Key on euthanasia

July 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister has signalled possible loosening of laws, saying he would sympathise with “speeding up of the process” of death for a terminally ill patient.

He told Family First director Bob McCoskrie in a public interview at a forum in Auckland yesterday that euthanasia would be “a legitimate thing” to speed up death for a terminally ill patient who was in pain.

But he said he would not vote for a bill proposed by Labour MP Maryan Street that would allow any adult suffering from a condition likely to cause their death within 12 months to request medical assistance to die.

“If it’s the same bill, I’ll oppose it because I think the way that bill was structured is not good law,” he said. “In the world that I live in, in my head, it’s a conscience issue. So when someone says to me ‘euthanasia’ I think of the person that is terminally ill, that is going to die, and in a tremendous amount of times and in my world, euthanasia is a legitimate thing in that situation.”

I agree.

He said modern medical practice was to give terminally ill patients pain relief and allow the natural process of death to occur.

“The palliative care would not do anything to prolong their life or to shorten their life. What I would say is in that scenario I … could understand the speeding up of the process,” he said. “The bill goes a lot further than that. In the situation where grandma is 92 [and people just want her to go], that’s not acceptable.”

I’m not sure the Street bill does do that. Regardless I would hope it would be sent to select committee, so NZers can have their say on the issue, and the bill can be given as many safeguards as possible.

Labour leader David Cunliffe declined to comment on the issue yesterday and Ms Street did not return calls.

This is one reason people like John Key – he will give his personal opinion on an issue – even if to an audience where almost everyone disagrees with him.

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101 Responses to “Key on euthanasia”

  1. kowtow (8,175 comments) says:

    If we want NZers to have their say ,then let’s have a referendum please.

    The electorate are left out of the democratic process in this country far too often.(and don’t tell me a GE every 3 years hacks it,it doesn’t)

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  2. Nostradamus (3,295 comments) says:

    Hmmm…

    Euthanasia

    My prediction: at least 150-200 comments.

    This is one reason people like John Key – he will give his personal opinion on an issue – even if to an audience where almost everyone disagrees with him.

    My prediction: at least 50 more comments from people who suffer from Key Derangement Syndrome.

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  3. lazza (380 comments) says:

    Yep put me down for “assistance to die” (in principle) … and in practice too … I like to believe, if it ever came to that.

    If conscious, just give me a day or two to make my peace, if not … then “go for it” in circumstances of “do not recustitate”/hopeless termnally ill cases. OK?

    It is really not a lot different from what prevails today … just pulling the plug.

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  4. Mike (473 comments) says:

    This is great. Hopefully we will see some reform.

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  5. Daniel (200 comments) says:

    I have to disagree about your comment regarding Cunliffe – I can see you are implying he is a sleazeball who only gives soft speeches that peddle to that specific audience and ignores everyone else.

    I’m sure we all remember the speech he gave at the Avondale markets, where he apologised for being a man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvenqcfX1j8

    And the recent speech he gave to Refuge where he put on a “bro” accent.

    Or have I got those mixed up?

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  6. Chuck Bird (4,832 comments) says:

    “This is one reason people like John Key – he will give his personal opinion on an issue – even if to an audience where almost everyone disagrees with him.”

    He certainly deserves credit for that. However, he and most MPs except for Winston believe they have a superior conscience so a law such as this can be decided by MPs conscience that is not better than the rest of the voters.

    Hopefully Winston and/or Colin can convince him that MPs do not have any better sense of right and wrong and the issue should be decided by binding referendum. Select committees on moral issues are a joke.

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  7. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    People die pretty fast naturally why the need for assistance.

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  8. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Anything that speeds up the demise of Cunliffe should be encouraged! :)

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  9. Chuck Bird (4,832 comments) says:

    @Daniel

    Cunliffe, was invited to attend the Forum on the Family 5 months out and numerous other times. He completely refused. When Phil Goff was leader he attended a similar forum. Why could not Cunliffe man up and front an audience that is not full of sycophants?

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  10. Chuck Bird (4,832 comments) says:

    Should euthanasia be allowed for those suffering from incurable foot in mouth disease?

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  11. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Hmmm…

    Euthanasia

    My prediction: at least 150-200 comments.

    I dont think so Nostradamus, its not as if anyone has mentioned how David Bain is obviously guilty of killing his whole family and it was impossible for his father to have done it.

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  12. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    I totally agree with Key on this one.

    Whilst I agree that terminally ill should be made comfortable, and if suffering, providing very tight guidelines are met, their length of ‘dying’ should be as short as is desired, however, I would hate to see euthanasia used as a means to get rid of the responsibility we should all have, to care for the elderly and infirm.

    There is of course the argument that euthanasia will devalue the meaning of life – however, at what stage do we decide that ‘life’ is no longer tenable?

    I do not think it should be allowed to be dominated by religious debate. Something as important as this, needs a referendum as Kowtow pointed out.

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  13. Mike (473 comments) says:

    While i certainly agree that there needs to be strict controls to ensure there isn’t any foul play, it is notable that the elderly don’t exactly have it good right now.. loads are dumped into nursing homes, never visited and at the complete mercy of the (sometimes poorly trained and in my experience, aggressive) staff.

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  14. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    It’s particularly good that Key is prepared to be open about his views on a controversial issue like this leading in to an election. It shouldn’t matter politically anyway as any decision in Parliament on it should be conscience votes.

    I think a referendum would be far too limited in scope and on too long a timeframe – ideally you would need a preliminary one and a final one. Better to include the public in discussions as much as possible and poll public opinion.

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  15. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    Marching on to the

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  16. Chuck Bird (4,832 comments) says:

    PG, a binding referendum could be worded very simply. Do you approve or the Death with Dignity Bill which has passed its third reading – Yes or No?

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  17. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    Mike (395 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 3:45 pm
    While i certainly agree that there needs to be strict controls to ensure there isn’t any foul play, it is notable that the elderly don’t exactly have it good right now.. loads are dumped into nursing homes, never visited and at the complete mercy of the (sometimes poorly trained and in my experience, aggressive) staff.

    On the contrary the elderly I have visited have all been well looked after.

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  18. Colville (2,250 comments) says:

    If it were me and I had cancer in my guts and no hope, I dont want my Son to be forced bring me a shotgun to ‘clean” just so his ole man can go out without screaming and shitting himself for weeks on end.

    If you are at the end of the line what is the point of 10 / 100 more days in drugged up pain ? say your goodbyes, drink a few good dramms and fuck off!

    Let me see if I was wrong and there really is a G*d ! :-) (I dont think I am wrong)

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  19. Colville (2,250 comments) says:

    OH and smart move by Key.
    Stealing oxygen from Cun*liffe again.

    60% to Nats. Here we come.

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  20. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    Typical Key comment – hedging his bets -he would sympathise with – doesn’t say that he would do anything, and then misrepresents the position of the private members bill. Very slippery.

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  21. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Cleaning the brain matter off the ceiling is no worse than emptying the bucket full of chundered shit Colville! :)

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  22. artemisia (235 comments) says:

    Mike (395 comments) says: July 5th, 2014 at 3:45 pm …. it is notable that the elderly don’t exactly have it good right now.. loads are dumped into nursing homes, never visited ……………

    Just because people are old does not mean they are nice. Or even that they treated their family halfway decently. Sometimes, just sometimes, what goes round comes round. And fair enough too.

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  23. Colville (2,250 comments) says:

    Johnboy.
    20 gauge with number 3 shot but very low charge, plastic sheet to catch mess.
    Loaded with love by my Son.

    and I woudlnt have the bad taste to use a gun I liked! Cops will be forced to wreck the gun you use. So some spanish POS gun will do the job, not a nice hammered double barrel Greener.

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  24. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Everyone should have a great exit plan Colville! :)

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  25. nasska (11,143 comments) says:

    Make euthanasia conditional on a person indicating their preference either way while they are in full possession of their faculties. For that matter it should be done by declaration, in front of a lawyer & notarised the same as a will or an enduring power of attorney.

    End of problem…..I can go when I’m ready & the Godaddled can die screaming in pain as is their wont. Everyone’s a winner.

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  26. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    John Key is a fruit salad in terms of his faith: Raised Anglican, son of Jewish mother, husband of a Catholic. He himself seems to be an agnostic, Visits Christian festivals and encourages people to go to the gay parade.

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  27. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    As the TV ad says…”We’re all going to die…but not just yet!” :)

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  28. MT_Tinman (3,094 comments) says:

    I am completely selfish on this.

    As long as someone puts me down when I no longer serve as a good bad example I don’t care what the law says.

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  29. Unity (483 comments) says:

    We definitely need a referendum on this matter. I firmly believe the terminally ill should be able to choose to die with a bit of dignity but there must be strict safeguards in place to make sure that this isn’t just a convenience for the family. It is amazing the number of families who don’t treat their elderly relatives properly and are keen to hasten a process which will see them divvying up the proceeds. On the other hand there are many who would place the interests of the terminally ill relative first.

    However, the public must be consulted. This is too important to leave to the politicians.

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  30. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    One of the main concerns regarding euthanasia, is that the elderly will be made to feel they are being a nuisance and encouraged for ‘financial’ and practical measures, to move on.

    There is also the argument that if we are so quick to devalue life, by promoting death, will that also transfer to other areas of the community. The blind are a hell of a nuisance on the street. The crippled cost us to put in special facilities. Bloggers are generally a bunch of moaners, and so on.

    Whatever laws are bought in, they will have to be extremely well written and provide very set guidelines for who and how they are eligible. Dying with dignity is one thing, dying for convenience is another!

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  31. mara (762 comments) says:

    Gulag. “People die pretty fast naturally, so why the need for assistance.” You are either callous or badly uninformed. Shortly I will be back at the bedside of my 92 year old Mum who will most likely die tonight or tomorrow. If she still had the ability to speak, or drink water come to that, she would hand you back your pimply arse on a platter.

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  32. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Quite right Judith. At your advanced age never, ever feel that any of us here would be glad to see the back of you! :)

    Keep on talking shit that we can down tick as long as you can type darling. :)

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  33. Mike (473 comments) says:

    //One of the main concerns regarding euthanasia, is that the elderly will be made to feel they are being a nuisance and encouraged for ‘financial’ and practical measures, to move on. //

    Fair. There would need to be strict controls in place. However secure the system, there will inevitably be instances of misuse, the question is, do you deprive everyone the liberty of making their own decisions because of the activities of a handful of ratbags (that can and should be prosecuted)?

