15 Oct 2020

Māori roll voters split over End of Life Choice Bill - poll

7:50 pm on 15 October 2020

A pro-euthanasia campaign group has welcomed polls showing just over half of voters on the Māori roll support the End of Life Choice Bill.

Polling booths are open for New Zealand's general election in Auckland on September 23, 2017. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP)

File photo. Photo: AFP or licensors

Māori Television commissioned polls, carried out by Curia Market Research, found on average 53 percent of voters on the Māori roll would be voting yes in the euthanasia referendum.

Support was highest in Te Tai Tonga with 60 percent, however in the Hauraki-Waikato and Tāmaki-Makaurau electorates support for the bill is at just 50 percent.

Yes for Compassion campaign member, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease sufferer Maata Wharehoka said her spirit, mind and body have suffered enough.

"Inside, there is unexplainable suffering that no-one else can measure but me. It is my choice and mine only."

Wharehoka works as a death doula, reviving traditional methods of death and burial with her whānau-run business Kahu Whakatere Tūpākpaku.

She has previously told RNZ that based on the knowledge of her whānau, there was a form of euthanasia in pre-colonial Māori society.

University of Canterbury academic Te Hurinui Karaka-Clarke agreed there were oral traditions showing there was tikanga for whānau to assist their loved ones to pass in certain circumstances.

He said there were also many ways to understand tikanga Māori.

"There is a whakatauki phrase 'Me whati te tikanga, kia ora ai te tikanga'. It means: there are times when tikanga needs to be broken for tikanga to survive.

"I believe this is one of those moments and these polls show many other Māori people agree with me."

Results of the Māori Television/Curia poll on the End of Life Choice Bill by electorate:

  • Te Tai Tonga: 60% FOR 22% AGAINST 18% UNDECIDED
  • Te Tai Hauāuru: 57% FOR 23% AGAINST 20% UNDECIDED
  • Ikaroa-Rāwhiti: 54% FOR 24% AGAINST 22% UNDECIDED
  • Waiariki: 52% FOR 25% AGAINST 26% UNDECIDED
  • Te Tai Tokerau: 51% FOR 27% AGAINST 22% UNDECIDED
  • Hauraki-Waikato: 50% FOR 29% AGAINST 20% UNDECIDED
  • Tāmaki Makaurau: 50% FOR 34% AGAINST 16% UNDECIDED

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