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Life and Death in Aotearoa – Debating Euthanasia

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, April 3rd, 2019 - 210 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, david seymour, death with dignity, Deep stuff, discrimination, Parliament, Politics, Social issues - Tags: , ,

Imagine for a moment that you’re laying in bed, the sun slices a thin wedge through a dim curtained room.  You feel its warmth on your face as it whispers of summer days filled with laughter and joy.

You open your eyes only to feel searing pain as the light burns as though it was a flame.  You lift your arm to shield your eyes and the pressure of your bones against your flesh ignites pain so extreme even morphine is powerless to dull it.

You are dying; a slow, agonising degenerative death that will see you trapped in endless pain for years and there’s nothing you can do about it because others have decided you must live, no matter what.

Euthanasia is up for debate and it astounds me that people are focused on whether it should be legal rather than figuring out how we can offer a humane exit plan that has robust safeguards against misuse.

The End of Life Choice Bill, a private members Bill in the name of ACT’s David Seymour, gives people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying.

The Bill currently has broad support in Parliament, passing its first reading with 76 votes in favour, 44 opposed.

To requested assisted dying the following criteria must be met:

  • NZ citizen aged 18 years or older.
  • Be assessed as understanding their decision and the consequences of it.
  • Must have a terminal illness or grievous and irremediable condition.
  • The terminal illness must be one with a prognosis of six months or less to live.
  • A grievous and irremediable medical condition must be degenerative, unable to be successfully treated, and very severe.
  • The person must also be in an advanced state of decline of capability such as: loss of mobility, sense, the ability to eat, drink, or speak, and must be suffering unbearable pain that can’t be relieved or reduced to tolerable levels.

Sir Bill English stands against euthanasia and claims that it’s “a completely logical progression” that legalising euthanasia will “…make New Zealand a dangerous place for those who are young and suicidal, old and feel a burden to family, and the disabled.

He then goes on to say:

You know, if they’re having a bad day where they wish they weren’t alive we should be offering them kindness and what we’re going to offer is to kill them

And there’s this:

The people who generally want euthanasia are higher income, well educated people who want control.  They fear death and want control of it.

English’s hypocrisy is nearly as astounding as his inability to make a logical argument.  It’s disappointing and embarrassing that a former PM chooses to debate such important topics with made-up information, ignorance and fear mongering.  

Where was National’s ‘kindness’ when they took advantage of the Christchurch earthquakes to push their money-saving, education-sacrificing learning environments?  

Where was their kindness when they cut mental health funding leaving suicidal kids drowning in despair on waiting lists?  

Bill English’s poorly formed arguments find great company amongst other arguments against legalising euthanasia.  According to the submissions some claim that it diminishes human dignity by equating an individual’s worth with their ability to contribute to society – a profoundly ironical position considering we live in a society that does just that.

Then there’s the dirty tactics of a University of Auckland professor, Stephen Penk, father of National MP Chris Penk, who’s been caught using a false name to publicly lobby against the End of Life Choice bill.  It seems as though conservative Christians are mobbing the polls and publicly lobbying against euthanasia whilst hiding their religious motivations.

As it stands, forcing people to endure excruciatingly painful medical conditions amounts to torture, therefore, a breach of human rights.

If assisted dying is legalised we have a responsibility to minimise potential abuse of such laws but considering many people are already being given very large doses of morphine to ‘ease passing’ these laws may actually do more to safeguard life than end it.

Ultimately, no one should have the right to determine another’s quality or length of life; that choice belongs to each of us, individually.

 

210 comments on “Life and Death in Aotearoa – Debating Euthanasia”

  1. Grant 1

    Well this one will sort out the authoritarians from the libertarians.

  2. One Two 2

    NZ is an immature nation lacking in a myriad of pre-requisite social services and safeguards…

    As a nation ‘we’ are the proverbial ‘miles’ away from being mature enough to even consider this…

    The debate should consist of the ways in which NZ is not yet ready, agree on the primary medical, legal and social failings, then put into place action plans to ensure the appropriate measures are carried out…

    Over at least a decade, probably two…from whenever that conversation has been completed…and all the services and safeguards are being deployed…

    NZ, is not ready…not by miles.

    • TL/DR: “The perfect is the enemy of the good,” with examples.

    • bwaghorn 2.2

      So your ok with people (antivaxxers) coercing people into letting kids die from preventable diseases but your against suffering people easing their way out the exit gate.
      Your a confused wee chap ain’t ya?

      • One Two 2.2.1

        Both subjects are far beyond your current levels of understanding, experience and knowledge…which is why you are unable to comprehend or reconcile my comments on either of the subjects…

        Either you have something to say about this specific article….or don’t…

        But stay on topic, if you have anything worthwhile to add!

        • marty mars 2.2.1.1

          It is an interesting observation though – what say you?

          • One Two 2.2.1.1.1

            Marty, I would like to give you more credit than picking up on waghorns ignorant conflations and referring to them as an, ‘observation’…

            waghorns comment got precisely the response it was asking for…

            Now, if you would like to take up this convo in open mike, and you believe you can make a better go of it than J90 did recently….go for it…

            So as to be clear…I am no longer wasting energy on those who are not at reasonable level of good faith engagement, and who are sufficiently informed on ‘the subject’…

            Which from your comments a couple of weeks back…I am absolutely certain that you are not up that level…

            • marty mars 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Anyone who goes to the ‘you’re not brainy enough to get my argument’ on a blog of arguing is a fool at best and a troll at worse. You decide.

              • One Two

                Marty, that is not what I was saying…those are your words…your incorrect interpretation which only serves to affirm my position…

                I was referring to the emotional, abusive, bad language, insulting comments which yourself and most of those who are also, woefully misinformed and uninformed on these subjects, seem to specialize in…

                And you reckon I should engage with that….

                Edit and for what it’s worth…I reply to you because you have the decency to apologize and have some degree of self awareness…which is what I said to you over the weekend…

                I will respond to any comment such as J90 last week, which expresses ignorance and misunderstanding…because some comments need to be put in their place…and yes.. I have the understanding on some subjects to do just that…

                Joes comment with the pic of Del Bigtree wearing the yellow star was simply an uninformed disgrace…I responded…Joe disappeared…good idea!

                • marty mars

                  Sure you were.

                  I’m okay for you not to reply to me. I just dont think you’re as bright as you think you are sorry and on this site that has been proven a lot of times to my mind. Fly free now young one and be happy I insist.

                  • One Two

                    Yes that is your regular form…spit the dummy, throw out some BS, in a somewhat polite manner this time…then do a runner…

                    All very transparent marty…expect perhaps not to the others here who are on a similar level to yourself…and no, marty..it is nothing to do with ‘brains’ or being ‘bright’…that is the large serving of chips you have on those little shoulders of yours….

                    Couple of things…

                    * Post the vaccine certs of your kids…from a couple of weeks back…you know..where you tried to hold me responsible for abdicating your parental decision making to my handle…

                    * Back up your claim where it has been ‘proven’ in your mind…yes..in your mind.. that should be entertaining, marty…

                    Don’t apologize for yourself..and if you would like to get to OM and discuss it…let’s do that…and take it away from this thread…

                    Or are you and J90…one and the same…

                    • marty mars

                      Want a cup of tea with that?

                      You reacted to a simple statement of truth which related to this post remember?

                      “So your ok with people (antivaxxers) coercing people into letting kids die from preventable diseases but your against suffering people easing their way out the exit gate.
                      Your a confused wee chap ain’t ya?”

                      By waggy upthread

                      And now you’re off on your wee distract rants… – dont you get sick of yourself and your hypocrisy? I certainly do.

                      You can’t reconcile the two one two it’s okay we get it.

                      For me I struggle with it and are torn. I think about what I’d want and it reminds me of a saying I made up im pretty sure at 15 – life makes living worth dying for.

                    • In Vino

                      One Two – from outside of the debates you have been in and also from when I have engaged, I find you have an annoying way of ascribing to yourself superhuman insight combined with irrefutable argument based upon research and knowledge beyond the scope of any who disagree with you.
                      Sad to say, I find it all unconvincing.

                    • One Two []

                      Sad, unconvinced and annoyed..

                      IV..those are your issues to manage…no need to project…

                      From your comment it can be interpreted that you believe ‘we’re’ at all at the same levels of knowledge, understanding, experiences, education, time spent on personal development…

                      Which simply cannot be the case…

                      We’re all at different levels…and once you grasp that fact, you’ll likely be able to move on from projecting your issues towards others…

                • joe90

                  Joe disappeared…good idea!

                  You’re malignant fool with an inflated sense of your own ability.

                  Why the fuck would I bother responding to you?.

            • Andre 2.2.1.1.1.2

              I am no longer wasting energy on those who are not at reasonable level of good faith engagement, and who are sufficiently informed on ‘the subject’…

              You’ve promised that a number of times before and failed to deliver. Please, please do just respond to your fellow denizens of whatever astral plane it is you inhabit.

        • Psycho Milt 2.2.1.2

          To be fair, many of us appear unable to comprehend or reconcile the cryptic utterances that are your comments, but that’s not due a lack of intelligence or education on the part of your readers.

      • Formerly Ross 2.2.2

        Very few kids die of preventable diseases. And of course, some that do have been vaccinated. Meanwhile thousands of people die each year from cancer, heart disease etc. I struggle to see the comparison. A consistent approach would be freedom – to vaccinate or not, and to want assistance or not when dying.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.3

      One Two.

      You are getting to the nub of the matter….thank you.

      (Although you might as well save your breath to cool your porridge. 😉 )

      • One Two 2.3.1

        Hi Rosemary, as per our previous engagements…

        Your comments are those which should ring alarm bells, red flags and all highly visible warning signs that NZ as a nation is simply not ready for this level of discussion…except as I say, to openly discuss the degree for which NZ is not ready, and what it will take [and then do all those things] to get to a state where, as a nation, we are ready to have the discussion about a referendum…

        NZ, as a nation is made up of ‘the average’….

        ‘The average’, does not possess the capacity, the experiences or the length of time involved with circumstances such as your own, and others express here, to be remotely close to having even a fundamental level of understanding to the risks and dangers of legalized death…

        On a subject such as this, ‘the average’ should begin from a position of zero…and seek to gain understanding [how would you achieve this is not through direct experience] from zero…it would take a half life of working across multiple scenarios of terrible circumstances dealing with existing established structures, frameworks and laws which are crushing, killing and pushing people into early death…

        The subject is legalized death for crying out loud…literally the most serious referendum leading to the most serious legislation that can ever be passed into law…killing people using the law…

        As if NZ is not already one of the most abusive societies on planet earth…

        To not address, remediate and then measure those abusive practices [such as you write about here], but which also includes all suicides, domestic violence, sexual crime, punitive legal and social systems, predatory finance and employment conditions, to name just a few….

        And leap directly into legalized death…is astounding to me that the level of commentary is so abysmally uninformed of the ramifications here…

        But that is what ‘the average’ represents…

        • Maggie 2.3.1.1

          Instead of whining about how ‘average’ we all are why don’t you address the topic directly and teach us why we aren’t ready. And before you reply, be sure to check your arrogance at the door; it has no place here.

          Regardless of how you perceive your peers you have a responsibility to yourself to remain open-minded because no mind becomes sharp without rough edges to refine it.

          • One Two 2.3.1.1.1

            Hi Maggie, appreciate the articles and comments you’ve made since you’ve been writing here…

            Firstly, nowhere in my comments of this subject, your article or any previously written by other authors at this site, have I said I was for or against legal death…until now…

            It is a common theme here that folks jump to binary conclusions. Your comment indicates you have done just that. The ‘whining’ is your interpretation, and it is incorrect. Perhaps you could ask instead.

