Extreme claims after to ‘End of Life Choice Bill’ campaign launch

David Seymour hopes his Member’s Bill on euthanasia will come up in Parliament for it’s first vote soon and has launched a campaign, but there has already been some ridiculous comments fro  National MPs Maggie Marry and Bill English.

NZH: Heated words from both sides as euthanasia vote nears

The first vote in Parliament on a bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia is near but National MP Maggie Barry’s description of it as a “licence to kill’ and a disruption at Act leader David Seymour’s campaign launch in support of the bill showed how heated the issue will be.

That’s ridiculous from Barry. Bein an MP doesn’t give her a license to be stupid.

Seymour, whose bill was drawn from the ballot last term, launched the campaign at Parliament today alongside MPs from other parties, End of Life Choice’s Dr Jack Havill and Matt Vickers, the husband of the late Lecretia Seales.

Seales unsuccessfully took the issue to the High Court after she was diagnosed with a non-operable brain tumour and died in 2015 soon after the High Court ruled it could not grant her wish and said it was up to Parliament to change the law.

The bill could get its first reading on Wednesday night or early next year.

The first reading of the End of Life Choice Bill is expected to be early next year and MPs will have a conscience vote on it.

Vickers, on a visit from New York, said Seales would have been delighted to see the legislation arrive at Parliament and urged MPs to support it.

“Obviously when she took the court case her ultimate goal was to get legislative change and this is the mechanism by which that happens. So she’d be very happy to see that this was going ahead.”

It has support from MPs in every party in Parliament.

It is a conscience vote for most MPs and those in support at the launch were Green leader James Shaw, National’s Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop, and Labour’s Iain Lees-Galloway.

Nobody from NZ First was at the event and NZ First leader Winston Peters later said his party would support it at first reading but after that support would be conditional on whether a referendum was held on the issue. He said the public should decide – not 120 MPs.

His own ranks appeared split – MP Shane Jones said “I do not support euthanasia” but later clarified that did not mean he would not vote for it to be debated at select committee.

I don’t think it is a suitable issue for a referendum. MPs and parliament need to take responsibility for something like this.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would support the bill because she believed people should have choice.

“I will always look for safeguards in place to make sure no one is ever manipulated or left vulnerable. But I also support people having their own choice in those circumstances.”

Note that it is generally younger MPs in support of people making their own choices about their own lives.

National MP Maggie Barry was also vehemently opposed, saying it was a “licence to kill.” She said there were no protections for the disabled, the elderly or the vulnerable. “It would make us the most liberal country in the world to die.”

Extreme rhetoric.

However, National leader Bill English – a Catholic – said he did not support euthanasia and believed Seymour’s bill was worse than others that had come up because it lacked the necessary safeguards.

If it passes the first vote then suitable safeguards should come out of the committee stage.

In the lead up to the election, Bill English said it was wrong to link suicide and euthanasia ().

Today he said: “It’s going to be a bit tricky for Mr Seymour to answer the question as to why some suicides are good and some are bad.”

That’s a petty and pathetic comment from English.

End of Life Choice president Maryan Street urged MPs to at least let the bill go to select committee for submissions.

“That way they can find out what it is really about, the safeguards provided in it and the checks and balances to be followed. In those respects, it is similar to legislation in other jurisdictions around the world.”

She said there was strong public support for the move and MPs should consider that when weighing up their decision.

“We want people to have the confidence they have the choice to die well, not badly, at the end of a terminal illness or when they can no longer bear their irremediable condition. We want them to have a choice.”

I want to have a choice. I don’t want the Government and some MPs dictating what I can or can’t do with my own life.

I understand  that some people are against it – but they don’t have to speed up their own deaths.  It is aimed at being voluntary.

29 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  December 12, 2017

    When Bill English says “It’s going to be a bit tricky for Mr Seymour to answer the question as to why some suicides are good and some are bad.” he’s right and you are going to have to do much better than just dismiss him out of hand.

    After all is euthanasia to be completely voluntary or do you have to get a doctors certificate and how hard or easy should that be? Please let us know.

    And in an age when children are encouraged to question their gender should we stop them questioning whether they should be alive or not. Why should the terminally ill be the only one privileged to end their lives?

    What if I want my death to be a piece of performance art?

    or a political protest, or chance to hurry onto into my next incarnation?

    Why not indeed.

  2. artcroft

     /  December 12, 2017

    **************** Public Announcement *********************

    Have we reached peak humanity? Are there simply too many of us?

