Palliative Care and Euthanasia

August 17th, 2012 at 7:23 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

National Party MP says the standard of healthcare for New Zealanders with terminal and chronic illnesses is so high should not be considered as an alternative.

Ms Barry’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Palliative Care will meet for the first time today and aims to improve MPs’ understanding of the care available.

Palliative care focuses on relieving the suffering of patients with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

Ms Barry was partly inspired to form the group after witnessing the high-quality care her parents received before their deaths.

Her father was diagnosed with cancer and stayed in Mary Potter Hospice until his death 15 years ago. “Mum and I were able to go up there and spend time with him. I had dreaded it but it was as good as it could have been.”

But her primary motivation is to oppose assisted suicide as an alternative for seriously ill patients.

I respect that people have a variety of views on whether or not it is desirable to allow euthanasia or assisted suicide. I also respect the wonderful work done by hospices such as Mary Potter.

However I believe it is wrong to frame the argument as a choice between palliative care and euthanasia. It is not. Euthanasia is not just about people dying of cancer. It is also about people who have degenerative conditions such as Huntington’s disease.

Rodney Hide told the story of Martin Hames, who effectively committed suicide while he still could, because one day he would have been unable to do so. A euthanasia law would have allowed Martin to continue to enjoy many more years of life, if he was confident that once hie body and mind had degenerated, his previous wishes could be legally implemented.

Huntington’s disease is an awful infliction. Around 35% of those who have Huntington’s disease try to kill themselves.

So palliative care is not an alternative to euthanasia in all cases. And where it is an alternative – it should be a choice for the dying person. I do not think it is the role of the state to tell people they can not end their lives if they are in agony. The role of the state should be to put in place rigorous safeguards around those decisions.

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53 Responses to “Palliative Care and Euthanasia”

  1. big bruv (14,122 comments) says:

    Not sure why Barrie is against other options. Nobody is suggesting that euthanasia is going to be the only option. Those who want to waste away in a hospice will still have that option.

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  2. Mark (1,489 comments) says:

    Hopefully these rigorous safeguards are more rigorous than those that were assured when the abortion legislation was passed.

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  3. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    I do not think it is the role of the state to tell people they can not end their lives if they are in agony. The role of the state should be to put in place rigorous safeguards around those decisions.

    You can end your life any time you choose and their is sweet fa big Government can do to stop you if that is what you choose to do.

    In the real world people are helped along to the next world by their family and friends, as well as doctors every day and nobody is really interested in digging too deeply into these things – it is a matter between the perpetrators, their consciences and God.

    The only time it comes to public attention is when those with an axe to grind, who want to get the Government involved in a euthanasia, go public and set themselves up for martyrdom to advance their agenda.

    We do not need big Government expanding into this arena, with its committees, supervisory boards etc etc

    Let sleeping dogs lie

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  4. iMP (2,416 comments) says:

    I disagree. Euthanasia is not just about you, but your family, children. partner, friends and everyone around you. Life is wider than our selfish little circle of inner thoughts. And humanity’s capacity to honour life and care for those who are infirm (even terminal) is what highlights many heights of humanity. Simply killing ourselves because we are confronted by disease and infirmity (ALL of which can be managed with palliative care) is typical of the selfish culture of the late 20th C.

    Let me ask one Q.

    Would Mother Theresa as she cared for the dying of Calcutta, ever have considered euthanasia? Her path was much more noble.

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  5. big bruv (14,122 comments) says:

    Andrei

    “In the real world people are helped along to the next world by their family and friends, as well as doctors every day and nobody is really interested in digging too deeply into these things – it is a matter between the perpetrators, their consciences and God.”

    This is an important topic Andrei, it is not helped by bringing middle eastern superstition into the debate. This has nothing to do with a non existent sky fairy or a non existent “next world”.

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  6. Mobile Michael (459 comments) says:

    iMP – if someone elects euthanasia for any reason other than themselves it’s a decision made for the wrong reasons.

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  7. big bruv (14,122 comments) says:

    Mother Theresa and the word ‘noble’ do not belong in the same sentence.

    If she had indeed been ‘noble’ she would not have followed the teachings of the Catholic church, if she had been genuine in trying to help the poor the first thing she would have done is teach the poor stupid creatures who ended up with her about contraception.

    But no, the ‘teachings’ of the evil Catholic church did not allow her to do that.

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  8. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Oh here we go another important topic waiting to be threadjacked into a discussion about whether people are allowed by others to believe in a deity without someone pontificating that they are an asshole….(see big bruv above).