            I’ve provided rationale for why I believe NZ is not remotely close to ready for legalized death. That a majority of commentators are in support of such a law, despite the abysmal state that NZ as a nation is socially, functionally and operationally in, serves only to affirm my sentiments…

            The comments and links posted at this site tell the sorry state of NZ every single day… but sure…the same folks who post those links can ignore ‘all that’…if they so choose…There is a word for that…

            So, no arrogance whatsoever, only my opinion… unless you believe I was not including myself as part of ‘the average’… which I of course I am.

            To make it as clear as I can.

            Am I against legal death as a concept. No I am not.

            Do I believe NZ is in ready state for legal death. No I do not.

  3. Lucy 3

    Whilst I agree that no one has the right to determine another’s quality or length of life I worry that legalizing assisted dying will change things for us who have chronic disease. As a sufferer of a form of MS that is aggressively progressive I do not have to imagine I am dying; a slow, agonising degenerative death that will see you trapped in endless pain for years and there’s nothing you can do about it, that is my reality. I have good days and bad days like every human but if you ask me on a bad day if I want to die now my answer will be different to a good day. Associated with my condition is bouts of depression, like anyone with depression I have times when death would be a good option. I look at my family sometimes and wonder if their watching me suffer it would be better for them if I died. So whilst I do have a condition that allows me to die under this legislation, the legislation does not safe guard me in a way that I would expect the Government to. If pain is my issue the health system needs to support my pain relief, and my supporting care. This bill is an attempt to remove the vulnerable from the balance sheet so our society does not have to care appropriately for their needs There is a reason the bill is being sponsored by the most right wing party!

    • Andre 3.1

      What kind of safeguards do you think could be put in the legislation that would address your concerns, yet still allow those that meet the conditions the choice to end their lives in a dignified way at the time of their choice?

      • Ad 3.1.1

        Only allow the person themselves or a relative with medical Power of Attorney to push the button.

        Puts the moral weight of the act on the person requesting it, and on those who legally care for them.

        • Andre 3.1.1.1

          Thanks Ad. Am I correct in thinking your faith treats any deliberate ending of human life as abhorrent, so this represents a major philosophical accommodation to those that don’t share your faith?

          FWIW, I’d limit the ability for anyone else to push the button to those very few cases where the requester meets all the conditions (with particular emphasis on being of sound mind), but is no longer physically able to do so themselves.

          • Ad 3.1.1.1.1

            Suicide is already legal, and there are good cases of manslaughter cases already being discharged.

            I was inferring for Lucy that if one don’t want the state’s professionals (with all safeguards imaginable in place) to assist one’s death, it’s really not reasonable for everyone to always trust friends or family with this decision.

            I will confess that I had a cat ‘put down’ by a vet four weeks ago.
            This makes me inconsistent, regrettably.

            We rescued it off a relative’s farm along with three other cats.
            All three had mange, fur only on the back legs and stomach, covered in scabs, bloated, worms, starving.
            All three had comprehensive ringworm – and I now have that on one arm.
            All three after tests had cat AIDS.
            No vet cattery would take them such was their condition.

            But one of them also had distended cancer of the mouth, and a large growth in the stomach. Massive amounts of pain such that it couldn’t eat. PLus cancer deep into one ear.
            So I just wept like a baby in the vet’s and agreed to have it put down.
            I still wish I hadn’t agreed to it.

            The other two are now isolated from my other cats, up in our large sleep-out, isolated from the others, pumped full of medication and shedding their scabs everywhere.

            Sorry I just needed to confess.

            • patricia bremner 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Ad love of life is nothing to be ashamed of. I do think of Helen and her fight for legal medical cannabis. I also think of how most elderly I know fear this becoming law. Perhaps without reason, but the fear is real.

              Personally I feel there should be some mechanism for those who need this.

              Perhaps it could be like “Do not resuscitate”
              Or as we put in our will, “Bury or Cremate” It could perhaps be “I have no wish to be a vegetable and choose death in those circumstances”

              The how who and where are huge stumbling blocks, yet to be explained.

        • Maggie 3.1.1.2

          I wouldn’t be comfortable seeing the bill extended to include relatives with medical Power of Attorney. I think that opens up a whole other avenue of abuse. As it is, the bill specifies that the decision is to be made by the person themselves and they must be able to understand the choice and it’s consequences.

          • Ad 3.1.1.2.1

            Agreed.

            I was making an argument against state intervention:

            if we would not all in such circumstances trust our most trusted relatives to make such a decision for us, why ought we all in all cases trust the state who don’t know us at all?

      • Lucy 3.1.2

        Andre I don’t know I just don’t want to get to a point when I make a choice based on the moment that I feel I can not go on. Everyone has those moments but if these were acted on we would lose half our population. Lecretia Seales was a woman who had lived a full life and was ready to die, but to be honest most of us have not been able to do all we wanted, so we do not want to die when we get sick. We do not have the money to go to the High Court, in fact when our condition means we give up work we spend our last years in poverty – trying to work out how to make ends meet, and if there is a new drug for our condition it is always unfunded. I asked a friend what to do about funding physio visits and her serious answer was to have an accident then I would get ACC money to get the physio I need. The safeguards for most of us is funding the palliative care system properly so we can have the support we need so that we are not pushed into dying.

        • Andre 3.1.2.1

          Thanks for taking the time to respond, Lucy.

          What I’m hoping to see is some kind of ground that addresses legitimate concerns that the provisions might get abused to prematurely end lives, yet allows those that legitimately wish avoid a humiliating painful death to do so.

          At the moment, some people are forced against their will to endure an end to their lives that frankly, if we inflicted it on a pet, we would be prosecuted for. So to my mind, we’re clearly not in a good space right now.

        • Rosemary McDonald 3.1.2.2

          “The safeguards for most of us is funding the palliative care system properly so we can have the support we need so that we are not pushed into dying.”

          Yes. Yes. Yes.

          Kia kaha, Lucy.

    • bwaghorn 3.2

      I think its safe to assume that if you applied on the morning of one of your bad days . They wont be sticking the needle in your vein that arvo .

      Please dont think I’m belittling you in your suffering but the one bad day argument english is pushing pisses me off.

      • Jess NZ 3.2.1

        +1000000 and Lucy, I also hope it doesn’t feel like belittling as I also suffer from a chronic condition which has no certainty of resolving well.

        The eventual law would never allow for a short term (day, week, even month?) decision. No doctors would support that.

        Surely it’s better to have the option, because palliative care has its limits, no matter how well funded.

      • adam 3.2.2

        If all sorts of nasty shit pushed by doctors on disabled, and people who suffer chronic illness, on that bad day – did not happen. Then I think you might have a argument bwaghorn. As for one bad day, that could be just two or three, and yeah I’m thinking they could have you injected in three days.

        But as you have no idea of the reality of disabled, or those who suffer from chronic illness. You lack any wearwithal to be so dismissive.

        • bwaghorn 3.2.2.1

          You confuse my straight talking as dismissive.

          • Lucy 3.2.2.1.1

            I don’t dismiss your straight talking sorry when I was talking one bad day my 2018 depression lasted May, June, July and August so there would be plenty of time to ask, be accepted and die within that time, if a professional did not pinpoint the fact that technically I was not of sound mind. Within that time I saw a doctor twice and the second time he talked to me for an hour (and didn’t charge me for two consultations) and worked out plan of action. Part of my problem is chronic illness has reduced the family income to the point that every year we are falling into more debt, so health professionals are a luxury.

            • Rosemary McDonald 3.2.2.1.1.1

              “Part of my problem is chronic illness has reduced the family income to the point that every year we are falling into more debt, so health professionals are a luxury.”

              And it is this aspect that ffolk find hard to get their heads around.

              We have a publicly funded health and disability system as well as social security. Chronic health problems and disability should not drag families into debt. Research showed that the household income of a person acquiring a spinal cord impairment through an accident (under ACC) was TWICE that of the household income of a person who was similarly affected and not under ACC. The costs for the MOH spinal impaired are so much higher as MOH funds only a fraction of the supports that ACC considers mandatory.

              The debt and deficit accumulates and becomes unsustainable and unbearable.

              Thank you Lucy for adding to this korero.

    • Maggie 3.3

      I really appreciate your response, Lucy. It’s comments like your that can really help to open this topic up so that we can see the pros and cons more clearly.

      The concern that this will make it easier for people to be pressured into ending their life out of fear of being a burden is a valid point. Does that threat already exist though? I mean, suicide is available to anyone at any time so if a terminally ill person was being pressured to die they have that option in suicide with the draw back being that sometimes it doesn’t work and often involves horrific means.

      As far as pain management goes, the bill is quite specific in that if your pain can be made tolerable through medication then you don’t qualify.

      The political aspect (that it’s coming from the right) shouldn’t be a major reason for rejection because we can’t that everything in right-wing politics is bad just like we can’t say everything in left-wing politics is good.

      The safeguards in the bill mean you can’t make the decision on a whim. It can’t be a case of having a bad day because it requires multiple assessments before gaining approval.

      But I am concerned that this will increase pressure on the terminally ill to end their lives and I need to think on that some more.

      • KJT 3.3.1

        I admit to being very conflicted on this.

        One of our friends died after two years of torture with esophageal cancer. Begging to die for a long time.
        I would be held in jail for animal abuse, if i did that to a dog.

        I’ve also seen siblings hoping an elderly relative will die soon, so they could divvy up the loot. Easy to persuade an ill person they are a burden.

        Also the fact that the bills sponsor is a member of a group, which believes that anyone without wealth, who doesn’t work, should starve!

  4. Rapunzel 4

    While not the crucial issue I do wonder how insurance companies will handle this with the devil in the detail, there are concerns raised when some policies are analysed specific to the conditions of the lengthy documents when claims are made already. I know some established companies will likely cover this but the likes of new companies set rigid compliances that would not accommodate someone exercising such a “choice”.

  5. marty mars 5

    I posted this the other night.

    A big long article worth reading on this subject.

    “Van Baarsen’s scruples have crystallised in the country’s first euthanasia malpractice case, which prosecutors are now preparing. (Three further cases are currently under investigation.) It involves a dementia sufferer who had asked to be killed when the “time” was “right”, but when her doctor judged this to be the case, she resisted. The patient had to be drugged and restrained by her family before she finally submitted to the doctor’s fatal injection. The doctor who administered the dose – who has not been identified – has defended her actions by saying that she was fulfilling her patient’s request and that, since the patient was incompetent, her protests before her death were irrelevant. Whatever the legal merits of her argument, it hardly changes what must have been a scene of unutterable grimness.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/18/death-on-demand-has-euthanasia-gone-too-far-netherlands-assisted-dying

    • Maggie 5.1

      Fuck! That’s just awful. The decision to end her own life was too vague – “when the time was right” – and shouldn’t have been used as a blank cheque to kill her when they decided that time was now.

      Our euthanasia bill doesn’t cover dementia but I’ll be honest and say that if I was diagnosed with it I’d find a way to end my own life, legal or otherwise. It is a heart breaking disease and one I would wish on my worst enemy.

      • marty mars 5.1.1

        It’s a horror story all right. I dont know what I’d do.

      • KJT 5.1.2

        One cuzzie is a nurse in a dementia home.

        She tells me the patients are often happy enough, except in lucid moments. They don’t know what has happened.

        The worst part, i suppose, is in the early stages where you know what is to come.

        It is the relatives who suffer.

        I like the story about the wife who came every day to feed her demented husband. When asked why? “He doesn’t even know who he is”. She replied, “but I know who he is”.

