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Euthanasia Bill Should Die A Natural Death

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Media Release 9 April 2019 
Family First NZ says that the Select Committee considering David Seymour’s assisted suicide bill have been unable to agree that the bill be passed, and warn that the bill is ‘not workable in its present state’.

“No real, substantive changes have been made to the bill – it’s still a mess. The Committee has made no judgement on the Bill, no indication of what substantive changes could make it better, but have simply left that up to the whole House, despite many MPs who voted for the bill in the 1st Reading saying that they would be waiting for the Committee to tell them how to make the bill better and safer before supporting it further. The message to these MPs is now clear – kill the bill,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“ACT MP David Seymour’s significant backdowns on the bill last year also indicate just how weak and flawed the bill is. The backdowns are certainly in contrast to his earlier attacks, including his statements that There’s just so much scaremongering that doesn’t stand up to evidence and One of the biggest obstacles are MPs who are not in touch with their electorates…and also MPs who may have been coloured by some of the scare-mongering from the other side.”

This Bill is just as much of a mess coming out of Committee as it was going in. The Committee was given 16 months to study the bill, hear submissions, and try to fix it. They simply couldn’t, because it’s a flawed, dangerous bill,” says Mr McCoskrie.

The Care Alliance analysis of the almost-39,000 submissions found that 91.8% were opposed to the Bill, but most importantly, 93.5% of submissions received from doctors, nurses and other health care staff were opposed.

“Assisted suicide is not a simple yes / no answer. Those who have taken time to consider the consequences and implications of assisted suicide – and especially those in the health sector – have quickly realised its major dangers, especially to the vulnerable, elderly and disabled. This nuance is difficult to capture with a simple yes / no phone survey, sometimes with leading questions.”
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Overwhelming Majority Tell MPs To Kill The Euthanasia Bill

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Media Release 31 March 2019 
Family First NZ, a member of the Care Alliance which has analysed the almost-39,000 submissions made regarding David Seymour’s assisted suicide bill, says that there is overwhelming opposition to the bill being considered by Parliament and that MPs should vote against the bill at 2nd Reading.

The just-released report provides an analysis of 38,707 written submissions made to the Justice Select Committee, each of which was read by volunteers of the Care Alliance. They say that the submissions “represent the views and stories of a large, diverse and thoughtful cross-section of all New Zealanders; young and old (aged 8–94), different ethnicities (Maori, New Zealand European, Pasifika, Asian), different occupations and walks of life, religious and non-religious, conceptual and experiential. In short, the submissions paint a heart-felt and deeply human picture of the views held by many New Zealanders who have considered the implications of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide, and had sufficient strength of feeling to write in and make their views known.”

The analysis reveals the following:

  • Overall, 91.8% were opposed to the Bill
  • 93.5% of submissions received from doctors, nurses and other health care staff were opposed
  • 90.6% of organisations which submitted were opposed
  • 90.5% of submissions made no reference at all to religious arguments
  • all submissions made by churches were opposed, including a Buddhist group and a Muslim charitable organisation supported by 13 other Muslim welfare groups and organisations within NZ

“Assisted suicide is not a simple yes / no answer. Those who have taken time to consider the consequences and implications of assisted suicide quickly realise its major dangers – especially to the vulnerable, elderly and disabled. This nuance is difficult to capture with a simple yes / no phone survey, sometimes with leading questions,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“ACT MP David Seymour’s significant backdowns on his assisted suicide bill last year indicate just how weak and flawed the bill is. The backdowns are certainly in contrast to his earlier attacks on our justified concerns, including his statements that There’s just so much scaremongering that doesn’t stand up to evidence and One of the biggest obstacles are MPs who are not in touch with their electorates…and also MPs who may have been coloured by some of the scare-mongering from the other side. There was never any ‘scaremongering’. There was – and continues to be – opposition to this bill based on credible research internationally in jurisdictions that have euthanasia available, and from medical professionals in New Zealand who know the effect such a law would have on their work and on society.”

