More support for Assisted Dying than a flag change

If the sustained applause assisted-dying advocate Matt Vickers received after his talk at the National Rural Health Conference in Dunedin was anything to go by, his message to health professionals hit the spot on Saturday.

Mr Vickers is the widower of Lecretia Seales, a Wellington lawyer who challenged the Crown in the High Court on her right to choose how she died.

Ms Seales was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011, and despite treatment died last year.

Earlier in the year, she put a case to the High Court to challenge New Zealand law for her right to die with the assistance of her doctor, asking for a declaration the doctor would not risk conviction.

Her call was declined.

Mr Vickers told the conference his wife spent the last days of her life seeking control over the last stage of her life.

He had been wanting to “speak to New Zealand doctors and nurses for some time”.

He believed anyone facing “intolerable suffering” should have the option of assisted dying.

Countries in Europe, including Belgium and the Netherlands, and states of the United States, including Oregon, already had assisted-dying laws.

The issue was now being discussed in New Zealand, something he thought was “a wonderful thing”.

Some people ended up with a choice between suicide “and a long painful death”.

Mr Vickers said between 5% and 8% of suicides were people with terminal illnesses, “people from loving families who shoot themselves or walk off cliffs”.

A recent survey found nearly two thirds of New Zealanders support a Death with Dignity bill with the usual sensible safeguards.

Labour had their private members bill drawn but took it off the table to not get it messed up in the Dirty Politics campaign.

It’s not something a National government will get near, oddly enough.  And like the flag, it may take some time before someone has the political courage to try again.




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  • CoNZervative

    Because Euthanasia is sold to the public falsely as “turning off the machine” “mercy” and “dignity” (which it is not) like trans-genderism is currently being sold to us as “gender” and a “right”

    • Snoup

      It’s about changing the law that currently bans a person (who desperately wants to die but is physically unable to commit suicide) from entering into a contract with a willing assistant. This issue more than any other reveals the deep seated nanny-state thinking among conservatives.

      • CoNZervative

        We want the State to decide who lives and dies? Gimme a break

        • Snoup

          That’s exactly what you want.

  • Monty’smate

    John Key was fond of telling us that he used to take a hand count of those in favour of a flag change before making one of his flag change speeches and then again after- proudly proclaiming that the numbers in favour rose dramatically once he’d finished his exercise in propaganda. And look how his flag change exercise ended up! Exactly the same would happen with this propaganda tour by Mr Vickers. The emotive propaganda of the pro-death lobbyists sounds fine in theory but once people think hard about the implications of the state- funded killing of its most vulnerable citizens they rapidly change their views.

  • Christie

    I don’t know. I don’t think this should be compared with a flag change. I have huge sympathy for Lecretia Seales, but the issue is a problematic one. If someone actually asked me to assist them to die, even if they had a terminal disease, and were in terrible pain, I’m not sure I could do it. It is fine in theory – but how many of us could actually pull the plug – so to speak?

    • Doug

      I could, but I still have marginal issues with who can be helped… If these can be addressed, then I would have no problems

    • Totara

      If a close family member asked me to pull out a rotten tooth, and they were in great pain, I don’t think that I would do it. But I might help them to get a qualified dentist to do the job.

      What I wouldn’t do is to prevent them from seeking out competent professional help.

  • Charley jones

    Surely this is a discussion that needs to be held by the health professionals that deal with this issue day in and day out. Not enthusiastic amateurs with an opinion. Also ” thou shall not kill” is one of the Ten Commandments.
    My thinking is that adequate pain relief negates any need to kill some poor unfortunate. When will common sense prevail? This is another slippery slope that should not be gone down.