        • Maggie 5.1.2.1

          In the beginning dementia causes disorientation and forgetfulness. This often leads to the suffering feeling paranoid and fearful because things go “missing”, they find doors open, TV left on etc but have no recollection of doing it so they start to think someone else has been in their house etc. I watch a friends grandmother die of it and it was awful. She was violent, rageful, accusatory etc because she didn’t and couldn’t understand she was sick. It nearly tore their family to pieces and was heartbreaking for my friend as the grandmother and her were so close yet she turned on her and accused her of trying to drug her, stealing her stuff etc. Just awful. It’s not until the very end that they get more peaceful because they’ve pretty much forgotten who they used to be.

  6. Ad 6

    90% of submissions opposed this bill.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12217759

    Many on death’s door vigorously oppose this bill.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12216909

    Here’s one of the movements that helped gain that amazing level of support:

    #DefendNZ

    https://m.facebook.com/DefendNZ/

    Defeat the culture of death in New Zealand.

    • Grant 6.1

      Catholics oppose this Bill. Don’t be shy.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        We stand together and we will defeat this bill as we have before.

        • Lettuce 6.1.1.1

          Heck! Imagine if the Catholic Church had put this much effort into defeating paedophilia by its priests?

          • Maggie 6.1.1.1.1

            Exactly. Once again religion deciding what’s best for everyone.

            • Muttonbird 6.1.1.1.1.1

              No. That would be democracy deciding what’s best for everyone.

              It’s not perfect, I agree.

              • Maggie

                It’s only democracy if it goes to a vote. It’s far too easy to influence polls and there’s proof that this has been done. That one single poll is the opposite of four or five other polls done over the last 10 years which have consistently shown that over 70% of people are in favour of legalising assisted dying. I find it quite terrifying that such a big decision could be so easily manipulated.

                • Muttonbird

                  That’s the case with every big decision isn’t it? Look at how cashed up lobby groups are setting about derailing a CGT.

                  • Maggie

                    I always feel like a conspiracy theorist when I say that, Muttonbird. Yes, I think that NZ has a very malignant undertow of ‘money moving mountains’. I don’t think it’s limited to political decisions either.

                    This is why I get so pissed off with people who are too lazy to think about the source of information. And yet, even as I’m thinking that I understand that people shouldn’t have to conduct a deep investigation just to find the truth.

                    Greedy bastards everywhere are leading us by the nose. Wheeling and dealing dictates what food is available in stores, what medications we have, what treatments are available.

    • greywarshark 6.2

      The people who object to euthanasia cling closely to their safe spots of not looking too closely at the reality of life, and avoiding thinking about death. They don’t want to face their own, they are all prepared to go on living to 90 or 100+ themselves no matter what condition they are in at that age, or the cost to the country to constantly resuscitate and renew them.

      They certainly don’t want to think of anyone else’s death or suffering, but will manage to do so for family and friends, and also a great tragedy with large numbers will stir us to thoughts for others.

      But at present the system encourages people to want to be looked after like children. People are prepared to assume adult rights of decision-making in society while they refuse to accept the responsibility of considering the whole of society’s needs; just their own. They like to think that they live in a caring society, but refuse to care themselves about others and their needs. That is the convoluted thinking of today; surrounded by sad deaths and spoiled lives every day fed through the eager media till we are brutalised and shut off our compassion circuits. People then close up and condemn any possibility of change for the better, any humane action relating to other people who desire it, because they wouldn’t like it for themselves, because other people of power and leadership and knowledge are involved and their opinions and wishes take precedence to following the wishes of people to have rights over their own lives and particularly, their own deaths.

      It is just incredible that compassion and intelligence cannot combine to enable a legal euthanasia process involving those who have these two qualities and the integrity to assist as needed. The general population can muster up a
      multitude of people who do not have these three qualities and can carry on with their lives, after using their rights to decision-making to condemn others to pain and suffering and not only in cases where euthanasia is considered. Heartless and thoughtless, BAU for them, and tough titty for the others.

      This is the weakness of our democracy; wanting all the rights, while unwilling to think beyond one’s own preferences to do the hard thinking relating to those of others. The ‘Me Generation’ is not just young people as frequently proclaimed in the media.

      • Ad 6.2.1

        We Catholics think about death every day.
        There’s a dying guy around our necks.

        If you don’t want to be looked after like children, stop asking for the ultimate paternalistic state.

        • woodart 6.2.1.1

          your religion is your business. dont try and make it everybody elses business by bringing it into the euthanasia debate.

          • adam 6.2.1.1.1

            LOL woodart, what a silly little statement.

            Don’t bring ethics to a debate on killing people… Mmmmmm

            Do you goosestep around the house as well?

              • Ad

                If the state can’t control the road toll, it can’t control bad euthanasia practices:

                Another pathetically stupid and irrelevant non sequitur.

                • Lettuce

                  I admit it was a low blow. I’m just sick of being lectured to about morality and ethics by an organisation that is extremely selective with its own.

            • The Al1en 6.2.1.1.1.2

              Woodart didn’t bring ethics into the debate, they mentioned a religion, as it happens, widely discredited predominantly for it’s lack of ethics.

              If religious beliefs make you want to opt out of assisted dying, that’s great, no ones going to be forcing you.
              But a sect, cult or ancient religion shouldn’t be the barrier that prevents terminally ill people from wanting to end their life with dignity, on their own terms in 2019.

              • adam

                Of course you can kill yourself, go for it. I’m not stopping you.

                I just find it morally repulsive people like you don’t want to do that, you want other people to kill you. I could question why you think handing other people the power to kill others is fine and dandy – yet your incapable or unwilling to do it to yourself.

                Which is odd, because that’s our position, suicide will send you to purgatory. But for you lot, taking you own life is somthing you just can’t do, and want the state to kill you instead.

                Totally confusing how cowardly you all get when we suggest you can do the killing of yourself, yourself.

                • The Al1en

                  You’re making up shit again. I’ve not said I want people to kill me. Quote or stfu.

                  There is no purgatory. That’s a construct people I consider weak adhere to. One I don’t entertain at all.

                  There’s nothing confusing or cowardly in wanting to end a prognosis of a remaining lifetime of pain and suffering on your own terms, in fact, it’s exactly the opposite, it’s totally fucking brave.

                  Only a maggot slurping on the excrement of stone age theology would challenge the right to die with dignity.

                  • The Al1en

                    And I don’t care if you’re fucked off with that, tough shit, you’re the christo, you got to forgive me or go to your hell. 😉

                    Enough ain’t enough, sometimes, eh Rev? lol

                  • adam

                    Only a fool who has no sense of history would think handing the state more power, including killing at will is a good idea.

                    But then again reading your comments begs the question of which village lost its idiot…

          • greywarshark 6.2.1.1.2

            Thanks woodart
            The religious are the ones who can mass an attack on considerations of change to law and smother any reasoning produced.

            And that snippy little paternalistic remark Ad. We live in a democratic state ruled by law, not paternalism. We have been able to shed most of the paternalistic practices. Now we have equality under the law.

            It is about the true caring for each other and respecting each other, not an individual forced to beg to control one’s own life. But to come into practice there must be a properly thought out legal system. We need a well-thought out law that is both practical, fair, lays out procedures needed, and also regards the spiritual aspects of us, our families, friends, and so on. This would be formulated after extensive consultation with those who have been thinking this through for years. The communicating with others should all be dealt with -perhaps with a little letter of last good bye to all. This would be desirable anyway but particularly in euthanasia or managed demise as I think it could be called, so that everyone can grieve and not have fear of unfairness or impropriety.

            I don’t know what to say about the recent report of someone who had when in mild dementia asked her doctor to help her die when it was ‘the right time’. And then when the doctor deemed it was, she acted on her wishes made while in her full mental capacity, which had changed because of the dementia. She carried out the reasoned decision despite the changed woman’s then objections. Her children did not want her to be euthanaised. That is a hard situation for the doctor and the family. A law setting out the procedures in such a case would be part of its explicit directions. It might say that the doctor could not agree to the request and that the patient should carry out the procedure while still capable.

            Once her mental acuity was lacking her children’s wishes for guardianship should generally prevail provided that they made adequate provision for her care, and this would be monitored by the state. This would ensure that an immediate emotional response against the ending of life was not followed by neglectful care of the person, for any reason and placing the person in a state-sponsored facility did not free the children of obligation of care for the rest of her life.

            Anyone stating that euthanasia is wrong because it doesn’t suit their wishes and religious beliefs is oppressing those of us who wish to have good law, and a fair and responsive state that sticks to that good law, agreed by all who are truly interested in the principles of fairness, kindness and integrity.

            And adam
            your snippy comment does not do the subject or you credit.
            Ethics and religion are not exactly the same thing.
            Referring to goostepping shows that you are not capable of reasoned
            and balanced thinking.

            • Ad 6.2.1.1.2.1

              “A law setting out the procedures in such a case would be part of its explicit directions. It might say that the doctor could not agree to the request and that the patient should carry out the procedure while still capable.”

              But this bill doesn’t.

              This is all about desperately hard cases. If you “don’t have anything to say” about such hard cases, you don’t have much to say on euthanasia.

            • adam 6.2.1.1.2.2

              Really, greywarshark?

              Have you read any of your rants, where you commodify human beings, and continually ignore and put down any comment or concern by disabled as childish.

              You’re not reasonable nor balanced, you’re emotional and smugly self righteous.

        • RedLogix 6.2.1.2

          We Catholics think about death every day.
          There’s a dying guy around our necks.

          Life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% fatality rate. Possibly the most grim thing you can say about us; and we are all to some degree aware of it. My vote is firmly on the side of the sanctity of life, as it is with you. Walking away from that is non-negotiable for many, many reasons.

          But this was an easier position to take in a time when if you got seriously ill, it was likely you would shortly die. Now we have the technology to prolong that death by years, sometimes with an unimaginable suffering. We cannot pretend to ignore this either.

          I have clear instructions to my POA and in a living will document for no resuscitation and no extreme measures to prolong life. I can only hope that covers off the most of the likely scenarios.

          • Ad 6.2.1.2.1

            Fully agree.

            I’d recommend Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

            Helps prepare for lots of likely scenarios.

            He makes a point early in the book that in poorer countries – and indeed when we were poorer – end-of-life alterations were steep drops.

            Now more often than that there will be one significant drop in quality of life, followed by a long series of much smaller ones, each needing massive alterations of personal and family circumstances to sustain.

            Impressive with the Living Will. I should do that.

        • Andre 6.2.1.3

          We Catholics think about death every day.

          🎵Always look on the bright side of life🎵

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.2.2

        “The people who object to euthanasia cling closely to their safe spots of not looking too closely at the reality of life, and avoiding thinking about death. ”

        That statement Greywarshark, with all due respect, is wrong in so many ways.

        I don’t know where to start.

        I’ll just ask you to think of the people living with disability and degenerative conditions who are more than familiar with the ‘reality of life’ and for whom the spectre of death hovers near all the time.

        And yet…they cling to life!!!

        Shock horror!!!

        • greywarshark 6.2.2.1

          Fair enough Rosemary, go on and enjoy life as long you can. Just don’t take potshots at others who are trying to make change because it doesn’t fit your scenario.

          • Rosemary McDonald 6.2.2.1.1

            It seems to me that you are taking pot shots at those of us who have the gravest of concerns about this legislation.

            How about we make sure that those who want to live (despite :The terminal illness must be one with a prognosis of six months or less to live.
            A grievous and irremediable medical condition must be degenerative, unable to be successfully treated, and very severe.
            The person must also be in an advanced state of decline of capability such as: loss of mobility, sense, the ability to eat, drink, or speak, and must be suffering unbearable pain that can’t be relieved or reduced to tolerable levels. etc etc)

            ….have all the care and supports available without being subject to arbitrary or discriminatory rationing.

            Other than calling you out for your rather insulting description of those not rushing over the cliff…..point out where I took ‘pot shots’ at ‘those who are trying to make change’?

            And my ‘scenario’? Fffs. If you can’t see there are vast inequalities in health and disability care in NZ that lead some to lose the will to live then you seriously need to get out more and/or actually listen to what people are concerned about.