    //There is also the argument that if we are so quick to devalue life, by promoting death, will that also transfer to other areas of the community. The blind are a hell of a nuisance on the street. The crippled cost us to put in special facilities. Bloggers are generally a bunch of moaners, and so on.//

    I don’t understand how euthanasia “promotes death” or “devalues life”. I would say that forcing someone to stick around against their will when their quality of life has gone through the floor constitutes a devaluation of life. Euthanasia can be considered a promotion of life, as it enables one to escape the nasty bit toward the end.

    //Whatever laws are bought in, they will have to be extremely well written and provide very set guidelines for who and how they are eligible. Dying with dignity is one thing, dying for convenience is another!//

    Agreed.

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  34. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    mara
    Sorry to hear about your mother. You have my sympathy.

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  35. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    Death is a very interesting issue, and one that many people try to avoid. As a society we tend to avoid discussing actual death, by skirting around the topic.

    Some feel this is because it is the one thing we’ve been unable to conquer. We can hold it off, with medical treatment, but no matter what we do, death will occur. Because we are unable with any certainty determine what occurs after death, we tend to deny it even occurs. We talk about passing away etc, we have funerals where we talk about people as if they are still among us, imagine them sitting in their favourite spots and so on.

    I’ve never heard anyone say at a funeral that we are there to say goodbye to someone who will be put in the ground, within a week their body will start to decay, they will bloat, then rot, and eventually become nothing more than a pile of dirt. We find all sorts of ways to detract from the reality of it.

    Perhaps Euthanasia is a way of trying to get some control on something we’ve never been able to conquer. No one is immortal, and I think that bugs the hell out of us. We can cure disease and replace a heart, but we still can’t live forever. So if we must put up with this death thing, at least we can have some control over it but being able to pick our own end date?

    It’s an important issue, for the dying and the living. How does one live with the fact they decided to kill their elderly mother? Will such decisions complicate grief? There are so many things that need to be considered, before we accept Euthanasia as a legal right.

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  36. MrTips (150 comments) says:

    “Regardless I would hope it would be sent to select committee, so NZers can have their say on the issue, and the bill can be given as many safeguards as possible.”
    Oh you mean like the way Kevin Hague and others ignored the principles around conflict of interest, distorted the results of the report to the select committee and bullied opponents of the Gay Marriage Bill? Yes, our Parliament is all about listening to Nzers isn’t it?

    Maryann Street has committed to allowing euthanasia for children as some point as well as adults. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9029221/Euthanasia-bill-close-to-MPs-heart. She is insane.

    Key would do well to stay away from this – his governments record on social engineering is rapidly mounting up as worse than Clark’s.

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  37. mara (762 comments) says:

    Thank you Gulag, I appreciate it but understanding is more relevant than sympathy in this debate. All the same ….

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  38. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Bindi could be fairly keen to have rid of her elderly father Judith as long as his will is sorted! :)

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  39. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Mike (400 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Promoting Death/Euthanasia.

    Its not my argument but it is one that is put forward, that when we decide we (general members of the community) have the right to decide who lives and who dies, that we devalue the concept of ‘life’. I think they mean that assisted death becomes so common, that it is all to easy to accept. Some life events that ten years ago would receive front page coverage, now don’t even make the papers. We become very accepting, very quickly, and the fear is that if we accept euthanasia under strict control, that eventually the normality of euthanasia will allow those controls to lessen, and therefore devalue ‘life’.

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  40. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    Sympathies with you mara. Timing is difficult to predict. My mother lasted for a week without drinking before she died. For those last days she was unrecognisable as my mother, until the moment she looked at me and died. It was not the sort of end she wanted but it was the best possible care currently available (in a hospice).

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  41. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    The really problematic cases are NOT those where the person is in unbearable pain… doctors and nurses quietly assist them to die now, and have done for donkey’s years..

    The “hard cases” to use a legal phrase, are those – such as the dreadful motor neurone disease – where there is little or no pain, but the body just progressively shuts down, and if they aren’t lucky enough to get pneumonia first, sufferers eventually choke or drown to death on the saliva they can no longer swallow…

    Hardline Catholics like Bill English (I discussed it with him once) don’t care about such a persons suffering – or perhaps more accurately they might care, but see it as all part of God’s plan…F…that.

    I am with DPF…Street’s bill may not be perfect, but it should go to Select Committee…in fact I am with Kowtow: this is just the kind of issue which should be decided by referendum…obviously it’s not a yes or no question, but the issue of referring such a Bill to SC might be…

    Chuck B: In fact now I see your comment that might even be a better way to do it…and the bill itself would have a commencement clause requiring a – say 75% “Yes” vote at referendum…If so wish to vote without reading it, so what? A lot more won’t vote at all…

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  42. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Mara

    Saying goodbye to a Mother is very very hard – especially for a daughter (I’m presuming you are female). When I lost my mother I suffered from a real identity crisis. I was no longer anyone’s daughter. Even though an adult, I really felt it. Be kind to yourself. Say everything you’ve ever wanted to say to your Mum, and treasure the privilege you have in being able to care for her at the final stage of her life, even though its difficult. I believe it is an honour to be there at the end, just as they were there for us at our beginning.