    If it’s that ‘important’ big bruv, why start insulting people and deflecting from the ‘important’ issue?

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  9. berend (1,715 comments) says:

    Let me just quote the Hippocratic Oath:

    I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

    I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

    But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.

    Really, what we are calling for is going back to barbarism. Where we want to give doctors the choice between killing and healing. And not only give the choice, we expect them to do it, and those we refuse will be persecuted, because the only reason they don’t kill someone on request will be because they don’t care enough for them obviously.

    And given the fact that the public always gets presented the same sad cases over and over and over, we can infer that those cases are extremely rare.

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

    I totally agree with Andrei. I would have thought state permission is the last thing you need if you want to die if you have a terminal illness. Good on Maggie Barry. She is a real lady and ladies preserve life.
    “For the good of a few great harm will come to all”, I think it was said. many old people think it is their duty to soldier on. I can imagine a world where many old people think it is their duty to die early.
    However I swing on this issue .I’m back to thinking euthanasia is totally the wrong way to go about things. It’s smacks of being politically correct. I know this because the greenling Kevin Hague is trying to class Barry as a being a bit naughty and forcing him and other M.P’s to a lecture on the subject matter:
    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2012/08/16/palliative-care-vs-assisted-dying-a-false-dichotomy/
    That was a beautiful story. To me Martin’s end could have gone a lot worse. And are you really going to have an awesome “Death Party”?
    He could have been a lot more lonely when he died.
    To me it is selfish to want state permission to end your life.

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  11. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Berend,

    I agree. Assuming we are to have euthanasia, then we should do everything we can to keep the medical profession out of it – we should not debase their profession so that they will be called upon to fatally intervene in the life of their patients.

    IF we are to have euthanasia, then we should call euthanasia practitioners what they are – executioners.

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  12. Lance (2,704 comments) says:

    @Lee C
    Because BB has a deep inner insecurity and needs to denigrate those who do not share his views. Because it is so much easier to prove how right(eous) one is when the other party has been relegated to a lesser state.
    It’s a lazy mans way of debating but obviously the perpetrator thinks it is effective.

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  13. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Euthanasia as a policy comes straight from the Nazis. It is murder plain and simple..Who are going to be the death assistants?
    I support Maggie Barry. Why is suicide a great concern on one hand and a viable option on the other? Many people face horrendous illnesses and cope with them.

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  14. tvb (4,491 comments) says:

    This is difficult and frankly I doubt any law could prevent “elder abuse” by children placing pressure on a relative who has become inconvenient. Yes there are cases where euthanasia might be the best option. But the law will open up cases where it is plainly not. The law should lean in favor of the living and those who want to live. I condemn relatives who are administering medicines to dying loved ones and chose to accelerate their deaths to “prevent further suffering”. Suffering by whom???

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  15. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    I speak only for myself.

    There is no way I am selfish enough to demand the taxpayer keep alive my useless body when my remaining brain function is completely taken up by pain and I don’t know what day it is.

    Allow those who want to die to die (assisted by volunteers if necessary).

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  16. berend (1,715 comments) says:

    Cato: I agree. Assuming we are to have euthanasia, then we should do everything we can to keep the medical profession out of it – we should not debase their profession so that they will be called upon to fatally intervene in the life of their patients.

    That worked so well in other countries. I like your name, but that’s not how it’s going to happen. Because we will get this as history has shown. All the “enlightened” countries have gone from killing babies to killing mum.

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  17. Keeping Stock (10,404 comments) says:

    Both my parents died after lengthy illnesses. Neither ever have considered an early exit; they valued their lives, even though their health was far, far from ideal.

    I do not support Maryan Street’s Bill.

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  18. UrbanNeocolonialist (306 comments) says:

    Can’t believe that this is still even a topic for debate. Big problem being that a small group of noisy and religious folk get all up in arms about it, while the majority of New Zealanders would like it to be legal, but can’t be bothered mustering the energy required to push it through parliament. So yet another failure of democracy with loony fringe dictating to lazy majority.

    A referendum at next election would sort it out, though the gradual fall in religious belief will probably get it done too.

    Speaking as someone who has lost 2 grandparents to long drawn out dementia. I think we should have a range of testing protocols that we can by choice sign up to, to determine when to be Euthanised. And past some point terminal dementia patients and others with mush for brains should either have to pay for their own treatment, or be Euthanised involuntarily. Lets not waste tax money on the dead, it benefits nobody and wastes resources that could be better spent on the living.

