The End of Life Choice Bill

July 23rd, 2012 at 4:11 pm by David Farrar

has finalised her bill, called the End of Life Choice Bill.  The last bill on euthanasia failed just 58-60 in 2003, so there is a very reasonable chance that such a bill can pass, if drawn.

I believe we need such a bill, and will be supporting it. It is inhumane what some families are forced to go through. They key elements of the bill are:

  • that the person making the request must be mentally competent, as attested by 2 medical practitioners – and that there is no coercion involved
  • that the person suffers from a terminal illness which is likely to cause death within 12 months, or from an irreversible physical or mental condition that, in the person’s view, renders his or her life unbearable
  • A 7 day reflection period
  • Can do an end of life directive, while mentally competent, specifying wishes. Must be renewed every five years
  • Medical practitioners can refuse to be involved
  • Family members can not annul the wishes of the applicant (unlike with organ donations!)
  • An annual review of how the law is being operated

There are no doubt some areas of the bill that can be improved upon in select committee, but to me it looks worthy of support for at least first reading.

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102 Responses to “The End of Life Choice Bill”

  1. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Maryan has put a lot of thought and work into this, consulting widely. A very good example of an MP in opposition putting their time to productive use.

    If it’s drawn from the ballot I think it deserves decent consideration by parliament – discussion, tweaking, then put to the vote.

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  2. BeaB (2,164 comments) says:

    And who do we ask to kill us? Our children? Our parents? Our friends? Our doctor? A stranger?
    This sounds neat and tidy but in my view nobody should place that burden on another.
    However I would like to be able to choose for myself and think there should be a safe, lethal pill we can ask for.
    And hope no-one gives it to us before we are ready!

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  3. scrubone (3,097 comments) says:

    I personally don’t believe we have the right to kill ourselves, but I recognise that others do not share that view.

    However, one need only examine the gross abuses in places like Holland to realise that this is an incredibly dangerous thing to allow.

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  4. PaulL (5,446 comments) says:

    DPF’s summary of the bill leads me to believe this proposal addresses my main concerns with euthanasia – that the person must be of sound mind, that they must be actually dying (and not just in the sense that all of us are dying), and that nobody can be forced to assist. Given those controls, I’m reasonably OK that there are a significant number of people who would be happier under this law, and reasonably controlled opportunity for people to be worse off.

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  5. nasska (12,088 comments) says:

    BeaB

    Although we should have the right to terminate our own lives I’m less certain that we can demand that others do the job for us. Definitely agree that the means to a quick & clean exit should be provided if we request it.

    All kudos due to Ms Street for introducing the legislation.

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  6. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    How long can we discuss this topic until it turns into another religious debate? I challenge the Christian members of this blog to talk about this issue in a rational, non-psychotic manner.

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  7. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    I believe that we absolutely have the right to kill ourselves.

    My only reservation is that I would hope a depressed 16 year old would NOT qualify under irreversible physical or mental condition that, in the person’s view, renders his or her life unbearable

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  8. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    A sensible bill, IMO. ( Good on you, DPF, for supporting it! )
    I think that it is wrong that we can opt to put animals “to sleep”, putting them out of their pain and misery, and yet it is not (yet) possible for people to have that choice.

    Even if this bill is “not perfect”, I still believe that it will be an improvement on the current situation.

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  9. Peter (1,694 comments) says:

    Long overdue.

    It it were you, would you want your choice denied?

    The benefits outweigh the risks.

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  10. East Wellington Superhero (1,139 comments) says:

    “that the person making the request must be mentally competent, as attested by 2 medical practitioners”

    This doesn’t work with abortion and the Abortion Supervisory Committee, so why do we think it will work with assisted-suicide and a ‘Euthanasia Supervisory Committee’?

    I mean is Maryan Street fucking stupid?, very poorly informed?, or just cynically pushing ahead anyway?

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  11. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    “How long can we discuss this topic until it turns into another religious debate? I challenge the Christian members of this blog to talk about this issue in a rational, non-psychotic manner.”

    So much there Jimmy. Is only atheism allowed? Who says? You?

    Also your reference to “psychotic” is deeply offensive. How come atheists always bring up religion first? And are the rudest and most offensive in their comments? And then tell the Christians off for being unloving?

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  12. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    So we’ll be allowed to kill ourselves, but cigarettes must be made unaffordable because they are bad for us.

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  13. Andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    This doesn’t work with abortion and the Abortion Supervisory Committee, so why do we think it will work with assisted-suicide and a ‘Euthanasia Supervisory Committee’?

    I mean is Maryan Street fucking stupid?, very poorly informed?, or just cynically pushing ahead anyway?

    By her lights, it probably works for abortion – remember these people hate humanity and worship DEATH, for others of course, for the little people.

    They have as much blood on their hands as Mengele – he worshiped death as well of course.

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  14. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    What a load of shit and all respect to those who have watched people in a hospice; but really? An irreversible mental condition? It’s the anti-life stance regurgitated and bought to you by lefty fuckers in boots who would rather somebody, somewhere dies, rather than than someone feel Baad. She is a dangerous woman. Generally if a concept hits the zeitgeist, there is truth in it somewhere – but we don’t need end of life abortion on tap.