    In an effort to start a conversation on this topic, Mr Art Croft will kill himself in a private ceremony at the Hamilton Rose Gardens on Saturday.

    Mr Croft will commit suicide by drinking hemlock. His ashes will then be compressed into carbon and used in the construction of a super computer so that he may become part of the eternal net.

    Attendance is by invitation only (ladies a plate please).

    • Gezza

       /  December 12, 2017

      Have you talked this over with your family & a doctor?

      • artcroft

         /  December 12, 2017

        No. Its my life.

        • Gezza

           /  December 12, 2017

          Righto. Will look for you on tv3. I expect it probably won’t happen.

        • Gezza

           /  December 12, 2017

          Can we talk again here on Sunday about how it all went, arty? Or will Friday night or Saturday morning be your final contribution to the blog?

    • Corky

       /  December 12, 2017

      Damn it, Arty. What would Buffalo Bill think? And it ain’t manly to carve the last notch In your belt for yourself. I will miss you, son. But I’ll feel better knowing you’ll be reunited with Prancer.

    • Missy

       /  December 13, 2017

      Arty, as a lady I am happy to bring a plate, but only if the men are bringing a crate!

  3. “I don’t think it is a suitable issue for a referendum. MPs and parliament need to take responsibility for something like this.”

    One Hundred percent disagree with this statement form you Pete.

    Personally I am against for deeply held reasons, but I can see why this is something wanted by many, however I would want the electorate to decide not 120 MP’s. As we have seen a few times leaving this types of things to MP’s leads to all sorts of extreme pressure being place on a handful of people unnecessarily…

    Referendum and let the people speak. But most importantly every voter needs to make a conscious choice to have this legislation enacted and when that happens we truly know the law is actually wanted…

    • Gezza

       /  December 12, 2017

      I think it’s a referendum issue.

      • PartisanZ

         /  December 12, 2017

        Could be interesting. A Colmar Brunton poll pre-election indicated 74% approval for End of Life Choice …

    • Mefrostate

       /  December 12, 2017

      My problem with taking issues like this to a referendum is that it allows the majority who are unaffected to determine the rules for a minority who are dramatically affected.

      Most of us find it difficult to imagine ourselves carrying a terminal illness and facing death, so our ability to empathise with people in that horrible situation. Since we don’t think the bill will affect us, it’s very easy to be morally opposed to it. When we see people with such conditions campaigning strongly for a change to the law, that tells us that our own views might change rapidly if we were faced with a similar diagnosis.

      As such, putting such a law to a referendum may well yield a “No” response from the unaffected majority, perpetuating the harms for the afflicted minority.

      • Valid argument Mefro…..

        But the counter is we live in a majority rules society e.g. laws are set by a majority of MP’s which in an MMP environment means a majority of votes – which is cool and right.

        But for a Assisted Dying law, no major party carried the policy so we have no idea what the majority think in terms of an organised massive voting sense. Polls are a nice guide but not always accurate

        Put it to the people in a referendum is my view

        • Mefrostate

           /  December 12, 2017

          Your view is pretty reasonable too, and I’m certainly not going to dismiss it outright. I was discussing with a friend the balance between voting selfishly & voting for society as a whole, and he said “if you’re in the majority, you should be voting on behalf of the minority.” I quite like that.

          Anyway, with issues like euthanasia I’m just annoyed that they tend to draw out the loud religious types who appeal to concepts of “sanctity of human life” and drown out more careful considerations of harm minimisation, individual rights, and a bit of empathy.

          Think of issues like gay marriage, which was delayed for years by the dearly-held beliefs of a (straight, religious) few. Then, after we finally managed to get it through, it’s no longer really an issue. No-one thinks about it that much, I haven’t seen anyone campaigning to change it back. Life just goes on.

      • PartisanZ

         /  December 12, 2017

        I’m with Pete on this one. I want to have the choice. I don’t know how I’ll exercise it if or when the time comes. Those people who are terminally-ill, because this only applies to them, who don’t want to hasten their own end don’t have to do it.

        I reckon some of the opposition is symptomatic of the various Churches’ steadfast resistance to letting go control over peoples’ lives: Death being one of the last bastions of it.

        It might be interesting to see if a conscience vote in Parliament is representative of the population’s apparent roughly 74% support for End of Life Choice?

        • PartisanZ

           /  December 12, 2017

          End of Life Choice, Death with Dignity, Voluntary Euthanasia … whatever you call it for whatever your reasons … It’s really the ‘scientificalisation’ of death … yes?