“(The Euthanasia Bill) is a political stunt that will give profile to David Seymour”- Dr David Clark – Minister of Health (June 2017)

The key arguments advanced by submitters opposed to the Bill fell into six main categories:

  1. Implementing the Bill would lead to multiple adverse societal impacts on vulnerable people including the terminally ill.
  2. Experience in the few overseas jurisdictions that have legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia is not reassuring, and it inevitably leads to broadened eligibility criteria.
  3. State-approval through legalisation sends a powerful message that assisted suicide and euthanasia are socially acceptable, undermining suicide prevention efforts.
  4. Ending patient lives is not a part of healthcare, medical treatment or what doctors are trained to do, and it will erode doctor-patient relationships and trust.
  5. Terminating a life through administering lethal drugs is contrary to a medical ethics tradition that can be traced back to the Hippocratic Oath in Greek times.
  6. Palliative care properly implemented and resourced adequately relieves suffering and demonstrates true compassion without loss of hope.

“Even if the bill was limited to just the terminally ill, some people will be euthanised on account of a disease they thought they had but did not. Prognosis is an uncertain procedure. Many people know or have heard of a person who, having been given a pessimistic prognosis, has lived for many years to tell the tale. There will be those who decide for euthanasia on the basis of an unduly pessimistic prognosis. There is also concrete evidence from those countries which have authorised euthanasia that the availability and application of euthanasia expands to situations never initially envisaged as indications for it.”

“The promotion of assisted suicide is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she can no longer cope with their suffering – whatever the nature of that suffering. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people, the disabled and the elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”
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David Seymour Concedes Opponents’ Euthanasia Concerns Are Correct

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Media Release 14 December 2018 
Family First NZ is welcoming ACT MP David Seymour’s significant backdowns on his assisted suicide bill, and says that this indicates just how weak and flawed the bill is.

“The backdowns are certainly in contrast to his earlier attacks on our justified concerns, including his statements that There’s just so much scaremongering that doesn’t stand up to evidence and One of the biggest obstacles are MPs who are not in touch with their electorates…and also MPs who may have been coloured by some of the scare-mongering from the other side. There was never any ‘scaremongering’. There was – and continues to be – opposition to this bill based on credible research internationally in jurisdictions that have euthanasia available, and from medical professionals in New Zealand who know the effect such a law would have on their work and on society,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Even if the bill was limited to just the terminally ill, some people will be euthanised on account of a disease they thought they had but did not. Prognosis is an uncertain procedure. Many people know or have heard of a person who, having been given a pessimistic prognosis, has lived for many years to tell the tale. There will be those who decide for euthanasia on the basis of an unduly pessimistic prognosis. There is also concrete evidence from those countries which have authorised euthanasia that the availability and application of euthanasia expands to situations never initially envisaged as indications for it.”

“There has been overwhelming opposition to David Seymour’s assisted suicide bill by submitters to the Select Committee. According to an analysis of a substantial number of the submissions by the Care Alliance, a whopping 92% of submissions are against David Seymour’s bill, and is significantly higher than the already-high 77% opposition during the Health Select Committee’s earlier investigation.”

“The promotion of assisted suicide is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she can no longer cope with their suffering – whatever the nature of that suffering. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”

“The latest statements by David Seymour should be an indication to politicians that they should give New Zealanders a real Christmas present and move on from the current political push for assisted suicide, and focus on what New Zealanders really need and want – a focus on providing the very best palliative care and support for vulnerable people, whether they are at the end of their life, or momentarily wishing they were at the end of their life.”
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Overwhelming Opposition Confirmed On Assisted Suicide Bill

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Media Release 11 November 2018 
Family First NZ says that the overwhelming opposition to David Seymour’s assisted suicide bill by submitters to the Select Committee is no surprise and was already indicated during the earlier Inquiry by the Health Select Committee.

According to an analysis of a substantial number of the submissions by the Care Alliance, a whopping 92% of submissions are against David Seymour’s bill, and is significantly higher than the already-high 77% opposition during the Health Select Committee’s earlier investigation.

“This is opposition from all walks of life and professional groups across the spectrum. Supporters of assisted suicide have tried to argue that the only opposition comes from ‘religious’ people, but in the recent Inquiry, 82% of submissions opposed to euthanasia contained no reference to religious arguments. Ironically, 208 submissions referred to religious reasoning in supporting euthanasia,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Supporters of Seymour’s bill had their chance to campaign and get people to submit in support of the law change. The fact of the matter is that the support has been found wanting.”

“It is also ironic that ex-MP Maryan Street implied that a record 22,000 responses to her earlier petition meant that it is time to legalise euthanasia. In fact, the message is clearly the exact opposite. New Zealanders want a conversation – but they are opposed to assisted suicide as the solution.”

“The promotion of assisted suicide is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she can no longer cope with their suffering – whatever the nature of that suffering. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”

“The politicians should give New Zealanders a real Christmas present and move on from the current political push for assisted suicide, and focus on what New Zealanders really need and want – a focus on providing the very best palliative care and support for vulnerable people, whether they are at the end of their life, or momentarily wishing they were at the end of their life.”
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Nitschke Must Be Banned For Sake Of Suicide Prevention Message

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Media Release 8 November 2018 
Family First NZ says that Philip Nitschke should not be allowed in the country and the police should be shutting down any meetings he is holding in New Zealand.

“At a time when we are desperate to do everything we can to lower our unacceptable and tragic rates of suicide, Nitschke is promoting a message that anybody has the right to take their own life,”says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“His message has left a trail of destruction, and is evidence of just how far some euthanasia advocates will take an assisted suicide law if it was ever introduced. Vulnerable people are being exploited by his agenda and the police need to protect New Zealanders from him. The suicide prevention messages will be completely undermined by his messaging.”

In 2014 Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man, Nigel Brayley. Complaints have also been made regarding the suicides of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother suffering from post-natal depression who died an agonizing death from euthanasia drugs; Lucas Taylor, a 26-year-old suffering from hidden depression; Gillian Clark, a 47-year-old who was undergoing medical tests; and Joe Waterman, a physically healthy 25-year-old, among others.

The 2015 Victorian state government inquiry into end-of-life choices found that young and physically healthy people were killing themselves using a drug recommended by euthanasia groups – the same drug being recommended in NZ. The majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.

The Medical Board of Australia imposed 25 strict conditions on Philip Nitschke, known as Doctor Death. The board believed he “presents a serious risk to public health and safety.”

“Nitschke defends the right of someone to take their own life, even when fit and healthy. New Zealanders reject this destructive message and the police should prevent this risk to vulnerable New Zealanders. In fact, he should not even be entering the country,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Nitschke’s promotion of suicide places large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death.”
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Enabling Suicide Should Always Be A Crime

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Media Release 11 May 2018
Family First NZ is welcoming the decision in the Wellington High Court of the conviction and fining of Susan Austen who enabled a woman to commit suicide. Family First is now calling on the police to lay similar charges against Dr Philip Nitschke.

Family First is also calling on the Voluntary Euthanasia Society to return the donations of suicide victim Annemarie Treadwell. It is disturbing and ethically questionable that VES are profiting from aiding and abetting suicide and questions whether the case is more about coercion than compassion.

“The case shows that we should be very wary of groups and politicians calling for euthanasia laws. They propose a dangerous law, far wider than what they will publicly admit, based on the so-called right or choice of suicide to those who want it. The victim was a life-member of EXIT and was suffering from depression and arthritis but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“It is disturbing that pro-euthanasia supporters are campaigning for importing a drug linked to assisting suicide.”

“It is completely right that our justice system should reject the promotion of suicide in New Zealand, but the police also need to turn their attention to the background operations of Philip Nitschke. Nitschke promotes suicide, has left a trail of destruction, and is evidence of just how far some euthanasia advocates will take an assisted suicide law if it was ever introduced.”

Last year, Nitschke was exposed for selling suicide kits disguised as equipment for home-brewing beer. No controls. Just a credit card required. Vulnerable people are being exploited by his agenda and the police need to protect NZ’ers from him and groups associated with him.

The Medical Board of Australia has imposed 25 strict conditions on Nitschke who they rightly believepresents a serious risk to public health and safety”.

In 2014 Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man, Nigel Brayley. Complaints have also been made regarding the suicides of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother suffering from post-natal depression who died an agonizing death from euthanasia drugs; Lucas Taylor, a 26-year-old suffering from hidden depression; Gillian Clark, a 47-year-old who was undergoing medical tests; and Joe Waterman, a physically healthy 25-year-old, among others.

The 2015 Victorian state government inquiry into end-of-life choices found that young and physically healthy people were killing themselves using a drug recommended by euthanasia groups – the same drug being recommended in NZ. The majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.
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Police Right To Investigate Promotion & Enabling of Suicide

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Media Release 15 March 2018
Family First NZ says police are absolutely correct to be investigating, shutting down and prosecuting the promotion of suicide in New Zealand, and especially the operations of Philip Nitschke.

