Stuff reports that Politicians shy away from ‘risky’ euthanasia issue.
It’s more than being shy of a controversial issue. Parties and politicians are gutlessly avoiding addressing a serious issue that literally impacts on people’s lives and their right to choose when and how the may end their own lives.
It’s not an easy issue to debate but that isn’t a reasonable excuse for shying away from dealing with it.
Politicians are lagging a long way behind public opinion on euthanasia but refuse to debate the issue because of the political risk, says a Green Party MP.
…the Government and Labour were steering well clear of any policy around the legalisation of euthanasia, but Green Party MP Kevin Hague said their position came down to the issue being too controversial and divisive.
Greens don’t seem to be doling much about it either. Nor any of the other parties.
This has come to attention again because…
A prominent Wellington lawyer is looking to set a legal precedent by asking the High Court to allow her to die on her own terms.
Lecretia Seales, 41, a public law specialist, is dying of an inoperable brain tumour and is petitioning to uphold her right to die at the time of her choosing.
It’s a real shame someone who is dying and has little chance of any legal assistance in time is left having trying to promote debate.
The chances of the Government addressing it were greater if an organisation, such as the Law Commission, led public consultation on euthanasia, [Hague] said.
“That would kind of relieve some of the political risk that I know governments are scared of.”
Not just governments. All of Parliament is scared of dealing with important issues. Gutless. But not always.
Former New Zealand First MP Peter Brown, who watched his wife die of cancer, drafted a Death with Dignity Bill in 2003.
It was voted down by 60 votes to 57.
That was a close vote, twelve years ago.
Former Labour MP Maryan Street proposed and championed the End-of-Life Choice Bill, which was taken over by her Labour colleague, Iain Lees-Galloway, the MP for Palmerston North, when Street failed to return to Parliament.
However, Labour leader Andrew Little told him to drop it as the party had more pressing issues to attend to.
Yesterday, Little said the party’s priorities were unchanged but it wasn’t up to opposition parties and if public opinion was strong, it was for the Government to respond.
So what are opposition parties for. To put priority on their own self interest and ignore important public issues? Gutless.
During the election campaign in New Plymouth last year, Little said he heard from a prominent doctor who claimed medical professionals made the decision to increase medication where necessary and in the appropriate situations.
“If we take that at face value, doctors are saying they manage the situation regardless.”
However, Little said that didn’t provide a solution to the gap in the law.
The law serves the rights of dying people – and doctors – very poorly. But Little has chosen to avoid any responsibility for trying to act for those constituents.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said he had a personal interest in Seales’ progress in the High Court but legalising euthanasia was a “notoriously divisive issue” and wasn’t a priority for the Government.
The suffering of dying people and the denial of their rights to choose for themselves is ‘not a priority’ for a gutless Government.
While Hague said his Green colleagues would like to see a debate, the party hadn’t reached an agreement on a euthanasia policy.
“We haven’t worked out how to create a regime that doesn’t have the risk of being abused.”
Another example of Greens talking the talk but not being prepared to walk the walk. They claim to be principled but that looks selective and self-interested.
By avoiding dealing with the issue, by making excuses, by refusing to even discuss possible options for dealing with people suffering as they die, New Zealand’s Parliament, it’s MPs and all the parties are being not just weak. They’re gutless.
I wonder if there are any doctors who would be prepared to assist Lecretia Seales and openly defy the law, and expose the inaction of Parliament?