Category

Recent News

Disability Rights Commissioner calls for ‘clumsy’ euthanasia bill to be scrapped, started over

By | Recent News | No Comments

TVNZ One News 21 August 2019
Family First Comment: “The safeguards in the bill, although there have been some attempts to improve them, still don’t go far enough in my view, particularly around the assessment of who is competent and secondly around coercion.”
Exactly.
Kill the bill.

The controversial End of Life Choice Bill will be debated by MPs for a second time today, but Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero is calling for it to be scrapped all together.

The first debate three weeks ago saw an amendment to the bill which would allow those with a terminal illness and less than six months to live to access assisted dying.

The committee of the house is expected to discuss the role of doctors and the issue of coercion today.

But Ms Tesoriero still expressed concerns, telling TVNZ1’s Breakfast today she thinks the bill should be scrapped and started over.

“I would far rather see that if New Zealanders want this kind of scheme, then start again, co-create this piece of legislation with the right people around the table, rather than this process which is clumsy, awkward, deeply complex and I think continues to pose a number of risks for New Zealanders – particularly disabled Kiwis.”

Ms Tesoriero said she wasn’t satisfied with the amendments to the bill, adding there was “no bright line test between disability and terminal illness”.

“The safeguards in the bill, although there have been some attempts to improve them, still don’t go far enough in my view, particularly around the assessment of who is competent and secondly around coercion.”

Ms Tesoriero said there was “a whole range of improvements” that could be made, but she would like to see doctors talk to people who aren’t in the family and aren’t in the dying person’s will to better safeguard the process.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/disability-rights-commissioner-calls-clumsy-euthanasia-bill-scrapped-started-over

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Hospices call for more protection in euthanasia law

By | Recent News | No Comments

NZ Herald 16 August 2019
Family First Comment: “Organisations were also worried that without further protections, those who didn’t want to participate would be at risk of coming under pressure to provide euthanasia services or lose public contracts,”
#coercion

Hospices say they want more protections to ensure their facilities won’t be used for assisted dying if euthanasia legislation makes it through Parliament.

But the politician behind the bill, Act Leader David Seymour, says there’s no problem to be fixed.

The End of Life Choice Bill passed its second reading 70 votes to 50 in June and is now going through a series of debates about what changes are needed before it’s voted on for a final time.

The bill allows terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to request assisted dying and let’s doctors opt out of any part of the process.

National Party MP Michael Woodhouse, who opposes the legislation, has now proposed an amendment that would let hospices, aged-care facilities and faith-based providers to be able to say they didn’t want anyone to be able to provide assisted dying on their premises.

“There is no legal prohibition on the ability of a doctor practicing autonomously with a resident in a rest home to offer assisted dying services inside their facility,” he said.

Organisations were also worried that without further protections, those who didn’t want to participate would be at risk of coming under pressure to provide euthanasia services or lose public contracts,” he said.

Hospice New Zealand chair Richard Thurlow said assisted dying went against the character of the providers and their basic beliefs of neither hastening nor postponing death.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12258952&ref=twitter  (behind paywall)

facebook_icon

Woman confronts ‘Dr Death’ at Perth euthanasia forum

By | Recent News | No Comments

9 News 13 August 2019
Family First Comment: Her father was in his 60s when he took his life two years ago, after seeking advice from Mr Nitschke’s Exit International group that advocates legalising voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. She said her father was suffering from depression, but he had no terminal illness.
“Apologise for what happened to my father,” she said. “The information you put out kills people who are not in a rational state of mind to make that decision… There are young people who have died, people with depression. It’s wrong, it’s totally irresponsible, he’s a doctor, it’s wrong.”

A pro-euthanasia forum in Perth has turned ugly after a young woman tried to direct questions to controversial former doctor Philip Nitschke.

Backers of the man dubbed Dr Death, converged on the woman and demanded she leave.

“There are young people who have died, people with depression,” she argued back. “It’s wrong, it’s totally irresponsible, he’s a doctor, it’s wrong.”

Known only as Candice, the woman then walked to the front of the forum and confronted Mr Nitschke up close.

“Apologise for what happened to my father,” she said. “The information you put out kills people who are not in a rational state of mind to make that decision.”

Candice then explained to the media that her father was in his 60s when he took his life two years ago, after seeking advice from Mr Nitschke’s Exit International group that advocates legalising voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide.