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  43. nasska (11,143 comments) says:

    Judith

    ….” How does one live with the fact they decided to kill their elderly mother? Will such decisions complicate grief? There are so many things that need to be considered, before we accept Euthanasia as a legal right.”….

    It shouldn’t be the task of children to kill their parents. Indeed I would be quite happy if we managed to get legislation that protected medical staff from overdoing pain medication.

    Presently it is all a matter of “nudge, nudge, wink, wink……the doctor gave sufficient morphine so that the patient’s end was painless” but all it would take is for one nutter to insist that the doctor was punished for overmedicating & most of us will die screaming.

    As in most cases when practise differs from legislation someone risks their career to do what is good & needed. They should have legal protection.

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  44. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    The worst thing about your parents dying is that you realise, all things being equal, that you’re next! :)

    But not just yet of course! :)

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  45. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    Judith: After a more than usually sensible comment you fuck it up with your last silly line…A properly drafted Bill would NEVER allow anyone to “decide to kill their elderly mother”…it would rather allow those attending her to carry out the wishes of the terminally ill made when of sound mind and in full control of their faculties…

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  46. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ nasska (10,382 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Quite right Nasska. This needs to be sorted now, because as you say, eventually the old ‘nudge nudge’ bit more morphine end, will be challenged – the result a cruel and prolonged period of suffering.

    The medical profession often states there is no need for euthanasia, because they have the medication that ensures the person is not suffering. But I’ve seen people in pain, fair enough they weren’t dying, but they can’t always control it.

    I had to make the decision to turn off my great aunts life support. She was in her late 90’s and the doctors said she couldn’t survive. So after a great deal of anguish, they turned the machines off. 3/4 of an hour later she opened her eyes and asked the doctor ‘what the bloody hell did he think he was doing’. She lived another couple of years. The doctors are great, but they aren’t always right.

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  47. Colville (2,250 comments) says:

    i watched my Mother in law die slowly over a couple of weeks in a hospice. Wonderful Lady and She deserved a lot better than that for an end. She died a screaming skeleton who didnt know who was around her. 10 years late my Wife is still haunted.

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  48. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    Euthanasia for;
    “Application for children with terminal illness was a bridge too far in my view at this time.”
    “irreversible mental condition”.
    Maryan Street

    People who are not politically acceptable?
    The slippery slope.

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  49. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ David Garrett (6,097 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I made that comment on the presumption that next of kin would be consulted regarding the decision in cases where the person was not conscious. Should the next of kin challenge the decision, I presume it wouldn’t eventuate if the patient was unable to give their own consent.

    I also fear that if we do not make the laws explicit, that eventually they would become ‘slack’ and people would put pressure on ‘nuisance’ elderly or ill, to request to die.

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  50. nasska (11,143 comments) says:

    David G

    I can well connect with your comment re suffering & the crap about “God’s plan”. When I was a kid of about seven we lived for a short time in a small East Coast town. I can still remember terrible screams coming from the house across the road. Naturally, as was normal for the times, I got a clip around the ear & told to mind my own business when I asked my parents about what was going on.

    I asked Mum about it years later & she told me that the woman had been dying from ovarian cancer. The town doctor was Catholic & he & the priest had decided that there was a risk that she could become addicted to morphine. IOW she died in agony because of an idiotic belief in something that doesn’t exist.

    Okay for those that want to go that way but keep the nutters away from me when it’s my turn to die.

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  51. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Gulag1917 (583 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Exactly my reasoning. How long before it becomes a means of convenience to deal with less than desirable people? There is so much to consider, we have a social responsibility not to rush into this IMO. However, we also have a responsibility to ensure that suffering is not prolonged unnecessarily.

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  52. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Johnboy (14,650 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    That is so true. One minute you’re at family gatherings and the oldies are all sitting gossiping, and the next minute – you are the oldies! You go from being the careful middle generation of the family to the eldest (and supposedly the responsible) generation.

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  53. Mike (473 comments) says:

    I don’t see why it is “insane” to extend euthanasia to terminally ill children. If we are willing to allow the elderly to escape a painful demise (and relieve them of the current situation where they are essentially forced to stick around), why should this right not be extended to children who find themselves in a similar circumstance? I contend that it is insane to expect people (of any age) to suffer because of your distorted moral compass.

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  54. nasska (11,143 comments) says:

    Mike

    One word…..”consent”.

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  55. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    Of course such laws need to be specific…in fact as tight as law making can possibly be…and even if we do that, there will still be cases in which someone is ushered towards “that good night”…sadly that is simply a comment on the human condition…You think it doesn’t happen now? Old people in the “care” of relatives not fed properly, or left in cold rooms in the hope they will catch their death…to use an old fashioned phrase…

    Nasska: Your comment makes my skin crawl…how absolutely fucking awful that any doctor could allow that… but then it’s only 30 years or so that ordinary people stopped believing that “doctor” was a God like figure who could never be wrong….I recall telling one that he was nothing more than a mechanic for my body…would have been about 1981…the poor old sod nearly had a stroke then and there..

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  56. Mike (473 comments) says:

    The child who is suffering a life with an unquestionably low quality of living, with no available remedy, cannot be trusted to rationally evaluate his or her circumstances? The parents can’t consent, with strong oversight provided by a medical board of some type?