          Hence it’s a major threat to the last bastion of ‘morality’ controlled by the Churches …

    • Missy

       /  December 13, 2017

      I agree, it should be a referendum issue. But also I think it needs to have restrictions on the referendum with a minimum turnout (i.e.: 75% of registered voters) and it needs to be more than a 50% result for it to be enacted.

      I personally am in favour of euthanasia in certain circumstances having watched several members of my family suffer unnecessarily with awful illnesses and no quality of life, but I understand and get that many don’t agree with my viewpoint. This is something that needs to be dealt with by first balloting the public, but not rushing headlong into a decision based on a flimsy mandate, the Government would need to be certain they have an overwhelming majority support for something like this.

      • The problem I have with a referendum on something like this is you risk getting the majority who have no immediate concerns about end of life dictating to a minority that end up in invidious and often awful circumstances.

        I think this is where we need representative democracy to step up and take responsibility on a minority issue.

        I also object to being dictated to by people with religious agendas when religion doesn’t come into it for me. I respect their right to live by their religious standards, but that shouldn’t be forced on everyone.

        • Missy

           /  December 13, 2017

          Pete, that is why I think we need to have some stringent controls around whether the Government introduce it or not. A high turnout of registered voters (even higher than the 75% I suggested would be a good idea for those who have concerns), and a threshold of those in favour, say 80% or so in favour. It would give a strong mandate.

          Also, euthanasia would not be compulsory, but those that believe in it and meet strict criteria should be allowed to have the option. We don’t let animals suffer but are more than happy to let our loved ones suffer, why? I watched an elderly relative starve herself to death because she had no quality of life being bedridden with a serious illness, she was already at the end of her life and dying anyway but couldn’t expedite her death in a dignified and painless way, instead she took control the only way she knew how, it was horrible and distressing for everyone concerned. That should not be allowed to happen, but for many it is the only way they can take control of their own destiny. For those in this situation I believe they should be allowed, in consultation with medical professionals and their families, to be allowed to end their life.

          I don’t think this is a minority issue, and if it is then representative democracy will do nothing about it, and there shouldn’t be an issue with a referendum, because a true minority issue would not have the support at the ballot – especially if they put thresholds onto the introduction of the outcome if in favour.

          You say you object to being dictated to by people with religious agendas, but that is what is happening if we do not get a public debate and vote on this issue, those with religious agendas will lobby Government who will not want to introduce a controversial law.

          I am interested though Pete, do you see any difference between euthanasia and a DNR (do not resuscitate) order? To me they aren’t that much different, and if anything a person with terminal illness choosing when and how to end their life should be less controversial than anyone putting a DNR order on, especially since many people who are resuscitated can go on to live long and fulfilling lives.

          • Requiring a high turnout of registered voters – higher than general elections – unfairly stacks it against change, especially with a single issue that directly affects only a minority.

            If it went to referendum and was to be binding then a general election turnout should be adequate.

            Requiring more than 50% is also unfair stacking.

            • Gezza

               /  December 13, 2017

              It’s an ideal subject for a referendum. The voters of New Zealand are being asked to decide on whether if they are of sound mind they should have the RIGHT to VOLUNTARILY choose to end their own life with dignity in circumstances where they face a harrowing, painful or gruesome or undignified end they do not desire.

              It’s our lives, our deaths. Not anybody else’s. Those who for religious reasons think their earthly lives are owned, & the time and manner of its cessasation determined, by any particular non-existent supernatural being can still choose to die in the time & manner they prefer to.

              But this is a referendum choice that must be made with full information on exactly what is proposed, including what limitations & safeguards are intended to prevent improper pressure from others for someone to die before they really want to. So I have no issue with Parliament debating what the rules should be, before taking it to a referendum.

              My concern about leaving this issue to Parliamentarians to decide is that I do not consider to be them nearly enough representatative of the population to be able reflect the public’s true numbers of views for & against.

              I also have no problem with this issue being raised again at a later time if a referendum fails to pass the first time.

          • Blazer

             /  December 13, 2017

            ‘euthanasia would not be compulsory,’…pleased to hear it…is all the compassion in your rightwing righteousness coming out because its nearly…Xmas.?

  4. Last week I watched a French movie called Amour – it was a very good look at the difficulties dying people and their loved ones face. It reminded me of aspects of both my mother’s and my father’s deaths.

    It’s well worth watching – I saw it via Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/nz/title/70242548

  5. It’s just been predicted that the Bill is likely to pass the first vote by about 75-45. A good start.

  1. Extreme claims after to ‘End of Life Choice Bill’ campaign launch — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition