Media Release Thurs 5th December 2019
The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little has provided information on the government website regarding the End of Life Choice Bill [EOLCB], with the supposed intention to inform and encourage people to vote at a referendum at the next general election.
Language is important, and it is disturbing that the Minister has chosen to use deceptive and euphemistic language that has already been widely criticised in the EOLCB itself, that disguises the intent of this anti-life legislation.
The intent of the Act is to legalise assisted suicide and homicide, both of these are serious crimes that are prohibited in the Crimes Act 1961. Right to Life asks why is the Minister responsible for the Crimes Act not defending this legal protection for the lives of vulnerable New Zealanders?
The Minister uses misleading terms as assisted death, choice, informed consent, hastening death and medication. There is absolutely no reference to suicide or killing in the Minister’s information. Why has the Minister deliberately chosen to use language that will deceive New Zealanders as to the murderous intent of this Act?
Right to Life concludes that the objective of this information is to encourage New Zealanders to support the introduction of the EOLCB by voting yes at the referendum.
The Minister states that “it is important that information put into the public domain by the Government, particularly at election time, is and is perceived to be factual and impartial.” However how can the Minister claim that the information that is being given to the public is neutral when it contains such euphemistic language? How can the Minister claim to be neutral and that the Government takes a neutral position on the EOLC bill when he and his government voted overwhelmingly for it?
Thirty-three MPs in the Labour caucus voted for the Bill and only thirteen voted against it. The total Government support for the Bill was seventy-nine percent. This Act was passed only because of the overwhelming support of Government MPs.
It is the intention of the Minister to provide further information approved by himself, for the guidance of New Zealanders on this referendum. The Minister has set up a team within the Ministry of Justice to combat manipulation of the public debate in the lead -up to the referendum. Little told Radio New Zealand last month that Ministry officials will work to verify “that if someone claims to have a highly authoritative piece of research, it is that, not some sort of highly partisan, highly sceptical or dubious piece of information.”
Right to Life asks who vets those who claim to speak about the facts?
Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right in a Parliamentary democracy guaranteed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights. Suppression of free speech is the instrument used to control the population in a dictatorship. Right to Life defends the right of free speech and is concerned that the Minister seeks to control what we are permitted to say and read. Is the Ministry of Justice to be renamed the Ministry of Truth?
Right to Life