    I concede that this issue is far more politically unfeasible than extending the legislation to the elderly, but i think it is incorrect to label one as “insane” for believing that children should have this available to them too.

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  57. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    In theory I don’t have a problem with terminally ill people in extreme pain being allowed to decide for themselves, and I would support a law change, if it is done right.

    However there would have to be extremely strict controls and regulations. In Holland there have been cases where it was clear elderly people were being pressured by family who wanted their inheritance. This should never be allowed to be the case here.

    But yes, something like this must go to a referendum. Liberal atheists like PG may want to rush the process, but that is profoundly arrogant and irresponsible.

    Let mainstream Kiwis across the country have a real say. Let’s not leave this to liberal elites who are far too fond of mass murder for personal convenience.

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  58. Mike (473 comments) says:

    There is a trend here. We cannot purchase our beer after 11pm because of a handful of shitbags. We cannot have strong cold medicine because of a handful of shitbags. Doctors are reluctant to prescribe painkillers to people who are obviously in pain because of a handful of shitbags. Euthanasia reform is complicated because of the existence of shitbags that will no doubt try and abuse the system.

    When did the handful of shitbags become the standard by which society is judged?

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  59. nasska (11,143 comments) says:

    Mike

    Child euthanasia is a bridge too far. I’m extremely socially liberal but even I couldn’t support such legislation.

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  60. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    Shawn: forget about “extreme pain”…while I don’t doubt Nasska’s story for a second, that would never happen now (well, maybe in a Catholic run hospice with English on the Board)…what happens is the doctors “mistakenly” chart doses which are ten times too much (50 mg instead of 5) and the nurses pretend not to notice, and administer what has been charted…or if the Doc is too junior or has strong religious beliefs, the nurses do it for them..

    As I have said earlier, the really difficult cases are the horrible diseases like Motor Neurone or MS when there is little pain, but a slow and sure progression to a terrible death…by inability to swallow, or inability to breathe…THOSE are the cases where law is needed…the nurses and doctors can’t necessarily get away with doing it on the quiet…

    child euthanasia? No, a bridge too far for me too…which inevitably means condemning some poor wretched child cancer victims to a death that their parents could escape…No winners there…

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  61. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    Yes David, I do agree with you, basically. I would support a law change, if it was done right, by which I mean that there were adequate protections for those unable to speak for themselves and the elderly.

    As a Christian I do not subscribe to the whole “it’s God’s will” notion. I think that’s bad theology. Jesus never hesitated to relieve people’s suffering.

    When quality of life is zero, and the suffering, pain or otherwise, is so extreme, then it’s just cruel to force people to live longer than they want to.

    But, this must be done carefully and slowly, and with as much public support as possible.

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  62. Mike (473 comments) says:

    It seems like there is support on both sides of the aisle. The only opposition are the religious (and even among them, there are splits, for example Shawns well reasoned comment above). I see change on the horizon, but will remain cautiously optimistic. I am (relatively) young, so even if change takes 20 years to arrive, i should be fine. I hope it happens sooner, for the sake of others.

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  63. nasska (11,143 comments) says:

    I take my hat off to you in this instance Shawn. A well thought out position considering your beliefs.

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  64. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    Mike: Sadly that has been the case forever…the problem is the “handful” of shitbags has become a fucking truckload…Once upon a time we lived in a largely civil society where half the laws we have now weren’t needed…or at least they were almost never invoked…

    It is my belief that the reason we are where we are is – at least in part – because punishment has become a dirty word…in 1974 Elton John’s manager did a month in Mt Eden for a very minor assault on a woman…now we have the shitbag second son of the “Maori King” getting discharged without conviction for THREE separate offences (it’s supposed to be a one off, for ONE lapse) committed while he was on bail…

    Shawn: I also commend you and agree with you…I think “forced euthanasia” would be a horror only marginally less horrific than motor neurone disease patients being forced to drown in their own saliva…Which is why I rather like Chuck’s idea of a binding referendum to say either yay or nay to a law parliament has passed but requires the peoples assent to come into force…

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  65. jackinabox (781 comments) says:

    Bill English believes in God! What a nong.

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  66. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    “forget about “extreme pain””

    Why?

    I watched my mother being treated to the letter of the law and current best practice. She was frequently in severe pain. Sure, when it was noticed she was given more morphine but this repeated over and over – extreme discomfort was noticed and treated. Often not prevented.

    When a very sick person is deteriorating the medication needs to keep changing to keep up with the change so it is reactionary, after the pain gets bad enough to be communicated.

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  67. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    Will there be some suffering scale and once a certain point is reached then an individual is history e.g. 1-10. Of course it is subject to change to allow for extremists. All human beings suffer, it is a part of life.

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  68. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    PG: then your mother wasn’t being treated in a “best practice” hospice…and perhaps you should have found some intestinal fortitude – you pompous prissy little man – and helped her yourself…only those who are stupid or want to be brought before the courts in such cases actually are…

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  69. Unity (483 comments) says:

    I totally agree with you, David. My mother died of motor neurone disease and it’s a totally horrible death. She hallucinated often and ended up chocking to death. Everything shuts down except your brain. You can’t cough, clear your throat or anything. If she had had a choice she would have wanted to be euthanised before she got so bad. This where I firmly believe in euthanasia. Even so, it must be strictly laid down and several people need to make the decision, preferably someone other than family (Doctor/s?) as a safeguard, as well as the family.

