My final contributions to the End of life committee stage debate.
I stood against a referenda based on a euphemistic name and a critically flawed Bill that saw none of the protections it lacked at second reading added at any point. This Bill is just as dangerous as it has ever been, and I'll be standing against it for the sake of vulnerable New Zealanders.
My contribution to the third part of the committee stage debate.
Part three was responsible for accountability. I put forward an amendment that would have a Minister take responsibility, to ensure the greatest level of responsibility would be offered to those who may suffer as a result of this flawed Bill.
My Contributions to the second part of the committee stage debate.
In part two, which covers the process of euthanasia, I proposed several amendments that would have ensured medical practitioners checked for the signs of elder abuse, that cases of elder abuse were tracked and that vulnerable older people we offered, free of charge, a support person.
My Contribution to the first part of the committee stage debate.
Part one deals with definitions and scope, something that this Bill is sorely lacking. Colleagues across parliament and I proposed amendments that would limit the scope of the Bill to ensure those vulnerable to coercion would be protected.
My second reading speech
My first reading speech
My thoughts on Euthanasia
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are sobering and divisive issues which as law makers, all MPs now have to grapple with since ACT MP David Seymour’s Members bill was drawn from the Ballot. While the majority of National MPs voted against this very permissive bill, the block votes of the Greens and Winston First doing a deal with ACT meant it had the numbers to pass the first reading and public submissions will be heard from February by the Justice Select Committee. As Minister for Seniors over the past 3 years I am very aware of the growing problem of elder abuse and that the 2000 annually reported physical, psychological and financial abuse cases are only the tip of the iceberg. This bill contains no real safeguards to protect the vulnerable. After Chairing an expert working group on the care of people who are dying in the late 1990s which included North Shore Hospice CEO Jan Nichols, and being a former Patron of Hospice NZ, I don’t believe the answer is to kill people but to continue to invest in world class palliative care such as that provided through our excellent Hospice in Takapuna.
Our vulnerable, including the elderly and the one in four New Zealanders with a disability require and deserve the best possible legal protections to ensure that they are not predated on, taken advantage of or made to feel they are ‘past their use-by date’ and therefore ‘encouraged’ to end their life prematurely. Medical professionals are almost universally against this bill because of the requirement on them to administer deadly toxins against their principles of neither prolonging nor shortening life and the lack of genuine safeguards for patients. I encourage you to discuss the issue with friends and family and get in touch with MPs on this conscience vote, especially those who voted in favour at its first reading.
The answer is not to coerce and to kill, as this bill dictates; it is to continue to invest in world-class palliative care, and that's what we have in this country. Even if you are a sympathetic person to assisted suicide, this is not the bill to deliver it. And make no mistake about it, legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia is the exception and not the norm. New Zealand is on the right side of this. New Zealand law is adequate, and has good provisions. We have world-class palliative care, and that is why I will never support this bill.