Rodney on Euthanasia – his full column

August 27th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide has written in the Herald on Sunday on why he supports euthanasia, and the so sad case of who had to kill himself because we did not allow . Rodney has told the story before, but not to quite the same detail. I can’t abridge it, so quote it in full:

I doubt my friend Martin Hames ever needed a decent pair of pyjamas. But 10 years ago, he went and bought himself a brand new pair.

Martin lived alone. He didn’t own a TV. He didn’t have a car. He was the shyest man I have ever met. I never knew him to have a girlfriend.

Martin worked with me in Parliament. He used to call me Boss even though I wasn’t. It was his way of getting me to do things. He would say, “Focus on the big picture, Boss. Get stuck into government expenditure/apartheid/the-failing-school system.” I almost always followed Martin’s advice.

He had worked for the Reserve Bank then with Ruth Richardson when she was Minister of Finance. He wrote the brilliant book Winston First. That was about you-know-who. He wrote numerous policy papers and penned many speeches. He wrote a marvellous book titled The Crisis In New Zealand Schools.

Martin was wickedly funny and socially awkward. He didn’t so much walk as jerk along. His arms often waved about uncontrollably.

I still laugh when I remember him throwing a cup of coffee over his shoulder.

That was when our gorgeous press secretary told him he could slip sugar into her hot drink anytime he liked.

Martin’s mother had died of Huntington’s disease. Her truly dreadful death took years. In the final stages of Huntington’s the mind loses its ability to control even the simplest movements – even swallowing is difficult and many sufferers die choking.

So, at 19 years old, Martin learned he had a 50 per cent chance of suffering the disease. He decided not to marry. Or have children. The risk was too great. And in his 40th year he got the fateful diagnosis.

We knew what he was planning. But the law forbade us helping or even knowing.

He put his affairs in order. On his own, one night at home, alone, he pinned a note to his new pyjama top: “Huntington’s disease: Please Do Not Resuscitate”. He attempted a massive overdose. But poor Martin. He didn’t get all the pills down.

His neighbour found him. Martin regained consciousness in Wellington Hospital. The circulation had stopped to his legs and the doctors wanted to amputate.

Martin asked what would happen if they didn’t cut his legs off. “You will die”.

“Good,” replied Martin, “I have Huntington’s disease.”

The doctors and nurses understood, wheeled him into intensive care. They gave him pain relief, looked after him. They were truly marvellous.

I dreaded going to see him. I needn’t have. “I am having a great death, Boss. I am getting to say goodbye to my friends.”

His characteristic shyness was gone. Why bother? It was his last day on this Earth.

Ruth Richardson shed a tear. “See,” said Martin, “I always knew you were a big softie.”

The young press sec kissed Martin and said, “See you round.” Martin replied: “Maybe – it’s taking me longer to die than they thought.”

Martin Hames died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of the next morning. His dad was there. He died happy and he died content.

Martin had every right to take his own life. He also had every right to ask for help. But to give that help is against the law.

Martin feared he would slip into madness or lose control before he killed himself and be sentenced to years of suffering that would be hateful to him.

Maryan Street’s End of Life Choice Bill, now before Parliament, would have enabled Martin to plan his death better. He would not have needed to rush to it.

He and I joked one last time. Then he was serious. He said if I wanted to do something in his memory it would be to change our law so no one else had to go through what he had had to go through. He said, “Boss, change it, change it for all the others.”

I told him I would do my very best.

This column’s not as good as you could write, Martin. But it’s my best. And it’s for you.

Up until reading this account some years ago, I had been slightly anti-euthanasia. Coming from a medical family I did not like the idea of doctors ever having a role in ending life rather than preserving it. But I realised how selfish that preference was, when I read the awful choice the current law forced on people like Martin. No one should ever have been forced into having to make the choice he did.

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60 Responses to “Rodney on Euthanasia – his full column”

  1. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    “I did not like the idea of doctors ever having ever having a role in ending life rather than preserving it”.