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  15. cha (4,137 comments) says:

    Godwined in 13.

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  16. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Ha ha Wat – Almost makes me want to start smoking again. And I’m not religious, whether a Christian or an Environmentalist; However I do have enough life experience under my belt to see it’s a slippery slope to 17,000 euthanasia deaths a year. Think I’m crazy to suggest such a thing? Society didn’t imagine that the abortion rate would rise to approx 17,000 a year. And then they award that stupid old vulture Sparrow a dameship. Dame Maryann Street anyone?
    I’m a pro-choice by the way. Choices made by an individual. But an uncaring society has a bearing on the fate of fetuses and elders.

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  17. nasska (12,088 comments) says:

    Monique

    So it’s your position that people who have a terminal illness should die in agony to save a group of religious nutters & wimps from feeling bad instead?

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  18. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    If I was still in parliament I would definitely vote for this to go to Select Committee. If there really IS convincing evidence of gross abuses of this kind of law in Holland or anywhere else, that is where it should be revealed. I strongly believe most thinking people agree that it is ridiculous that we put our suffering dogs down, but expect our uncles and aunts to go on suffering.

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  19. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Why would you support anything this union witch has to put in the ballot? Last time she was mentioned she was stretching the travel rules to the absolute max so her girlfriend could travel for free on the tax payer.

    Just more socail engineering from labour. They never had one decent economic idea in 9 years and they continue in opposition.

    If this bill was so important, you know ,like it really is because everything else is ticking along nicely, the government would have put it in the ballot.

    Instead the Parliaments time will be wasted debating this when financially we are in the shit house and like Wat says with all this going on I’m not allowed to look at cigarette packets, that’ll solve lots of problems.

    Fiddle, Rome, burning. But the Wellington cocktail luvvies will be able to say, ” well we showed the world , one of the first to have this progressive legisalation, haha, can’t pay our fucking bills but you can have someone top you when you’re crook, the world will look at us alright. Just fucking sad

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  20. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    They make it look very attractive. And then there’s the by-product to consider.

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  21. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    And whats is really scary and never talked about is that mental giants like Andrew Williams, Brendan Horan, Moana Macky, Clayton Cosgrove and all the greens will be voting on this .

    I wouldn’t let those halfwits vote on where to go for Friday night drinks because the’d fuck it up.

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  22. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Also your reference to “psychotic” is deeply offensive.

    So?

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  23. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    Lets get this issue out of the way as soon as we can.

    I have had a petition calling for legal recognition of the act of child molestation as being a binding declaration of “please kill me” just sitting there for years.

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  24. jakejakejake (143 comments) says:

    I think the crippled should also be permitted a quick death. Perhaps allow parents to free themselves of the burden of retarded children.

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  25. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    and that there is no coercion involved

    Will the guilt of feeling an economic/support burden on family or society count at coercion? No it won’t.

    Will the guilt of feeling an economic/support burden on family or society have people choose to terminate their lives? Guaranteed.

    Our society routinely discards old or broken items, giving them little value. The elderly and ill are apparently next in our sights.

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  26. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Sorry ,can’t help myself.

    What about them homo’s that don’t respond to hetro re-training .

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  27. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    @andrei you lie “By her lights, it probably works for abortion – remember these people hate humanity and worship DEATH, for others of course, for the little people.

    They have as much blood on their hands as Mengele – he worshiped death as well of course.”

    WE are not the ones who wear torture symbols around our necks.

    WE are not the ones who terrify children with lies about a non-existent hell.

    WE are not the ones who pursue people to the ends of the earth for pointing out the lies.

    We leave all that to those infected with the virus of religion.

    We affirm life. And we also know that there is nothing noble in suffering beyond one’s capacity to endure, and we accept that although it may hurt us to see a loved one die, that is far better than allowing them to suffer.

    And never, ever forget – Mengele, along with his fellow Nazis was a good Christian Man.

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  28. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    I don’t care who has introduced the bill, or who might vote for it, this is one of the better parts of our parliamentary process. This is what opposition MPs should be working on rather than trying to run a perpetual election campaign.

    A well researched and consulted bill is going in the ballot, so if it’s drawn it should get past the first vote. Then it should be robustly examined, modifications made, and then go to a conscience vote (all parties inluding the Greens!!).

    Then we have to accept the end result, whichever what that goes. This is good democracy.

    Fortunately a few people on blogs can’t stop everything they disapprove of before it gets considered by elected representatives – but they have the option of stating a petition if they want to try that avenue.