            FWIW. I agree that we should have the ability to end our life should we choose, and that ‘safe’ (oh the irony) drugs should be made available for us should we so choose. Only after due discussion so suicide is not done during transient depression. Do I think that medical professional should be ordered to facilitate my suicide? NO. That is not their role, and to force them to do this is wrong in so many ways.

          • One Two 6.2.2.1.2

            gw, have you actually read any of Rosemarys comments regarding her husbands circumstances and their first hand, long term life experiences dealing with the establishment frameworks, and how those established frameworks treat some of NZ’s most vulnerable human beings?

            There is no way possible you should be able to make those types of accusations against Rosemary, if you had…

      • Maggie 6.2.3

        “It is just incredible that compassion and intelligence cannot combine to enable a legal euthanasia process involving those who have these two qualities and the integrity to assist as needed.”

        This is exactly it! Well said.

    • 90% of submissions opposed this bill.

      The overwhelming majority of submissions on a voluntary euthanasia bill are always opposed, because churches exhort their followers to make an opposing submission, in some cases providing a boilerplate letter to sign and send, for those who are less literate or who couldn’t actually explain why they oppose the legislation. The rest of us don’t bother submitting and just think “Get the fuck on with it already.”

      • Grant 6.3.1

        Exakkery

      • Ad 6.3.2

        Ah the joys of democracy.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.3.3

        I started a random perusal of those submissions last night PM….you’d be surprised at the number of form types from the Armed Forces.

        Weird, right?

        • Maggie 6.3.3.1

          Not really. Considering you can pretty much put down any occupation you want…

      • tabletennis 6.3.4

        I’m sorry for your disease, life can be really unfair.

        However the NZ proposed euthanasia bill is currently is only applicable to those who have been given no more than 6 month or less to live, (NZ politics clearly feels that NZ is not ready for an EU version) and 2) is voluntary – meaning the choice is entirely only one YOU can make
        3) Be assessed as understanding their decision and the consequences of it.

        4) Medical assisted dying occurs everywhere
        Professor Baum’s statement (http://www.dyingforchoice.com/resources/fact-files/medically-assisted-dying-occurs-everywhere) is borne out by scientific research. A national survey of Australian doctors in 1996 found that 1.9% of deaths were the result of voluntary euthanasia (VE) or physician-assisted dying (PAD) (Kuhse et al. 1997). By comparison, the rate in the Netherlands in 1995 (the closest year of empirical research data) was 2.6% (Onwuteaka-Philipsen et al 2012).

        The rate of medically assisted deaths in Australia, where the practice is illegal, was three quarters the rate of the Netherlands, where the practice is legal.

        5) If pain is your issue pain relieve is available in NZ and so are hospice units – do not turn this bill into something, adding your ideas to it, into something it clearly is not.

    • Maggie 6.4

      Not so fast Ad.

      “The vast majority of New Zealanders support euthanasia, according to the latest Newshub Reid Research poll.

      A Bill to legalise assisted dying is currently before Parliament and it has 71 percent of the country’s support, with 19.5 percent against it and 9.5 percent unsure.”

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/02/newshub-poll-most-new-zealanders-support-euthanasia.html

      Massey University research in 2003 showed that 73% wanted assisted suicide legalised.

      A survey carried out on behalf of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society in 2008 showed that 71% of New Zealanders want to have it legalised. 2008 survey by Massey University gave similar results.

      In 2015 a 3 News/Reid Research poll showed 71% want the law changed with 24% opposed.

      The 2017 Horizon poll found 75 per cent of the 1300 people surveyed favoured a law change to allow the terminally ill and people with irreversible unbearable suffering to be helped to end their lives peacefully.

      Only 11 per cent were opposed.

      The largest support group was those in the 65 to 74 age range. Of that group, 82 per cent agreed.

      The reason the sumbissions poll is the ONLY one showing such high numbers against legalising it is due to concerted efforts by religious groups to influence the polls to give a deceptive impression that those submitting actually represent the wishes of the wider community. It is nothing more than religious domination and attempts for force the secular community to honour religious ideology.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.4.1

        ” It is nothing more than religious domination and attempts for force the secular community to honour religious ideology.”

        Maggie…is there evidence to support this claim?

        For instance…what % of submissions are from people associated with religious sects? The group I have been peripherally taking note of are largely people with disabilities, and to my knowledge are not known to be overt godbotherers.

        • Maggie 6.4.1.1

          Rosemary, what reason can you find to explain the huge disparity in polls? This is the ONLY poll to show a majority vote against assisted dying and the results were astronomical. People aren’t going to put that they have religious motivation because it makes their submission too easy to nullify. I have friends in churches who were told to submit, told not to mention their faith because people are “biased”.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Guest Poster Maggie? goes to the heart of the matter in a few words. Anyone who had a heart and mind working in sync would feel the same. Unfortunately many people’s minds are prevented are unable to think through problems and how to lessen them which requires paring away all the irrelevancies and looking staunchly at what is left.

    Euthanasia is up for debate and it astounds me that people are focused on whether it should be legal rather than figuring out how we can offer a humane exit plan that has robust safeguards against misuse.

  8. WeTheBleeple 8

    Unfortunately, adding the option of euthanasia to healthcare budgets is an accountants wet dream. It’s not hard to force people into this option if you take their healthcare away and they have no money. People will be signing up so as to not be a burden…

    Capitalists run the world. Cruel calculating warmongering bastards.

    Robust safeguards. Sure. But they can be whittled away at, like gun laws, human rights, common decency, the acceptable norm…

    I am not against euthanasia as a humane option. I just don’t think we’re that humane.

    • Jess NZ 8.1

      On the other hand and I believe more to the point, end of life care is currently an accountant’s wet dream.

      A great way to drain any savings an older person might wish to hand on to their next generation is to leave them no option to say ‘please, let me end this discomfort and expensive medical treatment keeping my organs from failing naturally.’ Is it so objectionable for someone to decide they don’t want to be a burden?

      We have gotten really good at keeping people alive for years with questionable quality of life.

      • Maggie 8.1.1

        +100 Jess

        “Is it so objectionable for someone to decide they don’t want to be a burden?” This one has really had me thinking. I would choose euthanasia to spare my family and it’s not that I think others should, just that I should be allowed to make that choice.

        • WeTheBleeple 8.1.1.1

          It depends if the position of burden has been artificially enhanced through withdrawal of funding/insurance for healthcare to said ‘burden’.

          • Maggie 8.1.1.1.1

            Yes, but considering the criteria for assisted dying is being terminal and being in such pain that it can’t be made tolerable it would seem that even with full funding and unlimited resources that suffering would still be present wouldn’t it?

            • WeTheBleeple 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Folk seem fixated on the entry point for this law. Laws get changed. Laws get used to wedge in change.

              I have already stated I’m not against euthanasia as a humane option. I do not think we have that level of humane at societies whim. I think bankers run the show and if a prick like JK gets in (highly likely) human rights mean FA if profits can be found.

              JK wanted war for trade, he was foaming at the mouth in favor of it. We have many political examples just as pathetic and more. Obomba got a fucking peace prize. So you can bang on about human rights and empathy which I also believe in but don’t expect me to wear the glasses.

              We’ve got nearly half the country right now, so morally bankrupt they can’t see paying their fair share of taxes is fair. They think they’ve been singled out. some are REALLY mad.

              Don’t ask me to join your fantasy view of NZ, I’ve been here on the ground for too long.

              • Maggie

                I totally agree with you about the state of NZ and I’m not asking to to take up my position on this. I respect your right to choose whatever is right for you.

                I’ll admit I’m a dreamer and yes it’s a fantasy view but we didn’t get anything without someone dreaming it first. This is how I fight against the system that tries so hard to monetise our lives. I believe the only way to fix NZ is from the inside out, that it requires for us to look at ourselves first and foremost and challenge ourselves to think critically and act empathetically.

                England in the 1800s was notoriously unempathetic toward its poor and mentally unwell, often locking them up in prisons where they were shackled to walls. Even with the introduction of mental asylums their fate was bleak.

                Around 1790 a new model of psychiatric care began when one doctor showed empathy for his patients and refused to have them shackled or restrained. He relied on surveillance to keep the patients under control and his ‘moral treatment’ quickly caught on resulting in a huge increase in funding being given to mental asylums. This money was used to increase the safety for patients whilst improving their life experience by putting in expansive grounds and gardens. Many patients improved under these conditions which really dispelled the notion that they were beyond help.

                One doctor changed the fate of thousands of lives because he cared enough to challenge the status quo.

                I believe that when we make smart decision based on the humane treatment of all people then we are giving the likes of JK the biggest FU possible.

  9. adam 9

    A bill like this was the keystone which led to the T4 programme. This happened in a enlightened country that went down a very dark rabbit hole.

    I’m guessing disabled people opinions don’t count, becasue if they did this bill would be dead.

    To the Author, yeah some days the morphine does not work. But pain is pain, and I live for the next day. So don’t tell me you think it OK for a doctor to kill me – becasue the drugs don’t work, or years of pain – I’ve lived with years of pain and may I live for many more. Your utter lack of understanding, and shallow pathos is at best a very weak argument or at worst, totally dishonest.

    As I’ve said before, if you want to kill yourself – go right ahead. But don’t hand the state and doctors the power to judge who lives and who dies.

    • This bill is just like the Nazis! Oh, well played, sir!

    • Maggie 9.2

      You’ve completely misread the whole article and the euthanasia bill. No one is suggesting that the state or doctors should have the right to kill someone.

      It should be your choice, always.

      • Rosemary McDonald 9.2.1

        “It should be your choice, always.”

        And isn’t there a few lines in the bill about coercion?

        When a person requires treatment or a certain level of support in order to lead an enjoyable life and the State severely rations or even refuses that treatment or support….a person can quite rapidly lose the will to live and euthanasia begins to look like a goer.

        Coercion.

        And it is already happening.

        And until the State stops this disgusting treatment of non ACC disabled then this Bill should be off the table.

        Unless, of course, the proponents of this Bill think those who require a high level of support should do the decent thing and put their hand up for the blue juice?

        There will be pressure put on those who don’t take the euthanasia option.

        • Maggie 9.2.1.1

          I think we can and should have both Rosemary.

          I don’t think it’s fair to deny other’s the freedom to die if they wish because there are other elements of the healthcare system that are lacking.

          • Ad 9.2.1.1.1

            On whom should that unfairness fall?

            The terminally ill who want others to end their life?
            Or the disabled who wish to live?

            • Maggie 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I don’t understand your comment, Ad. How does giving the freedom of choice deny that same choice to anyone else?

          • Rosemary McDonald 9.2.1.1.2

            Maggie. When some New Zealanders with health and disability needs have fewer rights and entitlements than other New Zealanders with exactly the same health and disability needs and both groups are being funded by the taxpayer then we have a major problem.

            Did you know that while we can complain to the Health and Disability Commissioner if the service we receive from a health provider falls short of expectations we cannot complain if the funder (usually the government) refuses to provide that service or treatment.

            This refusal can be put down to policy or budget restraints and all the usual excuses, but it won’t make a difference.

            You can’t make a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner because the Ministry of Health Disability Support Services refuses to fund for someone to perform the daily bowel cares most people with spinal impairment require.

            And if you don’t shit….

            (And I’m not shitting you about this. ACC funds this level of care but the MOH does not. I have OIA’ed emails to prove it.)

            This is just one of many inequities between ACC and MOH with regards to disability supports. Why those who become disabled through accident are valued more highly and deemed more worthy than those disabled through birth or illness has its roots in eugenics…..