    Indeed, because they don’t want it either. Doctors are opposed to this.

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  2. BeaB (2,104 comments) says:

    But can you ask someone else to kill you? And on whom would you place this burden? Your child? Your spouse? Your doctor? A stranger?

    Can’t we be given some information about a painless and effective way we could use to tidy ourselves away, unaided.

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  3. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Sensible stuff from Rodney. I have enjoyed his new Sunday columns. He seems more relaxed out of parliament.

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  4. Griff (7,246 comments) says:

    Hamnida
    Act and the neolib view and you agree;—; twenty readings of maos little red book for you

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  5. kowtow (8,152 comments) says:

    Hard cases make bad law.

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  6. Lucia Maria (2,275 comments) says:

    Suicide is the ultimate selfish act, and requiring others to kill you is even worse.

    Rodney’s friend’s death may seem like a sob-story, but it’s designed to trick your conscience into thinking that killing someone is the humane thing to do – it isn’t.

    We have so much death in this world – we need to defend life!

    NOTE for those that will condemn me for my harsh stance. My best friend killed herself when we were both 14 and I have talked one friend out of killing themselves and visited another (who tried to kill himself) in the psych ward for 6 months. I was with my father when he died of lung cancer, so I seen someone die painfully. My father and a brother and sister were the only survivors of the members of their family who were starved to death by the Soviets in Kazakhstan. State sanctioned suicide is the ultimate evil and must be resisted, no matter how many sob-stories like Rodney’s are dredged up. Once we start down that road, it will be too late.

    [DPF: A sob story? Dredged up? Be careful with your language. This was an actual human being - one many of us knew. Do you have any idea what his future was with his condition - both mental and physical degradation until you are a vegetable unable to swallow? That is a world of difference from being a suicidal youth,]

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  7. Andrei (2,537 comments) says:

    A Gay marriage and an Euthenasia post on the same day.

    Just re-read Brave New World. Our world is becoming more and more like that dystopia with each passing day.

    I guess Liberals would view the world in that book as a paradise, lots of sex with no consequences, ubiquitous drugs to keep you content and getting to be put to sleep before old age kicks in

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  8. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    If your dog was in pain from an incurable disorder what would you do?

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  9. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    I recommend the book “Deadly Compassion: The Death of Ann Humphry and the Case Against Euthanasia”. Ann Humphry was the wife of a prominent Euthenasia advocate – until she got cancer and became a burden to him. In the end, the only people she could turn to for compassion were those on the other side of the debate.

    A truly horrible story.

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  10. RRM (9,769 comments) says:

    God wants you to suffer on the way out, like you were supposed to. Nice.

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  11. Griff (7,246 comments) says:

    State sanctioned suicide is the ultimate evil
    I thought it was sodomy
    murder
    rape
    blasphemy
    theft
    lies
    wars
    gay marriage
    birth control
    sex
    statues in a condom
    and the teachings of Mohammad the goat

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  12. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    RRM: no one here is advocating withholding palliative care. So please leave your straw men out of this.

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  13. Tony (10 comments) says:

    I was also a good friend of Martin’s visiting regularly for a chat and coffee in his little apartment. I too rushed to Wellington Hospital in the morning when I heard he had attempted suicide.

    I have to tell you all that spending that last day with Martin Hames as he lay dying was one of the most memorable and, yes, marvellous experiences I will ever have ! Martin turned what could have been a bitter, tragic event into his own celebration of his life!! They say that your life flashes in front of you at the end . . . well Martin was lucky enough to have a whole day when his friends from all parts of his life came in to say hello one last time; share the highlights of their time together and validate all the good things he had achieved. There was so much laughter at Martin’s last day that we were told to keep the noise down (we were in Intensive Care).

    Martin’s death as he was forced to plan it was about being secret so friends didn’t discover and revived him (or even worse did not and then face prosecution under the law); about struggling to force down lots of pills when he could barely swallow; about dying all by himself. But I believe that a something gave Martin Hames the end day he really wished for. I can tell you all that, for those like Martin who are determined to be in charge of how their life ends, spending that last day with Martin felt right, it felt good and Martin said he was very thankful for it.