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  29. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    @Nasska. Nah, I think people who have a terminal illness should die in peace but it beats the fuck out of me why permission should be required if one is that desperate. It’s such a New Zealand trait to tick the boxes. Can I drink the laced Kool aid? No – it hasn’t hasn’t been sanctioned by the government. Better not then.
    Personally I think agony is fucking awful and should be a discussion about what was is acceptable and ways of alleviating pain, perhaps a “Hospice Weekly magazine”.
    Never leave it to a government to decide what’s acceptable for abortion, whether it be of a foetus or a an octogenarian. The state loves to kill off it’s clients:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/world/asia/pressure-to-repeal-chinas-one-child-law-is-growing.html?hp

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  30. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    “Then it should be robustly examined, modifications made, and then go to a conscience vote (all parties inluding the Greens!!) ” Yeah right and how many MPs have a conscience.

    There should be a voters veto tagged on the end of this bill so the majority of the peasants who have a conscience have the final say.

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  31. RF (1,487 comments) says:

    Whilst not a follower or fan of Maryan I do believe that she is right on the button. How many times have you heard about an animal being put down for a terminal illness yet we persist on our fellow humans hanging on to the sometimes painful and bitter end.

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  32. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    PEB: Why support anything the “union witch” has put in the ballot….are you serious?

    Firstly, I said I would vote for it at first reading which means it goes to Select Committee for proper considieration instead of being killed by party vote fiat after 12 15 minutes speeches.

    Secondly, Should we reject any idea or proposal simply because of who is making it? That’s the kind of close minded ignorance we quite rightly criticise the socialists for…

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  33. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    Well said David Garrett.

    Normally I would be against anything that Street proposed. However on this one she deserves the support of the majority of MP’s and the public.

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  34. nasska (12,088 comments) says:

    Monique

    I don’t want the state involved in killing people…..I just want them to keep the Hell out of the way of someone who has a valid reason not continue life that involves pain & promises more of the same. While I accept that someone who is able to pull the trigger or mix the Koolaid doesn’t need the legislation altered there is definitely instances where people take their own lives while life still has meaning. Their rationale is that if they wait until the disease or condition gets too debilitating they will be unable to do anything about it.

    I don’t advocate death squads….I hope that people will have to make a conscious action to end their own life be it as small as lifting a finger. I do want those who provide the means for a patient’s exit to be protected from laws banning “aiding & abetting”.

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  35. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    PEB – not the brightest boy on the block.

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  36. defende nos (6 comments) says:

    Safeguards are the first thing her bill is promising, but will be the last thing it delivers.

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  37. defende nos (6 comments) says:

    Sadly, even in ‘civilised’ countries such as Belgium 1 in 3 euthanasia deaths have no request.

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  38. defende nos (6 comments) says:

    One more point…

    The Herald recently reported the following…
    “Patients are suffering and even dying because our system of monitoring doctors is too slack and too cosy, says a former medical watchdog.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10810192

    If we can’t monitor doctors for abuses now, how on earth will it work when the only ‘witness’ is dead? Or maybe too many of you are blasé about doctors killing their patients. Scary…

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  39. Steve (North Shore) (4,536 comments) says:

    I would like to have the choice of leaving before my brain is swiss cheese or other body functions, and I have no control.
    It is not nice to see a person not know family and keep shitting the pants

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  40. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DG and BB

    There are much more important things for our Parliament to be considering than this social engineering.

    If it were to get before the House the time and resource will be nothing but a distraction for months and months.

    This will be leading up to the next election and will give nothing but traction to the labour party and the greens and all the others who have nothing to offer but emotive shit like this, guaranteed to make headlines and dominate the media.

    But if you are happy for this to happen go for it. All there will be will be big fuck off headlines regarding labour .

    No matter what postives economically or others the Government achieves this type of legislation is what embeds, especially with an electorate who can swing on the price of a bottle of beer or a free ferry trip to Waiheke

    Hamnida

    a new fuck wit on the block welcome

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  41. slightlyrighty (2,096 comments) says:

    I would hope that if I were faced with an illness that promised nothing but a painful debilitating death, I could choose a more dignified passing. I would not like to die the way my mother did. I know she did not want to die the way she did, and were there such a law in place, I’m sure she would have made use of it.

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  42. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    PEB

    “There are much more important things for our Parliament to be considering than this social engineering.”

    If you are suffering in agony, or have a family member going through the same torture I think that the passing of the welfare reform bill (or any other bill) takes a very distant second place.

    And since when has giving dignity to those who are suffering been considered social engineering?

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  43. grumpy (270 comments) says:

    Look at who is behind this bill. They cannot be trusted. Already in holland they are allowing disposal of those who may be a burden on the state.

    Like abortion, what happens in reality does not gel with the sales pitch.

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  44. jims_whare (408 comments) says:

    This post and proposed law sounds so wonderful but come 5 years time the following will become the norm.

    1 Old person in hospice slowly dying – they think of their life savings being eaten up week by week for the hospice fees.
    Old person decides to end it all while they still have something to pass on to their offspring.

    2 Worse. Same scenario except the offspring visit granny every week and put the pressure on. C’mon have you signed it yet? Do you know how much of our money is getting wasted every week? Hurry up granny don’t be so selfish!