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  19. Lance (2,704 comments) says:

    @UrbanNeo

    Democracy is a bitch aint it!
    People don’t vote for it but you unilaterally declare that’s what the majority of New Zealanders want, just like, you know, everyone KNOWS that.

    “loony fringe dictating to lazy majority”

    Bra ha ha ha ha ha ha

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  20. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    UrbanNeo: “……..or be Euthanised involuntarily.”

    That has to be one of the most disturbing, disgusting statements it has ever been my misfortune to read on kiwiblog. And that is saying something. If you cannot comprehend the connotations of what you have written, you sir/madam are beyond help.

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  21. iMP (2,416 comments) says:

    Let’s get one thing straight. Euthanasia is NOT turning off the machine to allow people to die naturally.

    Euthanasia is pro-active, injecting drugs that KILL people artificially. Dr.s DO NOT want Euthanasia. Even Kevorkian (Dr Death) who had liver cancer died naturally (coward) after ‘helping’ countless others to be put to death.

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  22. iMP (2,416 comments) says:

    If we cannot trust adults:
    to drive drunk
    or practice safe sex
    or do justice (McDonald, Chamberlains, Arthur Allan Thomas, Hurricane Carter, OJ, etc)

    HOW can we trust medical staff or family members with huge vested interests (wills, for which people are often murdered) to appropriately administer Euthanasia (killing people) with righteousness and goodwill?

    Humans….”yeah right”.

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  23. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The involvement of the state is to protect the individuals RIGHT to end their life and their RIGHT to involve a consenting other to aid them in doing so…..Just fuck off out of other peoples life,and death choices…..

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  24. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    I currently know an elderly lady whose two daughters and son in law can’t wait for her to die so they can get hold of the money from her house..these kind of attitudes are more common then most would realize. It is very difficult for elderly people because even if their children are horrible , they are still their children..The old people want to do something but feel they can’t . In recent years I have come across four incidences of elder abuse..In one situation , the elderly woman was almost driven to suicide ; she did not want to die but rather could not cope with such torment. In all cases , I have found health professionals to be very inadequate in their responses..Experienced palliative care nurses and social workers looked the other way because they did not know what to do ..or inaction was easier.
    The passing of this legislation would greatly assist these abusers.

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  25. Fisiani (1,047 comments) says:

    So called voluntary euthanaia would soon transform into a ‘duty to die.’
    Rest homes abound with elderly people who could be cajoled to “express a wish to die”
    Every week they live eats more into their estate.
    Noble sounding sentiments clash with human reality.
    The answer to terminal illness is world class terminal care.
    Euthanasia, or legalised killing would become a disaster for the handicapped and the elderly. It would stifle terminal care provision.
    The New Zealand Medical Association regards euthanasia as being unethical. No ifs and no buts. Unethical.

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  26. Pete George (23,677 comments) says:

    Both my parents died after lengthy illnesses. Neither ever have considered an early exit; they valued their lives, even though their health was far, far from ideal.

    Both my parents died after lengthy illnesses. Both considered an early exit.

    One was aided by medical staff (but it was blody hard on family who were kept out of the loop for obvious reasons).

    The other had the best possible palliative care, and still became what they dreaded to be, and died an awful death.

    Our current laws don’t deal with these situations well.

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  27. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    If this bill gets drawn it should have to pass a referendum if it passes a third reading. There is no such thing as perfect legislation and Street’s is no exception. I had a look at it and have concerns about a flow on effect. The way these conscience votes are decided is by doing the numbers. If MPs driving this bill want it to pass they will have actually listen to submitters who they may disagree with – something that Select Committees frequently fail to do.

    There are some people who would oppose this bill no matter what safeguards. There are others who would support such legislation with few safeguards. I think the majority would be somewhere in the middle.

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  28. Zapper (1,027 comments) says:

    Very tough debate. Individual stories like this make me lean towards it:

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/condemned-to-a-life-of-torture-uk-denies-righttodie-legal-challenge-20120817-24bya.html

    But a general law open to abuse pushes me away from it. What has been proposed previously is seemingly difficult to abuse but it will take some very smart lawmakers to come up with what is needed.

    And iMP:

    “or do justice (McDonald, Chamberlains, Arthur Allan Thomas, Hurricane Carter, OJ, etc)”

    Hurricane Carter is guilty as sin.

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  29. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Euthanasia is a term that conjures up a number of emotive statements. We have already had one commentator here directly link it to the Nazi regime.

