15 Oct 2013

Member's bill the way to address euthanasia - Key

12:57 pm on 15 October 2013

Prime Minister John Key says putting a member's bill before Parliament is the right way to debate whether voluntary euthanasia should be made legal.

A Wellington coroner, Ian Smith, reporting on the death of an 85-year-old Lower Hutt woman who took her own life, has called on Parliament to address the whole issue again.

Labour MP Maryan Street drafted a bill to legalise euthanasia but withdrew it, saying the debate should be held after next year's election.

Mr Key says he supports voluntary euthanasia under limited circumstances, but probably wouldn't have backed Ms Street's bill, as he thought it went too far.

He says the Government will not put up a bill on euthanasia, as it's best dealt with by a member's bill and a conscience vote.

Labour leader David Cunliffe says he has a personal view on euthanasia but he won't say what it is.

Ms Street says she welcomes the coroner's comments, which she says reflect changing attitudes towards euthanasia since a similar bill was voted down 10 years ago.