    3 Or the other way. Dr to patient: Well Mr Jones I’m sorry but you have only got 6 months to live. Now I don’t want to pressure you but we do have a waiting list for your bed – did you see the poor sick people in the corridor?

    It’s entirely your choice however it is right that you give up your bed for someone who is going to carry on living you know.
    Here to make it easy for you Dr Henry next door and I will sign off the form with you – would you like to do it right now??

    Don’t think that this will happen? Funerals/old folks/estates/health funding bring out the worst in people and society – just watch it happen.

    Its called the society of convenience – anything that is inconvenient gets disposed of (aka babies & old folks)

    Won’t be long and ihc folk & permanently disabled folk will join the list.

    All the while the same society will defend to the their last breath any form of corporal punishment for our worst murderers & rapists.

    Overall the ultimate hypocrisy from out wonderful secular/liberal society.

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  45. defende nos (6 comments) says:

    “The British Medical Journal has recently suggested people with severe dementia should be starved and dehydrated to death to save money.”
    http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/articles/bmj-article-on-severe-dementia/

    Seriously DF & others, that’s what it’ll inevitably lead to. Or do you simply not care?

    Only 1% or of sick & elderly are ever in ‘unbearable’ pain, yet euthanasia inevitably extends to all sorts of people whom the healthy consider not worth living.

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  46. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    “Only 1% or of sick & elderly are ever in ‘unbearable’ pain, yet euthanasia inevitably extends to all sorts of people whom the healthy consider not worth living.”

    Utter rubbish. Street’s bill does not leave the choice up to anybody else but the person who is suffering.

    Why do you insist on bringing bare faced lies into the argument?

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  47. UpandComer (537 comments) says:

    Nope. Utterly against this proposal. On this logic a lot of my older relatives would feel obligated to be put down. Bugger off with this bullshit.

    You are utterly naive if you don’t think that the individual who is making the choice doesn’t respond to the sentiments of their family, friends, and society.

    This would be a very very bad development. Not happy that so many people on here support this. If people are truly suffering unbearable pain there already exist ways to take away that pain that lead to death without a person having to explicitly nominate themselves to die. I am not happy so many people on this blog support this crap, I thought it would be more in line with those pedant craven pieces of shit who lick each others backs all day with their wacky theories and whimsical non-facts on the standard.

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  48. PaulL (5,446 comments) says:

    UpandComer. This is aimed at those who are in unbearable pain. Explain to me the ways that they can end it if they are not mobile? This law aims to give them exactly what you claim they already have. If they already have it as you say, then how are all the downsides you proclaim not already there?

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  49. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    BB

    Do honestly think Maryann Street cares about the dignity of the deaths of my relatives?

    This type of legislation is the only way they can get any traction. Labour have nothing to offer economically, they are going back to the dark ages with the unions running them and all of a sudden we have labour dislikers here thinking they have somthing to offer, brilliant.

    If it wa such a shit hot idea, why hasn’t the Government picked it up? because they have more important things to worry about

    It is an attempt at populisim, nothing more. Labour cannot be trusted at all- period

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  50. Lee C (2,720 comments) says:

    The irony is that cigarettes are probably amongst the most efficient ways to euthanise oneself, and the are trying to price them out of the market as ‘bad for you’.

    Wish they’d make their minds up.

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  51. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    eastbay

    I cannot believe your appalling lack of political awareness.

    If there is one thing, just ONE thing that Andrew Williams can organise, it’s drinks on a Friday night. Or any night for that matter. Or lunch.

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  52. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    PEB

    I think that you might be taking your well founded distrust of the Labour party a little too far on this one.

    Street has not attempted to make any political capital out of this bill, all she is doing in continuing the work of past MP’s who have tried to get this bill passed.

    It would be a pity if we see this bill defeated simply because of petty party politics.

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  53. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    Why should MPs have a final say with a conscience vote? I heard Street say they could talk to their constituents. Who are the constituents of list MPs.

    If this bill is passed it should not become law until ratified by a binding referendum. That way the Select Committee might actually listen to submitters for a change. Another good idea would be to have a sunset clause for any legislation.

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  54. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    You are utterly naive if you don’t think that the individual who is making the choice doesn’t respond to the sentiments of their family, friends, and society.

    +1

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  55. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    If an individual wants to die and someone else is happy to help then butt out and leave them to it you creepy Christian sickos…..

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  56. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Along with a few cheap shots, some very good points have been made since I last looked at this thread. One of the best noting that with abortion, what the law says is not actually what happens. Who can believe that 90% or whatever it is of women who have abortions would otherwise have become deranged if they continued their pregnancy?

    That said, I still think this should go to Select Committee for those points and others to be closely examined. I have been on Select Committees, and seen the range of submissions – sensible and reasoned and otherwise – that are presented. In this case, being a conscience Bill, the process would actually work as it is intended.

    What I do know for sure is I would not want anyone I love to be dying of motor neurone disease and having to let “nature take it’s course”.

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  57. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Why should MPs have a final say with a conscience vote?