    That is a fallacy that must be exposed. What was done by the Nazi’s was cold blooded murder. Imposing death can be nothing else.

    Euthanasia is very different. Euthanasia, as I have said before on this forum, is a word derived from the Greek language, and it translated directly into English as “Good Death”. As I see it, Euthanasia is a humane alternative to prevent suffering where Death, in particular, a bad death, is the only other outcome. Anyone who has seen a bad death will know what I mean. If you have not seen a bad death, then I count you lucky, and you have the luxury of commenting on this topic based on belief as opposed to experience.

    My mother, god bless her, had a bad death. We are not talking about pain, which can be managed, but a reduction in a quality of life to such a level that what was left was not the mother I loved, nor the woman she wanted to be, but an incontinent, emaciated, uncommunicative wreak of a human being, who had previously expressed a profound desire to be spared the indignity of such an existence. As she was near the time of her passing, I could see the primal fear in her eyes as she no longer had the capacity to rationalize what was happening to her. I can only wonder what a difference it could have made to her had she been able to choose to end her life on her terms, and to leave this life as the woman and mother she was and wanted to be remembered as.

    I know that should I be afflicted with a life threatening illness, I will fight it with all my worth, but if I was to be reduced to the same state as my mother, I would rather make the rational choice to go peacefully. That should be choice I can make, rather than be subject to live and die in a way that fits the beliefs of those who I may not agree with.

    To those who are against this end of life choice, I say to you, don’t make that choice. I would not dream of imposing such a decision on anyone else, and if you believe in the sanctity of life over the dignity of life, then I respect that. I do know that the dignity of life is what my mother wanted, and I do know that it was denied her.

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  30. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty, so you think Street’s bill will stop abuse?

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  31. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Chuck, I don’t know.

    What I do know is that how my mother died was tantamount to abuse, and that the answer to these problems don’t lie in absolutes.

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  32. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    I am sorry the way your mother died. Judging by some of the comments some people think there is an easy answer. Street seems to think she has one. She opposes her bill having to pass a second hurdle of a binding referendum. I have a feeling that it would likely pass that hurdle if the Select Committee actually listened to submitters. I do not not know of another western democracy that allows so much power to just a Lower House.

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  33. David in Chch (523 comments) says:

    To all those who are arguing against what I will call the “die-with-dignity” bill:

    You or your loved ones do not have to choose to die when and how you want. You can choose long lingering painful deaths if that is how you want to go – as martyrs in an empty cause. There is no war here. It is simply a choice, and a desire to make one of the choices legal that is currently illegal. You opposition to the bill is very noble – except that it is simply denying choice to those who want it. You are _forcing_ others to do things _your_ way. Euthanasia is NOT the same as the Nazi death camps. Never was, never will be.

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  34. UrbanNeocolonialist (306 comments) says:

    Lance, Polling suggests about 70-75% of people do support Euthanasia, so yes not having the legislation pass would be the loony fringe dictating to the lazy majority.

    CraigM, get a grip, I am not talking about walking granny out of her flat and shooting her, I am talking about putting down the wrecked empty shells that were once our loved ones and are no longer even aware of the world – they have long since stopped being people by any rational measure, so who (apart from the medical industry) benefits from keeping them alive?

    We have the compassion to do it for pets but societies creeping recovery from Christian irrationality and a collective fear of our own mortality prevents us from doing it for people? It’s little more than a bizarre form of torture.

    Given my family history this is likely going to happen to me too, and I would be happier being involuntarily euthanised by such a system than I am with the status quo.

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

    I think Urban NeoColon, you have just proved the point of many readers here. Congratulations on the own goal.
    You won’t see the introduction of voluntary euthanasia for many years to come. Because of that very danger. That people who cannot and would not consent, even if they were able to communicate, be euthanized. A bit like foetuses really.
    Euthanasia will move from an option of last resort to a common fate. Elder abortion as it were.
    Well, at least you won’t have the plug pulled on, what was it you called it again?. that’s right; your “shell”.
    Classy.
    Shit-fer.
    I suggest you add philosophy to your studies next year. Try and see the opposite point of view. One without the loathing of humanity.

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  36. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    Mention Euthanasia and the irrational argument pop out like mushrooms on wet autumn day. Nazis and and people lining up to pop their grannies galore. And while I agree with big bruv on his views on religion, demonising those against such as mere god botherers is unhelpful, as best

    Funnily enough, Andrei had the best argument for such a bill:

    In the real world people are helped along to the next world by their family and friends, as well as doctors every day and nobody is really interested in digging too deeply into these things – it is a matter between the perpetrators, their consciences and God.

