Majority of submissions reject the neoliberal seductiveness of euthanasia


The majority of submissions reject euthanasia…

Majority of submissions against bill to legalise euthanasia
The Care Alliance, which represents some groups opposed to euthanasia, analysed the nearly 38,000 submissions made to the Justice Select Committee on the End of Life Choice Bill.

Care Alliance Secretary Peter Thirkell said it was a record number of submissions for any bill, and more than 90 percent were opposed.

“These are heartfelt. This is a cross-section of all New Zealanders, and they are very well-informed submissions – these aren’t just a few people with funny ideas,” Dr Thirkell said.

He is calling on MPs not to dismiss the submissions, which include 2000 from medical professionals.

…there is a neoliberal seductiveness about euthanasia.

It creates this false narrative of ‘choice’ and puts us all in the fake position of ‘what if it was me’.

The truth is that the vast number of those who die do so without immense pain and suffering, this is legislation for the exceptions, not the rule…

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Many people fear death partly because of the perception they might suffer increasing pain and other awful symptoms the nearer it gets.

There is often the belief palliative care may not alleviate such pain, leaving many people to die excruciating deaths.

But an excruciating death is extremely rare, reports The Conversation.

The evidence about palliative care is that pain and other symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia and breathing issues, actually improve as people move closer to death.

More than 85 percent of palliative care patients have no severe symptoms by the time they die.

Evidence from the Australian Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) at the University of Wallongong shows that there has been a statistically significant improvement over the last decade in pain and other end-of-life symptoms.

…more than 85% of palliative care patients have no severe symptoms by the time of death? The issue here is that palliative care is expensive, and what the Government are suggesting is cost cutting.

It should come as no surprise that ACT, the far right political party are pushing for this reform. For them it is the perfect collusion of total individualism (the act to kill yourself) and the purity of the market to efficiently end those no longer contributing.

Self-assisted suicide – which is what we are really discussing here, not the far more sterilised ‘euthanasia’, will become a means to a neoliberal end in NZ.

Look at the horrific manner in which NZs institutes treat the most vulnerable. Look at how we treat the mentally ill, the poor and prisoners. How long do any of you honestly believe it will take for some Wellington bureaucrat to start planning to use this legislation for all those costing the health budget?

It happened before under National in the 1990s, and that was when euthanasia was illegal.

We are being conned into believing euthanasia is a solution to a fear of living in pain during death that isn’t the reality for the vast majority of us.

This legislation is to appease alpha personalities who can not tolerate the idea of needing help in the painful end of their lives, but it will be used against the poorest and most vulnerable who are already so easily abused by the State.


  1. Majority of submissions reject the neoliberal seductiveness of euthanasia

    More accurately:
    Overwhelming majority of submissions reflect the fact that churches respond to any voluntary euthanasia bill by inciting their congregations to fill in a template submission opposing the bill and submit it under their own names.

    • Correct, Milt. When I worked in the Alliance parliamentary office in 95/96, Michael Laws’ “Death with Dignity” bill attracted submissions and correspondence to Jim Anderton’s office. Nearly all the opposing letters were of a religious nature and most had an uncanny similarly.

      • This time 90% of submissions made no reference to religion. The majority of opponents are concerned about social issues and especially the impact on suicide prevention.

        There were 1,979 submissions from people who identified themselves as doctors, nurses and others involved with the health care sector, and 133 submissions from a variety of organisations with a strong interest in the Bill.

        • On this occasion, religious/moral affiliations have been quietly shelved, Renne. But groups still pop up, as you point out. They are often fronts for conservative/religious organisations such as Family First, et al.

            • There’s nothing wrong religious groups coordinating a response to the bill – New Zealand is a democracy after all. However they should have the courage of their convictions to say who they are and why they really oppose it. I suspect the reason they are unwilling to do so is because:

              “Just over half the population have no religious beliefs. Religious dogma cuts very little ice with most people, so they have to devise an alternative strategy to avoid any mention of their real motive.”
              Martin Hanson

              • “Just over half the population have no religious beliefs. Religious dogma cuts very little ice with most people, so they have to devise an alternative strategy to avoid any mention of their real motive.”
                Martin Hanson

                Sometimes I wonder if we have new, post-god quasi-religions such as anti-vaxxers, ban-1080ers, anti-flouros, climate change deniers, et al.

    • I would agree with that comment.

      Yes, it may only be in a few cases where sick and elderly suffer in such great pain, they may wish to end their lives with a doctor’s consent. But should we condemn those persons to suffer immensely and severely, by not allowing voluntary euthanasia?

      It is certainly not an easy decision, but my dislike of David Seymour and ACT does not go as far as rejecting everything they may propose.

    • Correct. Whanau were given a beautifully printed handout from St Mary of the Angels, Wgtn, with multi choice answers to select from. I had one until recently but I biffed it out.

      Their usual biggest objection is the greedy young bullying the old into signing off unwillingly.

      That’s a constant them from Catholic clergy, who seem to have a terrible view about how kids will treat their parents – I’m not exaggerating here, and I know elder abuse exists, and have witnessed it, but the Church’s view I think too dark and cynical – and simplistic.

      I have long supported assisted dying, and I in fact have had to force my views upon my children here.