    That said, the tragedy is Martin could have lived on some more years. I think he was working on another book. But he felt he had to kill himself when he still could and so we will never know what further insights he had to give the world.

    Martin asks, through me, to please support the law change to permit Euthanasia so others like him do not face the choice of ending their life early and alone but with dignity, celebration and when they choose.

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  14. kowtow (8,152 comments) says:

    griff you left out your particlar religion, the necessity for state control of the weather and the evil of carbon dioxide mwuhahahahahaha

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  15. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    The law has to be able to accommodate hard cases.

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  16. James Stephenson (2,136 comments) says:

    RRM: no one here is advocating withholding palliative care. So please leave your straw men out of this

    There’s suffering beyond simple physical pain.

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  17. hmmokrightitis (1,580 comments) says:

    @East Welly Superhero:

    ““I did not like the idea of doctors ever having ever having a role in ending life rather than preserving it”.

    Indeed, because some Doctors don’t want it either. Some Doctors are opposed to this. Others can see the sense in it.”

    FTFY. Many Doctors I speak to who work in palliative care want clarity and certainty for them and their patients. Just because you make shit up doesn’t make it real. You might want to consider that.

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  18. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    DPF: But I realised how selfish that preference was, when I read the awful choice the current law forced on people like Martin. No one should ever have been forced into having to make the choice he did.

    Yes, how selfish if doctors can’t kill patients.

    And what a bigots they are if they don’t want to terminate a patient (yes, that’s the future. They’re public servants, can’t refuse requests, discriminate etc). Get them out of the hospital now.

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  19. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    What’s wrong with selfishness? Human life is about pursuing self interested values…not altruist sacrifices as the God squad would shackle you to….

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  20. Lucia Maria (2,275 comments) says:

    DPF,

    [DPF: A sob story? Dredged up? Be careful with your language. This was an actual human being - one many of us knew. Do you have any idea what his future was with his condition - both mental and physical degradation until you are a vegetable unable to swallow? That is a world of difference from being a suicidal youth,]

    Yes, a sob story. The man is now dead and the memory of his death is being used to advance the cause of state sanctioned suicide, and the story is supposed to pull at our heart strings and make us feel sorry for him and those he left, thus changing our minds on allowing people to kill others they think are suffering.

    You should have seen my Dad when was dying. He was only skin and bone, and so out of it because of the morphine. He died struggling to breathe. He wanted the Hospice to kill him! I am so thankful they did not, because when it came down to it, it didn’t take him that long to die.

    I have a severely autistic brother who cannot speak and is in care. How long before someone decides his life is not worth living and he should be killed?

    I can see in what you said, David, that you are teetering on the edge on this. Don’t teeter. Pull yourself back. Don’t let this story change your mind!

    When it comes to these life and death issues, you either become passive and weak and allow it to happen and pretend it’s the compassionate thing, or you grab someone back from the brink and refuse to let go. Rodney has become all weak and jellyfish, just because he had a friend who couldn’t face his life and eventual death (which we will all face). Don’t let him pull you in with him! You are from a family of physicians, you have it in you, that strength! Life is worth living until we die and it changes a society that allows people to be killed before their time. Don’t support something that will turn our physicians into killers!

    We are all going to die eventually, anyway, and most of us not peacefully in our sleep. I don’t want to live in a society that kills people because they might suffer – the worst suffering is fear of death anyway.

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  21. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    Well written, Rodney. Maybe I should think again about some of my harsher criticims of you you have a compassionate and thoughtful side.

    The euthanaisa debate must be had. Medical technology is making it technically possible to preserve life almost indefinitely if money and quality of life are not concerns. More and more people are worried about their lack of end-of-life options.

    At the very least lets have a parliamentary commission of inquiry to flush out the shades of opinion and issues. Please.