She said her father was suffering from depression, but he had no terminal illness.
READ MORE: https://www.9news.com.au/national/perth-news-woman-confronts-euthanasia-advocate-philip-nitschke-dr-death/0b6919cf-4f7d-4234-956b-86bc0c208097

twitter follow us

‘No-one is beyond help’: Why euthanasia should never be an option

By | Recent News | No Comments

Stuff co.nz 10 July 2019
Family First Comment: We need to tell society that it’s okay to need help. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you know your limits and capabilities. Asking for help is a strength. The implications for this bill to do harm are enormous.

OPINION: I firmly believe that euthanasia should never be an option.

I was a nursing student and I did a placement in a hospice facility. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it’s not as bad as people imagine.

A natural death isn’t something to be feared. A person can live a relatively good life well beyond the “expected date of death”.

Pain for the most part can be controlled. The way it is portrayed by the media is inaccurate. It only adds to the fear of death.

If this euthanasia bill is introduced, the criteria for who is eligible will only widen to include more and more people. The elderly, the disabled, the lonely, the mentally ill, and those who have had enough of “living”. Maybe there will be more?

I think if this bill is approved there will be no “boundaries”. They will be an illusion. Maybe one day no-one will be safe.

It also opens the door for elder abuse, to euthanise a person for being a “burden” or even for an inheritance.

Also, who in this world has the right to say that a person’s life has become “intolerable”? No-one does.

No-one is beyond help. With the right support, I believe that every person, no matter their capabilities, can live a good life that is full and happy.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/euthanasia-debate/114116774/noone-is-beyond-help-why-euthanasia-should-never-be-an-option

twitter follow us

End of life choice Bill to affect society’s vulnerable the most says hospice doctor

By | Recent News | No Comments

Stuff co.nz 5 July 2019
Family First Comment: “The vulnerable, aged and disabled face coercion and exploitation should the End of Life Choice Bill become law in NZ, a top palliative specialist in Timaru says. Passing the bill could erode compassion, and confirms an ideology that considers some lives are not worth living even if that person sees value in it. It changes a whole moral shift that we put more value in some people’s lives than others.”
Protect.org.nz

The vulnerable, aged and disabled in South Canterbury face coercion and exploitation should the End of Life Choice Bill become law in New Zealand, a top palliative specialist in the region says.

Passing the bill could erode compassion, and confirms an ideology that considers some lives are not worth living even if that person sees value in it, Dr Catherine D’Souza says.

“It changes a whole moral shift that we put more value in some people’s lives than others.

“The people we are supposed to protect in society – the old, the vulnerable, the disabled – they’re the ones who feel the pressure and feel the lack of value in their lives.”

D’Souza, employed and shared by both South Canterbury Hospice and the District Health Board, said she has never been asked about assisted dying as yet in South Canterbury.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/life/113898442/end-of-life-choice-bill-to-affect-societys-vulnerable-the-most-says-palliative-specialist

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Euthanasia’s 2nd Reading – How they voted

By | Media Releases, Recent News

National
NO
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Maggie Barry, Andrew Bayly, David Bennett, Dan Bidois, Simon Bridges, Simeon Brown, Gerry Brownlee, David Carter, Jacqui Dean, Sarah Dowie, Paulo Garcia, Paul Goldsmith, Nathan Guy, Jo Hayes, Harete Hipango, Denise Lee, Melissa Lee, Agnes Loheni, Tim Macindoe, Todd McClay, Ian McKelvie, Todd Muller, Alfred Ngaro, Simon O’Connor, Parmjeet Parmar, Chris Penk, Maureen Pugh, Shane Reti, Alastair Scott, Nick Smith, Anne Tolley, Louise Upston, Nicky Wagner, Hamish Walker, Michael Woodhouse, Jonathan Young  (37)

YES

Amy Adams, Paula Bennett, Chris Bishop, Judith Collins, Matt Doocey, Andrew Falloon, Brett Hudson, Nikki Kaye, Matt King, Barbara Kuriger, Mark Mitchell, Scott Simpson, Stuart Smith, Erica Stanford, Tim van de Molen, Nicola Willis, Jian Yang, Lawrence Yule (18)

Labour
NO!
Kiri Allan, David Clark, Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, Damien O’Connor, Adrian Rurawhe, Deborah Russell, Jenny Salesa, Aupito Tofe Sua William Sio, Jamie Strange, Rino Tirikatene, Phil Twyford, Meka Whaitiri, Michael Wood (13)

YES

Ginny Andersen, Jacinda Ardern, Tamati Coffey, Liz Craig, Clare Curran, Kelvin Davis, Ruth Dyson, Paul Eagle, Kris Faafoi, Peeni Henare, Chris Hipkins, Raymond Huo, Willie Jackson, Iain Lees-Galloway, Andrew Little, Marja Lubeck, Jo Luxton, Nanaia Mahuta, Trevor Mallard, Kieran McAnulty, Stuart Nash, Greg O’Connor, David Parker, Willow-Jean Prime, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Grant Robertson, Carmel Sepuloni, Jan Tinetti, Louisa Wall, Angie Warren-Clark, Poto Williams, Duncan Webb, Megan Woods (33)