            • Maggie 9.2.1.1.2.1

              I believe you Rosemary, 100% I just don’t understand how this bill, passed or not, will change any of that. If I’m missing something then please help me understand, I want to see your perspective.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                If you don’t understand how not having any real entitlement (enshrined by legislation, as for ACC) to funding for your necessary supports so you can not only live, but perhaps live in the place of your choosing, could make a person feel deeply depressed over a long period of time…. and as Lucy intimated at 3.2.2.1.1 this is long enough to convince a panel that you sincerely are in unbearable suffering…then I truly give up.

                I shared the bowel care situation, not because I was looking for yet another opportunity to use dirty words but because I’m trying to convey how absolutely flawed and disturbingly ignorant the thinking is at the Ministry of Health Disability Support Services.

                There are bureaucrats with a profound contempt for disabled people who are in positions of extreme power and can make pronouncements like…

                “The Ministry does not fund bowel cares.”

                ….with total disregard for the downstream effects.

                Multiple emails between hospitals and rehab units and NASCs and contracted providers and the sadistic numpties at MOH head office all talking about the whys and wherefores of manual bowel cares and why the Providers wont provide that level of care because the Ministry won’t fund it…. the person who actually needs this level of care is overlooked.

                Meanwhile, that person is more than aware this conversation is going on between people who have power over his very existence but don’t give a shit, literally, about how absolutely bone deep depressing this situation is for him/her. Bring on the blue juice. And there are no protections…as I’ve tried to explain…there is nowhere to complain to if the Ministry won’t fund a procedure of treatment.

                You don’t see this as an issue as you don’t need this level of care. ACC provides this level of care. MOH does not.

                And successive governments do not care…including this one.

                Enjoy being exercise your right to demand that a health professional kills you at a time of your choosing.

                • Maggie

                  “If you don’t understand how not having any real entitlement (enshrined by legislation, as for ACC) to funding for your necessary supports so you can not only live, but perhaps live in the place of your choosing, could make a person feel deeply depressed over a long period of time…. and as Lucy intimated at 3.2.2.1.1 this is long enough to convince a panel that you sincerely are in unbearable suffering…then I truly give up.”

                  Thank you for your response. The above quoted section provides the missing context I needed.
                  I’m very aware of appearing insensitive so please forgive me if it comes across that way.

                  We disagree on what criteria is grounds for assisted dying. My understanding is that mental anguish/pain and/or depression is not a criteria even if causes unbearable suffering.

                  With all due respect, I think your very justified anger and frustration at the blatant disparity in care afforded to people is resulting in you looking at assisted dying as some sort of tactic by government to coerce disabled people to die.

                  I think we have two separate issues here and this bill, in or out, isn’t going to help the terrible situation so many people are in who are left to cope without adequate support.

                  I think we need to make some sort of submission to the government asking for health reforms in a very specific way. There needs to be service, treatment and funding matching across the board so that no matter the cause of your disability.

                  I don’t know that anything can be done but its worth looking into.

                  Thanks for your responses and time Rosemary.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    “….assisted dying as some sort of tactic by government to coerce disabled people to die.”

                    No, what I’m saying that until the blatant inequalities and disparities in our disability support system are eliminated and all disabled New Zeaanders can expect the same level of entitlement (and that is the key word here, because non ACC disabled have no entitlement) as their ACC funded neighbour, then this Bill needs to go on hold.

                    “Coercion” can take many, many forms. Refusal or withdrawal of vital disability supports leads to unbearable suffering…as Lucy tried to explain…

                    Yes. I do believe that successive governments, including this one, view non ACC disabled as lower forms of life who deserve only the barest minimum of support and even then they shall be made to beg.

                    Yes I do believe it matters not one jot to the government if one of these New Zealanders loses the will to live…not because of the injury or disease that has caused their disability… but because the government system set up to meet their needs treats them like dirt.

                    Edit….we were talking about Human Rights and the treatment of prisoners the other day. Later on I might do a slight comparison between the rights and entitlements of prisoners and the rights and entitlements of non ACC disabled.

                    It might make a few sit up and think.

      • adam 9.2.2

        So you admit you have no idea about living with disability in NZ?

        Your ignorance is frightening.

        • Maggie 9.2.2.1

          I actually have a couple of disabilities but they’re minor. I had a traumatic brain injury as a two year old – from a bottle smashed over my head. Six months earlier I had my head, face and hands burned with boiling water; I still have scars. As a result of that and other stuff I have complex PTSD, Non-specific learning disability, ADD, Disorganised Attachment Disorder and other issues but like I said, nothing like what others experience.

          • Lucy 9.2.2.1.1

            But Maggie these would be funded via ACC so you will not go through the same issues we do, I am told to fund my own changes to the house that I need because my husband earns more than the average wage and all housing, physio, massage, help with dressing, showering, personal care and transportation help are means tested. This means I do not have the ability to buy a car for my wheelchair but the farmer down the road can minimize his income to the point where he is getting family support, which means that if his wife gets a chronic illness the state pays for all her needs. Or if he falls off his motorbike the state in the form of ACC will give him everything he needs to set him up

            • Maggie 9.2.2.1.1.1

              Yes, I understand the difference. My comment was simply a response to the suggestion that I had no comprehension of life with disabilities.
              I’ve had experience with disabilities, both ACC funded and not. The ‘not’ relates to my daughter and I don’t want to put her medical history up in public as it’s not mine to share.

              Suffice to say, I’m very aware of the differences but hearing how those differences have affected people individually has been eye-opening and appreciated.

              • adam

                It seems you don’t know the difference.

                Because the fear of a medical profession that does not cope with disabled people currently, then having the ability to kill them – via mechanisms of “choice” is deeply disturbing.

                I don’t know your age, but some of my friends were sterilised for being disabled.

                Many have been experimented on without consent. Or coerced into giving consent, when they really did not want to. Cohesion is a reality for people with disabilities, now people like you want the ability to have them coerced out of existence.

                But white middle class liberals want to have doctors kill them as a choice, that is more important than the opinions of disabled. Always has been, and always will be. What I can’t understand from white middle class liberals, is why they can’t just kill themselves, why the need to make a doctor do it?

  10. higherstandard 10

    Assisted passing has been going on in NZ hospitals to varying degrees for many decades and the sky hasn’t fallen in.

  11. Rosemary McDonald 11

    Oh the irony of Bill ‘The Lizard’ English coming over all luvvy- duvvy concerned like at the thought of a disabled person having a bad day, feeling like a burden to their family, and choosing to opt for the blue juice were it legal.

    Quite frankly, and forgive my potty mouth GWS, but fuck you and the hypocritical horse you just rode in on.

    You, Bill, quite happily gave the big Fuck You to the disabled New Zealanders who either choose, or have no other option to have, a close family member provide the necessary supports they have been assessed as needing. Support they need to live.

    The issue of family carers of non ACC disabled being able to have a close family member provide their funded cares came to a head when Atkinson won at the Human Rights Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

    National’s response was to pass legislation under urgency on the back of the 2013 Budget which retrospectively made the found discrimination legal, enabled a scheme whereby a limited number and type of family carer can be paid under restrictions that breach employment regulations AND, AND removed the right for the issue to ever be taken back to the Tribunal or the courts.

    Some of us fought back. And kind of won.

    But even today, yes today, we are being given the old get stuffed treatment from the Ministry of Health and their agents.

    Funding has been denied to replace vital mobility equipment because the person is not in paid work, or in full time study or in volunteer work. The option offered instead of funding new equipment on a ‘like for like’ basis will not work for my partner and in all probability will cause his health to deteriorate.

    But what do they care? They don’t…and worse…these people, this government ministry charged with providing supports for the most significantly impaired (not under ACC) are a bunch of bitter and vindictive bastards.

    The Ministry of Health will only fund for wheelchairs suitable for outside the home if the disabled person has value. “Value” means in full time work, in full time study or volunteering.

    Think about that for a minute.

    If you don’t tick any of those boxes and you need a wheelchair for mobility you are not expected to leave the house.

    You may as well put your face to the wall and die.

    So no. Keep your euthanasia legislation in it’e box.

    Sort out the shit disparities in disability funding first.

    And while you’re at it, sort out this anomaly that increases the risk of pain for for dying under hospice care.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018618748/hospices-deprived-of-strong-painkillers-due-to-safety-concerns

    Yes, Bill, the disabled partner of this commenter is having one of ‘those’ days.

    Thank you. Hypocrite.

    • Maggie 11.1

      I love your fire Rosemary and I think you raise great points. A euthanasia bill without robust supports for those who are in need of care is unbalanced and I can see how this imbalance would tip the scales for many. Basically, let’s make your life as shitty as possible then make it easier for you to exit. Point very well made.

      There’s a fundamental flaw in our medical care systems that leave those who suffer from illness and disability (not caused by an accident) out in the cold. I experienced this myself albeit to a much lessor degree than someone with a permanent illness or disability. I started getting shoulder pain and reduced range of motion a year ago and it got so bad that I now need help getting dress. My doctor just kept saying “it’ll sort itself out” and the only diagnostic test was an xray which showed nothing. I finally figured out through my own research that I have frozen shoulder syndrome which will take up another two years to resolve but because it’s not caused by an accident I have no funding support for physio nor funding for a nerve block which would at least stop it feeling like I’ve been hit with a cattle prop every time I move my arm.

      One of the reason I like TS so much is that I get to see through the eyes of others, get to hear what life is like for them within the framework of our government. I’m grateful and humbled by those shared stories.

      It seems decent quality of life is, indeed, reserved for the elite

      • KJT 11.1.1

        At least it is reserved for those who have an ACC acceptable, accident.

        Another reason for ACC, to cover illness, as originally intended.

        That is a whole another post, however.

    • gsays 11.2

      Hi Rosemary, I wanna say a big thanks for sharing yr views.

      I, too find English’s comments hypocritical and politically expedient.
      I don’t doubt they have a sizeable constituency.
      I heard a wonderful interview with a palliative care nurse?doctor? Siobhan on RNZ, with, I think, Kim Hill.
      Sorry, have tried to find link but it’s a bit hard.

    • Lucy 11.3

      Rosemary – must depend on the DHB as I have just received a powered wheelchair – mind you I am looking for work and I think that was part of the application. that is in Christchurch where the Occupational Therapists are well versed in working within the bounds of the legislation to get things.

      • Rosemary McDonald 11.3.1

        I’m having a little ironic chuckle Lucy. My man (who has a high spinal injury from 48 years ago and has no ACC cover) has just been turned down for funding to replace his manual chair with power assist wheels. Enable (who have never seen or spoken to him) think a power chair would be better for him so refuse to fund replacement manual chair and e-motion wheels. A power chair would have minimal advantages for him and would rapidly cause him to lose what function he has maintained over nearly half a century. The biggest concern would be him losing chest wall muscle function….you know, breathing and all that.

        I feel for the OTs….they spend all that time with the person, put in an application for specific equipment only to have some remote bureaucrat decline the application. And tell the client …”it’s our way or nothing.”

        We’re so sick and tired of these battles.

  12. Stuart Munro. 12

    Some of this is happening already, off the books.

    I imagine that a robust process with time to reconsider and medical input is not beyond our capacity to design.

    That said, I’m not certain parliament should be making the decision – I would see their role more as designing legislative options to contain possible abuses, and putting it to referendum which if any euthanasia protocol is chosen.

    • Andre 12.1

      Some of this is happening already, off the books.

      Yup, I’ve heard that too. That it needs to be off the books enormously increases the stress and risk for the care professionals that are willing to perform this final kindness for those under their care. It also means there’s an enormous disparity in the nature of the end-of-life quality between those who end up in the care of professionals willing to perform this service and those that don’t.

  13. Formerly Ross 13

    Let’s face it, there is opposition to this bill because some people don’t care if others suffer. Out of sight, out of mind. Of course if their dog or cat was suffering it might be different. As for improving palliative care, well yes. But that is a separate issue. Better palliative care doesn’t mean that we should say no to assisted dying. We can enjoy the best of both.

