Euthanasia submissions due 1 February

Today’s Herald on Sunday editorial focusses on Lecretia Seales and euthanasia, and it points out that Health select committee public submissions on euthanasia close in a week.

New Zealanders have just a week left to voice their opinions on voluntary euthanasia and whether it should be considered under law.

It is not an easy subject. The very term we use to understand the process is altered – and sometimes manipulated – to serve a purpose. Euthanasia, assisted dying, suicide.

It is one of the most difficult questions of our age but one that needs to be asked and considered.

Public feedback to Parliament’s health select committee closes on February 1. In a little over a week, the chance to have a say will be gone.

Regardless of the opinion – or the outcome – it would be to our shame to choose not to contribute to that debate.

 Herald on Sunday

It is a difficult and important issue, covering an individual’s right to choose how they may end their life versus protection of vulnerable people.

The Herald shows how out of date they can be by not providing links to the submission page.

The Parliament website for the Health Committee isn’t helpful either. Business before the Health Committee doesn’t mention it, and if I follow it’s Submissions link I get:

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Oops – there has been an error. This error has been automatically emailed to our website team and we will endeavour to fix it as soon as possible.

But there is a page:

Petition of Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others

Public submissions are now being invited on the Petition of Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others.

The closing date for submissions is Monday, 1 February 2016

The Health Select Committee has received a petition requesting “That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.” The petition asks for a change to existing law. Therefore the committee will undertake an investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand. In order to fully understand public attitudes the committee will consider all the various aspects of the issue, including the social, legal, medical, cultural, financial, ethical, and philosophical implications. The Committee will investigate: 1. The factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life. 2. The effectiveness of services and support available to those who desire to end their own lives. 3. The attitudes of New Zealanders towards the ending of one’s life and the current legal situation. 4. International experiences. The committee will seek to hear from all interested groups and individuals.

The committee requires 2 copies of each submission if made in writing. Those wishing to include any information of a private or personal nature in a submission should first discuss this with the clerk of the committee, as submissions are usually released to the public by the committee. Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions should state this clearly and provide a daytime telephone contact number. To assist with administration please supply your postcode and an email address if you have one.

Further guidance on making a submission can be found from the Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee link in the `Related documents´ panel.

There’s a much more helpful site – Lecretia’s Choice

 

The Health Select Committee is taking public submissions on assisted dying and suicide.  They want to hear from New Zealanders about their beliefs and concerns about end of life choices.  It is your chance to tell our politicians how you feel about end of life care and the choices you want to have.

The Parliament website has a helpful guide that explains the Select Committee Process (PDF) and how it affects Parliamentary decision-making. They also have a longer guide on how to make a submission, the key points of which are covered at the end of this page.

The original petition was “That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.”

We are not happy with the terms of reference created by the Health Select Committee in response to this, as they imply that someone seeking assisted dying wants to die, which couldn’t be further from the truth. They have also brought the issue of suicide into scope, even though this wasn’t part of the request of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society petition. However it is not possible for the terms to be changed at this point, so it is not worth debating this as part of your submission. It is best to focus on the terms as written. The terms of reference are:

      • The factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life.
      • The effectiveness of services and support available to those who desire to end their own lives.
      • The attitudes of New Zealanders towards the ending of one’s life and the current legal situation.
      • International experiences.

The Committee intends to consider “all the various aspects of the issue, including the social, legal medical, cultural, financial, ethical and philosophical implications.”

More details at:

Lecretia’s Choice

Health select committee agrees to euthanasia inquiry

In response to a petition presented to Parliament by the Voluntary Euthanasia  the Health Select Committee has agreed to investigate matters raised by the petition.

NZ Herald reports: Parliament to hold euthanasia inquiry following Lecretia Seales’ death

An inquiry into voluntary euthanasia is to be carried out by Parliament – a process supporters hope will be an important step towards a law change.

Today’s announcement comes after a petition from the Voluntary Euthanasia Society was presented to Parliament by supporters including Matt Vickers, the husband of the late Lecretia Seales.

The petition, signed by former Labour MP Maryan Street and 8,974 others, asked that Parliament’s health and select committee “investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable”.

It will set-up an inquiry to “fully investigate the matters raised by the petition”, health committee chair Simon O’Connor said.

The terms of reference will be drafted over the next few weeks, which will form the outline of that investigation.

“This is an important subject and the committee needs to think carefully about the best way to examine it,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I would like to see a thorough investigation that covers as many aspects of this topic as possible in a responsible and robust manner.”

It’s impossible to know where this may lead, if anywhere, but i think it’s time Parliament properly and comprehensively looked at the pros and cons of voluntary euthanasia, the right to choose how we die etc.