    There should be plenty of safeguards so you can’t just get rid of an elderly relative because they are a nuisance or the family wants to divvy up their inheritance. They should no longer have any quality of life whatsoever and in fact be in considerable pain and terminal, to name several reasons. There will be many more.

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  70. big bruv (13,701 comments) says:

    ShawnLH

    Well said, this may well be the only thing we agree on but it would be churlish of me not to mention it.

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  71. freemark (558 comments) says:

    Have a chat with the involved family members, many years before a scenario pops up. Decide how to deal with the issue, then at the appropriate time deal with it.
    No need for legislation, doctors, police..anyone outside the loving family group.
    WTF kind of society are we that we need the State involved in humanitarian decisions made by family.

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  72. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    Unity: with the greatest of respect, your post undermines itself…Unless I am much mistaken, a person with motor neurone disease is NOT in pain, let alone “considerable pain”…If I am wrong please correct me…

    freemark: Because, dear boy, not everyone has either the knowledge or the intestinal fortitude to do what is necessary at the appropriate time…Mr George has just told us he watched his mother die in terrible pain, and did nothing because what was happening was “in accordance with the law”…

    Some of us will have more spine than him; many of us won’t…

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  73. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    Get stuffed Garrett. You’re talking bullshit about something you don’t know the facts about. The hospice was working within best practice rules and had concurrent commitments.

    I won’t explain details and describe the very distressing circumstances in which my mother died because arseholes like you have a habit of misrepresenting what I say to use in gutless attacks here.

    You really can be a nasty prick. You were a disaster waiting to happen for ACT.

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  74. Odakyu-sen (574 comments) says:

    It’s the slippery slope.

    Give people in power the right to kill legally, and the system can (and will) be corrupted to kill for convenience.

    A better example the road to hell being paved with good intentions would be hard to find.

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  75. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    “has just told us he watched his mother die in terrible pain, and did nothing because what was happening was “in accordance with the law”…”

    And that’s an example right there of misrepresentation which is totally false. As I said I won’t give details because of pricks like Garrett here.

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  76. Griff (7,325 comments) says:

    what happens is the doctors “mistakenly” chart doses which are ten times too much (50 mg instead of 5) and the nurses pretend not to notice, and administer what has been charted…or if the Doc is too junior or has strong religious beliefs, the nurses do it for them..

    The issue I have

    We all know it happens now.

    The care givers leave themselves open to prosecution for murder. It happens that some busybody decides to prosecute in such cases causing even more pain to the family.

    The law as it stands is an arse.

    Many of us will experience watching a loved one die slowly and painfully.

    I would rather save those around me such needless pain watching my slow and pointless death if a chronic debilitating illness or accident happens to me.

    I should have the right to signal my intentions in such a case.

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  77. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ David Garrett (6,103 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Perhaps he means psychological pain David. The torment of the very sad condition is devastating. I think we need to consider that torment as being equivalent to physical pain – the mind is a powerful organ and being nothing but a body, unable to move, feed, toilet and at times, even blink their own eyes, must be for some, extremely ‘painful’ – it is ‘suffering’ of a different kind.

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  78. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Odakyu-sen (419 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    It is indeed a slippery slope. Should we dare to venture, then it must by sheer necessity be a controlled decline.

    However, as it would be in the control of politicians, one has to wonder if we should dare to venture there at all.

    Perhaps it would be better handled by some sort of ‘commission’ – administered by, but separate to government. Allowing decisions etc to be handled by suitably qualified individuals as opposed to those with political or economic interests.

    I’m mean, think of your worst politician – would you afford them the power to make these sorts of decisions – because that is the reality.

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  79. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    I oppose it – as Key himself said:

    “…..modern medical practice was to give terminally ill patients pain relief and allow the natural process of death to occur.

    “The palliative care would not do anything to prolong their life or to shorten their life. What I would say is in that scenario I … could understand the speeding up of the process,”….”

    The speeding up of the process for no other reason than to die sooner?
    What’s Key’s point?
    Why doesn’t he just make it whenever then ?

    If people suffer from pain it is a failure on behalf of the doctor.

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  80. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    Judith: Fair do’s…but the pompous and prissy Mr George could have said so if that’s what he meant…but the fact that he let his mother suffer because the hospice was using “best practice” says enough for me…

    Just as I know from experience that no matter how many people are in the lift I will be the one to help someone suffering a heart attack, I am fairly certain old Pete would stand around waiting for someone else to do it…Must go along with the crowd you know…

    Pete: I am pretty happy with what I achieved in 22 months in parliament…a damn sight more than you have ever done that’s for sure…chairing a few panel discussions with possum head as the star attraction is about your limit…

    Jesus, I think I will quit this (and make old Pete happy)…every commenter seems fixated on pain, when that is not the problem…

    Judith: Re your “worst politician” comment ….NO…and that’s why Chuck’s suggestion of a referendum needing to bring the law into effect is such a good one…

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  81. Griff (7,325 comments) says:

    This subject always brings out the god whacks with their insistence on suffering for “god”
    Your god your choice to suffer.
    The effects of opiates diminish rapidly even at large doses.There is nothing natural at being strung out on massive doses and left to suffer the mental torment waiting for the inevitable. You are just prolonging everyone’s pain for your own superstitious belief.
    Butt out of my life …. its mine to terminate if and when I chose.

