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June 2017

How will MPs vote on euthanasia

By | Recent News

Euthanasia bill: MPs give current voting positions
Radio NZ News 8 June 2017
How will MPs vote?
Prime Minister Bill English will vote against the bill, as will the senior minister Gerry Brownlee.
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said she was undecided. Ministers Steven Joyce, Simon Bridges and Nick Smith all joined her in their indecision.
“I’m pretty conservative on these issues,” Mr Bridges said. “I’m very likely to vote against it ultimately… I might vote to see it go to a select committee so that the issues… are fleshed out.”
Labour MP Grant Robertson said he would support the bill at its first reading.
“It’s a really important conversation for New Zealand to have.”
The Green Party intends to vote as a bloc, but was yet to discuss its stance on Mr Seymour’s bill.
Its policy is to support medically-assisted dying for adults with a terminal illness, however this legislation also includes people with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”.
New Zealand First MPs said they would discuss the bill as a caucus before deciding how to push forward.
The party’s policy was for New Zealanders to have a national discussion over at least two years followed by a binding referendum.
The Māori Party’s Marama Fox said both she and her co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell, intended to vote against the bill.
“I’ve sat holding the hands of dying people over and over again from my own family. I can’t even remember going to a funeral where it was of natural causes in the last 28 years… I’ve never once had any one of those people say they wanted to go early. Not once.”
READ MORE: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/332544/euthanasia-bill-mps-give-current-voting-positions
Where do our MPs stand on euthanasia?
TVNZ One News 8 June 2017
On the back of ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill being drawn from the member’s bill ballot today, we present a selection of views by Members of Parliament on where they stand on a bill that would legalise euthanasia in select circumstances.
“We have convinced a third of them, and I think we will convince more than a majority – I think we are easily going to pass this legislation” – David Seymour, Act Party.

“No” – Gerry Brownlee, National.
“I’m not an absolute no, I suppose I’d want to see what the consequences are, what the kind of detail is” – Paula Bennett, National.
“I’ve been well on the record for a while now that I’m opposed to euthanasia because of my academic and experience in hospitals and hospices” – Simon O’Connor, National.
“For me personally … I think the current system serves those who need that care and compassion and I think they do a good job. I see no reason to change” – Todd Muller, National.

“I’m in support of it” – Chris Bishop, National.
“I’m in favour of good quality, excellent palliative care” – Jonathan Coleman, National.
“For me I’m not a supporter of euthanasia and I’ve got a number of reasons about that, but it’s a conscience vote” – Marama Fox, Maori Party.
“I’d rather be guided by what our constituency feels about it so probably at this point in time no, but I’ll take leave from our people” – Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party.
“It may be that I vote for it at first reading although I am unlikely I think to vote for it all the way through passing” – Simon Bridges.
“Everyone in New Zealand needs to have their say and I will vote how I vote and I will just be one of those people in that referendum” – Fletcher Tabuteau, NZ First.
“Ultimately with the Green Party we have policy on assisted dying around terminally ill people, it doesn’t go as far as what’s in David Seymour’s bill” – Julie Anne Genter, Green Party.

End of Life Choice Bill

ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill was drawn from the member’s bill ballot today.
The End of Life Choice Bill gives people with a terminal illness or a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” the option of requesting assisted dying.
It defines those eligible and details a comprehensive set of provisions to ensure it is a free choice made without coercion.
It also outlines a stringent series of steps to ensure the person is mentally capable of understanding the nature and consequences of their decision.
MPs will have a conscience vote on the bill, and parties won’t take positions on it.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/do-our-mps-stand-euthanasia
Emotional euthanasia debate kicks off
NZ Herald 9 June 2017
Parliament’s vote on legalising euthanasia appears to be almost evenly split as an emotional election-year debate kicks off.

Act leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill was pulled from the private members’ ballot yesterday, and could be before Parliament before the election.

