Binding referendum an awful option for euthanasia

Tracey Martin said on The Nation that she didn’t have a position of euthanasia and didn’t think Parliament should vote on it, and that it should go to a binding referendum.

I think euthanasia would be one of the worst things to be decided by a binding referendum.

This issue is complex and has very serious implications. It needs a very thorough investigation into all aspects of it and then MPs should do what they are elected to do, represent all of us responsibly.

It would be possible to get popular support for “euthanasia should be a personal choice in consultation with a person’s doctor” in a referendum, and it would be highly irresponsible of Parliament to allow something like that.

Referendums are fine for things like flags, but not for protecting a small vulnerable minority.

A binding referendum would be an awful option for euthanasia.

Martin is either severely misguided suggesting a public vote – or she is trying to avoid stating a position on euthanasia. Possinble both.

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9 Comments

  1. Actually No Pete. I see absolutely no problem with Parliament debating the issue, taking a bill through the whole select committee process and bringing a final bill to a final vote in parliament AND then only having it passed in to law via a binding referendum run at the time of a general election.

    This issue is too important to leave to 121 individuals to decide. They will face intolerable pressure from the hard core on either side of the issue. This is a genuine matter for the greater populace to decide on in my view.

    This is a possible change in law with very wide impacts and the NZ people as a whole, not just the clamouring voices of the staunch pro/anti brigades, should be heard.

    I know many won’t agree with me but personally I want to have a direct say in whether this right to die type legislation is passed.

    Reply
  2. I have to agree with Pete. This is complex issue requiring complex and detailed legislation. I just can’t see the average punter giving this the thought required. Our representatives are paid in order to ensure they have the time and access to resources to insure that the best solution is reached. its not a referendum type issue in my opinion.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  27th June 2015

      You confuse two issues. The public can decide the broad policy. The law drafters and select committee can sort out the details. There is no conflict in that or problem with it.

      Reply
      • Really. The point of a referendum is to provide a decisive, majority answer to a given issue. In your system the public approves a broad policy which then has to be translated into complex and detailed legislation; a process which is open to sabotage, misrepresentation and general confusion. There’s a good chance the final legislation would look nothing like the broad policy voted for. Best kick this referendum idea into touch.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  27th June 2015

          Don’t be daft. Law has to be drafted by legal eagles. They follow the broad principles laid down by those who instruct them, whether Cabinet, bureaucrats or backbench MPs with their private member bills. Implementing a referendum decision would be no different.

          Reply
          • kittycatkin

             /  27th June 2015

            I agree, With even a small law change, there are things that have to be gone into and examined under a microscope-and with something like this, every possible permutation has to be considered. Have I the knowledge or patience to do this ? No-and as someone with three sets of letters after my name, I am well used to examining and defending a position, avoiding careless thinking and checking for inconsistencies….

            But there’s a huge difference between a thesis and a law change of this type !

            Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  27th June 2015

    I completely disagree, Peter. This is exactly the kind of issue that should go to a referendum and not be blocked by small special interest fanatics. The public is well able to judge the complexities and overall has probably a better grip on their range and significance than self-selecting experts.

    Reply
  4. Brown

     /  28th June 2015

    I think euthanasia will come to to pass, irrespective of what people want, soon enough to get Pete when he is in hospital for a prostrate check and its decided by family of the “doctors” he has become an expensive inconvenience. If Belgium is any example, what Pete actually wants won’t matter much. Time to sell shares in health providers I think.

    Reply

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