  14. McFlock 14

    Euthanasia is up for debate and it astounds me that people are focused on whether it should be legal rather than figuring out how we can offer a humane exit plan that has robust safeguards against misuse.

    For me, that’s the main point. If we can’t offer robust safeguards against misuse, it shouldn’t be legal. Not perfect safeguards, but enough that people can’t subtley pressure other people into it if there’s a buck to be made (or saved). And consideration of edge cases – can a dementia patient refuse consent given under sound mind? What about depression – can the same arguments in favour of hotshots for cancer patients be made for depression? Because that really is a slope with unsure footing.

    • Maggie 14.1

      I think the bill offers really good safeguards. The turn-around time from requesting assisted dying to actually taking the drug is about 10 days (or longer if one wanted) which offers plenty of time to rethink.
      Dementia and mental illness don’t meet the criteria for assisted dying.
      From what I understand you must have a terminal illness, must have a prognosis of 6 months or less and be in such great pain that no pain treatment can bring it down to tolerable. Basically, it means the right to die is specifically meant to save people from six months of unending torture.

  15. ianmac 15

    A friend of mine was suffering increasing pain from lung cancer which had spread to his spine. He was dying and in great pain. He could increase his morphine but this diminished his ability to communicate.
    He was in his wheel chair in his garden and using his rifle planted by him near at hand, he shot himself.
    I think of him often and how cruel that his wife had to deal with such an undignified exit.
    The more ill one becomes the more difficult it is to find the means to end it all.
    I hope the Euthanasia gets passed.

  16. Barfly 16

    My oldest brother died a long suffering death from stomach cancer my older brother died a long suffering death from melanoma cancer. If I’m dying from cancer I hope by then I will have the option to die more peacefully with less suffering

    • patricia bremner 16.1

      Yes, Barfly, I hope you have better choices if that ever happened. Life can be bloody mean at times.

    • Jess NZ 16.2

      My grandfather was kept alive for years when he couldn’t walk by himself (diabetes, toe amputation) or do much except be in his expensive care hospital room. He was put on antipsychotics to calm him down (he was a big guy and only got heavier with inaction) and at one stage he got his wheelchair past the front desk and out into the carpark and crashed. Can’t help feeling that was the best suicide attempt he could manage.

      Family circs mean he rarely had visitors, not even from his wife at the time.

      In the end, as so many do in these cases, he got pneumonia and died from it.

  17. McFlock 17

    I sometimes wonder if my mum killed my dad, and how I’d feel about that. He was basically barely conscious at best and looking at a week of slow death. She’d been a nurse, and could have held her hand over his mouth and nose.

    I’d be okay with it, I reckon.

    But I don’t think the law should be. The risks are well known, and great. Not next year, but in 50 years. I just think it’s a line we shouldn’t cross.

    • Andre 17.1

      How do you reckon your dad would have felt about it?

      • McFlock 17.1.1

        Well, the other theory is that he was determined enough to switch off his body manually, valve by valve lol. He was ready.

        But he’d gone through a stage years earlier of being convinced that he was a burden and a hindrance and going downhill. Once he got through that and found the right meds and care, he got to see some good family moments. Which is one reason I am worried about a slippery slope once the line is crossed.

        • Andre 17.1.1.1

          Would your dad’s earlier stage have met the criteria listed in the OP? At first glance it appears not, since you said it was years earlier, and his condition significantly improved when a better treatment combo was found.

          • McFlock 17.1.1.1.1

            Not the currently proposed criteria.

            But it’s easier to change criteria than it is to cross the principle.

            • Andre 17.1.1.1.1.1

              I’ve heard medical professionals privately discuss patients that let it be known they were ready to go and they wouldn’t mind getting “an increased dose of pain relief” and receiving it, while other patients who made it clear they were continuing the battle didn’t get their potentially risky pain relief increased. So the principle gets crossed already, on an ad hoc basis, with pretty significant stress and risk to the medical professionals involved.

              Given that situation on the ground, seems to me it’s better for all concerned to acknowledge it, and draw a new clear line so everyone knows where they stand. Then when the time comes and societal values have changed, we collectively can assess how steep and slippery the slope really is , and redraw the line back up or further down the slope.

              • McFlock

                The thing is, though, that there is already a clear line, which people cross.

                They cross it for good reasons, but the responsibility is theirs, and that forces them to give it every consideration.

                E.G. my mum.

                But if the line is moved, others will fudge the the new line. Look at ACC doctors, now imagine that diagnostic grey area applied to euthenasia. And it’s always easier to slip farther down a slope than it is to climb back up.

                • KJT

                  How about another approach.

                  Keep it still basically illegal, but make the fact of a request, from a person with a terminal illness, an allowable defense in court?

                  Whether boundaries have been crossed can be determined in a case by case basis, rather than one law fits all?

                  Eventually common law, built up of many cases will decide the boundaries, not a single Act.

                  The main problem with this, is that the courts are too expensive, for normal people.

                  Just putting it up there, for discussion.

                  • McFlock

                    Interesting thought. I’ll have a ponder.

                  • Lucy

                    But how do you know someone is ready to go? Most people when they make the decision for someone else it is through the prism of their emotions. They do not want to see their loved one suffer – how many times do we hear “we kill our pets when they get to that stage”. But a person is not a pet – a person with chronic pain looks at pain differently to someone who has occasional pain. Some voice the pain but it does not overpower everything – for some it does. I would be angry if my husband or my doctors decided I was in too much pain to live, I am not sure even I have the right to abandon my life if my body is following its instinct to survive. Surely this is a question that needs to be asked of the people it affects. If you want to give me the right to take my life then I and people of disability should be the only ones to decide on whether this law should be enacted as we are the only ones with real skin in the game

                    • KJT

                      I can understand that someone who may be adamant that they wouldn’t want to live if they got to a certain stage of health.

                      Then changed their mind at the time.

                      Which is why I am ambivalent about this whole “living will” thing.

                      And, I’m still not how the law should be changed.

                      Inclining towards keeping it illegal, with the wishes of the person, and some tight principles, as an allowable defense, to test each case individually.

                      Unfortunately the law is currently too expensive for most. Another issue.

                • Andre

                  Enough other jurisdictions have end-of-life choice regimes that it’s clear the slope isn’t so dangerously steep and slippery that one step means you’re instantly sliding on your ass into rocks at the bottom. We can learn from those other jurisdictions.

                  We’re just in the process of climbing some steps back up the gun laws slippery slope. Admittedly, I’d be horrified if it took 50 outrageous murders to provoke a correction in assisted dying laws, but the example shows it’s not inevitably a one way thing. We can safely take baby steps away from where we are now.

                  So to me it’s a balance: how much end-of-life suffering we force onto some people we deny a choice to, vs the risk of some choosing a premature death due to malign pressures from others. The horrible final weeks/months/years some people are now forced to suffer seems morally very wrong, so we haven’t currently got a good balance. Particularly when we require our pets to be treated with more compassion than that at the ends of their lives, even though they can’t express their wishes.

                  I also don’t see balancing end-of-life suffering of some vs risk of slightly premature death of others is qualitatively or morally significantly different to other life/suffering/death trade-offs we make in other societal areas. Pharmac and NZTA being notable examples of having explicit values attached to human death and suffering.

                  • McFlock

                    Instant wrong isn’t the problem, as I’ve said before. The problem is whether in 50 years someone gets hoist by how this process has moved on to be practised then. This line is more easily crossed than uncrossed. And yeah, I wouldn’t use gun control as an example of easily climbing back up the hill.

                    Pets are animals. People are different to cats.

                    “slightly premature death”. Murder. It’s something I think a state should take extreme sets to avoid.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      https://www.yourcat.co.uk/cat-advice/why-do-cats-go-away-to-die/

                      Biologically, humans are animals – the vast majority (naturally) cling to life. The strength of this instinct is influenced by nature and nuture, and can vary with age and circumstance – we honour those who have (in extremis) consciously risked/given their lives for others.

                      Some can transcend aspects of their animal nature, for example by actively seeking death with dignity. A (small) number will want (or are at least ready) to die, and some may have reached this position through careful, prolonged consideration.

                      Hopefully I’ll remember to my dying day the statement of a great great aunt (wonderful woman – WWI nurse and, in much later years, a reliable source of NAC lollies) on the occasion of her 100th birthday (post celebration) – “I’ve had enough – just let me die now.”

                      IMHO the combination of “ready to die” and “incurable + painful and/or severely debilitating illness” deserves consideration.

                      https://endoflifewa.org/contact-us/request-for-death-with-dignity-support/

                    • McFlock

                      I don’t want to get into the mind/body duality of it. I just believe that we should be more cautious about the lives of individual people than the lives of individual animals.

                      Life is hard, often most hard towards the end. Against that we need to balance the risks of formally creating bureaucratic procedures by which people calmly kill other people. And we’ve seen how bad those risks can be.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Agreed, there are risks (it’s a can of worms, etc.), but there are also several jurisdictions which have put in place the necessary formal bureaucratic procedures, e.g. the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, and Canada, and (for assisted suicide) Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and in the US states of Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Vermont, Montana, Washington, D.C., and California.

                      I hope that the select committee has considered the no doubt copious reports about outcomes of the various bureaucratic procedures in those countries/states. I’d also be interested to know of any examples where the initial bureaucratic procedures proved too lax and had to be ‘tightened up’ – we could learn from those, if any.

                      Passive euthanasia is legal in Germany if the patient has requested it. On 17 May 2014 the Federal Constitutional Court legalized passive euthanasia by means of the withdrawal of life support to patients who request euthanasia. Forms of active euthanasia, including the lethal compound administration, are illegal. On November 6, 2015, the German Parliament passed a bill legalizing assisted suicide as long as it is done with “altruistic motives.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_euthanasia

                    • The problem is whether in 50 years someone gets hoist by how this process has moved on to be practised then.

                      The step from assisted suicide to involuntary euthanasia isn’t a small one – it’s a step from suicide to murder. It’s proposing a drift from accepting that attempted suicide isn’t a crime to accepting that attempted murder isn’t a crime. That isn’t a change that a society just drifts through without noticing.

                    • McFlock

                      Pretty uppermiddleclass person with locked-in syndrome, brain scans suggest constant pain, few stories in the Herald, yadda yadda…

                      Yeah, it’s a pretty easy transition.

                    • It’s so easy, and yet the countries with voluntary euthanasia haven’t crossed it, and if we were to pass this legislation there’d be religious and disability groups constantly looking for the slightest excuse to claim the legislation wasn’t preventing involuntary euthanasia aka murder. If we’re to stick with declaring people murderers for granting someone’s fervent wish to be helped to commit suicide, I’d prefer to see more concrete risks raised as a reason for doing so.

                    • McFlock

                      Like marty’s link above?
                      Because that’s just an edge case. That’s not even the flipside of this proposal.

                    • Not like that one, no. For one thing, this legislation doesn’t allow setting an advance directive for a doctor to kill you when the doctor thinks it’s a good idea, and for another the doctor in question is being prosecuted – no legislation can prevent the occasional bad person from doing bad things.

                    • McFlock

                      OK, let’s implement policy based only on what is immediately before us and in no way look at any possible long term ramifications of it. That can’t possibly go wrong /sarc

            • Maggie 17.1.1.1.1.2

              IVF was hotly debated because people believed once you started messing with nature it would end up with babies being genetically enhanced, or selecting certain genetic profiles over others to create “perfect” children etc.
              Their fears have been proven to be unfounded. It is just as easy to revoke laws as it is to put them in place. Look at America and there heart beat laws that make abortions after 6 weeks illegal. They’ve basically reversed the legality of abortion. I don’t think it’s fair to limit peoples choices based on the possibility of circumventing the law. That would be like saying lets not set the speed limit to 100 because some people will go 120 and that’s a fatal speed.