NZ First
YES (All MPs!)
Darroch Ball, Shane Jones, Jenny Marcroft, Ron Mark, Tracey Martin, Clayton Mitchell, Mark Patterson, Winston Peters, Fletcher Tabuteau (9)

Greens
YES (All MPs!)
Marama Davidson, Julie Anne Genter, Golriz Ghahraman, Gareth Hughes, Jan Logie, Eugenie Sage, James Shaw, Chloe Swarbrick (8)

ACT
David Seymour

Independent
Jami-Lee Ross

* those underlined changed their vote from the 1st Reading

NZ Muslim Community: We ask the PM and MPs to oppose euthanasia

By | Recent News | No Comments

25 June 2019
Family First Comment:“As a community we implore our elected democratic Ministers of Parliament to join us to also oppose euthanasia – and to instead focus our efforts on how to better support and care for every New Zealander. It is not for us or doctors to kill or aid others in destroying themselves. Our predominantly immigrated community will be made vulnerable under the proposed bill.”|
Protect.org.nz

FIANZ, the voice of New Zealand’s Muslim community since 1979, is opposed to euthanasia and the End of Life Choice Bill. We give voice to our concerns on behalf of our community.

As New Zealand Muslims, we are worried that the vulnerability of our community members could be exploited if euthanasia is legalised by Parliament.

Islam considers all human life sacred. Life is to be protected and promoted and not terminated prematurely. It is neither permissible in Islam to kill another human being, nor even to kill one’s own self.  God Says, “Do not take life, which God made sacred…” (Qur’an 17:33), and Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves…” (Qur’an 4:29-30).

As a community we implore our elected democratic Ministers of Parliament to join us to also oppose euthanasia – and to instead focus our efforts on how to better support and care for every New Zealander. It is not for us or doctors to kill or aid others in destroying themselves.

Our predominantly immigrated community will be made vulnerable under the proposed bill. We outline seven key areas of concern for your consideration:

  1. Most of our community immigrated from countries where authorities are hardly questioned. We are worried that they could be suggested, pressured or coerced by authoritative figures like doctors to end their lives if they had terminal illness or disabilities.
  2. We are concerned making euthanasia legal here will normalise it for future generations and erode our cultural identity.
  3. Many of our community are much poorer compared to others in society – some having come as refugees. In cases of severe illness where health care costs are high and carers are scarce, members of the community could request euthanasia out of guilt  – as many are already conditioned into thinking they are an economic burden to the society – as a way of relieving the society of their burden.
  4. Due to the high unemployment rate in our community, legalising euthanasia could make it easier for unscrupulous members of poor families to pressure terminally ill relatives to request euthanasia as a way of relieving the family of their physical and economic burden.
  1. If euthanasia were legalised, the taxes we pay to the government would be used to train and deliver the act of euthanasia – making us as taxpayers complicit in this.
  1. Persons in our community who are in extreme pain and clouded by depression, shock and grief could make irrational decisions due to their conditions and request their own death by euthanasia – not giving themselves time for possible recovery or coming to terms with their condition.
  1. And perhaps most importantly, legalising euthanasia may provide the societal acceptance needed by those with suicidal tendencies in our communities to rationalise committing suicide.

Passing this legislation will be tantamount to saying to our terminally ill and disabled that their lives are less valuable to the society compared to the youthful.

If patients or those in pain currently can refuse treatment and die naturally as a result, why should legislation be enacted to legalise euthanasia, when it in turn places so much risk on already vulnerable members of our communities.

The euthanasia debate: Death is not a black-and-white issue

By | Recent News | No Comments

Stuff co.nz 24 June 2019
Family First Comment: An excellent piece by Amanda Landers (who spoke at our Forum last year) “The answer to bad deaths is not euthanasia. The answer is a better understanding of basic medical ethics, of palliative medicine, of what happens to the body when it is dying, and how to care for  someone at the end of life.”
Protect.org.nz

OPINION: I get the feeling the general public think death is a black-and-white issue. I cannot think of a subject that has more grey.

I trained for 13 years to be a palliative medicine specialist. I attended Otago Medical School, completed advanced training in Australia and New Zealand and have been a specialist for 10 years.

