Dear Sir Geoffrey
On the Sunday programme on TV One on 17 May 2015 you said:
“I think there is no doubt at all that there is a big trend around the world – in places like Oregon, in places like Canada, in places like the Netherlands, and Switzerland and other countries - to allow doctors to help people who are incurable and who are suffering enormously to terminate their lives early and for the doctor to assist.”
In the interests of providing all the facts to the viewers, you might have mentioned the cases where euthanasia and assisted suicide has recently been rejected, such as in the United Kingdom Supreme Court and the Irish Supreme Court.
Then there are the dozens of American states where such laws are regularly rejected, and the nearly 40 failed bills in Australia in the last 20 years. Just last month a select committee of the Scottish Parliament concluded that an assisted suicide bill there “contains significant flaws” and that “the majority of the Committee does not support the general principles of the Bill”.
Perhaps you could be specific about which overseas jurisdiction you believe has the right model for New Zealand. Is it Oregon, where a quarter of the lethal prescriptions issued in 2013 were unaccounted for? Or the Netherlands, where 97 people with dementia and 42 people with mental illnesses were euthanized in 2013? Possibly Belgium, where 45-year old deaf twins were euthanized in 2013 because they were also going blind?
This is literally a matter of life and death. We should all approach it with the greatest of care and attention to all the facts, not just the convenient ones.