“The intent of the police was correct when checking on supporters of Exit International. Nitschke promotes suicide, has left a trail of destruction, and is evidence of just how far some euthanasia advocates will take an assisted suicide law if it was ever introduced. Just last year, Nitschke was exposed for selling suicide kits disguised as equipment for home-brewing beer. No controls. Just a credit card required. Vulnerable people are being exploited by his agenda and the police need to protect NZ’ers from him and groups associated with him,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The Medical Board of Australia has imposed 25 strict conditions on Nitschke who they rightly believepresents a serious risk to public health and safety”. In 2014 Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man, Nigel Brayley.

Complaints have also been made regarding the suicides of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother suffering from post-natal depression who died an agonizing death from euthanasia drugs; Lucas Taylor, a 26-year-old suffering from hidden depression; Gillian Clark, a 47-year-old who was undergoing medical tests; and Joe Waterman, a physically healthy 25-year-old, among others.
The 2015 Victorian state government inquiry into end-of-life choices found that young and physically healthy people were killing themselves using a drug recommended by euthanasia groups – the same drug being recommended in NZ. The majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.

A Wellington woman ended her life with Nembutal in 2008, after receiving advice on how to obtain it from Dr Nitschke. She was a life-member of EXIT and was suffering from depression but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness.

“Nitschke defends the right of someone to take their own life, even when fit and healthy. New Zealanders reject this destructive message and the police are right to be prosecuting and investigating groups in order to remove this risk to vulnerable NZ’ers,” says Mr McCoskrie.
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Submissions on Euthanasia Failing To Get Through

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Media Release 11 February 2018
Family First Comment: Please contact us if you have been having issues trying to email your submission.
admin@familyfirst.org.nz

Family First NZ says that the email system of Parliament appears to be crashing under the weight of submissions being received on euthanasia – and is calling on the closing date to be delayed.

“We have been contacted by a number of submitters who report that their emailed submissions are not getting through and that they are receiving either an error message or are not receiving the automated reply that some submitters are getting. Our own testing of the email address would suggest that there are ongoing problems,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This means that submitters on both sides of the issue cannot be certain that their submissions are being received and will make the deadline of 20 February.”

Family First is calling on Parliamentary Services to urgently fix the issue, for confirmations to be sent to all submitters, and is also asking for the closing date for submissions to be extended so that submitters can confirm that their submission has been received and accepted.

“It is no surprise that the Select Committee is being swamped with submissions on such a contentious issue – but it is vital that all submissions are received and are part of the full consideration of this bill.”
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Major Campaign Launched Against Euthanasia Bill

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Media Release 13 December 2017
In response to ACT MP David Seymour’s euthanasia bill passing it’s 1st Reading tonight, Family First NZ is immediately launching a strong nationwide campaign to stop the flawed and dangerous bill.

Family First will be releasing a 16-page resource this week to help families and organisations flood the Select Committee with submissions opposing the law.

“Safe euthanasia is a myth. Euthanasia will remove the ‘choice’ of many vulnerable people, and fails the public safety test. Most disturbingly, promotion of assisted suicide is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she can no longer cope with their suffering – whatever the nature of that suffering. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The recent parliamentary inquiry sounded a clear warning that changing the law on assisted suicide could be seen as normalising suicide, and an overwhelming 80% of the 21,000+ submitters – in an extensive and lengthy inquiry – have rejected calls for euthanasia.

“Vulnerable New Zealanders will live without this Bill.”
www.rejectassistedsuicide.nz 
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Seymour Bill A ‘Political Stunt’ – Minister of Health

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Media Release 12 December 2017
Family First NZ is welcoming media comments made by the new Minister of Health during the election campaign regarding David Seymour’s euthanasia bill, including the commitment that he will vote against it.

Labour MP Dr David Clark said he supported the health select committee investigation into euthanasia which received over 21,000 submission of which 80% were opposed to euthanasia.

Dr Clark said it had been a productive process involving a large part of the community in a “mature discussion”, and that Seymour’s bill “is a political stunt that will give profile to David Seymour.”

“Dr Clark is completely correct. The government report released in August revealed a massive level of opposition to euthanasia, and explains why a select committee comprising both proponents and opponents of assisted suicide could not endorse any change to the law. They understand that promotion of assisted suicide is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she can no longer cope with their suffering – whatever the nature of that suffering. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
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