              It’s a very serious topic and one that requires us to step into that awful place where we imagine the horrific nature of suffering until your heart gives out. I had a conversation with my kids this evening about it and asked them how they felt, how they would feel if I/they wanted to die because I/they were in so much pain and terminal. Needless to say it was an emotional conversation but they all said that having the choice was the most important part and that no one should get to decide for you.

              • McFlock

                But that’s only one half of the conversation that needs to happen.

                My objections aren’t on the basis of unfounded worries. They’re on the basis that we know one place where this can end up. We know that even good people can rationalise, and have rationalised, acts in the past that today we find abhorrent. Maybe in the future our descendents will find a prohibition on euthenasia equally abhorrent. On the flipside, maybe we are laying the groundwork for our descendents to behave abhorrently, not all of a sudden but with a thousand little steps after this large change in principle.

                These are things that also need to be actively discussed. It’s not the safeguards we put in place tomorrow that are the danger, it’s where the safeguards of tomorrow’s tomorrow end up once we justify moving past this significant point.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                “IVF was hotly debated because people believed once you started messing with nature it would end up with babies being genetically enhanced, or selecting certain genetic profiles over others to create “perfect” children etc.
                Their fears have been proven to be unfounded.”

                https://www.fertilityassociates.co.nz/about-us/latest-technologies/pre-implantation-genetic-screening-pgs/

                And we’d better not go down the path of discussing the morals and ethics of screening for Down Syndrome or Spina Bifida….

              • SHG

                IVF was hotly debated because people believed once you started messing with nature it would end up with babies being genetically enhanced, or selecting certain genetic profiles over others to create “perfect” children etc.
                Their fears have been proven to be unfounded.

                Hello and welcome to last year

                https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/26/health/gene-editing-babies-china.html

                • Maggie

                  Considering IVF has been around for 40 years this is no landslide and you can’t say legalising it 40 years ago lead to this. It’s been going on in private for decades, legal or otherwise.

                  • McFlock

                    40 years is the point.

                    • Maggie

                      Did you read the article and the responses from the medical community? This happened in a country that didn’t outlaw genetic engineering so it isn’t a case of ‘crossing a line’ that leads down a slippery slope. It actually makes my point.

    • Maggie 17.2

      Are you concerned that down the track the criteria might soften to allow children to be euthanised? That sort of thing?

  18. Drowsy M. Kram 18

    Not sure if this link has already been posted here.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_euthanasia

    A ‘by-country’ summary/aggregation; seems moderately up-to-date for NZ at least.

    “Assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are illegal in New Zealand under Section 179 of the New Zealand Crimes Act 1961, which renders it a criminal offence to “aid and abet suicide.” Two decriminalisation attempts – the Death With Dignity Bill 1995 and the Death With Dignity Bill 2003 – failed, the latter by only a three-vote margin within the New Zealand Parliament. In May 2012, Labour Party of New Zealand MP Maryan Street introduced a private member’s bill into the ballot box, the End of Life Choices Bill, which was taken over by MP Iain Lees-Galloway when she failed to get re-elected in the 2014 General Election. The bill was dropped in December 2014 at the request of Labour Party leader Andrew Little as the issue was deemed to be distracting from bigger issues that concerned the party. In December 2017, ACT MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill, which will legalise assisted suicide for a select group of people if successful, passed its first reading in Parliament in a 76-44 personal vote and is now being reviewed by a select committee.”

    Via links: “The [Justice select] committee is due to report on the bill by 27 Mar 2019.

  19. Ant 19

    “Ultimately, no one should have the right to determine another’s quality or length of life; that choice belongs to each of us, individually.”

    Here’s an over-simplification: Pro- says “I grant you the dignity of making your own decision regarding the end stage of your life” Anti says “I decide for you: you have no choice and must endure till death intervenes.”

    In 2011 my kidneys began to fail and for 4 long years I went down the road of declining health with symptoms too numerous and boring to mention. At 6% kidney function by 2015 I was approved for hemodialysis, underwent training in 2016 to do it at home and for the next year through diet, exercise, medication and regular dialysis regained decent health.

    Now at 73, I picture the not too distant future of failing eye-sight, jittery hands, declining memory – all vital factors in operating the dialysis machine and needle procedure – making home dialysis hazardous. Where I live there’s only a satellite dialysis unit at the hospital with few spaces and a waiting list.

    People who stop dialysis undergo “conservative treatment” which simply means to treat symptoms. I’ll have no reason to sit around enduring the return of all the symptoms which formerly heralded my approaching death. My wife, children, GP (with whom I’ve lodged my intention, witnessed by a JP) understand and accept my decision.

  20. Rosemary McDonald 20

    I’m not sure if this has already been posted….https://carealliance.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Care-Alliance-Report-on-EOLC-Submissions-March-31-2019.pdf

    It certainly is well worth a read….and totally undermines the ‘Godbotherers are the only ones against this’ argument.

    ” I work in a South Auckland low decile practice with mostly Maori, Pacifica and Indian patients. I have not encountered the desire to end life or this intense need for control and autonomy that was present in the previous white middle class practice that I worked in. There seems to be great faith that family can be trusted to be there for them in their dying days, that they will be well cared for.” Link 1046″

    • SHG 20.1

      Yes because poor brown people are all atheists

    • Ad 20.2

      The view of Dame Tariana Turia on euthanasia is that it would undermine whanau values.

      She also speaks as the previous Minister for Disabilities:

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12218130

      “When I was the Minister for Disabilities there were lots of issues for the disability community — lack of sufficient support, barriers to access, and societal prejudice. But no one from that community ever said to me they wanted to get assistance to die. They wanted to be assisted to live, in the fullest way possible for them.

      I’ve seen some pretty amazing people in my lifetime and it’s been a privilege to be a part of their lives. They don’t just want to be alive, they want to be able to do the things that are really important to them. And instead of including them on the list of people who can get assistance to die, we should be ensuring they have every assistance to live.

      I would say to MPs, the End of Life Choice Bill is not something you should be voting for. MPs are there to run the country, not to make such significant decisions about life and death. They’re there to run our country and I can’t see how euthanasia contributes to the overall well-being of whānau and communities.

      Death is not a parliamentary matter, it is a family matter. We exist in families, and we should be cared for to the end in our families. The state can and should support our families and whānau to care for us when we are disabled, ill and old.

      But it should not pass a law that undercuts our families and whānau and makes death an option for those with limited resources and insufficient support.”

      • Maggie 20.2.1

        Nobodies opinion of euthanasia should take precedence over individual choice.

        “I would say to MPs, the End of Life Choice Bill is not something you should be voting for. MPs are there to run the country, not to make such significant decisions about life and death. ”

        They already did make a significant decision about life and death when they made assisted dying illegal.

        “Death is not a parliamentary matter, it is a family matter. We exist in families, and we should be cared for to the end in our families. ”

        Caring for family means affording them their choice about their life. Love is letting them know that you’ll love them no matter what they choose, it’s trusting them to know their own mind, it’s caring enough to put their wishes ahead of your own – that is a family that cares.

        • Rosemary McDonald 20.2.1.1

          “They already did make a significant decision about life and death when they made assisted dying illegal.”

          Citation needed. When was assisted dying made illegal?

          • Maggie 20.2.1.1.1

            In 1961

            http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM328502

            Crimes Act 1961
            Part 3, section 63
            Consent to death
            No one has a right to consent to the infliction of death upon himself or herself; and, if any person is killed, the fact that he or she gave any such consent shall not affect the criminal responsibility of any person who is a party to the killing.

            Section 66
            Parties to offences
            (1) Every one is a party to and guilty of an offence who—
            (a) actually commits the offence; or
            (b) does or omits an act for the purpose of aiding any person to commit the offence; or
            (c) abets any person in the commission of the offence; or
            (d) incites, counsels, or procures any person to commit the offence.
            (2) Where 2 or more persons form a common intention to prosecute any unlawful purpose, and to assist each other therein, each of them is a party to every offence committed by any one of them in the prosecution of the common purpose if the commission of that offence was known to be a probable consequence of the prosecution of the common purpose.

            Section 179 Aiding and abetting suicide
            (1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who—
            (a) incites, counsels, or procures any person to commit suicide, if that person commits or attempts to commit suicide in consequence thereof; or
            (b) aids or abets any person in the commission of suicide.
            (2) A person commits an offence who incites, counsels, or procures another person to commit suicide, even if that other person does not commit or attempt to commit suicide in consequence of that conduct.
            (3) A person who commits an offence against subsection (2) is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years.

            So, for clarity, it’s illegal to offer advice or assistance to help someone die. It is also an offence to not seek medical help if someone attempts suicide (b)

    • Maggie 20.3

      I have read it but thank you for posting. The problem is Rosemary, that comments like that one don’t even focus on the bill’s intention but rather assume that those who want to die do so because they want control or don’t trust their families to care for them.
      The Care Alliance has its own agenda and isn’t objective. The language in that report is loaded and designed to skew the perspective. Hopefully, this will go to a referendum. Then perhaps we’ll see the truth of why every other poll have had a majority in favour of legalised euthanasia.

      • Rosemary McDonald 20.3.1

        “The Care Alliance has its own agenda and isn’t objective.”

        What do you see is the Care Alliance’s agenda?

        What is the agenda of those who want this legislation passed if not subjective?

        • Maggie 20.3.1.1

          I went to their website and they start by saying

          “We are the only organisation in New Zealand with the collective expertise – medical/health, disability, social advocacy, and ethics – that focuses on euthanasia, assisted suicide, and end of life care.”

          Sounds great…

          “We aim to create more informed conversations about dying, death, and end of life care services in Aotearoa New Zealand. ” – It is not an informed conversation when it denies assisted dying as an option.

          “We advocate for equitable access to excellent end of life care to enable peaceful, pain-free and natural deaths.” – Please explain to me what medical miracle they’ve discovered that can guarantee a pain-free death? From what I understand the most powerful pain relief drugs leave you completely fucked. How caring…

          And then this…

          “We believe that a compassionate and ethical response to suffering does not include euthanasia or assisted suicide.”

          Any site that has, as one of it’s core principles, a belief that euthanasia is not an acceptable relief from suffering is not objective. I listen to a video when a person said “Anyone can cope with suffering with the right support”. I was gobsmacked at the arrogance and insensitivity. Why must people suffer through to death? What possible good can come from it? Who’s wishes are being met when we shame people into thinking that assisted dying is shameful or a weakness? No one, not one single person has offered a reason why people ought to suffer. How dare anyone force their desire or belief about end of life choices on another.

          A vote against the bill is a vote against choice. It is forcing one’s belief onto another and saying that quality of life is inconsequential. In my opinion, that makes it entirely cruel, hypocritical and inhuman.

          • Rosemary McDonald 20.3.1.1.1

            You may, or may not have read this…https://publicaddress.net/hardnews/a-handful-of-deeply-precious-days-a-select/

            The post includes Brown’s submission to the Select Committee for cannabis reform in which he describes the last days of a close friend.

            According to the analysis of the submissions for the euthanasia bill the submissions from medical professionals in general and palliative care professionals in particular were in the majority against legalising physician assisted dying.

            Maggie, why do you think that is? Are these people uncaring, heartless sadists who hold fast to the belief that as we are born in pain so shall we die?

            Are these professionals whose entire working lives revolve around caring for the dying so blinkered that they would rather people suffer than have the ability to choose when they die?

            Or is there something else at play here?

