Media Release 29 April 2022
The government has been promoting and funding the suicide of vulnerable patients since the End of Life Choices Act came into effect on 7th November 2021, this is a violation human rights and must stop.
The government has an excellent Suicide Prevention Strategy administered by the Ministry of Health. The government is also promoting assisted suicide provided by the End of Life Choice Act 2019. Access and promotion of assisted suicide is also administered by the Ministry of Health.
Right to Life wrote to the Minister of Health, Andrew Little on 10 January on this issue. He requested the Deputy Director General of Health, Clare Perry to respond.
Ms Perry responded to Right to Life on 17th February 2022:
“I would like to assure you that the Ministry of Health remains fully committed to achieving the vision outlined in He Tapu te Oranga, namely to achieve a future where there is no suicide in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to the key outcomes of reduced suicide rates and wellbeing for all. He Tapu te Oranga is clear that collective ownership is necessary to achieve the vision and outcomes of the strategy, meaning that suicide prevention is a cross-government, cross-agency, and whole-of-society issue. In short, everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. The Ministry also has a role in ensuring that people who are eligible to seek assisted dying are able to receive what is a lawful service, if they choose to apply, and meet the eligibility criteria set out in the End of Life Choice Act 2019.”
The community will be understandably confused at the government having two programmes: the first to oppose suicide and the other to promote suicide.
The Minister of Justice, who is responsible for overseeing both programmes stated in Parliament on a debate the Zero Suicide Aotearoa report. 8th July 2021, concerning suicide prevention, “If, as the report argues, the proposition is that suicide is preventable—if we accept suicide is preventable—then no suicide is acceptable. That’s the premise on which this Government has developed its policy.”
Right to Life applauds the Minister’s life affirming statement that should have the support of the whole community. We totally agree suicide is preventable and that no suicide is acceptable. Why then is the government promoting and funding assisted suicide?
The Minister of Health stated in a media release on 12th October 2021, “The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand.”
The government, which gave overwhelming support to passing the End of Life Choice Act, not only supports assisted suicide but is fully funding this new “health service” by paying doctors up to $3,000 for each patient that they assist to commit suicide.
The government’s suicide policy is incoherent, inconsistent and dangerous. The suicide prevention strategy admirably supports a culture of life.
Suicide is intrinsically evil, as it violates the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” The promotion and funding of assisted suicide supports a culture of death and undermines the suicide prevention strategy.
Right to Life requests that Parliament and government recognise that doctors killing their patients with a lethal injection or assisting in their suicide, has no place in our statutes and urgently requests that Parliament repeal the End of Life Choice Act 2019.
Right to Life NZ Inc.