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  22. wat dabney (3,755 comments) says:

    LM,

    I don’t want to live in a society that kills people because they might suffer

    You are, of course, completely twisting the argument.

    Why do you lie like this? I mean, what’s the point? It achieves absolutely nothing except show the paucity of your position.

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  23. Griff (7,246 comments) says:

    I am trying to refrain from making more irrelevant statements towards the Xians in this post This is a very moving personal tale and some of the players read this blog
    I lost someone close to me due to a prolong and debilitating illness The end came due to a Do Not Resuscitate which is a form of euthanasia
    The reality is this sort of decision is faced by the medical profession on a daily basis. Adding to the difficulty persons in the medical profession face with the ethical dilemma is the threat of prosecution for a decision that is as old as life its self. The law at present is an ass it should reflect reality not the warped views of the sky faeries mob

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  24. Reid (16,183 comments) says:

    What interests me in this issue whenever its raised is that the idiot media constantly wheel out the canard that euthanasia legislation will automatically mean that people will somehow be coerced into prematurely taking their lives.

    I saw one lefty last week when Key raised it (think it was Tapu Misa) mention that in their learned opinion if the law was there then they fully expected to see family giving elderly relatives meaningful looks: meaning, go kill yourself mum or dad, just so we can get your inheritance.

    It’s mental, isn’t it. Yet this point always repeat always gets raised during all the debates we’ve had on it. I’ve seen Walrus raise it and I’ve seen Campbell raise it. What poisonous evil lurks in the lefty mind that they truly really actually in fact think that there is a large subset of people out there who really truly would in fact encourage their own family to kill themselves simply to get access to their money. It’s quite frankly disgusting. Will lefties ever recognise they don’t have a monopoly on human values such as love, respect for others, etc? Not from what I’ve seen. It seems to be part of being lefty.

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  25. RRM (9,769 comments) says:

    It seems to be part of being a god-bothering conservative too Reid, as far as I can judge from this thead…

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  26. Michael (903 comments) says:

    Martin Hames wanted euthanasia to be legal, he would have preferred it – he would have lived longer if he knew that when he passed a certain point he could choose to die. Instead he did it when could still manage it himself.

    I met Martin a few times, he was quite simply the most intelligent person I’ve ever met. I was on a quiz team with him one time, he was unstoppable and if it wasn’t for the music and sports rounds would have won the whole quiz by himself.

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  27. Colville (2,248 comments) says:

    Anyone that truly loves you would top you if you asked them.
    I certianly hope that either of my bro’s would bring me a trusty 12 gauge to “clean” if I required it.

    and what is wrong with suicide? as long as I have the good taste not to splatter myself all over the carpet and leave my affairs in order then who is harmed by me ending it all.

    The G*d botherers on here can kiss my hairy arse.

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  28. nasska (11,095 comments) says:

    Colville

    …”The G*d botherers on here can kiss my hairy arse.”….

    Best comment I’ve read on the subject in a long while.

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  29. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    So, Rodney Hide has all these brilliant views about what the country should be doing. If only he had a chance to be an MP what a difference he could make!

    Oh, what’s that? He has been an MP? For quite a number of years? I can’t wait to hear how he changed the country for the better…

    Here’s the list of his well-known accomplishments as an MP:
    1. Got a young girlfriend
    2. Became a body builder
    3. Increased the immensity of the Auckland Council, making local government even more powerful
    4. Had a nice holiday around the world with young girlfriend – courtesy of the taxpayer
    5. Helped trigger the destruction of the ACT Party
    6. Went on a reality TV dancing show

    Great work.

    On euthanasia… Most of us will not need euthanasia. We’ll either die unexpectedly, or at worst have about a week lying in a bed with a morphine pump under our skin before we drift off peacefully.

    There are circumstances where people would prefer to die, and if it’s a rational choice then good on them. I’d guess sometimes it’s depression making them want to die, so you’d have to exclude that. I don’t think it should be a crime to help someone who rationally wants to die, and isn’t physically able.

