Media Release Monday 24th June 2019
It will be a disaster if Parliament votes to pass the life threatening End of Life Choice bill at its second reading. This bill that has no place in our Parliament for many reasons.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has the duty to provide strong moral leadership. If this bill passes she will have to accept major responsibility for failing to provide such leadership.
Elder abuse is an epidemic in New Zealand and according to Age Concern, euthanasia will increase the incidence of elder abuse with the elderly being encouraged to believe that they are a burden on their family and on society. One in ten people over the age of 65 are subject to elder abuse. In 2018 there were 2,260 cases of abuse reported with one in ten being financial abuse. It is believed that three out of four cases are not reported. Barrister Grant Illingworth believes, “that there are a group of people who are really willing to do almost anything to get money.” In a media release on Stuff he has stated that there will be no way to determine if someone has been coerced into taking their own life or have a doctor kill them, if the EOLCB is passed into law.
Suicide, hurts families and communities. Our statistics are appalling. There were 668 suicides reported in New Zealand in 2017/18, 10% higher than the previous year and the highest ever recorded. However there were 23,423 suicide attempts over the same period or around 64 per per day. We have the highest youth suicide rate in the OECD. If this bill was passed, Parliament would effectively be making assisted suicide government funded health care, hence normalising suicide. Assisted suicide and euthanasia are not health care. Parliament have a duty to protect the vulnerable by defeating this contentious bill and to allow doctors to care for their patients and provide increased funding for our world class palliative care systems so that everyone has access to real death with dignity.
The American Medical Association, one of the most important organisations in the world representing doctors recently voted to reconfirm its opposition to doctor assisted suicide as being unethical. The NZ Medical Association, the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and the Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine are officially opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, as is Hospice NZ, the NZ Health Professionals Alliance and Palliative Care Nurses NZ. Why then is the government refusing to listen to those at the forefront of care for the dying.
Dr Tim Molloy President of the RNZCGP wrote in the College’s submission to the Justice Committee, “However, whether or not this Bill goes ahead, there are significant challenges that must be addressed. Fundamentally, New Zealanders need accessible, good quality palliative care. The Government should strengthen these services, so we can all experience a dignified, comfortable death.”
Right to Life supports the compassionate recommendations made by the College of General Practitioners:-
1. The Government improves and strengthens palliative care services for all New Zealanders.
2. The Government provides more financial support for families caring for a family member at the end of their life.
3. The Government invests in ensuring Maori have access to culturally appropriate palliative care.
Right to Life