    Yes, it is happening, but precisely because there is no sound legal process or footing, the state gets involved in these cases. The people involved can and are being criminalised, when you admit that they should not be

    Voluntary Euthanasia can be broken down into two distinct questions:

    A) Should a person of a sound mind and for very good reasons (facing certain painful and dehumanising death) have the right to end his life to avoid unnecessary suffering and/or maintain his dignity.

    B) Is possible to legislate and safe guard the people involved by executing such a right while establishing safeguards to ensure there is no mis- and/or abuse.

    The first problem is fairly abstract and can be discussed independently of the latter, which is far more complex.

    I believe the answer to both is yes, however it is not an easy and straightforward answer, nor one that should be taken lightly. It certainly isn’t an answer than can be answered by any referendum.

    It needs to be thoroughly discussed with the public, but also within parliament something that our legislative process is far better equipped to do than a referendum.

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  37. nasska (11,779 comments) says:

    The opponents of euthanasia need to sit down & have a nice cup of tea & practice some deep breathing. After this they may be able to see that what the supporters want is the right to CHOOSE the way that THEY exit the world. Maggie Barry, please take note & butt out.

    I strongly support both palliative care & euthanasia. I don’t support death squads hunting down granny & I’m confident that suitable wording of any enabling legislation can ensure that this won’t occur. I do not see why I or my loved ones should die screaming just so that the god delusions held by a few are not offended……those that wish to leave the world in such a manner should be free to do so, provided they do it in a soundproof room.

    On a practical level I would suggest that people should indicate their preferences re death in the same way & at the same time that they make their will. If they’re sane enough to do one then they’re sane enough to do the other.

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  38. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    None of the supporters ever say who is actually going to do all the killing. Doctors should not be dragged into this..It contravenes their oath…I can’t believe the wimpy notion that death should be suffering free..Childbirth is not suffering free. Suffering is a part of life..These comments make me wonder what kind of sanitized lives people have lead..The time a dying person spends suffering is very short and as others have said can be largely alleviated.

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  39. nasska (11,779 comments) says:

    joana

    Depends on what you’re suffering from. David Garrett instanced a case recently where a person was dying from slow suffocation because their diaphragm was diseased. The condition was terminal & pain relief was not applicable.

    In any case how can you claim the right to dictate the experience & terms of someone else’s death?

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  40. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    “It certainly isn’t an answer than can be answered by any referendum.”

    Why not after a third reading?

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  41. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    For what purpose, Chuck?
    At the third reading all discussions have taken place, all arguments heard, all facts exchanged, all feedback given through the selection committee, all voices heard, all opinions considered.

    A referendum would add no further value, no additional legitimacy, merely another platform for the opponents.
    After all, if it doesn’t pass the third reading there would be no referendum to continue with the bill, would there.

    I think there needs to be a lot of careful discussion around the topic, but it makes no sense to add a referendum to every bill that someone thinks is controversial.

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  42. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    I can’t believe the wimpy notion that death should be suffering free

    Really Joanna? That argument can only come from ignorance, because if it doesn’t, it then comes from malice.
    Alleviating and avoiding suffering is one of the most basic moral rules of human beings.
    Maybe you should spend some more time around those dying and suffering people and tell that to their faces.
    Rather “whimpy” to say things like that anonymously on a blog.

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  43. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    “For what purpose, Chuck?”

    The way the moral issues are currently decided is a number count of MPs. Sometimes am MP can swing his or her vote by a bit of horse trading – I will support you on this issue but I want ???. Some MPs my vote according to their moral or religious views. Others may cave in to pressure groups.

    This bill is very involved but not that difficult that the ordinary person cannot understand it. This is one issue where age and maturity count. Many people be they MPs or just voters would vote according to their personal experience. Many young MPs may not have witnessed a loved one die a prolonged and agonising death.

    I would vote against Street’s bill in its present form. I honestly do not know how I would vote for it in its final form. I suspect I would not be on my own. Their are good arguments for assisted suicide in some case like MND. However, there are also very good arguments about where it could lead to. I had a look a the Standard some time age in regard Street’s bill and there were idiots saying fantastic, you have thought of everything.

    If the MPs in the Select Committee in favour of the bill knew that they could have their law rejected by a Voters Veto they would be a lot more cautious in what they proposed. They would actually listen respectfully to submitters whose views they disagreed with unlike here on KB. I beleive a Voters Veto would make for better law.