    A conscience vote is one where we accept it would be wrong to force an MP to vote against their personal beliefs. E.g. if a party has a position in favour of the death penalty, it is wrong to force an MP in that party who opposes the death penalty to vote in favour of it. It does not matter whether the MP is a list MP or electorate MP, forcing an MP to do something that, for example, they may consider will result in their being damned to hell for eternity, is wrong.

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  58. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    Graham, you are side stepping my question. Why should a important moral issue like this be decided by about 120 individuals based on their religious views be it Christian or libertarian. This issue will not effect the running of the country like other policies. If MPs knew that the legislation would have to pass a second hurdle they would actually listen to submitters who view they may not agree with. I beleive this would make for better law. Another advantage would be that the law would be respected a lot more that for example the anti-smacking that arrogant MPs forced on the public who they treated with contempt.

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  59. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    In addition to mobile euthanasia teams, I’m sure the Dutch people didn’t anticipate this:

    Dutch Physicians association (‘KNMG’) supports euthanasia for loneliness.

    Radio Netherlands explains that the new KNMG report urges doctors to euthanize their patients who are not terminally ill or necessarily suffering but who experience multiple fragile health conditions that is making life difficult. The Radio Netherlands article states:

    At the moment, there are approximately one million elderly people in the Netherlands with multi-morbidity (two or more long-term diseases or ailments) and that number is expected to rise to 1.5 million in the course of the coming decade. …

    As people age, many suffer from a complex array of gradually worsening problems, which can include poor eyesight, deafness, fatigue, difficulty in walking and incontinence as well as loss of dignity, status, financial resources, an ever-shrinking social network and loss of social skills. Although this accumulation of ailments and diseases is not life-threatening as such, it does have a negative impact on the quality of life and make the elderly vulnerable or fragile. Vulnerability also affects the ability to recover from illnesses and can lead to unbearable and lasting suffering.
    :::
    The physicians association says further investigation into non-medical factors is needed and Dr Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman adds that euthanasia should be allowed even when a patient is not suffering from a terminal disease:

    “It doesn’t always have to be a physical ailment, it could be the onset of dementia or chronic psychological problems, it’s still unbearable and lasting suffering. It doesn’t always have to be a terminal disease.”

    But this will never happen here, right?

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  60. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    you are side stepping my question. Why should a important moral issue like this be decided by about 120 individuals based on their religious views be it Christian or libertarian. This issue will not effect the running of the country like other policies.

    No. That’s a different question. Your initial question was premised on this being a conscience vote. If this is (and should be) a conscience vote, then what I have described is the appropriate rationale.

    Your new question is essentially: why is this a conscience vote; should it be one at all?

    That is a very interesting question, and one on which I have some sympathy for the view that it shouldn’t, and could be put to a referendum instead.

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  61. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    But this will never happen here, right?

    If it’s not allowed in legislation then no, it won’t happen here.

    The slippery slope arguments ignore basic realities. If legislation similar to how this bill has been drafted is passed it would only apply in a narrow range of circumstances.

    And for it to expand on that it would require further legislation which would typicaly take years to be drafted, drawn from the ballot (if it ever is) and to progress through parliament.

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  62. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    Thanks Graham. It was probably the way I phrased it.

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  63. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    I think it could be suitable for referendum, but could a simple referendum question deal with a complex issue like this? A simple Euthanasia? yes/no referendum would be inadequate.

    A comprehensive bill would need to be drawn up, then have a referendum on accepting or rejecting that. Graeme, is that feasible?

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  64. nasska (12,088 comments) says:

    To compare what is happening in the Netherlands with what the naysayers predict will happen in NZ we would need someone to interpret the law that was passed enabling euthanasia there.

    My guess is that the wording & intent will differ greatly.

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  65. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    “A comprehensive bill would need to be drawn up, then have a referendum on accepting or rejecting that. Graeme, is that feasible?”

    Pete, that is what I am suggesting and why I am against CIR. If Streets bill is drawn it could be amended so that if it passes a third reading and changes are made after it has been thought the Select Committee process. I beleive that Peter Brown had such a clause in his bill that was similar to Street’s had such a clause but it never passed third reading.

    The public would then vote on the bill in it final stage.

    I also suggested a sunset clause. What do you think of that?

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  66. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Pete G – It is entirely feasible.

    We had a very complex referendum in 1993. It asked all sorts of questions: do we want to change to MMP, with a 5% threshold, and a one seat rule, and create an Electoral Commission, and limit spending on election advertising in this particular way … etc. etc.

    Basically, you go through a whole Parliamentary process, debate the full implications of everything and come up with a fully fleshed out proposal, which is drafted as legislation. It passes all its readings, but only comes into force if a majority of people voting at a referendum answer the question: do you support the proposed system of legalised euthanasia contained in the End of Life Choice Act 2014? in the affirmative.

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  67. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Chuck – I’ve just emailed Maryan to run the referendum option by her.

    I agree that CIR is arse about face, very difficult to have a simple question translated into complex legislation. Far better to reverse that order.

    I think a sunset clause would probably be a good idea. What do you suggest – a followup referendum in, say, five years? Or let parliament decide at sunset to continue or cease?

