Paul HutchisonWednesday 11 July 2012, 12:27PM
Media release from Paul Hutchison
It is concerning that Maryan Street said she took up the bill
because 'she could not think of a reason not to'. Though she says
the Bill is 'predominantly to do with terminal physical illness',
part of the Bill refers to 'end of life directives' for those that
suffer from an irreversible medical or mental condition that, in
their view, renders their life unbearable. Including both medical
and mental conditions could well lead to confusion.
Dr Hutchison says euthanasia and assisted suicide are complex areas
where there are grey zones in law and in practice. However,
modern care and knowledge, along with significant advances in
technology, provide huge help.
"In April 'Hospice New Zealand' has published a 'Quality Review
Programme and Guide 2012' of standards for palliative care.
It describes the unique and interwoven roles of primary care
services and specialist palliative care services to provide high
quality palliative care and end of life care to all people in New
"I vividly remember Peter Brown's private members bill which was
narrowly lost in the Parliament in 2003. Peter spoke
passionately and sincerely regarding the awful time his late wife
had during her terminal illness. However, on talking to him,
I couldn't help think that if he and his wife had received the
skilled services that are available today, their suffering could
well be far less."
Dr Hutchison says that deep concern has been raised regarding the
euthanasia laws in the Netherlands and Belgium where required
safeguards have allegedly not been adhered to, resulting in people
being euthanized without proper informed consent.
"Like anything as definitive as capital punishment, it is always
possible for errors to occur. At least Maryan Street admits this,"
says Dr Hutchison.
Labour MP Maryan Street's 'End of Life Choice Bill' is couched in
terms that might be liberal and hopeful. However, Dr
Hutchison says her proposal could set New Zealand on a regressive
path. It could also deprive many New Zealanders and their
families from taking advantage of the wonderful facilities,
compassion and expertise that are available to them during a
terminal illness, when the greatest human qualities so often shine
"In my view Maryan Street should withdraw her bill." says Dr