A total of 33 MPs told the Herald they would definitely or probably support the bill to a select committee, and 27 said they definitely or probably would not. Another 37 MPs were undecided, and the rest did not say or did not respond. Seymour needs 60 votes for a majority.

Among the high-profile opponents is Prime Minister Bill English, a practising Catholic who has long opposed assisted dying. Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett was undecided, but said she was not definitely opposed.

One of the strongest voices against the bill was Deputy Speaker and National MP Chester Borrows.

“We have a horrific record on suicide and I think it sends a message that sometimes it is okay to top yourself,” he said.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11872493

Party leaders at complete odds over euthanasia
NewsTalk ZB 9 June 2017
The leaders of our major political parties are at complete odds over euthanasia.
ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill has been drawn from the Members’ ballot, more than two years after it was written up.
Two of the National Party’s most senior members, Prime Minister Bill English and Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, are both Catholic and pro-life and firmly against the prospect of legalising assisted death.
English said his views on the matter haven’t changed.
“I will be voting against the legislation,” he said.
Whanganui MP Chester Burrows is also against the Bill saying he fears such legislation would be devastating for New Zealand.
“In a county where we have got a horrific record on suicide I think it sends the message that it is sometimes okay top yourself and I disagree with that,” he said.
While Labour leader Andrew Little said he is yet to have a proper read of the intricacies of the Bill, but at first glance thought he would support it.
Grant Robertson said he will certainly be supporting the Bill.
“This has always been a conscious issue for the Labour Party and It remains that way,” he said.
The Greens’ view is slightly more complicated, as their own policy on euthanasia doesn’t go quite so far as this Bill, they would only make it legal for those who’re terminally ill and have less than six months to live.
READ MORE: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/party-leaders-at-complete-odds-over-euthanasia/
Seymour ‘convinced’ MPs will back voluntary euthanasia
NewsHub 9 June 2017
ACT leader David Seymour says he needs another 21 MPs on side if his voluntary euthanasia Bill is to become law.
The End of Life Choice Bill was drawn from the ballot on Thursday, meaning Parliament will debate whether to allow dying patients to choose when and how to end their own lives, rather than leaving it to fate.
“It says if you have a terminal illness like cancer that doctors say will end your life within six months, or if you have a grievous, irremediable condition – something like Huntington’s disease – and you’re in a state of decline, then you can be examined by two doctors who have to decide that you’re of sound mind, that you understand the decision that you’re making,” Mr Seymour told The AM Show on Friday.
Despite that, conservative lobby group Family First has vowed to “kill” the Bill.
“One of the main reasons that politicians in New Zealand have rejected previous attempts to decriminalise euthanasia is that they realised that the safeguards, while sounding good, would not guarantee the protection required for vulnerable people including the disabled, elderly, depressed or anxious, and those who feel themselves to be a burden or are under financial pressure,” says Family First director Bob McCoskrie.
“The international evidence backs up these concerns, and explains why so few countries have made any changes to the law around this issue. We simply need to ensure a palliative care regime in NZ that is fully funded and world class. That’s where the politicians’ focus should be.”
READ MORE: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/06/seymour-convinced-mps-will-back-voluntary-euthanasia.html

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Parliament to vote on end of life choice

By | Recent News

NewsHub 8 June 2017
The question of whether terminally or irredeemably ill people should be allowed to choose to end their own life is to be decided in Parliament.
David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill has been pulled from the private members’ ballot to be voted upon by MPs.
The Bill is likely to be a conscience vote.
Mr Seymour told The AM Show in May he believed he had the numbers to get the Bill through the first reading at least.
“I think at least a third are definitely on for it. Maybe a fifth are hardcore opposed for personal or spiritual or whatever reasons. There’s a mushy middle in there I think we would get. We would get it through the first reading,” he said at the time.
The Bill would allow people the choice to receive medical assistance to end their own life when certain conditions are met.
Mr Seymour tweeted that he was pleased the Bill was drawn.
“The End of Life Choice Bill has been drawn. Fantastic news, long awaited. Parliament will finally debate a vital issue of personal freedom,” he said.
A 2016 poll found two-thirds of New Zealand adults support assisted dying, with another 21 percent on the fence.
Family First responded almost immediately to the announcement, saying they will launch a counter-campaign to ‘kill’ Mr Seymour’s Bill.
http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/06/parliament-to-vote-on-end-of-life-choice.html
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Campaign Launched to Kill ACT’s Assisted Suicide Bill

By | Media Releases

Media Release 8 June 2017
Family First NZ will immediately be launching a major campaign to oppose the ACT MP David Seymour’s Private Members Bill to legalise euthanasia.