    Graeme – thanks, that sounds like a good approach.

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  68. East Wellington Superhero (1,139 comments) says:

    Interesting, most commentators here (Left or Right) generally mock all politicians as imperfect and/or useless. But then when it comes to partisan issues where the law needs to be very carefully written, we blindly ascribe to them perfection.

    I also had to laugh/grimace at Nasska’s stupid comment “My guess is that…”
    Your guess? FFS!

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  69. East Wellington Superhero (1,139 comments) says:

    I also suspect we’ll get no real debate on this issue. In true Kiwi style, and contrary to the great ‘rationalist’ age we live in, the proponents will emotionally bully and mock their opponents rather than actually have a reasoned debate.

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  70. nasska (12,088 comments) says:

    EWS

    For someone who relies on his personal sky pixie for guidance you seem very quick to jump on someone who acknowledges that he can’t read Dutch & isn’t a lawyer.

    My second guess for the morning is that you are accepting victim status before the debate has begun.

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  71. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    I can see the arguments on both sides of this debate but have real concerns that the so called safeguards will be open to interpretation and be used in a way that was never intended when the law was drafted. I have some sympathy with the person with Motor Neurone disease or the like but I am very aware of the way that the medical, legal professions and parliament have administered the abortion law. It was sold as a last resort option for pregnant women who would suffer severe mental stresses should they be forced to go through with the pregnancy. We now have abortion on demand to remove the inconvenience of an unwanted pregnancy. Effectively post event birth control. Euthanasia could in all likelihood follow the same track with the increasing numbers of elderly in NZ being encouraged to do the decent thing.

    Pete George argues “The slippery slope arguments ignore basic realities. If legislation similar to how this bill has been drafted is passed it would only apply in a narrow range of circumstances”. My point being that this is the type of assurances given to those unsure about the abortion legislation.

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  72. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Mark – euthanasia is vastly different to abortion.

    People like to have sex, people don’t like to get terminal illnesses.

    It’s far easier to accidently get pregnant than to accidently get dying.

    Dying involves one person only.

    Abortion is a choice for the present – have a baby now or not – and still leaves choices for the future.
    You don’t get the choice of whether you will die or not, euthanasia is just a choice of narrow timing.

    You only get one shot at dying. Once you have suffered terribly it’s too late.

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  73. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    krazykiwi makes a very good point…and PG, I’m sorry, but to say “because the law says it can’t, it won’t happen” is somewhat breathtakingly naive…as others have noted, the abortion law is “interpreted” – perhaps “got around” would be a better phrase – to give a result that effectively says 90 something percent of women who have abortions in this country have got to have them because they would become dangerously mentally ill if they didnt….anyone who believes that IS a Sky pixie, forget about believing in one…

    Someone somewhere must have done a doctoral thesis on what the Dutch law says (or originally said, I don’t know if it has been amended, does anyone else?) as opposed to what actually happens in the real world. I would like to see such a thesis…as would any member of a Select Committee considering this law.

    But two days on, nothing I have seen here changes my view that it is right and proper that this go to Select Committee for further consideration…many Bills have gone to Select Committees and never emerged; others have come back to the house with recommendations that they be passed, and been defeated at third reading. Why are the antis so opposed to this one having further scrutiny?

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  74. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    “Chuck – I’ve just emailed Maryan to run the referendum option by her.”

    Thanks Pete. I was going to email her but since you have I will not duplicate it if you will let me know when you get a reply. My email address is chuckbirdnz@gmail.com

    I am pleased to see Graeme sees some merit in my proposal.

    At this point I think probably a sunset clause could be determined by MPs. Referendums are not cheap. There should definitely be a place for them but they should not be overused. My view is they should restricted to constitutional issues and moral issues generally at least initiated by a bill being drawn out of the ballot. These things have not been in a party’s manifesto so it cannot be argued that Parliament has been given a mandate.

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  75. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Email reply already, she is not in favour of the referendum approach:

    No, I would never consider this issue as one to be decided by referendum. It is too complex an issue for that. It is exactly the sort of issue which requires thoughtful legislation, not the kind of reductive approach required by referenda.

    It seems that she didn’t consider the suggestion of the legislation/referendum approach (I thought I stated that clearly enough) – seems like she simply wants parliament to make the decision.

    This doesn’t rule it out, if enough other MPs promote the idea of legislation/referendum it could get still some serious consideration.

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  76. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    What’s a “reductive approach” when it’s at home? Perhaps one of our resident lefties could translate for this simple country boy…

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  77. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    DG: it is right and proper that this go to Select Committee for further consideration…many Bills have gone to Select Committees and never emerged; others have come back to the house with recommendations that they be passed, and been defeated at third reading.

    I think this is the most improtant point, is that the democratic process should be used.

    The bill may or may not be drawn from the ballot. If it is then it should at least go to select committee stage. From there it depends on the input of submitters and the decisions of MPs. That’s how it should be. Democracy can’t be used selectively depending on personal preferences on individual bills.

