Organ donor registration on driving licences creeps closer to becoming legally binding
15 May 2017
National Party members have voted in favour of making organ donor registration on driving licences legally binding.
Andy Tookey has campaigned for 15 years for an organ donor register since his daughter was born with liver disease. Source: 1 NEWS
But it's just a remit – so the party is yet to adopt the policy formally.
Andy Tookey has been campaigning for an organ donor register since his daughter Katie was born 15 years ago.
She has liver disease and will eventually need a transplant.
He says New Zealand has one of the lowest organ donor rates in the world.
"This is why really I campaigned from the beginning.... [so that] when the time comes when she needs one, one will be available."
Mr Tookey says it's great National passed the remit, at their regional conference in Auckland yesterday, although he's not sure binding driving licence registration is enough to lift rates.
He's been asking politicians for an organ donor register for more than a decade.
"It was something I took to Parliament 10 years ago. It went all the way through the select committee process but then it got biffed out at the last stage, which I was disappointed with. So it's great to see it's back in the pipeline again."
Many doctors aren't comfortable with the idea – because they don’t want to impose organ donation on families in their grief.
And Organ Donations NZ don't back the idea.
The Government commissioned a review into increasing rates of deceased organ donation last year.
The Ministry of Health are due to report back later this year.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has already ruled out a full organ donor register.
Asked on his views on the new driving licence remit, he would only say: "I'm working hard to lift New Zealand’s organ donation rates and I welcome this discussion with the party."