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  82. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    I think that watching a loved one in pain and not killing them, takes strength, not weakness.

    When you are connected to a person that you love, you feel their pain, you breathe when they do, and every time they cry in pain, you physically and psychologically feel their torment. Part of you wants it to stop, for them to have peace, but part of you wills them on, because when life ends they are gone, and you have nothing, but memories.

    You hear the rattle in their chest, and when they breathe out you wait, and you feel split in two, wanting that to be their last breath for their sake, but then they inhale again, and so you continue, and you breathe in yourself, and that breath actually hurts your heart because you know if its not their last, they will continue to hurt, and when they finally stop hurting, you are going to start. You breathe with them, and you think, and your life with them runs through your mind, and you try to think of the things you need to say, and what you haven’t said, and the times you caused them worry and the things you should have done. And then you hear them breathe out again, and you don’t want to hope that’s the last, because that seems disloyal, but then they cry in pain, and you hope it was the last, and then it starts all over again.

    It may not be the same pain they are in, but NEVER in a million years think that watching someone you love die – is easy – its the hardest thing I’ve every done.

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  83. David Garrett (6,971 comments) says:

    Ah Judith…you and old Pete…you do so much for the advancement of humanity…how can the rest of us hope to emulate you? Or even come close??

    Griff: well said…

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  84. freemark (558 comments) says:

    Hey Judith, this is KB not Mills & Fucking Boon.
    I think someone said it before – if we put our sick animals through the pain we put sick or dying humans through we would be in Jail.
    Actually those who don’t support DPB reform should be in Jail too.

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  85. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ freemark (394 comments) says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Yes, I agree about the animals, but I also know that love is a two way street. The people I have lost that loved me, would rather experience the pain a million times over, than put me through the torment of being accused of killing them. They would not leave me with that decision to make, knowing the pain it would cause me.

    It is a situation in which there are no winners freemark. The point of this discussion is that it is a situation that we need to decide whether some of the torment is taken out of it, for both the dying and the living by allowing the whole process to have dignity for all.

    I am sorry you find emotion such a negative concept – I’m not ashamed to admit I feel – and that I find watching someone die extremely painful – so I’m weak, I’m human, I err – I’d still rather be that, than the alternative.

    Governance is a lot about management – and deciding how to make society workable, without exploiting the vulnerable – this is probably one of the most difficult pieces of legislation government can deal with – because for some, they are quite literally playing God – its never going to be an easy conversation to have – there are always going to be those, that for some reason or other feel the need to mock it, when people say how they feel.

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  86. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    But where’s the uproar in the way that people are currently dying?

    20 yrs ago – and with far less pallitive care – we never heard of this matter.

    This is simply about people wanting the chioice of when to die – and as I’ve said before – there’s far worse suffering than being sick and about to die.

    What about the poor women who has seen her kids shot to death by a deranged ex and has to live with that the next few decades?

    Key’s got a strange notion of what suffering actually is – if he believes the only people who suffer are within a week or two of dying from a terminal illness. What about those who have to live with it for 3-4 yrs and have had enough after 2yrs?

    Key’s just appeasing some of the those who suffer – the one’s who have politicly acceptable requests.

    Others will simply forgo their general medicine – and doctors will allow them to do so- so that their condition worsens and allows them euthanasia sooner.

    The slippery slide leading to the gates of hell being opened upon the public.

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  87. EAD (943 comments) says:

    Of all posters on here, I think Gulag @ 3.58pm and 5.47pm gets it best. Euthanasia is not the mark of a civilised society, it’s another example of our progressive march towards decivilsation and our Brave New World.

    How can we lower the world’s population to the ideal level without committing mass genocide? By getting people to commit genocide against themselves.

    Considering we live in world where the human race is regarded as, at best, just another animal and at worst, a virus, it was only a matter of time before we started trying to convince ourselves to not reproduce and better still, to wipe ourselves out.

    Let’s set men and women against eachother, keep them apart and make it as easy as possible for them to break up when they’re together.

    Let’s sleep with as many people as possible and use contraception, rather than commit to one person and not.

    Let’s set kids against parents and make the job of parents as difficult as possible by marginalising their influence.

    Let’s use the slightest of excuses to get social services and secret courts to take children away and throw parents in jail. Having children is a risky business after all. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9180955/Child-protection-bill-passes-first-reading

    Let’s shame parents who dare take their children on planes and trains etc. where they might make noise and annoy those who just see kids as future workers to pay for their pension.

    Let’s convince women that unless they put off having kids and have a career, they’re betraying their sex and society. Even when you have children ladies, make sure you go back to work ASAP and pay someone else to look after them, that way you’ll at least help push up the GDP, it’s the very least you can do.

    Let’s make it as easy as possible for women to abort, “because ‘choice’ is the most important principle in medicine” as we all know. (1 in 5 known pregnancies are now aborted).

    Let’s say to doctors that they no longer have to keep people alive and healthy but just help them die with dignity. Then let’s watch as they give up treating people earlier and earlier as it’s easier to be paid to help people to die than it is to help them to live.