    Personally, if a family member was dying, while living an undignified and horrible life with no chance of improvement, and they wanted out and were ready to go (e.g. said goodbye to the family etc) under the current laws I would help them end their life. This would have to be someone I cared about enough to risk murder charges, and it wouldn’t be easy. But I like to think I’d help someone in that way.

    I’d keep it quiet and I wouldn’t write a book about it though!!

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  30. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Helped trigger the destruction of the ACT Party

    No tristanb, I think you have the trigger confused with the barrel. And not the breach end either!

    Don was the trigger man

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  31. Griff (7,246 comments) says:

    banks was the bullet that killed it dead as a dead thing
    You can not have a liberal party with a Cristian conservative as its only mp. its an evil abomination

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  32. Grendel (991 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria is a horrible horrible person.

    her desire that people suffer just becuase she thinks they should is just the lowest of the low. refusing to heed the wishes of a family member begging to die because ” it didn’t take him that long to die”. and what if it had taken weeks? nope Lucia would have forced him to live just to satisfy her own views.

    this is the compassion of religion supposedly.

    i have nothing against JC, or religion in general, just the nasty horrible control freaks it seems to attract. you people are horrid.

    noone is suggesting the law be changed to force people to kill you. what people are asking is that (ideally ahead of time when you are fully compos mentos) you can state your desire to commit suicide when the pain is too much for you (not for someone else, for you). at that time, you would indicate your desire to go ahead with this, you would have someone independent check that you were not being forced etc, and then you or a support person (who would volunteer) would help you take something that will kill you painlessly, and no one will be prosecuted for it.

    that cannot happen now, forcing people like martin to end his life before he needed to, so that he could be sure to be able to do it.

    the real crime is that the blinkered view of absolute fuckwits like Lucia and the rest of the book bashers forced him to go potentially years early, just to satisfy their own warped views.

    if man is to own anything in this life it is his own life, and when to end it. that people should be prosecuted for assisting someone to take the ultimate control of their life is just wrong.

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  33. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    “You should have seen my Dad when was dying. He was only skin and bone, and so out of it because of the morphine. He died struggling to breathe. He wanted the Hospice to kill him! I am so thankful they did not, because when it came down to it, it didn’t take him that long to die.”

    I used to think that you weren’t a bad sort of a tart for a Catholic Lucia till I read that.

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  34. Chuck Bird (4,825 comments) says:

    “Don was the trigger man”

    You reckon? And how would you know Mr Anonymous?

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  35. Steve (North Shore) (4,539 comments) says:

    That’s two sob stories today Lucia Maria.

    What is you record for one day? 5? Bloody Devil Dodgers never stop once they get a leg in the door

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  36. Chuck Bird (4,825 comments) says:

    “banks was the bullet that killed it dead as a dead thing”

    And who was the one who was pulling the strings behind the scenes who wanted Rodney out of Epsom and out of ACT because he hated his guts?

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  37. Nostalgia-NZ (5,090 comments) says:

    Did you find the last 3 sentences in the article a little odd Chuck Bird?

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  38. Chuck Bird (4,825 comments) says:

    @Nostalgia-NZ please do not talk in riddles.

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  39. Nostalgia-NZ (5,090 comments) says:

    The article started out on the question of euthanasia Chuck Bird, progressed through some apparently anguished moments of the writer, then became an address to a man long dead. Hard to follow the point. Perhaps you’re in the habit of addressing the dead yourself in this way Chuck, and maybe able to shed some light upon the process?

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  40. Chuck Bird (4,825 comments) says:

    I did not find it that odd. Have you ever been to a funeral?

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  41. Nostalgia-NZ (5,090 comments) says:

    Yes I have Chuck.

