Euthanasia Referendum – why I can’t vote for it or against it

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Public support legalising euthanasia, latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll shows

The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll asked: Do you think you will vote for euthanasia to be legalised?

Sixty three per cent said yes, down two on our poll from February.

Twenty four percent said no, they want it to remain illegal, down one, while the rest were unsure or said they wouldn’t vote.

I have no time for ACT Party policy or 90% of what David Seymour stands for, but you have to acknowledge that he has done an outstanding job in shepherding this piece of legislation through Parliament and he has shown true political bridge building to bring together different spectrums of NZ politics. He has removed as many concerns of abuse as is possible and crafted a piece of legislation that is worthy of genuine concern and consideration.

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Will this Euthanasia law allow those in pain and with terminal illness the peace they deserve or will it become a loophole for coercion?

I admit to being terribly torn.

I Look at the appalling way the State ‘cares’ for the mentally ill, prisoners, beneficiaries, state tenants and wards of the state. In each case, the state deforms and maims the most vulnerable DESPITE having a duty of care.

Once you take the duty of care muzzle off the snarling state, the way euthanasia does, the coercion to allow the weakest and most vulnerable to die is a greased slippery slope.

Look at the way the State abuse children in its care.

Look at the way mental health services shrug off their responsibilities for the suicide rates.

Look at how Housing NZ don’t care about toddlers in freezing homes.

Look at how the Ministry of Development simply shoves people into motels.

Look at how WINZ torment rape victims and trap beneficiaries into debt.

Mt deepest fear is that it is simply a matter of time before a Wellington Bureaucrat sees euthanasia as a cost cutting method.

Is that too ghoulish and cynical of me?

Perhaps, but in the 1990s the National Government were caught putting together health boards whose target was to deny health services to anyone who was deemed too costly to continue medical care for.

The National Party were actively and secretly looking for ways to disqualify the sick and vulnerable from state health care. If they were prepared to do it when euthanasia was illegal in the 1990s, imagine how quickly they will begin to pressure hospitals to start euthanasia as a cost cutting measure if it becomes legal?

We know how poorly Corrections look after the welfare of prisoners. We know how badly Oranga Tamariki looks after children in their care. We know how damaging Housing NZ, WINZ and the Ministry of Development treat beneficiaries.

So what would stop Government agencies applying the same disregard for the poor and sick if euthanasia is passed?

That is my genuine fear, but is my fear of this being used as a loophole enough to vote against it?

I just don’t know if my fear is a good enough reason to deny any New Zealander who finds themselves in this position. I don’t wish for any fellow human being to suffer for one second longer than they must out when the medical science clearly states their time is limited and are in terminal decline.

I don’t believe I can vote for this legislation because I fear what the State will do with this but equally I don’t believe I have the right to deny other New Zealander’s who find themselves in this terrible position.

So at this stage, I abstain in the Euthanasia referendum.

 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Umm, the euthanasia referendum is being run in tandem with the cannabis de-criminalisation one, right? My thinking is that if we human beings remaining in Aotearoa get off our chuffs and actually vote for legalising cannabis (in a safe way of course) there will be no need for an euthanasia law as everyone will be able to access the Good Lord’s medicine without fear of persecution by the all seeing eye and no one will actually want to die that much.

    • I have had several members of my wider family suffer through Alzheimers. While marijuana might ease some suffering nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can reverse or treat this or other illnesses like it. The last months, even years are spent as a steadily declining shell. I for one do not want to suffer through that if that is my fate nor do I want my family to be emotionally/mentally dragged down unnecessarily. My wife and I have had a mature responsible discussion about my wishes should this happen as well as in any other eventuality for either of us. This needs to be part of the info about euthanasia so that people actually have this conversation as part of the process before it is too late

  2. Thank you very much for your principled stand, Martyn. I understand it must be a tough decision for you to abstain.
    For those of us with cancer and other terminal illnesses, the possibility of a less painful and distressing end is palliative in itself. Many thanks.

  3. Well, I enthusiastically intend to vote to take back my right to control the most fundamental aspect of my life.

  4. Mt deepest fear is that it is simply a matter of time before a Wellington Bureaucrat sees euthanasia as a cost cutting method.

    For pity’s sake!!! It is already happening. Several years now.
    I just do not believe that people don’t see this, don’t know that very well.
    (I have had experience of it.)