    And of course as there’s no God, heaven or hell, or any of that sort of thing you can always euthanize yourself guilt free. In fact you should feel guilty if you don’t as you’ll only be a burden on society, the taxpayer and your children.

    Don’t be selfish. Don’t curse the world with your disgusting offspring and die as quickly as possible please. Thanks very much.

    We’re sliding down a slippery slope to brave new world. Just like George Orwell, Aldous Huxley knew exactly what changes were going to be forced upon Western society.

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  88. nasska (11,143 comments) says:

    Ye Gods…..if you think there’s that much wrong with modern life what are you still doing here?

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  89. cha (3,933 comments) says:

    Can’t make it onto the roof?.

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  90. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    EAD#

    “………And how long must we endure attempts by advocates such as Greens Senator Richard Di Natale to legalise, legitimise and normalise suicide by calling it ‘euthanasia’?”

    Quite right. Depressed people need help, counsel and support. They don’t need a lethal drug or a bullet to the head. Giving depressed people an easy way out is simply unthinkable, given our high rates of suicide. This is especially true regarding youth depression and suicide…… ”

    http://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/07/04/pro-deather-spills-the-beans/

    They end up promoting suicide by default. It’s huge trouble.

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  91. Unity (483 comments) says:

    David, you didn’t read my post properly. Either that or I didn’t express myself very well. I didn’t say my mother with motor neurone was in any pain. What I was referring to at the end, when mentioning considerable pain, was giving one of several general reasons for a person to be euthanised.

    A person with motor neurone doesn’t feel anything apart from difficulty and eventual inabilty in swallowing, resulting in choking and obviously panic that goes with it, because everything has shut down apart from their brains. All their nerves and muscles have ceased to work at the end.

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  92. Odakyu-sen (574 comments) says:

    Late night 2-cents’ worth:

    I would rather die slowly and horribly than to permit a system to come into existence that could be used to legally shorten the lives of others. You know, it’s the old “I die so that others may live” schtick.

    (Now, where have we heard that one before….?)

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  93. Mike (473 comments) says:

    I wonder what M Baiter will have to say about this..

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  94. Nukuleka (297 comments) says:

    There are no such things as ‘safeguards’ against the abuse of euthanasia legislation. Like abortion, once the line in the sand is shifted, it will be open slather and people will be coerced against their will to be ‘euthanized’. We already have too much of a culture of death in New Zealand.

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  95. Mike (473 comments) says:

    Exactly like what has happened in other countries which have reformed their laws. Oh wait, it didn’t happen.

    Nukuleka,

    Are you one of those “everyone will turn gay if we legalize same sex marriage!!” people?

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  96. Unity (483 comments) says:

    I can’t see why adequate safeguards wouldn’t prevent abuse of euthanasia, like two completely independent Doctors, possibly from another Health Board area etc. I know it’s a dicey subject and all sorts of barriers get thrown up but there is no getting away from the fact that some people suffer enormously and need to be able to make a decision to die in dignity and not in a lengthy torture-like situation if there is absolutely no hope for a recovery.

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  97. Nukuleka (297 comments) says:

    Unity- just like the abortion laws which are in place to PROTECT the unborn!! Come on- be real please. Each time the line in the sand is moved there is a call for further ‘reform’.

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  98. Nukuleka (297 comments) says:

    Mike- I think it’s called a ‘red herring’ to introduce a wholly different issue in this way. It’s also perhaps evidence of a lazy mind.

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  99. Scott (1,764 comments) says:

    EAD has it absolutely right. It’s the absolute antithesis of civilised behaviour that we will kill our old people. Teams of executioners killing innocent old people when you are horrified at the thought of putting a guilty murderer to death!

    But hey some actual facts about what actually happens. 32% of all physician assisted deaths in Belgium occur without an explicit request from the patient. Also in Belgium they are killing children. Obviously a bridge too far for you liberals now but give you 5 years and I am sure you’ll come around.
    Palliative care is nonexistent in Belgium and Holland.
    The right to die has become the duty to die.
    Jesus wept.
    This is cultural suicide.

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  100. ChardonnayGuy (1,197 comments) says:

    Again, though, whichever MP or political party comes up with any euthanasia law reform bill will have to contend with the significant collective political and scientific authority of the organised medical profession, whose opposition to voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide carries far more weight than Christian Right anti-euthanasia pressure groups. And again, I must note that only in jurisdictions where the medical profession has declared neutrality or assisted in providing a regulatory framework for the conduct of voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide has it been possible to legislate for the practise- Oregon, Washington state, Vermont and Montana (US), Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.

    Unless and until the New Zealand Medical Association and its kindred groups resile from their opposition, it may well be impossible to pass euthanasia law reform legislation in this country. Which may no doubt comfort Kiwiblog’s social conservative readers.

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  101. Unity (483 comments) says:

    Scott, who on earth said we should willy nilly kill our elderly etc? You are sensationalising voluntary euthanasia to mean something it wouldn’t be. Euthanasia should only be used on terminally ill patients who are living in extreme pain (even though I know you can be drugged against it) and will never ever recover. And then only with a designated number of independent experts approving thus eliminating possible families lining up for an early inheritance or something similar.

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