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  42. infused (652 comments) says:

    Ah religious people…

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  43. Lucy (32 comments) says:

    Something needs to be done about the law. We don’t let animals suffer the way we let human beings. I was listening to a couple of health care professionals on Nine to Noon and also to the Prime Minister’s comments. I think we are all talking about the same thing. Enabling people to die on their own terms with dignity. We are not talking about suicide here, we are talking about helping people who are suffering – or who will face suffering. We wouldn’t let a dog or a cat suffer – why do we let the members of our community?

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  44. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Ah religion, the perfect excuse to feel good while spreading pain and suffering. Nothing like basing your morals on something written back when slavery was OK, for self-serving reasons (patently obvious to a modern day child) that suffer from the worst post-hoc reasoning.

    “No you cant end your suffering! The big fairy in the sky doesn’t want you to and I MIGHT HAVE TO SUFFER SOME MILD EMOTIONAL DISCOMFORT IF YOU DO!”

    Just like gay marriage, legal euthanasia happening within the decade, and no one cares if that upsets you.

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  45. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    Yes, a sob story. The man is now dead and the memory of his death is being used to advance the cause of state sanctioned suicide, and the story is supposed to pull at our heart strings and make us feel sorry for him and those he left, thus changing our minds on allowing people to kill others they think are suffering.

    Yes, a sob story. Your father is now dead and the memory of his death is being used to advance the cause of your religious views, and the story is supposed to pull at our heart strings and make us feel sorry for him and those he left, thus changing our minds on allowing people to suffer.

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  46. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    … the story is supposed to pull at our heart strings and make us feel sorry for him and those he left, thus changing our minds on allowing people to kill others they think are suffering.

    Make you feel sorry? See how the loving christian descries basic human emotion?

    This is real suffering. This is the result of your desired policy. Look it in the eye. Dont shy away from it. If you oppose the law change, THIS is what you will inflict on other people.

    And see how you have to lie to mount any counter argument? What do false witnesses have to look forward too when they die?

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  47. Cactus Kate (549 comments) says:

    Tristanb

    “On euthanasia… Most of us will not need euthanasia. We’ll either die unexpectedly, or at worst have about a week lying in a bed with a morphine pump under our skin before we drift off peacefully.”

    Most of us are not gay therefore don’t need marriage equality ourselves either. Doesn’t mean we cannot be in favour of it. Rodney has given Martin’s story before and it has gone on David’s blog before when he was an MP.

    Lucia Maria

    Surely you would be in favor of euthanasia for those near there given heaven according to your beliefs is better than earth. Otherwise what is your company selling as a product to its clients? An inferior product?

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  48. Shunda barunda (2,977 comments) says:

    So Martin wasn’t actually even suffering serious effects of the disease when he killed himself?

    How sad that a man felt there was nothing worth living for even when he may have had many years left before the disease had any real effect on his life.

    It seems to me that Martin may have had other ‘issues’ than Huntington’s disease and I think it is unfair to use him as an example without knowing more about him and why he was the way he was.

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  49. RRM (9,769 comments) says:

    How sad that a man felt there was nothing worth living for even when he may have had many years left before the disease had any real effect on his life.

    Read the column again. Try paying attention this time.

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  50. RRM (9,769 comments) says:

    This is real suffering. This is the result of your desired policy. Look it in the eye. Dont shy away from it. If you oppose the law change, THIS is what you will inflict on other people.

    The Christian Taliban have their book of words. They see no need to think from first principles about the human consequences of their wishes and ideas.

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  51. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Shunda Barunda – Why don’t you actually read the story before you comment!?! He tried to kill himself before the systems got so bad that he physically couldn’t; he couldn’t swallow all the pills because his disease meant that it was already difficult for him to swallow. The point was that if he had been able to plan an assisted death he would have lived longer after he was no longer capable of taking his own life!

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  52. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    I wonder if the anti-euthanasia crowd have ever sat down to consider the peculiarity of their position.

    Surely if the abbreviation of life at a suffering individuals request is absolutely bad*, then there are only two alternative positions; 1) that life must be extended as long as possible, 2) that life must end at some point after the sufferers desires but some point before the maximum possible.