  5. I don’t believe I have the right to deny other New Zealander’s

    Unless anyone’s completely incapacitated, it is very easy to do. And even then, ..just ask around discreetly – No probs.

    They (Seymour et al) are not asking for it to be able to happen (despite how cleverly they present it), they’re asking for it to be legalised, so that it is easier for others to do… For those with vested interests to hurry up the “Bye Bye, Dad or Mum” process.

    Again, I have lived through this, and have shared the pain and grief experienced by the person who was subjected to this, and who gave up their fight despite wanting, quite desperately, to be around a while longer.

  6. I wouldn’t worry too much about the National Party taking over the legislation to create “death panels” to off “unwanted or burdensome” citizens. National MPs Todd Muller, Gerry Brownlee, Michael Woodhouse, Maggie Barry, Paolo Garcia, Agnes Loheni & Simon O’Connor are all conservative Catholics who argued vociferously against the introduction of voluntary euthanasia. Of course this list also doesn’t include evangelical Christians such as Simeon Brown, Chris Penk, Alfred Ngaro and new leader-designate Christopher Luxon who are also vehemently opposed. (This list isn’t exhaustive but you get the idea).

    Unless there is a fundamental shift in the make up of the National Party, most of its MPs won’t be supporting assisted dying in any form anytime soon.

    From this angle (and in my personal opinion, all angles) the “slippery slope” argument is a load of bollocks.

  7. I would not vote for David Seymour’s bill as he is Dr Death already with his extreme love of austerity and that cuts the financing of elders always and since I am 76 yrs old this year and been chemically poisoned on the workplace accident in 1992 and never received any medical help from Government health for my disabilities so why would I vote for an early death when I have self administered my own medications to stay alive outside of the medical fraternity who would have written me off in 1992 and sent me for an early death all those years ago.

    I put my faith in God to keep me alive for reasons that I may be of service to others.

  8. As someone living with a terminal illness (and being fully conversant with how it progresses – wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy) I think ultimately the key decision is do you want to give New Zealanders the voluntary option to choose this as an option at the end of life. That’s key – “voluntary” option. I cringe as I write “Do YOU want to give this as an option to those of US who would like that option?” Horrific to think we would not allow this “voluntary” option. Then, again, it’s not until you have nursed someone through an horrendous journey (I have, twice), or you live with a terminal illness, the chemotherapy treatments and the side-effects – you appreciate that suffering comes way before the last 6 months. It’s time to stop scare-mongering and look at the countries where this has been done well: Oregon (23 years), Canada, Switzerland, Victoria (Australia). We don’t prohibit driver’s licences or driver’s laws because some flout them!! Assisted Dying is not about ending life, it’s about ending suffering when the individual says “Enough is enough.”

  9. Re the argument of “coercion” – couldn’t “coercion” also be seen as individuals who don’t want to have to have chemotherapy/radiation, etc but their families keep pushing them to take whatever is out there because THEY can’t cope with the idea of losing them? Is “coercion” when loved ones are placed in nursing care/palliative care because families can’t cope but the individual doesn’t want to be anywhere but home? Is “coercion” being subject to palliative sedation / terminal sedation (the palliative process) when pain and suffering can no longer be managed in many cancer sufferers which means the end of life patient is given heavy sedation, drifts in and out of consciousness but slowly dehydrates and starves (that’s not scaremongering – that’s what palliative sedation does and it can last for days and days).

  10. Yep it’s a hard one alright and no the State cannot be trusted. But seeing your loved ones permanently mentally/physically incapacitated is worse.The Baby Boomer generation will take the course of sorting their time to shuffle off regardless of any establishment rules. That’s how we roll.
    It has to go back to the select committee if it gets the yes vote. That is where the opportunity to write law that makes this a whanau and or individual only decision lies.No role for the state.
    And I consider Andrew Little to be the most thorough Justice minister NZ has had in my lifetime.
    We are at a point in time where we have to make this decision as a society or it will be made for us.

  11. The great benefit of opinionaters, rather than activists, is we can cleave to our truth. No need to realpolitik. Some (most) of the highest level of us get muddied in those waters. The big disbenefit of us is we are ineffectual letter-writers, hence the permanent temptation to the former sentence’s sentiments.

    I’m of the opinion to say yes to both referendums. Trusting in NZ’s lineage of Waitangi, Parnell, Ballance and Savage, or democracy, to deal fairly with euthanasia.

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