      Western Christian religion followers believe that heaven awaits them, but they are often scared of going to hell – and probably with jolly good reason – hence they are scared of dying because lots of them – especially politicians – know that underneath they have been quite bad.

      Catholic theologian Hans King writes supporting euthanasia, if nec for himself, saying life is a gift from God and one can choose to return that gift to God.

      I was surprised to see Bill English talk about ‘kindness’ here, when Bill so publicly labelled young NZ men as useless druggies, and if that is Bill English’s idea of being kind to a vulnerable group of people, then it re-inforces my support of assisted dying.

      Reckon if English had to live his last 10 years incontinent in nappies, unable to communicate about the pain shrieking through his bladder, waking mornings sitting bolt upright in terror, he may not rage against the dying of the light.

      Big money to be made in the elder care industry nowadays – and even bigger money by the pharmaceutical industry – hell bent on profit to whom ?

    • Hi Frank, were you ever familiar with Chick Publications from the US – distributed by anti-Catholic pentecostals warning of one world governments, and dirty papists. You sound like you are well versed in irrational anti-catholicism. It’s called organising, and democracy. I believe Catholics are permitted to do it too.

  2. Dear Martyn;

    I was injured with chemical poisoning on a job in Canada in 1992 as a kiwi worker, and was given no hope of recovery afterwards.

    The prognosis was I would die eventually from cancer and brain tumours.

    Since then, I have sought alternative treatments to stay alive, to see my children grow up and have kids, – and though Ilive an “insular’ lifestyle (keeping far away from any chemical exposures) i live a good life.

    So my message is no do not end your life without trying alternative medications, (some are very cheap) and all is not lost to us.

  3. Hang on. As I recall David Seymour took over support of assisted dying legislation in parliament from Maryan Street – a Labour politician who was pretty much the antithesis of a “neoliberal”.

    The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland (3 countries with some of the world’s highest living standards) have all had compassionate assisted dying legislation for years. Each of them has shown this “slippery slope” stuff for what it is – a myth.

  4. Having sat at the bedside of people screaming out, even if its just a whisper, and pleading to be allowed to die, I think it inhuman to not be allowed to die at our chosen time. After all, by this point in our life most of us are living well beyond our ‘natural’ time.
    And the thought of being left alone, in a hospital, or hospice, to slowly fade away…not going to happen.

    Dignity is being allowed to die.

    • “Dignity is being allowed to die.” What is being allowed to kill, called, then? That is what is being proposed, that some members of society, however you dress it up, are allowed to kill

  5. You’ll also find (to your surprise???) that the vast majority of submissions of legalisation of marijuana will also be negative. It’s a completely useless statistic to cite because only people who disagree with a change will be compelled to write-in. I suspect you only cite it because it happens to fit your own viewpoint. I’m 100% for putting this thing to a referendum and seeing what happens (the outcome will be a no-brainer though):

  6. Sorry disagree here. I am not sure that enduring pain so that you can be pain free upon your death is a good enough excuse for palliative care being good enough. There is more than just physical pain going on here also, many people have to endure years of emotional pain after their loved ones and friends are gone, languishing in old age too sick to start over but too healthy to die, when all they want is to rest in peace.

    • Well said, Hayden – all they want to do is to rest in peace.

      Two old ladies spoke identical words to me, “Being old is terrible.” One was my mother who lived well into her 100’s, the last 30 years as a widow, and private little person.

      All pain is awful, and struggling to cope with it when old, weak, tired, and emotionally and intellectually alone, can be too big an ask.

  7. The end of MY life should be MY choice. Having witnessed my father, emaciated and in pain from a blood cancer, in his final week, clearly not getting enough pain relief, I believe he would have wanted out – he was still compos mentis till close to the end.

  8. Finally people have come to their senses and realised will people be put under unnecessary pressure to end their lives as they do not want to be a burden.

    • I think my kids might have regarded me as a burden ever since they reached the age of reason.

      I have often been the worst mother in the class, and Roseanne told my daughter that she felt very sorry for her as she was the only girl whose mother didn’t make her raspberry cream sponge for her lunchbox.

      Sort of used to it.

  9. The Catholic church called upon its parishioners to make a submission to the Justice select committee as a duty. It provided model answers that never mentioned religion. It also asked submitters to avoid using “religious and moralistic terms”. The result was 90 per cent of submissions were opposed.
    Of course, if opponents really believed NZ was overwhelmingly opposed they would support a referendum. They don’t. They say the topic is too important and subtle to be covered by a simple question (even though we managed to vote on the introduction of MMP at a general election).

  10. About this fact in the article:

    “More than 85 percent of palliative care patients have no severe symptoms by the time they die.” which is technically true

    In reality most people’s death within NZ health settings will include a large amount of opioids being administered to ease pain, reduce stress and fear, and a drug-induced coma.

    So at the time of death the ‘severe symptoms’ are masked by a large amount of opioids and the coma.

    • “More than 85 percent of palliative care patients have no severe symptoms by the time they die.”

      Even if this statement were true (and as you say, there are significant caveats), what about the 15% of palliative care patients who DO have severe symptoms when they die? Are they just meant to grind on towards a slow and agonising death in order to satisfy someone else’s moral or religious values?

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