“The country is currently having an extensive inquiry into the issue of ending one’s life in New Zealand. This needs to be a robust honest debate about assisted suicide without the emotion of a parliamentary law change in the mix, and should examine whether so-called ‘safeguards’ deserve that label, whether coercion is subtle but real, and whether patients will ask themselves why they are not availing themselves of assisted suicide,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“It is telling that ACT MP David Seymour is offering yet another attempt alongside Louisa Wall’s and Sir Geoffrey Palmers’ similar attempts to mitigate the real concerns around safeguards,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“This ACT MP bill raises massive concerns around issues of subjective definitions, risks to the elderly and vulnerable, and statements made around potential euthanasia for disabled persons.”

“One of the main reasons that politicians in NZ have rejected previous attempts to decriminalise euthanasia is that they realised that the safeguards, while sounding good, would not guarantee the protection required for vulnerable people including the disabled, elderly, depressed or anxious, and those who feel themselves to be a burden or are under financial pressure,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The international evidence backs up these concerns, and explains why so few countries have made any changes to the law around this issue. We simply need to ensure a palliative care regime in NZ that is fully funded and world class. That’s where the politicians’ focus should be.”

In 2017 alone, assisted suicide bills have been stopped or defeated in Maine, Tasmania, Hawaii, Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Maryland while in several other states, assisted suicide bills were introduced but lacked support to even be debated.

“The politicians need to immediately and quickly pull the plug on this flawed and dangerous bill.”
ENDS

Euthanasia advocates’ survey still shabby, still wrong

By | Recent News

Media Release Care Alliance 2 June 2017
(Family First is a member of the Care Alliance)
Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, says he is disappointed that the New Zealand Medical Journal has chosen to publish an article by Phillipa Malpas, Mike Wilson and Pam Oliver based on their flawed 2015 survey.
Mr Jansen said the only good thing about the new article is that Drs Malpas and Oliver have disclosed upfront that they are members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. “They did not do that in the original survey. In November 2015 the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC) had to concede that ‘that there were some deficiencies in the processes surrounding the approval of protocol 015470’.”
“Back in May 2016 I said that their initial research paper was a ‘Shabby conclusion to a deceptive beginning’. It was flawed in its methodology, flawed in its ethics approval and flawed in its cherry-picking analysis.”
“Their latest paper cannot overcome those flaws,” said Mr Jansen. He noted that a critique of the research by eight highly-qualified medical, social and ethics experts last year concluded that ‘The myriad flaws in the survey’s design, data selection, interpretation and reporting mean this research paper is of little or no value in understanding New Zealand doctors’ and nurses’ attitudes towards legalising “assisted dying”.’
Mr Jansen said the researchers’ bias is made clear by their ‘perceived likelihood that AD may be legalised in New Zealand soon.’ “In fact, analysis of 21,277 submissions to the Health Select Committee’s investigation showed that 77 percent were opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia in New Zealand.”
ENDS

Euthanasia supporters shouldn’t rely on slammed survey

By | Recent News

Media Release Euthanasia Free NZ 2 June 2017
Family First Comment
: This is the last survey that supporters of assisted suicide should rely on! Already completely debunked.
“This particular study, the subject of a 2016 TVNZ story, did not even verify that respondents were indeed New Zealand medical professionals or prevent a respondent from completing the survey  multiple times. In the May 2016 NZMJ paper on the same study the researchers disclosed that four days’ of responses were removed due to notice of two faked responses by a TVNZ journalist’.”
Two-thirds of doctors oppose ‘assisted dying’ according to slammed survey
Members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society claim in a NZMJ paper that 37% of doctors and 67% of nurses support ‘assisted dying’, that is, legal voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide.
“I am skeptical of self-selected online surveys with relatively small sample sizes, with questions based on euphemisms such as ‘assisted dying’,” says Renée Joubert, executive officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ. “The term ‘assisted dying’ is vague enough to mean different things to different people.”
This particular study, the subject of a 2016 TVNZ story, did not even verify that respondents were indeed New Zealand medical professionals or prevent a respondent from completing the survey  multiple times. In the May 2016 NZMJ paper on the same study the researchers disclosed that four days’ of responses were removed due to notice of two faked responses by a TVNZ journalist’.
“For all we know, the study may have been rigged by Voluntary Euthanasia Society members,” says Ms Joubert.
The study’s many flaws were analysed by a group of eight experts.
“Much of the new paper seems to consist of pro-euthanasia propaganda,” says Ms Joubert.
“The authors engage in wishful thinking that ‘assisted dying’ may be legalised in New Zealand soon, likely based on their own bias as members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.
“Any ‘practical and professional support’ to perform euthanasia or assisted suicide, as recommended by the authors, is ridiculously premature.”
After extensive media coverage, New Zealanders have clearly expressed their overwhelming opposition to changing the law. Parliament’s Health Select Committee received a record number of about 21,435 unique submissions in response to the petition by Maryan Street and 8,974 others.
A full analysis, confirmed by an independent research company, found that 77% of submissions (16,411) are opposed to the legalisation of ‘assisted dying’ while only 19.5% (4,142 submissions) were in favour.
In January to May 2017 ‘assisted dying’ bills have been stopped or defeated in eight jurisdictions: In Tasmania, Australia, as well as the US states of Maine, Hawaii,Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Maryland. In several other states, bills were introduced but lacked support to even be debated.
The authors presume that under a future New Zealand law both doctors and nurses would be performing euthanasia.
However, there is significant opposition to the medicalisation of ‘assisted dying’, the recent article by Ron Jones being a case a point.
A growing list of New Zealand doctors (see doctorssayno.nz) are calling for doctors to be left to focus on healing and providing real care for the dying. They argue that doctors are not necessary for the execution of euthanasia and are drawn into the debate only to provide a cloak of medical legitimacy.
ENDS

Small self-selected online survey find some medical supporters of assisted suicide

By | Recent News

Third of NZ doctors support assisted dying – study
TVNZ One News 2 June 2017
Family First Comment: Sheesh – pretty desperate for supporters of assisted suicide to promote this study!
“The study involved an online survey in which there were 770 replies. Of the 300 doctors who took part, 37 per cent supported legalising AD in New Zealand. Among the 470 nurses, 67 per cent were in favour.”
Hardly a voice of the medical profession!
Over a third of New Zealand doctors and two-thirds of nurses support legalising assisted dying, according to an Auckland University study.
Of those who would be willing in principle to provide assisted dying (AD) services, most said there should be ethical and practical support available to doctors and nurses making those decisions.

That would ensure procedures were carried out correctly.
Those respondents also overwhelmingly saw the provision of most of that support as the responsibility of the medical and nursing professional bodies.
The study involved an online survey in which there were 770 replies.
Of the 300 doctors who took part, 37 per cent supported legalising AD in New Zealand. Among the 470 nurses, 67 per cent were in favour.
The study, published in the NZ Medical Journal, highlighted barriers to legal AD.
These included having enough health workers trained and willing in the practice, clear protections within legislation for professionals, and guidelines and standards for practice.
The authors noted that many doctors still opposed AD, suggesting it remained far off in New Zealand.
However, if it were to become legalised in this country, training programmes and protocol should be established well in advance.
https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/third-nz-doctors-support-assisted-dying-study

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