    Given the implications, few would stomach arguing for the first position: life could be sustained an incredibly long time if every resource was dedicated to the purpose and interventions were forced upon the subject. But the first position at least proscribes some course of action, Position 2 doesn’t.

    Position 2 means that medical attention is not mandated, but also that no steps are taken to end the suffering. It is the equivalent of leaving a dying person out for the buzzards to tear to pieces because you don’t want to get your knife dirty.

    It takes an especially warped view of the world for them to think this makes them good people.

    * As evidenced by their unwillingness to address the topic honestly and their refusal to acknowledge the limited scope of the proposal. Even the threat of eternal damnation doesn’t sway them from this course. I suppose their desire to worship the being who gave them their morals, doesn’t extend to living their life by those morals.

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  53. Chuck Bird (4,825 comments) says:

    I think both sides are being dishonest to an extent. Those totally opposed to euthanasia try to claim that palliative care can address all concerns. In some cases it clearly cannot.

    The other side argues that Street’s bill with perhaps some minor changes can address all the concerns about abuse. It laws could be drafted perfectly there would never be any need for amendments.

    The way the current Select Committee works is that the proponents of the bills will be counting the votes in advance and we only pay lip service to the submitters.

    If they had to pass a binding referendum if the bill passes its final reading the proponents of the bill would be much more likely to actually listen to submitters.

    While I can see good arguments for this bill there will be abuses. They should be kept to a minimum. As well as a binding referendum there should be a sunset clause and it should go to a further binding referendum at the end of it.

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  54. KevinH (1,194 comments) says:

    Yawn. Get the tissues out, Rodney’s gone sentimental over an old well canvassed discussion.

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  55. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Chuck,

    As societies grew larger and more complex, direct democracy had to give way to another form to allow effective government. In Western democracies that is representative democracy – as we have.

    Binding referenda are an attempt to return to a form of democracy that cannot help but be even less efficient than what we have now under representative democracy. Our democracy does not need to be weighed down with the delay and expense that results from a quasi form of direct democracy (binding referenda)

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  56. Chuck Bird (4,825 comments) says:

    Can you name one other country that has a similar system to NZ since it got rid of the Upper House in the 50s?

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  57. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Chuck,

    Can you name another country of a similar scale to NZ that has an upper house?

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  58. Chuck Bird (4,825 comments) says:

    @bhudson

    It is not just a matter of a Upper House. I doubt if any country of similar size not only lacks and Upper House but has MMP and allows conscience votes that are drawn from a ballot.

    I would like to bills if like this to go to a referendum but could accept if the practice of member’s bill were discontinued and such policies had to be put in a party’s manifesto. This way we are give MPs a blank cheque.

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  59. Liberal Minded Kiwi (1,570 comments) says:

    Grendel, you summed up Lucia Maria in your first sentence. I would pay good money to meet this woman sometime and see how she lives her life. Her belief system believes very strongly that everybody are sinners – including herself. But she takes it to a brand new level by discriminating which sins are worse than others. That is itself, another sin.

    How dare she even put her oar into this discussion. An utterly nasty vindictive person – who doesn’t care one jot about a wonderful and decent man Martin was.

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  60. Mirror-me (7 comments) says:

    As someone who lives with the possibility of one day developing Huntington’s I can associate with Rodney’s article.
    I prefer not to know if it is lurking, ready to make an ugly appearance, instead I happily live in ignorance. I may, or may not have inherited the gene, but at least not being sure, I don’t panic every time my eye twitches.

    One day I will pick up the results of a test I had done two years ago, and be able to tell my kids whether unknowingly I have passed a time bomb on to them. Once I know, like Rodney’s friend, I too will plan an exit strategy. One that I will undertake when the struggle of living becomes greater than the ease of dying.

    Euthanasia challenges concepts of our own mortality. It is about as personal as one can get. I believe it should be a matter of informed choice, not one of ignorant desperation.

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