Trust, Wills, Estates and Enduring Powers of Attorney

End of Life Choice Act 2019

Comes into force 7 November 2021

What is end of life choice?

  • Assisted dying through the administration of medication by an attending medical practitioner or attending nurse practitioner to the person to relieve the person suffering by hastening death (euthanasia); or
  • The self-administration by the subject person of medication to relieve this suffering by hastening death (assisted suicide).

Issues and safeguards

  • Health practitioner may refuse to provide assisted dying services – health practitioner may conscientiously object;
  • A discussion about assisted dying must not be initiated by a health practitioner – disciplinary proceedings may result if that happens;
  • The legal profession is not subject to those limitations;
  • Exercising the option of assisted dying is a multistep process.

Key criteria

  • Person must be aged 18 years or over;
  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident;
  • Have a terminal illness likely to end the person’s life within six months;
  • Be in an advance state of irreversible physical decline;
  • Have unbearable suffering that cannot be tolerably relieved;
  • Must be competent to make informed decision.

Person not eligible

  • If has mental disorder or mental illness;
  • A disability of any kind;
  • Is of advanced age.

Key steps

  • Request to medical practitioner from patient;
  • First opinion concerning eligibility from a medical practitioner;
  • Second opinion concerning eligibility from independent medical practitioner;
  • Third opinion may be required from psychiatrist if uncertainty about persons capacity;
  • After medical review if patient is not eligible or not competent this decision must be recorded in writing and filed with the Registrar;
    • If patient is eligible and competent the medical practitioner must:
    • discuss with the patient the progress of the patient’s illness;
    • discuss the timing of administering the medication;
    • give the patient a form to fill in choosing the date and time;
    • advise patient that he or she can change his or her mind.

Ministry of Health:

  • To assist with implementation of the Act the Ministry is putting together implementation resources about assisted dying for the public and medical profession;
  • Facilitating three public statutory bodies to administer the Act:
    • Support and Consultation for End of Life in NZ Group (SCENZ);
    • End of Life Review Committee; and
    • The Registrar (assisted dying).

For more information

see the Ministry website at:


Contact: Tony Fortune, Lauren McIvor or Catherine Lee