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  78. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Email reply already, she is not in favour of the referendum approach:

    No, I would never consider this issue as one to be decided by referendum. It is too complex an issue for that. It is exactly the sort of issue which requires thoughtful legislation, not the kind of reductive approach required by referenda.

    It seems that she didn’t consider the suggestion of the legislation/referendum approach (I thought I stated that clearly enough) – seems like she simply wants parliament to make the decision.

    MPs will be faced with the same simplistic, reductive question at the third reading. They get one vote on one question: those who think this bill should become law, say “Aye”, those opposed say “No”. Those who wanted it, but in a different form, covering more or less, or having some different scheme of safeguards will be faced with the same question:

    given what the select committee and the committee of the whole house have adopted, do I support the bill in its present form becoming law?

    That is no more reductive than a referendum.

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  79. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    What’s a “reductive approach” when it’s at home?

    A reductive approach to a matter like this is one that is reduced to a simple yes/no question:

    e.g. do you support a law change to provide for voluntary euthanasia for adults with terminal illnesses?

    Getting public opinion on such a question is largely meaningless in drafting a law which people may actually agree with.

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  80. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    “That is no more reductive than a referendum”

    Graeme, would you please help DG and me out. What does a reductive approach mean?

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  81. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    As I thought Graeme, everything has to come to a final vote eventually. It sounds like Street simply didn’t consider the reverse legislation/referendum option, or maybe she just thinks parliament should have the final say.

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  82. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    There will be six times as many people aged over 85 in 2051 as there were in 2001. Our growth in spending on health care exceeds GDP growth by 2% pa, and estimates are that somewhere between 2035 and 2055 we will need to spend 100% of GDP on healthcare. That obviously won’t happen meaning there will be unrelenting scrutiny on ‘quality’ of spending.

    If you subscribe to Gareth Morgan’s views, this quality will be determined by economic payback.

    The elderly, sick and disabled probably don’t factor at the priority end of that spectrum, but they’re almost certainly clued up enough to pick up the barrage of subtle messages: It’s legal. Do yourself a favour. Do us a favour. Come on. Come on…

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  83. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Streets email…………..No, I would never consider this issue as one to be decided by referendum..

    Oh dear, Labour party arrogance on high beam here. Translated, “you the voters are too fucking stupid to vote on something like this and I know it wouldn’t stand a chance if it went to the people, so piss off “.

    My thoughts ” you the MP’s are so breathtakingly stupid in so many ways , this is too important to have morons like Horan Williams and Cosgrove having anything to do with it.”

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  84. LiberalismIsASin (290 comments) says:

    Evil wears a cloak of decency.

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  85. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    The question to put to Street may simply be:

    would she be open to amending her bill to include a contingent commencement clause, like those contained in the Electoral Act 1993 and the Compulsory Retirement Savings Scheme Referendum Act 1997?

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  86. East Wellington Superhero (1,139 comments) says:

    @ nasska

    What does God have to do with it? I didn’t mention God. Moreover, an invocation of ‘divine rules’ is not needed to argue against euthanasia. Or abortion for that matter. The ‘invalidation-due-to-faith’ argument is a fool/coward’s tool that’s generally used when he’s got no good arguments. Or if he’s a bigot.

    With regard to “accepting victim status before the debate has begun”. No, I’m just resigned to the fact that most of the influential people in the media and in Parliament are charlatans. They pretend they’re empiricists, but they’re not. They pretend that reason is the best approach to solving problems, but then don’t employ it. And when evidence arises that contradicts their desires, it is ignored or shouted over.

    Also, reducing a religious system such as Christianity to ‘sky pixie’ not only shows your disrespect for about 2 billion people, it also shows that you’re probably a coward that would rather mock an idea than engage with in. This is quite a sad approach to life.

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  87. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    PEB: that is exactly what Street is saying…but I disagree completely with your view that such a law “wouldnt stand a chance”…Other than hard line Catholics, I personally dont know ANYONE who thinks someone with MND or some other dreadful ailment where pain relief is not the issue should be forced to endure until the Sky Pixie “calls them home”…

    How many do you know who think that?

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  88. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    KK: Do yourself a favour. Do us a favour. Come on. Come on…

    That could happen now.

    There’s a lot of greyness around the current situation. My father effectively died through assisted euthanasia – I didn’t realise until after he died. I don’t know whether he asked for it and the facility he was in obliged, or if they decided for themselves to hasten his exit.

    There was no pressure on my father from family at all. He was admitted on a Monday, and died three days later. It was thankfully quick – he had dreaded wasting away in an institution – but still at one stage I rescued him from what would have been a very demeaning situation.

    It’s possible a clearer more open legal way of dealing with it will keep some people alive for longer. And make it easier for family to deal with what is happening.