            • Maggie 20.3.1.1.1.1

              When it comes to the medical professionals I think they struggle to not do the one thing they have been driven to do their whole professional lives – preserve life. I think they derive an immense sense of purpose and feel that they are performing an act of altruism by offering comfort and care in people’s final hours. I think perhaps they simply cannot let go of their need to ‘preserve life’ and because of that they lose sight of the fact that sometimes it is a greater act of love to let go. Perhaps they genuinely believe that they can soothe the anguish of the dying and for those that don’t want to die it would be a great comfort to have someone with them when they passed.

              I think that many people hold fast to the idea that life is sacred. It’s understandable as we’ve been taught our entire lives to value human life over all else. We fight wars over it, celebrate it’s beginning, mourn it’s end. Our entire identity is wrapped in the sparkly paper of being special.

              In every facet of our lives we seek purpose, ask why we’re here, what greater, higher purpose is there? Many believe in God because that gives them an answer. It doesn’t even matter that he isn’t real because the very act of faith, of holding onto something that is outside of ourselves and is in control is so very comforting.

              Our culture is woven from the threads of our history and religion has contributed to it heavily. Even in the absence of a personal belief in god the influence of it still dictates our morality so I think many hold the idea of life as being sacred without really questioning what that means or why they believe it.

              I discussed death with my daughter and explained to her that we are all made up on the same bits, that the stars and the plants, animals, rocks are all made of the same ingredients; life lego I called it, and that when we die we are just encapsulated energy set free. Some bits will go to form new plants, some bits will make new people but we never really die, we just change our form. She asked me why it was so sad when people died if we were just changing form. I told her that grief is a measure of our love and when we grieve it is an outpouring of love because it has nowhere to go – the body that used to hold our love is gone and that is why it’s sad.

              We hold on Rosemary, to the people we love, the things we believe, and we pour ourselves into those people. To let go is to admit that life in temporary, to choose death is an abomination because it appears to go against our inbuilt genetic drive to survive.

              I don’t think they are being deliberately selfish and cruel but I do believe they are more focused on what they believe about life and death than the right of others to decide for themselves what is right.

          • tabletennis 20.3.1.1.2

            More about Care Alliance
            Care Alliance = against abortion, against same sex marriage, against euthanasia, against caring
            a kiwiana box of dirty tricks, walking under the banner of religious freedom to curtail yours

            “However the church asked people not to use religious language in their submissions and its Bishops have defended the practice.”
            “It is a shame that the Select Committee process has been misused in this way, emphasising the quantity of submissions over their quality.”
            31/3/2019
            http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1903/S00171/care-alliance-vs-polling-science-on-end-of-life-choice.htm

        • Maggie 20.3.1.2

          “What is the agenda of those who want this legislation passed if not subjective?”

          I can’t speak to anyone else’s agenda or reasoning but for me I want to bill passed so that people have a choice. Simple as that.

        • Psycho Milt 20.3.1.3

          What is the agenda of those who want this legislation passed if not subjective?

          The agenda (the right to make decisions about your own life) is presented as a selfish one by opponents as though that were an argument. However, the agenda is also to ensure that people who help you in a time of need won’t be treated as criminals by the state, which is anything but selfish.

    • I have not encountered the desire to end life or this intense need for control and autonomy that was present in the previous white middle class practice that I worked in.

      Well, good for them. Now, what’s the argument against white middle class people having the control and autonomy over their lives that they demand?

  21. Glenn 21

    I wonder how many overdoses, pedestrian versus train, falls from tall buildings etc happen because it’s the only sure way to die relatively pain free when given a terminal diagnosis.
    After seeing 3 close relatives die of terminal cancer I bloody hope and pray that common sense wins and in the event of a terminal diagnosis we can decide when we leave this mortal coil while in a relatively pain free state. I much prefer legalised euthanasia to sitting on a train track waiting for the train.

  22. ianmac 22

    Thanks and best wishes to those people who have offered their sad stories on this page.
    Real people in dire straits, contrast with those awful closed minds of those who seem happy to dwell in fanciful world remote from the harsh realities.
    Life is precious but for many there must be a gracious dignified way to exit.

    • In Vino 22.1

      Good comment. Ianmac.
      I am a little surprised at the polarity. This is not black and white, much as some would wish it to be.
      We need to choose the lesser of two evils, as is so often the case. I agree with your final sentence.

  23. SPC 23

    Whatever we do, there is a certain reality that will come into play.

    Government is already systematically underfunded and this will not change but only get worse. Super costs and associated health care cost of an aging baby boomer demograhoic are set to rise (and rising AS costs with more in rentals) and cramp funding for other areas – including the health system (cataracts/mobility), Pharmac and care for the aged in their own homes or in aged care homes etc.

    The number of disturbing stories of personal suffering will increase.

  24. greywarshark 24

    It is interesting to consider the way that many disabled people seem negative to the
    idea of this Bill. Disabled people ask for compassion and it is right that they should be treated with a compassionate approach; society should see that as only fair. When people in society ask their other partners in society for compassion, then many disabled people can only think of their own interests and fears and do not return the compassion extended to them.

    In the near future worse things than being allowed to die when you are very ill, old, have lost your zest for life, will happen. It would be brave if people could take a cautious step and put others’ desires ahead of your own fears that something will go wrong. It will, or br borderline, but immense benefit will come also. Fashion the legislation about the legal procedures so it does not become a loose, confusing, disputed or depraved procedure, and request doctors of good standing to put their name forward also nurses. Have an Ombudsman watching over, or Commissioner
    for Early Demise or something.

    • Rosemary McDonald 24.1

      Greywarshark

      ” When people in society ask their other partners in society for compassion, then many disabled people can only think of their own interests and fears and do not return the compassion extended to them.”

      Seriously? “….many disabled people can only think of their own interests and fears…”

      Shakes head. Sighs heavily. Chokes back sobs. Finally accepts this is a lost cause.

    • Maggie 24.2

      I think there’s a great deal of propaganda, Greywarshark, where people believe that this bill means that the disabled will be pressured to end their own lives. The bill clearly states that disability isn’t a criteria and that no one but the individual gets to decide whether they want assisted dying.

      I sincerely hope we get to vote on this.

      • Rosemary McDonald 24.2.1

        “The bill clearly states that disability isn’t a criteria …”

        Where?

        The only mention of “disability” in the text of the Bill is at 9 (4) (d) (iv) as in “mental” in relation to those who cannot sign on behalf of someone choosing euthanasia.

        Unless I’m reading the wrong Bill. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2017/0269/latest/whole.html#contents

        • Maggie 24.2.1.1

          My apologies for the vague reference. What I meant was that being disabled (which I get is in and of itself a vague term) isn’t singularly an accepted criteria. The disability must be as a result of or constitute:
          – a terminal illness with life expectancy of less than 6 months OR
          – a grievous and irremediable medical condition AND
          – experiences unbearable suffering AND
          – is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability AND
          – Be able to understand and comprehend their decision and its consequences.

          So, being disabled alone isn’t a criteria until it meets the other requirements.

          This is why I say that full access to supports and funding isn’t going to fix anything once you’re at that stage.

          The one thing I think needs changing in this bill is that no one should be compelled to participate in the assisted dying process.

          • Rosemary McDonald 24.2.1.1.1

            “The one thing I think needs changing in this bill is that no one should be compelled to participate in the assisted dying process.”

            My reading is that there are specific protections for medical staff who conscientiously object to assisted dying. And so there should be.

            I see now that it is futile trying to explain how refusal of treatment or supports can make a disabled persons life unbearable and tip them into ‘decline in capability’.

            I guess if it is something one has not experienced then one is disinclined to believe it can happen.

            Be comforted that your precious End of Life Choices Bill will pass. The time and the climate are more than right.

            • Lettuce 24.2.1.1.1.1

              “Be comforted that your precious End of Life Choices Bill will pass. The time and the climate are more than right.”

              I am very comforted by this eventuality Rosemary, and I know many others are as well. But you can take comfort too. If you wish to have nothing at all to do with assisted dying in the future, you won’t have to. That’s really the crux of this matter – individuals making their own end-of-life decisions that are right for themselves. No-one should be beholden to someone else’s moral or religious beliefs on an issue that is so deeply personal to all of us.

            • Maggie 24.2.1.1.1.2

              I’ve had plenty of experience with the health system and it’s deficiencies. I personally think those points are entirely salient Rosemary. They’ve given me much thought.

    • One Two 24.3

      gw, your comments are regressing into spaces which you should be concerned about yourself for posting…

      Have the ‘disabled people’ been treated compassionately…or are they being treated compassionately… they, along with many other disadvantaged groups are becoming further maligned…and regarded as liabilities and faced with decreasing levels of compassion…

      So while that group, who quite understandably feel the likelyhood of becoming further coerced towards ‘pulling the plug’ through legislations such as this…express their fears and concerns…

      You dismiss their lifes experiences, fears and concerns, as selfish and insular…

      • Rosemary McDonald 24.3.1

        The tone of GWS comments regarding people with disabilities is sadly not new. Reading them out to my disabled partner…he could almost feel the pats on his head.

        Such is life.

  25. gsays 25

    Thank you everyone for contributing to this discussion.

    It has been mostly respectful and I have found it valuable.

    I will put my 2 cents worth in after a nights sleep.

    Thanks again.

    • McFlock 25.1

      It’s been a tough one. Everyone knows someone who’s died, and this is a discussion that hits close to the bone.

  26. peterlepaysan 26

    As, apparently, I am sane and sensible person, I can write a final will and testament that will be honoured after my departure.

    Why, as an apparently sane and sensible person can I not write a will and testament that defines my death?

    Yes there are several issues that need to be discussed.

    Surely I can define under what circumstances ( and how) my life can/ should be terminated.

    What right has anyone else to do that?

    Ask the police.

    Absolutely no one.

    • Jum 26.1

      Excellent points, Peterlepaysan.

      I also continue to rail against those that demand my individual responsibility in all matters of life, yet demand I have no individual right to determine my own demise.

  27. Rosemary McDonald 27

    Timely piece by Dr. Sinead Donnelly….referring to the Canadian experience both before and after the passing of their Euthanasia Bill.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12219801

    Sadly, even though this confirms that concerns that such a facility will put the lives of people with disabilities, mental health issues and suicidal tendencies at risk, the pro euthanasia lobbyists who refuse to acknowledge the ‘slippery slope’ will simply dismiss this.

    ” A 25-year-old disabled woman in acute crisis in an emergency ward was pressured to consider assisted suicide by an attending physician, who called her mother “selfish” for protecting her.”

    Which seems to echo what Maggie wrote at 20.3.1.1.1. ….

    “We hold on Rosemary, to the people we love, the things we believe, and we pour ourselves into those people. To let go is to admit that life in temporary, to choose death is an abomination because it appears to go against our inbuilt genetic drive to survive.

    I don’t think they are being deliberately selfish and cruel but I do believe they are more focused on what they believe about life and death than the right of others to decide for themselves what is right.”

    I’ve given some thought to that comment over the past few days, you know, trying to be brutally honest and determine if it is down to pure selfishness that I have and will continue to advocate for disabled people in the face of medical professionals who make arbitrary quality of life decisions when treating a disabled person in a health crisis situation.

    The most tragic result of these discussions is to be confronted yet again by the reality of the existence of people out there in our communities who really do still see those with disabilities as having such a low quality of life that death would be a kindness.

    And while it is quite easy to identify those people here and in the comments section of stuff….albeit hiding behind anonymity for the most part… unless someone comes up and says “I’d rather be dead than live like you.” (and this has happened) you simply don’t know if that person or this sees you simply as a lower life form and a lesser human.

    Isolating. And so much for embracing diversity.

    This is us.

  28. Pat 28

    The road to hell is indeed paved with ‘good intentions’…there is no need for an euthanasia bill.
    indeed opening the door in other jurisdictions indicates where it may well lead. If life is unbearable then most will find a solution regardless of the law…no need to enable the dubious intent of others

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