I make no apology for standing firm on behalf of the vulnerable for what I believe is right, although I have copped a lot of politically motivated flack for speaking out against it. The promoters of this dangerous bill have voted down every single Amendment we have introduced in an effort to make it safer.
The ‘debates’ in Parliament have been a travesty and along with the 50 or more MPs who are very concerned about this overly permissive bill, I remain frustrated and concerned at the process and fearful of the outcome.
We didn’t like this bill and don’t want it passed but knowing that this 52nd Parliament is the most liberal in our history and pro euthanasia MPs want it pushed through no matter what, we have done our best to try and make it safer. We have worked alongside Hospice, Disability, Dementia and Elder abuse groups as well as Doctors and Lawyers, the vast majority of whom don’t want any part of this law change. Unfortunately the end result is that their fears have been ignored and this inadequate and dangerous bill has not been made any safer and these groups are devastated.
Nearly 2 years ago when I asked to go onto the Justice Select Committee for consideration of the End of life bill as Deputy Chair, we resolved from the start that the 8 members of the committee should not make big decisions on changing the bill. The only thing we could all agree on was that this flawed bill was not in any fit state to be passed and unanimously decided that the substantial debate on such an important life and death issue should debated by the whole of the House. It is therefore very disappointing that the Labour MPs on the committee, who have voted in favour of the bill from its first reading, Raymond Hau, Duncan Webb and Greg O Connor have reneged and not participated in the debate or taken one single call except to take a closure motion to shut down any debate.
The sponsor of the bill has pushed through a few minor and technical changes which included removing a ‘grievous and irremediable condition’ as grounds for eligibility. As the disabilities groups have pointed out it was a meaningless phrase anyway in legal or medical terms so removing it makes no difference whatsoever to their profound unease about the risks this bill poses to their lives.
As the final crucial vote approaches I’d urge any of you who share our concerns to express them to the MPs who’ve voted against all the safeguards we’ve proposed. Although I have been criticised for asking for personal votes to be recorded on each of the amendments I think it was important for the MPs to be on the public record and I have published them on my website www.maggiebarry.national.org.nz