Palliative care is multi-disciplinary to match the many dimensions of a person and their family/whanau. I have been dismayed at the attacks on our area of medicine in the media and on the health professionals who dedicate their lives to looking after these vulnerable New Zealanders.

In reading social media pages, I have realised there are many misconceptions that have taken root in our community which need weeding out. One of these misconceptions is that euthanasia and withdrawing medical intervention is one and the same.

I was asked to see a lady in her 80s with heart failure who lived in a rest home. She was asking her doctor to stop all her heart medication. The woman had discussed it with her daughter who was present and I could see she understood the decision may shorten her life, allowing nature to take its course. I agreed to her request and she thanked me profusely.

She said something that changed my practice immensely: “I would not be alive in any other century,” she said. I realised this is true.

Withdrawing treatment is legally, ethically and morally her choice. But ultimately she will die of heart failure, not a lethal injection. This is the difference between a natural death and euthanasia.

Amanda Landers is a community palliative care physician and a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Otago, Christchurch
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/euthanasia-debate/113725941/the-euthanasia-debate-death-is-not-a-blackandwhite-issue

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Euthanasia bill would be rife for exploitation by the selfish and the abusive, says QC

By | Recent News | No Comments

Stuff co.nz 23 June 2019
Family First Comment: “Believing that doctors will always be able to tell whether or not someone is making a free choice is a mistake. Doctors are fallible, just like any other human being. And even the best doctors on their best days will struggle to determine, with 100 per cent accuracy, that the patient in front of them is making a free and voluntary decision.”

OPINION: David Seymour makes a good point in advocating for his End of Life Choice Bill – when you get to the end of your life, if the situation is intolerable, you should have a choice about what to do about that. But problems arise when you go from the idea to the application, when you actually have to make a law that allows assisted suicide.

The State has an obligation to protect its citizens – that is part of the social contract we as individuals have with the State. Our laws are based on the idea that human life has a certain sanctity about it which needs protection. Even in our Bill of Rights Act, we have provisions that mean that life has to be protected.

The End of Life Choice Bill is premised on the idea that there are some conditions or characteristics that exclude a person from the need to protect their life. If these are absent, the person’s life is protected in law.

If they are present, the person may gain assistance to end their life. By taking away the protection for each human life, the End of Life Choice Bill breaches the social contract.

Perhaps some people would be fine with the State breaching the social contract in this way if it meant that they could have control over how they die.

They may say it is justifiable for some people to make a self-destructive decision because life for them has become intolerable, but that is not really the issue. The issue is, how do you distinguish those cases from the ones that should not be treated in that way?

Modern societies are often judged by the way they treat their weakest and most vulnerable citizens. The End of Life Choice Bill inherently involves people who are in a state of weakness or vulnerability.

During my more than 40 years of experience as a barrister, I have seen the pressures and abuses that can come to bear upon people who are in a state of weakness or vulnerability.

* Grant Illingworth QC is a barrister-at-law based in Auckland and is taking part in the #DefendNZ movement to try to block the End of Life Bill from passing into law.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/euthanasia-debate/113596930/euthanasia-bill-would-be-rife-for-exploitation-by-the-selfish-and-the-abusive-says-qc

facebook_icon

1000 Kiwi doctors sign letter against euthanasia

By | Recent News | No Comments

NZ Herald 23 June 2019
Family First Comment: The doctors said they were “committed to the concept of death with dignity and comfort”, including effective pain relief and excellence in palliative care. And they uphold the right of patients to decline treatment.

One thousand doctors have signed a letter saying they “want no part in assisted suicide”.

They have urged politicians and policy-makers to let them focus on saving lives and care for the dying, rather than taking lives, which they deemed unethical – whether legal or not.

The letter comes as Parliament is due to start the second reading debate on Act MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill on Wednesday.

The doctors said they were “committed to the concept of death with dignity and comfort”, including effective pain relief and excellence in palliative care. And they uphold the right of patients to decline treatment.

But the 1000-strong group said it believed “physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are unethical, even if they were made legal”.

“We believe that crossing the line to intentionally assist a person to die would fundamentally weaken the doctor-patient relationship which is based on trust and respect,” the letter reads.

“We are especially concerned with protecting vulnerable people who can feel they have become a burden to others, and we are committed to supporting those who find their own life situations a heavy burden.”

Finishing, they said: “Doctors are not necessary in the regulation or practice of assisted suicide. They are included only to provide a cloak of medical legitimacy.

“Leave doctors to focus on saving lives and providing real care to the dying.”

The letter – along with 1000 names of the doctors who support it – has been published as a full-page advertisement in today’s Herald on Sunday.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12242957&ref=twitter (behind paywall)

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.