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  44. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    I would vote against Street’s bill in its present form. I honestly do not know how I would vote for it in its final form. I suspect I would not be on my own. Their are good arguments for assisted suicide in some case like MND. However, there are also very good arguments about where it could lead to. I had a look a the Standard some time age in regard Street’s bill and there were idiots saying fantastic, you have thought of everything.

    You have a far better chance and opportunity to express your concerns and views in a select committee process than in a referendum.
    Reducing arguments to simple yes or no question of a referendum certainly doesn’t do a complicated moral question like this one any justice.

    All it does it enables any tiny minority against it to wage a emotional and irrational last minute attempt to against it. A referendum in this case is ONLY a tool of opposition, not of justification.

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  45. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    “You have a far better chance and opportunity to express your concerns and views in a select committee process than in a referendum.”

    Have you ever made a submission to a select committee that was dominated by conservatives. If not, how much do you think you would get listened to?

    I will be making a submission for this to go to a binding referendum if is gets drawn as I will with homosexual marriage. I oppose militant fanatics of either side going against the majority.

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  46. V (742 comments) says:

    Even if you do go down the hospice route, aren’t the high doses of morphine prescribed at end of life, essentially a form a euthanasia in itself?
    As far as I know nobody would argue for people to have a morphine-free death so they can go out with the maximum pain

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  47. Pete George (23,677 comments) says:

    Even if you do go down the hospice route, aren’t the high doses of morphine prescribed at end of life, essentially a form a euthanasia in itself?

    Sort of but not really. From my experience (watching my mother die in a hospice) the morphine dose was just enough to try and stop discomfort, but not enough to cause death.

    There were two problems with this. First, increases in doses were always reactive, which was after pain had been experienced.

    And second, much of the problem for my mother was severe discomfort, not pain, as she seemed to be slowly choking/drowning because she couldn’t clear liquid from her breathing tubes/lungs. It was very upsetting for my mother and for family.

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  48. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    I will be making a submission for this to go to a binding referendum if is gets drawn as I will with homosexual marriage. I oppose militant fanatics of either side going against the majority.

    Militant fanatic, Chuck ? Back to your old vocabulary again?
    Writing on a blog now somehow constitutes being a “militant fanatic” just because you disagree with it

    You see, this is exactly what I mean. You merely want a referendum to have another desperate last ditch effort to stop something you oppose, even though it has already passed all the discussions and debates and consultations.

    You cannot accept the democratic process that we have, nor do you ever accept that your views are not supported by the majority. And you are the one that calls other people “militant fanatics”. Quite ironic, really.

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  49. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    I suppose you call the way the anti-smacking law was introduced was democratic?

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  50. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    Why do you think otherwise, Chucky? Where was it undemocratic? It was supported by a huge cross-party majority in parliament. The politicians did, for once, what they were supposed to do, discuss, gather, evaluate all the facts and make a decision what’s best based on that.

    Don’t even bother pointing at referendum. The organisers completely and utterly threw away any kind of legitimacy by posing such a loaded and nonsensical question. The organisers had no intention whatsoever in having a proper debate with the referendum, merely manipulating an emotional response.

    That is exactly the problem with any referenda, it’s an opens up a venue to the worst kind of demagogues.

    Do you think it was undemocratic because it didn’t go your way?

    Voters could have punished those parties that voted for the repeal of section 59 in the next election, they could have supported ACT who voted against the repeal. But they didn’t. They voted in John Key, who was more responsible for the law passing than anyone else.

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  51. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    “Voters could have punished those parties that voted for the repeal of section 59 in the next election”

    They might just do that in the election in 2014. Liberals like you made an own goal.

    I beleive Mathew Hooton is likely correct especially if the threshold is lowered to 4% and we well see both ACT and the Conservative Party in Parliament. Both these parties support some form binding referenda on moral issues as did an number of National MPs when Civil Unions was voted on. Rodney Hide did as well but he has done a number of flip flops on the issue depending on the audience he was talking to.

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  52. Chuck Bird (4,923 comments) says:

    “Do you think it was undemocratic because it didn’t go your way? ”

    I might ask you if you think the current system is democratic because it give the result that you personally like?

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  53. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    I might ask you if you think the current system is democratic because it give the result that you personally like?

    Let me see, do you mean things like a national led government, asset sales, tax cuts for the rich, charter schools, etc. etc.?
    Are those results that you really think I personally like?

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