question and then be able to live with the answer: how many unintended deaths are too many?" - Maggie Barry (National)
After three hours of debating the vote fell 69 in favour to 51 against. You can see how the various MPs cast their votes in the Hansard record. The Bill was read a third time. All New Zealanders will get a chance to offer an opinion on it in a referendum at the next election.
And as MPs filed out of the chamber the big event the House immediately swung into the next item of business.
Meanwhile in the lobby, as public file past from the emptying galleries...