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  89. mikenmild (12,326 comments) says:

    I’d go along with the doctors on this:

    ‘The NZMA is opposed to both the concept and practice of euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide.
    Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical.
    Doctor-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical.
    The NZMA however encourages the concept of death with dignity and comfort, and strongly supports the right of patients to decline treatment, or to request pain relief, and supports the right of access to appropriate palliative care.
    In supporting patients’ right to request pain relief, the NZMA accepts that the proper provision of such relief, even when it may hasten the death of the patient, is not unethical.
    This NZMA position is not dependent on euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide remaining unlawful. Even if they were to become legal, or decriminalised, the NZMA would continue to regard them as unethical.’

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  90. cha (4,137 comments) says:

    http://zocalopublicsquare.org/thepublicsquare/2011/11/30/how-doctors-die/read/nexus/

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  91. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    KK: Do yourself a favour. Do us a favour. Come on. Come on…

    PG: That could happen now.

    Indeed, but it’s illegal which keeps the lid tightly on family or societal pressure. Based on the demographic and economic stats in my 1:21 comment, do you really that there will be no societal presssure on the elderly, ill or disabled to consent to being euthanized?

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  92. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Mikey: do you really believe doctors dont give overdoses of morphine that “accidentally” kill terminally ill patients now? If so, I strongly suggest you get to know some nurses and ask them…”What the doctors say” is simply the official line,…

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  93. mikenmild (12,326 comments) says:

    DG
    ‘NZMA accepts that the proper provision of such relief, even when it may hasten the death of the patient, is not unethical’. I’m sure this happens a lot more than most people realise.

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  94. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    cha – very interesting, many good points in there. But still, a bit vague on the crux. And idealistic:

    There will be no heroics, and I will go gentle into that good night.

    Even with the best of intent, the going is not always gentle.

    My mother had the best possible hospice care, had two experienced nurses in attendance, and died in extreme discomfort. The last expression on her face seemed a mix of pleading and terror. And her last week was something like what she dreaded, very undignified.

    My father had a morphine hastened death. Because everything was unspoken (I was fobbed off when I wanted to discuss care) I don’t know if it was deliberate or misjudged. And he died surrounded by family, who thought that’s what he’d want, except that he’d told me (his primary carer) to ‘piss off’ because he didn’t want an audience. By coincidence I had pissed off for a break from the confusion, not knowing his going was imminent.

    There’s so many variables, many complex.

    But ultimately – should all individuals who are dying be denied any choice because some may theoretically be pressured? Freedom of choice versus nany state?

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  95. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    David, I agree with you about MND. You are also right about overdoses of morphine that “accidentally” kill terminally ill patients now depending on the doctor. However, if there is a law change especially one drawn up by an MP as arrogant as Street I fear some of KK’s concerns are justified.

    I beleive if their is a clause for a Voters Veto after the third reading a lot more care will be taken and submitters will be listened to not treated with contempt as they were with the anti smacking legislation.

    What if any downside do you see to a Voters Veto as I am pretty sure Peter Brown had in his bill?

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  96. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    No, I would never consider this issue as one to be decided by referendum. It is too complex an issue for that. It is exactly the sort of issue which requires thoughtful legislation, not the kind of reductive approach required by referenda.

    I wonder if Ms Street thinks that the current petition initiated by Greens at our expense will result in a referendum too complex for the peasants to understand.

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  97. nasska (12,088 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    A good background to the legislation covering euthanasia in Holland: http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/holland-background/

    Leading on to the actual law ( I can find no references to amendments though obviously they may exist): http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Dutch_law_04_12.pdf

    And to add balance for God’s Little Helpers, a relatively reasoned argument by Dr Brian Pollard, Professor of Anaesthesia (retd), (yes…he is Catholic – I checked) : http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/euthanasia/eu0021.html

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  98. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Two more for the hundy! ;-)

    You can always count on euthanasia, or anything to do with sex…

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  99. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I’m actually all for it going to a first reading and before the select committee if it was policy that excluded “mental conditions”. It should be actual suffering rather than the thought of potential suffering that drives people to choose to end their lives.

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  100. nasska (12,088 comments) says:

    Monique

    I’d be interested to hear what mental conditions could possibly be covered by the legislation given that that one has to be mentally competent to give such a directive. I would also be concerned if there was any provision for younger people to be covered as provided for in the Dutch Euthanasia Act.

    Still, there’ll be no shortage of submissions & debate, even supposing that the bill ever sees the light of day via ballot.

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  101. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    I wonder if Ms Street thinks that the current petition initiated by Greens at our expense will result in a referendum too complex for the peasants to understand.

    Ah, but it depends on if it suits their purposes. But I must say I haven’t seen Maryan pushing the petition/referendum that tries to extend their election campaign.

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  102. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Euthanasia is just a euphemistic term for murder so who is going to do the murdering? Doctors take an oath to do no harm. Earlier posters said..”we have a right to kill ourselves”…terminally ill people whom I thought this bill was aimed at , do not have any energy to do anything..It is very unlikely that they could kill themselves without assistance..If this is passed we will have more NZ double standards..Someone involving themselves in this kind of death will be cool but others killing people will be on manslaughter/murder charges.
    It is a very slippery slope no matter how you dress it up.

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