Labour were too gutless, so was Key and Bill, now they have to debate it

Labour twice had a chance to do something about euthanasia, but first David Cunliffe, then Andrew Little lacked the courage to put patients ahead of politics and withdrew their bills to deal with euthanasia.

John Key and Bill English were squeamish too, now they all have no choice but to debate the issue as David Seymour’s bill has been pulled from the ballot.

MPs will be forced to vote on whether or not euthanasia should be legal, after the End of Life Choice bill was drawn from Parliament’s ballot.

A bill to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis if prescribed by a medical practitioner, was also pulled for debate. 

The euthanasia bill, by ACT leader David Seymour, has laid dormant in the House’s infamous biscuit tin since 2015. Since then, the Government has batted away a number of calls to put the issue on its own work programme.

Early last year, former Prime Minister John Key announced a Parliamentary inquiry into euthanasia, by the Health Select Committee. However, the committee is yet to report back on its deliberations, and its recommendations would be non-binding.

Key went so far as to confirm at the outset, that the findings of the committee would not lead to the Government adopting the issue.

While euthanasia would be a conscience vote – meaning MPs would vote individually, rather than along part lines – it was a political landmine both Key and Opposition leader Andrew Little had gone to lengths in the past to avoid.

Now the bill has been drawn from ballot box, it was out of the Government’s hands.

Seymour said he was delighted, and the campaign started immediately.

“This is morally, democratically and legally the right thing for Parliament to do. It is morally right to give people choices over suffering at the end of their life.

“It is democratically right for Parliament to do something that three quarters of New Zealanders and scientific surveys repeatedly say they would like Parliament to act on.

“And it is legally right, because in the Lecretia Seales case the Court said only Parliament can make this change that so many New Zealanders want,” Seymour said.

My mother died of cancer. I don’t know if she would ever had made the choice to end her life earlier, but she never had the chance to make a legal choice to die with dignity.

I know I’d want the choice. It is about time we debated this issue.

Now all we need is for our politicians to show some courage.


– Fairfax

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.